How to Get Dog Smell Out of a Couch

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There’s nothing better than snuggling up with your dog on the couch. What’s not so great is when your couch starts to smell like your dog.

Unfortunately, lingering pet smells can penetrate into the fabric and cause unpleasant and embarrassing odors. The question is, how do you get dog smell out of your couch, and are there ways to prevent it?

In this post, I’ll share a few easy things you can do (even right now) to remove pet odor from your furniture, some of which include common household products you may already own.

7 Easy Ways to Get Dog Smell Out of a Couch

1. Remove Everything You Can

If you have pillows, blankets, or other items on your couch, start by taking those off and laundering whatever you can.

When you have pets, it’s best to invest in throw pillows with removable covers that can be washed, or ones that can fit in the washing machine.

Removing the odor on your couch and putting smelly pillows and blankets right back will keep the dog scent, and let it seep back into the fresh fabric, so you want to be sure to wash any removable items first.

If you have a couch with removable covers over the cushions, take them off as well, and run them through the washing machine.

If they’re extra stinky, you can let the covers soak in a mixture of water and white vinegar to help remove odor before washing. You can also simply add a cup of white vinegar to the wash load, along with your regular detergent.

White vinegar is great for getting rid of odors and built-up grime. It’s very affordable, and a great cleaning and cooking product to have around.

2. Always Use Cold Water

Whether you’re spot-cleaning a stain with water, or determining which temperature to use in your washing machine, avoid using hot water when it comes to removing pet odors, as the heat may set stains or scents into the fabric even more.

Additionally, if you remove the fabric from the wash and it still smells strongly of pet odor, wash it again before placing in the dryer. Here, too, the heat will only set the smell more permanently.

3. Make Sure to Vacuum

Pet hair, dead skin cells, dirt from outside, and more could be causing the smell on your couch.

Using a vacuum to suck up all that gross stuff is a sure way of removing unwanted odors. This is especially helpful if your couch doesn’t have removable cushion covers that can be easily washed.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to also vacuum underneath the couch, since this is where most of the hair and dander tend to accumulate.

4. Take out the Baking Soda

Like white vinegar, baking soda is a must-have staple in any home. This miracle product is wonderfully effective for cleaning and so, so cheap.

To remove pet smells, first vacuum your couch. Then, sprinkle baking soda all over the area and leave it overnight to soak up the odors. The next day, vacuum the couch again to remove all the excess powder.

5. Try an Enzyme Cleaner

If none of the previous homemade solutions worked, you can opt for a pet-friendly enzyme cleaner.

Not only does this product can remove pet odor, but it’s also very efficient in eliminating pet urine smells and stains. That said, you’ll need to find one that’s safe to use on couches.

6. Consider an Upholstery Cleaner

You can rent a professional upholstery cleaner, or purchase a handheld one for home use.

Using this will help get particularly stubborn smells out of fabrics that can’t be put in the wash, such as the base of the couch.

But make sure you use it along with a compatible cleaning solution. Upholstery cleaners involve water, and adding water alone on top of a smelly couch will just make it smell like wet dog.

7. Get a Fabric Refresher Spray

This is another thing you can try to remove pet odors from your couch. Be sure to use all other cleaning methods first, because these sprays can only go so far to eliminate odors.

If the pet odor isn’t too strong, you can even use a spray as a quick refresher for your couch before you have company.

When purchasing fabric or air spray, check that it’s an odor-eliminator and not just a perfume. You don’t want to add a nice scent on top of the dog smell, as this will make it even more unpleasant.

What to Avoid When Dealing with Pet Odor?

Don’t ever use ammonia to clean pet odors off any surface. Urine actually contains ammonia, so using it to clean pet smells will make whatever you’re cleaning smell more like dog pee to your pup.

This means he may be tempted to mark whatever was cleaned with ammonia, or think it’s an appropriate place to go potty.

Bleach is another ingredient to avoid. Although it disinfects well, it won’t remove the odor, and it’s also harmful for you and your pet to inhale.

Stick to detergent, vinegar, baking soda, or enzyme cleaner to clean your couch. If you purchase other cleaning products, check the ingredients on the label to see if they’re safe for your pet.

How to Prevent Pet Odor on Your Couch?

Some pet odor is to be expected with any dog. But if a stinky couch is an ongoing problem for you, then you may have an extra stinky dog.

In that case, make sure you’re bathing your pup regularly using a gentle cleanser (but not too often so that it doesn’t dry out his skin). If he’s not too dirty, you can even use a pet dry shampoo for a quick fix-up.

Additionally, brushing him often can go a long way in preventing odors. It helps get rid of smelly hairs and dead skin cells, so they won’t make their way to your couch and settle there. Plus, most dogs enjoy it.

You may also want to start wiping your dog’s paws when he comes in from outside to be sure he isn’t tracking any mud or dirt on your couch.

Slipcovers are another way you can protect your furniture from odors, and they’re also easier to wash.

If your couch doesn’t have removable covers, or you just want to make thoroughly washing your couch as easy as possible, invest in a high-quality slipcover.

About the author

Li-ran Bukovza

Li-ran believes that our dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He's fascinated by the dog-human bond and loves researching and writing about new pet trends. With the help of Richie (his trusty Maltese sidekick), he hopes to help as many people as possible understand the beautiful, complex world of canine companionship.