108 Steps to Deodorizing a Dog Home

Four years ago, I picked her up in a relatively shady neighborhood of Los Angeles. Back then, she was a tiny, eight week old, sweet smelling puppy. 

Fast forward a few years and rather than a puppy, we have a dog. More specifically, we have a rather LARGE dog. Runner is roughly 80lbs. We’re told she is half German Shepherd, half Boxer; though we aren’t 100% certain of this, as we had rescued her from a litter of free puppies on Craigslist. 

Here’s what you need to know about Runner:

  • She is a GREAT guard dog
  • She has endless energy
  • She has short hair like a Boxer, but sheds like a German Shepherd

I started out truly loving Runner… Really. But between her social awkwardness (she doesn’t do well in crowds. Or with other dogs. Or in public, in general. In fact she got quaranteened in her obedience class- but that’s a story for another day…), her larger than life bark, and the way she makes my home SMELL, she frequently annoys me more than most. 

I have tirelessly searched and experimented over the years for ways to keep my home smelling fresh; and to no avail. I thought the problem would resolve when we moved out of a tiny apartment and into a house, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, it almost seemed worse. 

After a lot of trial and error, not to mention a lot of money spent on products that did NOT work, I think we finally got the smell under control. I still catch a whiff of dog from time to time, but that could be because she still lives here. 😉 

I’ll skip all of the failed remedies (and the obvious bathe/brush your dog- be careful not to over-bathe!! It can dry out their skin. No good.) – but here are the steps that seem to be working for our smelly yet lovable mutt:

  1. Vacuum. EVERY day. This is an obvious one; but it really does make a difference. I try to run over the living room rug going in all different directions and using short motions to more efficiently lift the hair and dander from the fibers of the rug.
  2. I take it one step further, and use the attachment to vacuum the dog bed, daily. I’m not super thorough, and yes, it’s machine washable which is helpful on occasion as well, but getting that fresh layer of hair and dander up helps keep things mild. 
  3. EMPTY the vacuum! I do this once a week. It’s really only practical if you have a bagless vacuum. I swear the heat from the vacuum intensifies the dog smell, so emptying it frequently prevents the spread of smell through the home. 
  4. Essential oils. I dilute a few drops of Purification and Lavendar in a spray bottle with water. I lightly spray the dog, her bed, and areas of the rug that she frequently lays, daily. 
  5. I also use an essential oil diffuser to help purify whatever might be stirred up into the air. Purification or Lemon + Lavendar are great. 
  6. Shampoo the rugs/carpet. We went ahead and just purchased our own shampooer since a renting Rug Doctor can get pricey if you’re doing it a lot. Instead of using the carpet shampoo, we use a white vinegar/water mixture to avoid chemicals and a film on the rug. We do this just a few times a year. 
  7. Baking soda/Borax. Sprinkling this mixture on the rugs for an hour or two and then vacuuming also helps to absorb any lingering scents. I do this roughly once a month. 
  8. Fabric refresher. Last but not least, it’s important to remember that smells tend to cling to fabrics. I make a simple fabric refresher I learned from my mother using water, a spray bottle, and a couple dryer sheets. Just stick the dryer sheets in the bottle, fill with water, and shake it up. Spray over fabric furniture, curtains, rugs, pillows and blankets as needed for a quick refresh between washes. 

    Like I said, it’s not perfect: the dog still does live here, after all. But it’s leaps and bounds better than it was; I can walk into my home, take a deep breath, and feel confident that my house smells clean. 😊

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