10 Quick Tips for Conquering Pet Odors

Stop the stink.

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Those of us who have pets know first hand that our furry friends are truly members of our family. They bring endless joy but also some stank.



As a crazy dog lady who has had basset hounds for the last 15 years, I’m all too familiar with the challenge of dealing with pet odors around the house. Our pup, Dudley, seems to have a chronic case of "Frito paws." Not to mention, the amount of fur that flys off his chunky, little body on a daily basis is pretty shocking.

So, I’ve had to dive head-first into tackling pet odors on the daily. Here are some of my tips and tricks. I hope they help you, too.

1: Vacuum Up Hair + Dander

For those of us with pets who shed, managing all the hair and fur is a real struggle. We all know that’s its important to vacuum the floor, but the truth is, the floor is just the beginning. It’s important to vacuum up all the pet hair and dander wherever it might be hiding. This includes: the cushions of your couch, behind furniture and in all the cracks and crevices around areas that your pet likes to hang out. Even if your pet doesn't shed much, it’s important not to skip this step, as you will still have pet dander to deal with.

2: Wash + Dry

It’s also important to regularly wash all of the items that your pet uses on a daily basis. This can include: pet bed covers, cushion covers on furniture (if they're laundry safe), pet blankets and, of course, sheets and linens (if your pet is allowed on your bed).

9 Smart Kid- and Pet-Friendly Fabric Tips

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Chic and Durable

Packed with saturated shades of coral and green, this light and bright family room features neutral, kid-friendly upholstery. For a wise investment in furniture fabric, consider pieces that work with a wide variety of color schemes.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Fixed Backs and Removable Seats

When choosing a sofa for your family room, consider both cushion styles and configurations. Sofas with loose-back seat cushions allow you to simply unzip the covers and toss them in the wash; however, these cushions will lose their structure more quickly than those with fixed backs. Homes with more active kids and pets may opt for sofas with fixed backs since they're less likely to be regularly used. In most cases, though, removable seat cushions are always the most ideal choice for young families since they can be washed or flipped over in the event of an accident.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Neutrals on Neutrals

Interior designers suggest keeping all major upholstery pieces neutral, from sofas to armchairs to custom rugs. When staple pieces are neutral, stains or spills are less likely to show. An excellent color alternative to beige or tan is greige — a mix of beige and light gray.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Colorful Accents

When you're looking to add color to a high-traffic room, consider using it in a temporary way. Although this family room uses coral on the walls and window treatments, the main furnishings are neutral. To tie in the dominant color with the furniture, add throw pillows in saturated corals and pinks.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

New Neutrals

In need of a neutral tone but not interested in beige, tan or cream? Consider a new breed of neutral hues that offer just enough saturation to add color to a space, yet have enough white undertones to keep them subdued and understated. Sage green is a beautiful tone that works well in both kid and adult spaces. Plus, it's just as masculine as it is feminine.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Nubby Textures

Texture plays a key role in the practicality of upholstery fabric. Any time light or bright-colored fabrics are used for pillow or seating, it's best to opt for coarse or nubby textures to help hide flaws. Fabrics with smooth or flat textures are less forgiving of mishaps, like spills or smudges.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Indoor-Outdoor Floor Cushions

Add carefree comfort to the family room with box floor cushions made from indoor-outdoor fabric. Often made from acrylic, these cozy cushions are stain-resistant, fade-resistant and can be cleaned with a hose.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Lint Rollers

To minimize pet hair on upholstered furniture and window treatments, keep oversized lint rollers on hand. These are twice the thickness than standard lint rollers and will remove more pet hair from your favorite furnishings.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Slipcovered Chairs

In rooms occupied by kids and pets, slipcovered seating is a smart choice. This breakfast nook is equipped with seating for six. If kids spill their drinks or drop crumbs on the chairs, there's nothing to worry about; the slipcovers can simply be removed, washed and re-fastened. For an extra carefree approach, consider indoor-outdoor fabrics.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Stain Protection

DIY fabric and upholstery protection is an excellent approach to lengthen the lifespan of seating, accents and draperies. To apply, keep the spray can approximately six to eight inches from the surface of the upholstery and move back and forth in evenly controlled spurts.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

3: Clean Toys, Bowls, Collars + Leashes

When thinking about the cleaning that we regularly do for our pets, we often forget about things like toys, food bowls, collars and even leashes. All of these items can easily hold on to odor and bacteria, so it’s important to regularly wash and launder all of this stuff, too.

4: Bathe Them Regularly

My dog hates to get a bath, and I mean hates it. But in order to stay on top of things, I have a regularly scheduled appointment at his groomer. If you give your pet a bath at home, set a reminder on your phone or an ongoing appointment on your calendar so you won’t forget.

5: Baking Soda

In terms of tackling odors in your home, baking soda is a fantastic odor neutralizer (as most of us already know from using it in our refrigerators and freezers). Sprinkle baking soda on your pet's bed or on your couch cushions (make sure to check labels and test in a small area first), let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up.

6: Vinegar

Vinegar is also an amazing natural cleaning option for more serious pet odors. Try using vinegar (diluted with a bit of water) in a spray bottle and spray on carpets or floors. Or use in combination with baking soda on cushions or bedding for an extra powerful, odor-eliminating punch.

7: Nature's Miracle

When tackling urine odors in your home, you can try an enzymatic neutralizer such as Nature’s Miracle to spot-treat an area and completely eliminate the odor. Even if you have a pup that's house trained, it’s always a good idea to keep this type of cleaner on hand, just in case there's an accident.

8: Citrus + Hydrogen Peroxide

Citrus and hydrogen peroxide are two other great bases for pet cleaners. The citrus works as a natural enzymatic cleaner, and the hydrogen peroxide is another great neutralizer.

9: Hepa Filter

For those with allergies, a HEPA air filter might be a good idea to really tackle any dander or pet odor issues head on. A HEPA filter is a mechanical air-purifying filter that forces air through a fine mesh in order to trap harmful particles such as pet dander. You can purchase air purifiers with HEPA filters, and there are even some vacuum cleaners that come with HEPA filters.

10: Don't Forget Closets + Stairways

Finally, when thinking through your cleaning/odor tackling game plan at home, don’t forget about spots in your house that your pets like to hang out that are less top of mind. My pup, for example, loves to take a snooze in my closet every once in a while. And some pets love to hang out on the stairs. Make sure you're vacuuming and cleaning these areas regularly, as well, in order to really stay on top of unwanted odors.

13 Tips for a Stylish and Pet-Friendly Space

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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Splurge a bit for pet beds that both complement your room's design and provide a comfy place for dogs to rest their heads. Check out Etsy store Iron and Thread for custom beds and cushions.

Doggie Up the Front Door

While plastic retractable leashes can be considered eyesores, graphic traditional leashes are more decorative. Stash them near the door for a pop of pattern and to inspire you to head outdoors with your best friend.

Doggie Desserts

If human desserts look just as good as they taste, why shouldn't pet treats? Spoil your four-footed friend with treats from online bakeries like Two Tails Dog Bakery. Since the long-lasting goods don't usually require refrigeration, you can keep them out so they're easy to grab when your best friend needs a nibble.

Make a Statement With Mats

Instead of basic rubber mats designed only to protect the floor from splashes, opt for indoor/outdoor 2x3 patterned rugs. Many styles are made from recycled materials which breathe and are easy to clean with just a garden hose.

Couches for Canines

Sofas for dogs? Yep! For decades, furniture manufacturers have been offering everyday furniture scaled down to toddler scale, a size which is also ideal for small and medium breeds. So hit your local thrift store or consignment shop for an inexpensive, secondhand kids' sofa then have it reupholstered with pooch-friendly fabric.

Indoor-Outdoor Upholstery

When it comes to pet-proofing in style, indoor-outdoor products are always your best bet. This kid-sized sofa was reupholstered using a Trina Turk indoor-outdoor fabric from Schumacher. Made to resist moisture, UV rays and most stains, this sophisticated fabric turned a juvenile piece of furniture into a showstopping conversation-starter.

Pet-Proofed Fabric

Can't find an indoor-outdoor fabric that fits your style? No problem! Most cities have Teflon-treating facilities which coat lightweight or delicate fabrics with Teflon, a stain-repellant chemical. Shop around for the best deal; the average cost of the treatment is $8 per yard.

Go Zen for Your Best Friend

Buck traditional dog bowls for something more on-trend. Many pet supply manufacturers have created high-end lines for every type of product from blankets and bowls to collars and coats. Zen-inspired feeding bowls with simple, Asian lines are both sculptural and utilitarian. Sites like Pet Squared offer modern Zen and Asian styles sure to please both man's best friend and their master.

Same Old Food, New Tricks

Interior designers often choose furniture with metal legs for homes with teething puppies or scratch-obsessed kittens, but the same principle can also apply to their feeding station. Industrial dog bowls mix materials like natural wood with durable steel, aluminum and other metals — all certain to stand up to even the most chewy of teething pets.

Squeaking With Style

Rubber squeaky toys are 100 percent fun for pets, but 50 percent eyesore and 50 percent annoying racket for pet owners. Instead, opt for fabric pet toys, made from natural materials like cotton, wool, linen, felt or hemp. They're machine washable and cute enough to hang out on the sofa instead of being hidden away in the toy box. Etsy favorite Wags and Wiggles is a great online source for affordable fabric pet toys.

Canine Canisters

Most everyday dog treats aren't much to look at. Instead of storing them in clear jars or stashing them away in boxes, store them in graphic ceramic canisters featuring colors and styles which complement your kitchen. The Newport Collection from Unleashed Life is an online favorite.

Banish the Bags

Banish those dog food bags from the home completely. Not only are dog food bags big, bulky and attractive to pests, dogs are likely to try to break into them if left within reach. Check out wag.com for oversized tin canisters for storing your dog's food in style.

Outdoor Toys Head Indoors

While Frisbees aren't exactly something you and your pet typically play with indoors, knit versions may change that. Many pet boutiques carry knit Frisbees for doggie roughhousing that won't break a window — or the bank. These can be found online affordably through Pocket Disc, or learn how to make them yourself at Worth A Knit's blog.

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