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How do you get your house/apartment to NOT smell like animals??

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  • How do you get your house/apartment to NOT smell like animals??

    I've been on a major cleaning marathon. I admit I sometimes let my place get messy. It's just me, so there's no one to complain or nag when I get dirty!

    I have a large dog, cat and a caged rabbit. There's no AC (except in a few rooms but they are window units so they don't run all the time). The apartment is large (3 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom). But it STINKS!

    I try really hard to keep up with the litter boxes (I have 2 because bad kitty used to decide not to use it...) and the dog doesn't mess in the house. The bunny's cage gets cleaned regularly and she doesn't go loose so there's no bunny droppings anywhere.

    I keep the windows open and I have plug in air fresheners but it still has a dingy, pet smell. The apartment is the top floor of an old house so that doesn't help either.

    It's really gross and I want to have company.. how can I improve the smell!

  • #2
    Well, we had to clean up my MIL's house and the thing we really needed to get rid of was the carpet because it reeked. Do you have carpet and do the dog and the cat have their own washable beds? How often do you bathe the dog?

    I have thick old towels that sit on my upholstered furniture so the cats can sleep there and I just toss the towels in the wash. We actually had to throw out the MIL's sofa because it stank so badly, the dog had a skin condition and she just let him sleep up there anyway without any slipcover or other protection. We rented a steam cleaner for the carpet and put little bowls of apple cider vinegar in the corners of the room and left the windows open the whole time we were there, I tried Febreze but it has a strong smell of it's own, like laundry detergent, and I don't like that for my own health. Anyway.

    I also had to wash ALL the fabrics in the house. Curtains, ALL the bedding, couch pillows and like I said we had to toss the sofa. Anything that can retain a scent. I'd have washed the walls down too but she had a log cabin.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible

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    • #3
      1) hard floors
      2)leather furniture
      3) small to medium sized throw rugs that fit in the washer
      4) dog beds that are washable. I made slip covers and basically just use old bed pillows when they get funky. Even the big dogs like them. And i Can take two and wash in the washer with hot water and bleach. The regular dog bed innards you can't wash and they get really gross. Dog beds hold a lot of stink in if you cant wash them, even if the dog is clean.
      5) regular sweeping to get up the fur tumbleweeds and such.

      ps i do rescue and right now i Have 12 dogs at my place, so i know from whence i speak about dog funk

      and dont hate, right now my house smells like an old dog fart because i havent cleaned, i am packing to go horse camping next week with my little niece who is visiting me for part of her summer vacay. Some things are more important, cleaning will be there after she goes home.
      "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

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      • #4
        (1) I would leave a box fan running as much as possible and leave the windows open in the evening if it is safe to do so.
        (2) cover any cloth furniture with covers/blankets and wash everything at least once a week.
        (3) Retire furniture or rugs that don't smell clean after being cleaned.
        (4) Make sure all of the animals are eating the best food for their dietary needs. **I think this one is really important. It seems like dogs especially have greasy coats and smell pretty rank when they are on a food that isn't working for them. **
        (5) Use products that neutralize/absorb odor like baking soda instead of products that just mask the smell.

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        • #5
          I can never win. I also don't have a/c, and the smells are tough to keep at bay in the summertime.

          Each time I get on a cleaning bender, my dog and cat think it's time to return the favor.

          But I just rediscovered the great products/prices for cleaning products at The Dollar General, and have bought armfuls of carpet deodorizer. I've talked with carpet professionals, and insurance restorers, and all say to avoid the carpet cleaners as the water just makes things worse. Best to keep up on your carpets with the sprinkled on stuff. That doesn't mean I don't go through a clean-up routine ASAP after accidents. Just that the carpet freshener seems to really help as well.

          And lots of scented candles.
          But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CVPeg View Post
            Best to keep up on your carpets with the sprinkled on stuff. That doesn't mean I don't go through a clean-up routine ASAP after accidents. Just that the carpet freshener seems to really help as well.
            If you're sensitive to perfume-y smells like I am (carpet freshener = instant migraine), you can use plain baking soda. I get a large bag at Costco (cheap!), sprinkle it on the carpet, vacuum - done. Plus the baking soda is not toxic should your dog get some on his/her paws.

            I also sprinkle baking soda in the cat litter box; helps with the smell and an added bonus: the litter clumps more effectively. I use about a cup at a time; when I have to add more litter, I add more baking soda.

            I do keep all furniture covered with towels or a large polarfleece throw. All dog beds are covered with towels - everything is washed frequently.

            I have 2 labs and 2 cats - no smell here!

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            • #7
              With 5 dogs and 5 cats in the house and being on a farm no less, my house is really hard to keep clean and smelling good, but for the most part I think I succeed. Here are some of my tricks:

              Waterproof covers on the furniture that can be washed. I have 2 sets so I can rotate them when I wash or if one of the animals has an accident. My worst offenders are the Chihuahuas and one of my former feral cats. I wish I could afford to invent a GOOD waterproof throw for the couch, chait and ottoman - currently I have the heavy-duty waterproof mattress covers with a throw over them. This has kept my couch and chair in new condition (they are about 3 years old and I covered them from day 1). When people come over, I whip the covers off and voila`, clean furniture! I do spray them once a week with Febreeze as well.

              One big helper is the Litter Genie! This is like a Diaper Genie, and it does keep the odor in for the litter boxes. I have 3 huge litter boxes in a cubby that was built just for them, and I check them every single time I go by them and scoop the poop or pee into the Litter Genie. I also keep a dustpan and brush handy to sweep up the litter the cats drag around. I leave the sliding doors open at each end so none of the cats feel trapped in there if another cat comes in at the same time:

              Litter Genie:
              http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i2...ps72cfc6ac.jpg

              Cat cubby area:
              http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i2...ps6d055333.jpg

              Cat cubby's open:
              http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i2...psc031873f.jpg

              Also, another trick for the dogs is that I DO have fully washable dog beds - can throw the whole thing in the washer and in the dryer. I use the Martha Stewart dog beds and believe me, they get washed every week - all 4 of them. My Chihuahua's are notorious for peeing on them (darn chupies!). The beds come in blue, brown and tan and are about $50 for the largest size. They have stood up to being washed dozens of times. They would be in perfect condition still if my hound mix would stop chewing them (then the Chi's pull all the stuffing out and I need to re-stuff and sew!).

              Here is a picture of these dog beds - my guys LOVE them (cats and dogs):
              https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...24776743_n.jpg

              https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.n...63949186_n.jpg

              I also use the Swiffer a lot - the cleaning fluid smells good.

              Good luck!

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              • #8
                what are you feeding your dogs? unless they are certain breeds of hounds, a healthy dog really doesn't have much body odor at all. Many people find that up-grading their food totally eliminates 'doggy odor". I feed part raw and all grain free and my apartment doesn't smell "doggy" at all, and I don't do anything special to try to remove odors other than basic vacuuming and moping.
                As to the cats, many people find that feeding raw totally eliminates litter box odor.

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                • #9
                  Bathe the dog and wash the dog beds/bedding regularly. I am amazed at how many people live with stinky dogs and never bathe them, or bathe them once a year with the hose outside. And then they complain that their dogs stink! You would too if you only bathed once a year. Especially smelly are the dogs with a heavy undercoat and/or oily coat (labs). If you groom well, and regularly, your dogs wouldn't necessarily smell that bad...but good grooming is not just brushing once a week. It needs to get down to the skin, just like with horses. Most people don't groom their dogs that well, and even if you do, a bath will help loosen the shed hair and get it out of the coat which will help.

                  I bathe my dogs every couple of weeks or more often if necessary. They also get rinsed a lot because they get muddy. But they definitely get a good scrub at least once a month.

                  Carpets are tough as well. If you can get rid of them, that will help. I vacuum our living room rug from top and bottom once or twice a year -- it's too big to take outside and beat, but I can fold it in half and vacuum under it, the underside, and then the top side.

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                  • #10
                    I very rarely bathe dogs with soap, and mine don't smell at all and have fabulous shiny coats- I think bathing with soap too often encourages the dog's coat to get greasy.
                    I think it's all diet-related. Particularly dogs on corn/soy foods tend to develop a strong "doggie" odor. If your dog smells, there's something wrong.

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                    • #11
                      Best thing I ever did was get rid of all the carpet and install stone tile. And I agree that washable dog beds are a must - and wash them at least weekly.
                      Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wendy View Post
                        I very rarely bathe dogs with soap, and mine don't smell at all and have fabulous shiny coats- I think bathing with soap too often encourages the dog's coat to get greasy.
                        I think it's all diet-related. Particularly dogs on corn/soy foods tend to develop a strong "doggie" odor. If your dog smells, there's something wrong.
                        I disagree. Sure, food can definitely be a factor, but it's an animal and my animals get dirty. My horses can smell, too, if I don't bathe them or vigorously and regularly groom them to lift the dirt, dander, and dead hair out of their coats. No difference with dogs, and dogs with long, oily, or double coats are harder to groom properly than a horse or a short haired dog.

                        I use shampoo and conditioner on my dogs, and their coats are not the slightest bit greasy. Of course if you don't rinse well, or add any other products to their coat they will build up and attract dirt.

                        (What kind of dogs do you have? I think the coat type makes a big difference in grooming and possibly the "smell" or lack thereof. E.g. properly grooming a Visla v. a Newfoundland is going to be very different, no matter what you feed.)

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                        • #13
                          My routine to keep pet smells down (two cats, one small dog):

                          Clean my HUGE little box daily. Mop the floor around the litter box with a fairly highly scented, antimicrobial cleaning agent weekly.

                          Wash food bowls weekly – mop around food bowls weekly.

                          Vacuum at least weekly – including the couch. Couch cushion covers get taken off and washed monthly – cushions get sprayed with nature’s miracle.

                          Also, a pre-vacuum dusting of baking soda can help.

                          I have a number of fleece throws on hand. These go on the dog bed and any areas cats like to spend their time – these get washed weekly. Same goes for small throw rugs.

                          Dog beds get washed as well (I do have one that has a removable cover – and batting / cedar filling – I add fresh cedar occasionally – you can buy it in pet stores, they sell it as animal bedding)

                          And, I am lucky in that the weather is VERY mild here, no need for AC or heat most months, so I open up all of the windows and doors as often as possible.
                          APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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                          • #14
                            Here's my secret (from when I had animals)

                            1 - NO INDOOR LITTER BOXES - my cats went outdoors during the day and in at night. No litter boxes. If I need a litter box, the cat has to go. Period.

                            2 - Clean animals. Baths with a bit of mild detergent soap and rinsed really well with nothing left on the animal. Needless to say, no perfumes or smelly rinses. Baths are immediate before coming into the house, if they, say swam in some funky pond or something. Healthy animals, clean animals. Also, I choose animals with little shedding. Makes a diff.

                            3 - washable surfaces- dog beds are a blanket or old quilt that can be washed. Bleach is your friend. Floors washed with Clorox clean up, excep for wood - wood is washed with a mixture of Lemon Mr. Clean and Murphy's oil soap. Wash all walls and door jams, wash all kitchen cabinets and move the dang refrige. That mixture is heaven scent. Heh. Really, its the cleaning that makes the diff. All dirty nose marks on windows, it just has to go. When the house is clean, it smells great.

                            4 - part of above, but has to be said - no carpeting. Even without animals I only have wood floors and area rugs; there is no way to keep a wall to wall carpet clean. The backing rots and the dust is unbearable, besides the smell.

                            5 - vacume. Invest in a really good one, and use it, all the time. Getting that hair and dust out of the air and out of the house is paramount to cleaning. I don't even have a broom or dust pan, except for use of something like broken glass or spilled pasta or something. Then the vacume comes out, after, anyway. Brooms just don't cut it, and push the dust around. And vacume from the top, up high, to the ground last.

                            6 - Animals just aren't allowed on the furniture. Yes, it happens, especially when I'm not home, but in general they aren't and it keeps the furniture alot better. Sometimes the dog is penned in the kitchen when not home; often the dog stays outside. Cats are outside all day anyway, in and sleeping on the beds at night, yes, but see 7

                            7 - laundry - all the time. Constant. Bleach. Most things I buy are white so I can bleach them clean. Any coverings will be laundered and bleached often.

                            Sounds like a lot of work, but animals are. It is a constant rotation of cleaning. If i don't, the house begins to smell.

                            The above attention is the only way I know of to have animals and a smell free house. If a house I encounter has smells, I can find one (or more) of the above issues neglected as the reason why. Just the way it is, in my opinion.
                            My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods

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                            • #15
                              I definitely think what you feed affects the doggy smell. Our family dog got the cheap grocery store food and because we never thought otherwise we just assumed all dogs had that "doggy smell." Yes, he was bathed regularly. Still had the smell. Went to vet regularly too - no teeth problems or anything. When I got my first dog I did tons of research into food and give her a good quality, no grain kibble. The difference is astounding! My sister actually commented that she was amazed my apartment lacked the doggy smell - and even the dog lacked the doggy smell! I really think good quality food has a lot to do with it. She doesn't tend to get too dirty, and I also think bathing too much ruins their coats so she only gets bathed once every few months.

                              How do I tell if her bed is washable? Its a cheap-o one from the pet store, and theres nothing about washing on the label. I'm assuming the cover is okay but not the inside?

                              I do not like to use air-freshners which just mask the smell IMO. Also, I'm allergic to a lot of them. I would try this http://pinnedbydani.com/2012/04/12/w...me-deodorizer/ if the occasion arose because the ingredients are all natural.

                              I think keeping doors/windows open as much as possible really helps, as does vacuuming carpets/rugs regularly. Minimum once a week. Wash all covers of upholstery & cushions regularly. Keep animals off furniture (I know, I know) if you can.

                              Clean counter surfaces nightly (when she was shedding her winter coat particularly, my dogs hair transfers from me to the counter. I hate this in the kitchen so am very vigilant about it!) & wash tiled floors weekly.

                              I have a flat coated retriever/lab in a 1BR apt. Goes without saying - de shed dog regularly. I use a furminator. My sister (who would say if she felt otherwise - as she says, if she doesn't tell me then who will?) paid me the highest of compliments when she said she almost couldn't believe how sparkling clean the apt was, and that it didn't have a whiff of dog smell. I do all of the above, so I must be doing something right!
                              "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                              "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

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                              • #16
                                Mine eat Wellness CORE, have short coats, never get baths, and don't smell.


                                Their breath on the other hand is a different story.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                  Mine eat Wellness CORE, have short coats, never get baths, and don't smell.


                                  Their breath on the other hand is a different story.
                                  I think (and this is purely observation based on two dogs, neither are/were hounds) that breath is where you notice smell the most. The two dogs I'm comparing had/have very similar care, except food quality. Belle gets high quality food and her breath does not smell at all. Sawyer got lower quality food. His breath always smelt, and it wasn't because of his teeth.
                                  "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                                  "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

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                                  • #18
                                    I disagree. Sure, food can definitely be a factor, but it's an animal and my animals get dirty. My horses can smell, too, if I don't bathe them or vigorously and regularly groom them to lift the dirt, dander, and dead hair out of their coats. No difference with dogs, and dogs with long, oily, or double coats are harder to groom properly than a horse or a short haired dog.

                                    I use shampoo and conditioner on my dogs, and their coats are not the slightest bit greasy. Of course if you don't rinse well, or add any other products to their coat they will build up and attract dirt.

                                    (What kind of dogs do you have? I think the coat type makes a big difference in grooming and possibly the "smell" or lack thereof. E.g. properly grooming a Visla v. a Newfoundland is going to be very different, no matter what you feed.)
                                    I have short double-coated dogs- think lab-type coats, or on the malinios, a bit longer outer coat. Sure, they occasionally roll in something gross, but the rest of the time they have no body odor at all- you can put your nose right down into their fur and smell nothing much. I'm quite lax about grooming- run the brush over them once a week, wash them once a year. I wash dog beds once a month or so. Nothing smells "doggy".
                                    I'm very familiar with the stinky dogs- one meets them at petsmart and the dog park fairly often- and it's always related to a poor quality diet, or to filthy teeth (also correlated with a poor quality diet), or to allergies (also correlated with a poor quality diet) causing skin or ear infections.
                                    Healthy dogs don't have a smell to them, other than certain breeds of hound that produce a water-proofing oil that has a bit of a rank scent.
                                    If your dog smells bad there is something wrong.
                                    if you walk into a house and smell "dog" you can quite accurately predict they feed one of the popular low-quality dog foods.

                                    I suspect most of the OPs problems come from the litterboxes. I don't keep cats anymore because I think letting them run free is unethical, and I can't stand litter boxes. Animals that poop and pee inside get a one-way trip to the vet.
                                    Last edited by wendy; Jun. 11, 2013, 08:17 PM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by witherbee View Post
                                      I have 3 huge litter boxes in a cubby that was built just for them, and I check them every single time I go by them and scoop the poop or pee into the Litter Genie.
                                      I love this idea. My mother lives in an assisted living facility that was rebuilt a few years ago. In the recreation area, they took part of the cupboards, and installed a cat door in one of the taller cupboards, and put his litter box in there. Works great, and is not at all noticeable, or smellable!
                                      But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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                                      • #20
                                        It takes some work, but soap and water and the washer are your friend. I did some research on Febreze and it is a molecule that acts by sequestering other molecules, I guess generally scent molecules are pretty big and they get tied up in it fairly easily - but the picture that I got in my mind's eye of wading through a knee deep layer of sequestered scent molecules as I went through the house - well that's not what I think of as "clean". Another thing is that line drying in the sun does a lot to dispel the last bits of odor, probably the UV breaks the molecules up and the air blows them away, of course you could be picking up pollens outside so there's a happy medium.

                                        I lived in an older apartment complex for a while and smells used to seep through the floors and walls all the time - the smokers stank me out but thank god I really like curry. I went to Pier One and got a lightly scented room diffuser and the candles and room spray that went with it. It smelled like hay or fresh grass and the horses loved me! I also got incense to burn when the smoke smell got really heavy, doubt it was any better for me but I preferred the scent.

                                        Good luck, lots of good tips here although getting rid of the carpet would be your best move - just hard to do in an apartment.
                                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                        Incredible Invisible

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