How to Get Dog Smell Out of a Couch

by | Miscellaneous, Featured

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Every dog owner is familiar with the challenge of dog odors permeating the household. The unmistakable aroma of a wet dog or that distinct smell left behind after a pup lounges on your couch for a few hours can become all too familiar. It is not the most pleasant scent to greet guests, but lingering pet smells can also transform your living spaces from refreshing to repelling.

More than just a mere inconvenience, these odors can impact your home’s atmosphere and even decrease its appeal to visitors or potential buyers if you want to sell. That’s why understanding how to get dog smell out of a couch is paramount for homeowners and renters alike. It ensures a fresh and welcoming environment for everyone.

Dogs sniffing each other at a dog park. Learning how to socialize a dog can be beneficial in these instances

Understanding the Source of Dog Odor

Before diving into the solutions, it’s crucial first to understand the root causes of the lingering dog smell on your furniture. Only by pinpointing the source can we effectively tackle and neutralize it.

Dog Sweat and Its Contribution to Smell

Contrary to popular belief, dogs do sweat, but not in the same way humans do. Their sweat glands are primarily located in their paws. While this sweat isn’t the main culprit behind the infamous dog smell, it contributes, especially when your furry friend lounges on your couch after a long walk or play session.

Oils in a Dog’s Coat

Dogs naturally produce oils in their skin that help keep their coats shiny and healthy. However, these oils can also harbor bacteria, which, over time, can lead to that recognizable doggy odor. When your dog relaxes on your couch, these oils can transfer, leaving an odor behind.

Accidents and Their Lasting Impacts

Occasional accidents, whether urine, feces, or vomit, can leave a lasting scent if not properly cleaned. Even after the visible stain is gone, the smell can linger deep within the couch fibers, contributing to the overall pet odor in the room.

External Factors: Dirt, Mud, and External Smells

Dogs love to play outside, and in their adventures, they often pick up various smells from the environment. Dirt, mud, and other external elements can cling to their fur and paws, transferring them to your couch when they rest. Over time, these external factors can build up, adding to the mix of odors on your furniture.

Immediate Measures for Freshness

Once you’ve identified the sources of the dog odor, you can take immediate measures to keep your couch smelling fresh. These basic maintenance steps can significantly reduce the intensity of pet odors over time.

Ventilation: Letting the Couch Breathe

Good airflow is essential in ensuring your couch remains odor-free. Regularly open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate the room. This will help dissipate trapped smells and introduce a breath of freshness into your living space.

Vacuuming: Picking Up Hairs and Debris

Dog hairs, dander, and dirt can accumulate on your couch, each adding to the overall scent profile of your furniture. Regularly vacuuming your couch helps to pick up these particles, ensuring a cleaner and fresher surface. Using a vacuum with a pet hair attachment is beneficial for the best results. See vacuums for pet hair on Amazon

Spot Cleaning: Addressing Stains and Wet Spots Promptly

Whenever an accident occurs, or you spot a stain, address it immediately. Blot any wet spots with paper towels and use appropriate cleaning solutions for different stains. The sooner you tackle these issues, the less chance there is of a lingering odor setting in.

Deep Cleaning Techniques

When basic maintenance isn’t enough to combat stubborn odors, it’s time to consider deep cleaning methods. These techniques penetrate the couch fibers, ensuring a more thorough cleanse and odor removal.

Steam Cleaning: Benefits and How-Tos

Steam cleaning is an effective method that uses hot water vapor to clean and disinfect surfaces. It helps remove embedded dirt, oils, and bacteria from couches, eliminating odors. To steam clean, you can hire a professional service or rent/buy a steam cleaner for DIY use. Always start by vacuuming the couch and then follow the steam cleaner’s instructions, ensuring the couch fabric is suitable for steam cleaning.

Check out Amazon’s steam cleaners for couches

Baking Soda: A Natural Odor Absorber

Baking soda is a well-known natural deodorizer. To use on your couch, simply sprinkle a generous amount over the affected area and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. The baking soda will absorb the odors, and you can then vacuum it up, leaving your couch smelling fresher.

Enzymatic Cleaners: Breaking Down Organic Compounds

Enzymatic cleaners contain natural enzymes that break down organic compounds, such as those found in pet odors. These cleaners are particularly effective against urine and other bodily fluids. Apply the cleaner as directed, allowing it to sit for the prescribed time before blotting or vacuuming away.

Shop Enzymatic Cleaner Options on Amazon

Homemade Mixtures: DIY Solutions for Dog Odors

There are various DIY solutions you can whip up using household ingredients. A popular mixture is equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Lightly mist your couch with the solution and let it air dry. The vinegar neutralizes odors, and the smell will dissipate as it dries.

German Shepherd grooming starting off with a bath.

Preventive Measures to Keep the Couch Smelling Fresh

Prevention is always better than cure. Adopting certain habits and measures can significantly reduce the chances of your couch developing that dreaded doggy smell.

Regular Grooming of Your Dog

Keeping your dog clean is a primary step in preventing odors. Regular baths, especially after outdoor adventures, can reduce the transfer of external smells to your furniture. Also, frequent brushing helps remove loose hairs and dander, which can contribute to couch odors.

Using Protective Covers or Throws

Consider using washable protective covers or throws on your couch. These can easily be removed and cleaned as a barrier between your dog and the couch fabric.

Shop Couch Covers on Amazon

Training Your Dog: Setting Boundaries

While many of us love snuggling with our dogs on the couch, setting boundaries can help keep it fresh. Training your dog to rest in its designated space or bed can reduce your couch’s wear and tear (and smells).

Frequent Vacuuming and Periodic Deep Cleaning

Consistent maintenance, such as weekly vacuuming and periodic deep cleaning, will ensure that any potential odors are addressed before they have a chance to become deeply embedded in the couch.

Things to Avoid

While numerous methods and products aid in odor removal, caution is essential. Some practices or products might cause more harm than good.

Harsh Chemicals: Potential Hazards to Pets

Turning to powerful cleaning agents to remove stubborn odors might be tempting, but many of these can be hazardous to pets. They might leave residues that can irritate your dog’s skin or be toxic if ingested. Always check the labels and ensure that any product you use is pet-safe.

Over-wetting the Couch

While steam cleaning is effective, it’s vital not to over-wet the couch. Excessive moisture can seep deep into the cushions, leading to mold growth and other issues. Always ensure adequate ventilation and drying time after any wet cleaning method.

Using Scented Sprays as a Cover-Up Instead of Addressing the Root Issue

Masking the dog smell with fragrances might offer a temporary fix, but it doesn’t address the root issue. Over time, the mix of dog odor and perfumes can become even more unpleasant. It’s always better to remove the source of the smell rather than mask it.

Investing in Products that Help

Many products on the market are designed to assist homeowners in maintaining a fresh-smelling home, even with pets. Here are some worth considering:

Air Purifiers: Are They Effective?

Air purifiers can be a great addition to homes with pets. They help remove particulates from the air, including dander, hair, and some odors. While they won’t replace the need for cleaning, they can complement your efforts and enhance the overall air quality in your home.

Shop Air Purifiers on Amazon

Odor-Resistant Couch Materials: A Consideration for Future Purchases

If you’re considering purchasing a new couch, look into materials resistant to odors. Some modern fabrics come treated with protective agents that repel stains and odors. Leather and faux-leather couches, for example, are often easier to clean and less likely to retain odors than fabric ones.

Specialty Pet Odor Removers: Recommendations

There are various pet-specific odor removers available in the market. Brands like Nature’s Miracle and Simple Solution offer enzyme-based cleaners to tackle pet odors. When shopping, always check reviews and ensure the product is safe for your couch material and pet.

Golden Retriever on couch with head cocked to side looking inquisitive

Final Thoughts on How to Get Dog Smell Out of a Couch

The joys of pet ownership come with a few challenges, including the notorious dog smell. However, with knowledge and the right tools, you can maintain a fresh-smelling home without compromising on the companionship of your furry friend.

Addressing the source of dog odors, regular cleaning, and deep cleaning techniques play pivotal roles in odor management. Products like enzymatic cleaners, baking soda, and professional steam cleaning can effectively combat these smells. Preventive measures, including regular grooming and setting boundaries, further ensure a fresh-smelling home environment.

While challenges arise with pets, the love and joy they bring are irreplaceable. With consistent effort and the right techniques, you can balance enjoying your pet’s company and ensuring your home remains inviting and odor-free.


How often should I deep clean my couch to prevent dog odors?

Ideally, deep cleaning should be done every 3-6 months, depending on your dog’s habits and the frequency of their interaction with the couch. If your dog spends much time on the couch or has frequent accidents, you might need to deep clean more regularly.

Are there specific dog breeds that are less smelly?

While all dogs can produce odors, some breeds are known to be less odorous than others. Breeds like Poodles, Bichon Frises, and Maltese, among others, tend to have less oily coats and may produce fewer odors. However, individual dog habits and health also significantly determine their smell.

What if the dog odor persists even after deep cleaning?

If odors persist after deep cleaning, deeper issues like mold or mildew growth might occur. Consider consulting a professional upholstery cleaner. Additionally, ensure the entire room, including carpets and curtains, is free from odors, as these can contribute to the overall smell.

Can I use regular carpet cleaners for my couch?

It’s essential to check the label of any carpet cleaner before using it on your couch. Some carpet cleaners might be too harsh for certain upholstery materials. Always do a patch test on a hidden couch section before full application.

How can I discourage my dog from getting on the couch without training?

There are several non-training methods to discourage your dog from hopping on the couch. Using protective covers or mats that are uncomfortable for dogs, placing aluminum foil on the couch (many dogs dislike the texture and sound), or using pet deterrent mats can be effective. However, remember that positive reinforcement and training are the most effective and humane long-term solutions.