Having pet odors inside your home can turn off yourself and your family (or potential homebuyers if you're looking to sell your home). Ask your real estate agent for an honest opinion about whether your home has a pet smell. If your agent holds their nose, here’s how to get rid of the smell:
#1 Air Out Your House
While you’re doing your fall cleaning, throw open all the windows in your home to allow fresh air to circulate and sweep out unpleasant scents. Once your house is free of pet odors, do what you can to keep the smells from returning. Crate your dog when you’re out or keep it outdoors. Limit the cat to one floor or room, if possible.
#2 Scrub Thoroughly
Scrub bare floors and walls soiled by pets with vinegar, wood floor cleaner, or an odor-neutralizing product. You can purchase this fairly cheaply at a local store. Also, try a bleach-to-water solution on surfaces it won’t damage, like cement floors or walls.
#3 Wash Your Drapes and Upholstery
Pet odors can really seep into fabrics. Launder, steam clean, or dry clean all your fabric window coverings. Steam clean upholstered furniture. You can do this by either buying a steam cleaner designed to remove pet hair yourself, or pay a pro.
#4 Clean Your Carpets
Shampoo your carpets and rugs, or have professionals do the job. The cleaner will try to sell you deodorizing treatments. You’ll know if you need to spend the extra money on those after the carpet dries and you have a friend perform a sniff test. If deodorizing doesn’t remove the pet odor from your home, the carpets and padding will have to go. Once you tear them out, scrub the subfloor with vinegar or an odor-removing product, and install new padding and carpeting. Unless the smell is in the subfloor, in which case that goes next.
#5 Paint, Replace, or Seal Walls
When heavy-duty cleaners haven’t eradicated smells in drywall, plaster, or woodwork, add a fresh coat of paint or stain, or replace the drywall or wood altogether. On brick and cement, apply a sealant appropriate for the surface. That may smother and seal in the odor, keeping it from reemerging.
#6 Place Potpourri or Scented Candles in Strategic Locations
Put a bow on your deep clean with essential oils or scented candles. Don’t go overboard and turn off buyers sensitive to perfumes.
#7 Control Urine Smells
If your dog goes indoors, put down a pee pad. Then throw them away outside in a trash can with a tight lid. Remove every pad from view before each showing. Replace kitty litter daily if you've got a cat.
#8 Relocate Pets
If your dog or cat has a best friend it can stay with while you’re selling your home (and you can stand to be separated from your pet), consider sending your pet on a temporary vacation. If pets have to stay, remove them from the house for showings and put away their dishes, towels, and toys.