I created this website to educate you about pet odors. As dog and cat owners, we mostly keep our pets indoors. Besides inhospitable weather, the great outdoors can be a deadly place for house pets. Run-ins with street vehicles, wildlife, and other outdoor dangers has shortened the lives of many beloved pets. This has happened to me on several occasions.
Besides, its nice to have our canine and feline friends indoors where we can enjoy their company and they’re close by to notify us of invited and uninvited guests coming onto our property. Our pets add joy to our lives. They truly are a part of the family!
Unfortunately, animals cause odors that we need to eliminate if we are to co-exist peacefully with them under the same roof. This is a common problem faced by homemakers all over. Many products and methods have been tried over the years. A look in grocery stores, pet shops, and online reveals a lot of solutions to this problem. It can be quite confusing seeing all of these products advertised and all the things you read about stopping pet odors.
I hope I can take away confusion about the right products or methods to remove pet odors from your home. I’m here to educate. Education works both ways. I would like to hear from you as pet owners about the things you have tried for removing pet odors in your home.
The Nose Knows! Our Sense of Smell
Smell begins in the nose in an area with millions of sensory neurons called the olfactory epithelium. The tips of these neurons contain receptor proteins that bind with odor molecules as you breathe through your nose.
There are up to six million smell receptors in humans. Five percent of our DNA is devoted to olfaction. This fact emphasizes how important our sense of smell is. By comparison, dogs have up to 300 million smell receptors. Different odor molecules interact more favorably with different receptors. These complex reactions create a neural code that signals the brain of a particular smell. The brain integrates taste information with what we smell providing a more complete picture of flavor. This interaction of smell and taste working together can explain why food lacks flavor when we have a head cold.
Humans experience sensory adaptation. This is defined as a reduction of sensory stimuli as a result of constant exposure. Living inside with our pets can easily trick our brains into thinking there is no problem with odors in our homes. This is the main reason why visitors to our homes notice lingering odors that we tend to “tune out”.
The Origin of Pet Odors
The most obvious cause of pet odors is when they have accidents inside the house. Odors may also be caused by vomit or just plain natural pet odor. This is especially true of larger, long-haired dogs. Sometimes pets coming in from outside bring dead animals into the house. Some unlucky dogs or cats may even get “skunked” and bring that odor into the house. Then you have a real odor problem on your hands!
Homes with carpets and rugs are a prime source of lingering pet odors. Do not delay cleaning up messes if a pet has an accident. The chemicals in pet urine and feces over time can seep into the carpet and into the under padding making odor removal extremely difficult. Our pets will typically stay in the same area indoors. Cages, crates, pet bedding, litter boxes are likely candidates of lingering pet odors.
There are many do-it-yourself solutions available to remove pet odors and stains. An added advantage of these remedies is lower cost to the homemaker by using common household chemicals and the fun of doing the job from scratch. Its important to use a solution that doesn’t just mask the smell. The smell will reappear once the masking solution has evaporated or worn off.
Pet odors, especially pet urine is difficult to control without using proper do-it-yourself cleaning methods. Dog and cat urine contains various chemicals including urea and uric acid crystals. Cats don’t drink much water resulting in a higher concentration of uric acid excreted. The smell of pet urine comes from ammonia which is created from the bacterial breakdown of urea and uric acid crystals.
Most do-it-yourself remedies use a mixture of water, vinegar to remove the urine, baking soda to neutralize and deodorize, hydrogen peroxide to remove stains, and essential oils for odor neutralization. Be aware that hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleach and can change the color of certain materials. Its best to try an application on a small or hidden area to test colorfastness.
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that contain the natural smell or essence of their source. While providing the home with a clean scent, some of these oils pose dangers to pets and should be avoided.
Types of Products Available
There are numerous cleaning products out on the market mainly used to kill germ causing bacteria. Using these products will disinfect and help eliminate the smell of pet odors temporarily but will not eliminate them completely. Pet odor eliminators or neutralizers are specially created to neutralize the effect of pet odors on the human nose.
Here is a partial list of types of cleaning products designed to eliminate pet urine odors. When you’re shopping, look for the types that are effective at stopping pet odors in your home:
- Oxidizing Biocides
These inorganic chemicals work by oxidizing most of the usual odor causing compounds. The oxidation process also disinfects by killing harmful microorganisms. Chlorine bleach is an oxidizing biocide found in most homes.
- Adsorption and Absorption
These compounds work to neutralize odors by using either adsorption and absorption that bind odor causing molecules to their surface or by absorbing them. Cat litter uses absorption by absorbing the moisture in cat urine and feces and their odors. Activated charcoal used in some air filters uses adsorption to neutralize odors when odor causing molecules bind with the compound surface.
Microorganisms Active biological agents contained in these compounds are especially effective in permanently stopping odors from dog and cat pee and feces.
- Odor Neutralizers
These are typically essential oils. These oils are widely available online. Besides leaving a fresh natural smell, the oil film on each droplet of aromatic chemicals attracts the odor causing molecules and neutralizes them. Care and selection of essential oils is very important. Some of these oils are harmful to pets.
- Trapping Odors
For surfaces where the odor has penetrated and cannot be replaced, sealers, shellac, polyurethane, varnish, etc. are used to trap odor permanently. This can be considered a last ditch effort when all other cleaning and odor neutralizing methods have failed.
- Space or Air Deodorization
There are numerous air fresheners available in the market. Researching these products will reveal products that actually eliminate the odor instead of just masking it. Some air fresheners contain activated charcoal which uses adsorption to remove odor causing molecules from the air.
- Ozone Generators
Ozone generators are very effective for pet odor control. They produce ozone which binds with odor causing molecules rendering them ineffective. You may have noticed the fresh smell of the air after a thunderstorm. This is due to ozone produced by lightning strikes.Ozone generators can be rather expensive and potentially dangerous if they’re not used correctly. Read and understand the instructions for safe and correct use of these devices. We have used them in our home with good results.
- Oxidizing Biocides
Services that Remove Pet Odors
There are many professional cleaning services specializing in pet odor removal. This option should be considered when routine odor removal methods are ineffective. The pros have the knowledge, experience, and equipment necessary to remove these odors effectively and permanently. These services typically employ the use of cleaners and techniques not readily available to the public. Perhaps the biggest advantage of hiring a professional service is the guarantee that comes with their service.
Its important to thoroughly asses your needs when hiring a pet odor removal service. The first consideration is your budget. The estimated costs of such services can range from $125 for a simple carpet cleaning to around $1000 for total odor remediation. Charges vary widely and are different in your local area. Consider only parts of the house that need this kind of cleaning. This could save a lot of money. A reputable company will help you determine the best level of service and provide a written estimate before proceeding with the job.
Be aware of the possibility that pet odors have been absorbed by internal structures of the house. If pet urine has soaked through drywall, wood flooring through carpet padding, or other internal structures, treatment or replacement of the affected areas should be done before professional pet odor removal. A reputable company can help evaluate your situation and advise you on the best course of action.
Towards a Cleaner Smelling Home
I covered a lot of ground here about finding out the best way to remove pet odor from your home. There are lots of different things you can try to have a cleaner smelling home for you and your pets. This article provides a general overview of the methods.
I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something. Future articles will take a deeper dive into some topics and concepts discussed here. Please tell your friends about my website and leave a comment or two if you care to.
Remember that I’m a pet owner too and I’m looking for better ways to control pet odor in my home. Please share your thoughts.
Thank you for reading.
sources:brainfacts, pbs, verywellmind, inspectapedia, rockethomes, diyncrafts, biopronz, housecleaningcentral, healthline, cleanfax, onlynaturalpet, advancepro, odorfreemachines, molekule.science