Does my house smell like dog?
It's a question I regularly ask family and friends when they visit hoping the answer is no.
There’s a good reason why candle, wax melt makers and home fragrance companies don't make one called ‘Eau de dog’!
We love our dogs but how do we keep our homes smelling fresh when we have a dog?
What causes that doggy smell?
There are lots of factors that can contribute to that doggy smell, but for now, I am going to focus on our carpets and rugs.
Let’s face it with or without a dog our carpets and rugs are surfaces that get a LOT of use.
Unlike other surfaces in our homes, think floors, work surfaces, and walls, our carpets and rugs are porous.
We regularly clean and refresh our non-porous surfaces to ensure they stay clean and smell fresh, but how often do we do the same for our porous surfaces?
One of the key contributors to the doggy smell is the absorption of odours into soft furnishings.
If you are wondering how much odour can a soft furnishing, rug or carpet absorb.. think back to the days when smoking was allowed in clubs and pubs. Remember waking up the next morning and our clothes would still smell of cigarette smoke.
It depends on the carpet (and the dog!)
What the carpet or rug is made from and the type of pile will determine what it absorbs.
For example, Polypropeline attracts oils, and wool carpets can absorb and release moisture!
So, if you are looking for the best carpets to buy if you have a dog it is a good idea to do your research first.
What it absorbs will also be determined by the breed of dog too!
Some doggy breeds naturally have a stronger odour than others which is down to their coat type and the oils they produce.
So how do you get fresh smelling carpets when you have a dog?
You can buy some great spot cleaners for carpets which are brilliant for stains on the fibres. There are even specific cleaners for eliminating urine too which should be in every puppy parents cupboard!
"Mind the GAP!"
As well as the individual fibres of a carpet being able to absorb odours we have to consider the spaces/ gaps between the pile.
If a carpet is a high pile, then it means the fibres are taller and looser- the gaps are bigger. Low pile carpet has shorter fibres and is closer woven with tighter loops and smaller gaps between the loops.
One of the reasons we swapped our rug to a washable one was down to the pile. Whilst beautiful underfoot we soon discovered our high pile rug had turned into an oversized snuffle mat with bits falling between the pile!
So when it comes to freshening or deodorising a rug we need to look at treating the fibres and the gaps in between.
When you have dogs and pets in the house you want to make sure that you use pet-safe products
The best product for great smelling carpets
Is Bicarbonate Soda (Baking Soda)
I use it because;
It works on the carpet surface and also gets right down between the pile.
If you buy it in bulk it is cheap too!
Don't panic when I say in bulk I am not talking about pallet loads, just larger packs than you would normally find on your supermarket shelves.
Just google you will find lots of suppliers and remember Sodium Bicarbonate and Baking Soda are the same things!
Its well-known odour absorbing qualities can be used for lots of other jobs around the house.
Pop some in a ramekin, place in the fridge to absorb strong odours
Sprinkle over your dog’s bed, then vacuum it up to keep it smelling fresh * see note
Add it to laundry, half a cup will help to lift dirt and will make your detergent work more effectively.
It's also great for keeping your washing machine clean
How to use it on carpets and rugs
Simply sprinkle the soda across you're your carpets and rugs paying more attention to the area where your dog likes to lay or sit.
Using a sieve makes it easier to liberally spread the baking soda across the carpet.
Depending upon the carpet pile you might also want to work the baking soda down amongst the pile.
Then all you do is close the door and leave it to work its odour absorbing magic. I like to do this last thing at night and leave until the following day. But, if you cannot do this then leaving it on for a couple of hours is still effective.
Then simply vacuum the baking soda up.
Even baking soda has its limits. If your dog has been laying on your carpet chewing a stinky fish chew then you may have a more persistent odour to deal with.
Baking Soda does have a saturation point where it has absorbed all it can, so just repeat the process.
Quick and easy de- Odourising
Unlike shampooing/ steaming or using wet deodorising products on your carpet, you don't need to worry about making sure it is dry before you walk on it.
So it makes it really easy to keep your carpets smelling fresh even when you have a dog!
I like to finish off with a quick room spritz.
I use the Vita Canis Calming Spray . Unlike room fragrances that you can buy in the supermarket, the Calming Floral spray is all-natural. It is safe to use on and around your dogs and people too.
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*NOTE Ensure you have vacuumed the bicarbonate of soda up before letting your dog sleep in their bed.