How do you win the war on pet odors? These are my top tips, in response to a reader with a stinky pet problem.
Q: I have dogs and cats, and I know my house smells like it. How can I keep the odor down and keep it smelling fresh?
A: Living with pets does come with odors, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them — the odors, that is — stick around. Here’s how to get and maintain a home that doesn’t smell like animals or cleaning products.
Invest in a large bottle of an enzymatic cleanser, especially if you have a puppy or kitten or a senior pet. Enzymes “eat up” components of pet waste and help to neutralize the stink.
As soon as you find vomit, urine or poop, get to work cleaning it up. The longer a mess sits, the harder it is to get rid of the smell. Using an old towel or paper towels, pick up what you can immediately. For urine, press down hard with the towel to soak up as much liquid as possible.
Then use enzymatic cleanser on the area. Be sure to go outside mess margins so you don’t miss any. Lay a dry towel over the spot and weight it with books or other heavy objects to ensure that it sucks up all the moisture. To remove the smell of cleaning products, finish by wiping down hard floors with water. Wash clean-up towels in hot water.
Regular cleaning also helps prevent odor buildup. Scoop your cat’s litter boxes and clean the yard of poop at least once daily. Wash pet bedding in hot water weekly. Vacuum every other day or use a Swiffer-type mop to get up hair and other debris pets bring in. Wipe down your pet with a damp cloth or baby wipe between baths. If pets spend a lot of time on furniture or in your lap, weekly baths will help keep them sweet-smelling.
There’s more in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.