Reducing Household and Pet Odors

As pet parents, we all know that odors happen. A lot.

Sometimes we don’t notice it so much in our day to day living. From wet dog smells (or the just plain dog smell that Irie has, thanks to her somewhat oily hound coat) to litterbox odors, our house is definitely filled with smells to which we’ve grown accustomed.

But when we’re gone for a few days, as we were for the BlogPaws conference this past week, and then we return home, we know that the odors are real…and that this is what our house smells like to other people who visit.

Keeping a pet household smelling clean means more than masking odors. (Trying to just cover up those odors with air fresheners can compound the problem of poor air quality thanks to the volatile organic compounds or VOCs they can release.) We never use scented candles or incense because of the constant fire danger in our area…plus both products can contain particulates, soot and chemicals.

For years, we’ve used Filtrete filters in our central air system, helping to filter out the pet dander, pet hair, pollen, and dust (oh, the dust). We just learned that Filtrete has a brand new filter: the Filtrete Odor Reduction Filter. It also helps remove pollen, mold spores, and dust mites but, along with one side that traps those large airborne particles, it has a second side specially designed to snag those household odors as they pass through the filter! The filter combines little pores of activated carbon with electrostatically charged fibers to grab and hold those odors and gases as they go through the filter.

We change out our filters three months (basically with the change of every season), which is what the  United States, although when it’s super dusty here, as in last year’s drought, we change them more often. With my asthma, we really try to keep dust and dander down and filters have been a huge help in that effort.

We also bathe our dogs frequently…but we all know that pet odors around the house come from more than just the pets. Here are some additional tips from healthy living expert, Building Biologist and author Lisa Beres for naturally creating and maintaining a fresh home:

  • Kitchen refrigerator – Do you ever refrigerate a can of dog or cat food? The food, like all foods, can leave odors. Beres recommends, “Clean the fridge drawers and shelves by adding a few drops of natural dish soap to a bowl of baking soda and stir until it creates a thick paste. This will remove odors as well as stains left behind from food. Also store an open box of baking soda inside the fridge to help eliminate odors before they start, and replace it with a fresh box at least every three months.”
  • Pests and repellants – We are always looking for chemical-free ways to keep ants out of our house. Beres says, “Pesky ants and other insects can make their way into your kitchen pantry when they’re on a mission to find food, but dousing them and your kitchen’s surfaces in toxic repellent isn’t a healthy solution for the home or the family. Instead, set a line of coffee grinds, lemon juice, cinnamon or cayenne pepper around doors and windows to create an effective barrier they won’t cross.”
  • Damp towels – This is a biggie in our home; we’ve had damp towels sour and it’s tough to get the odor out. We always keep a towel near the door to clean our dogs’ paws and it can be, well, less than fresh. I’ve learned a solution, from Beres’ tips, though: to rid towels of the mildew smell, first wash them once in hot water with a cup or two of white vinegar. Then wash them again with a natural or eco-friendly laundry detergent. Finally, dry the towels in the dryer on high heat. To avoid mildew and associated smells in the future, hang towels up right away to ensure they dry thoroughly.

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Disclosure: We wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Filtrete and received a promotional item to thank us for taking the time to participate.

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About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.

  • Anonymous

    The worst is when you go visit someone and their house smells like cats.  We cut odors in our litterbox by putting the cats on an indoor formula cat food, and the difference was very noticeable.   Less smell, less feces.  The natural balance Ultra made a huge difference in our house!