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8 Tricks for Keeping Your Pet-Friendly Home Odor-Free

Our pets are more than just animals who roam our homes—they’re family. Family who, unfortunately, can leave a less-than-desirable odor behind. Although you might be used to your pet’s smell, visitors will likely notice it as soon as they enter your home. This can be an issue when it comes to entertaining or listing your home for sale. Luckily, there are actions you can take to lessen the effect of pet odors. Read on for some tips on keeping your home odor-free!

Keep it Clean
An effective way to keep odors at bay is to ensure that all of your pet’s supplies are cleaned regularly. This means washing their dishes (just like you wash your own), running a load of washing machine-friendly toys (be sure they are not ripped before you put them in the washer), and laundering their bedding/pillows weekly. Don’t forget to clean any areas that your pet might come into contact with, like the couch and bed. Remove all cushions, pillows, and so forth, and vacuum the furniture thoroughly.

Absorb, Don’t Cover Up
Plug-ins and candles might make a room smell pleasant, but you’re not removing any offending odors, you’re simply covering them up. The result can be a potpourri of weird smells—green apple scented hamster wood shavings, anyone?

Natural ionizers or neutralizers can be applied to the sources of a bad smell, effectively eliminating it. This is useful if your pet has an accident. Think of these de-odorizers as a reaction to an incident causing a foul scent, not as a preventative measure.

Embrace Baking Soda
Baking Soda is an eco-friendly, low-cost item that can be used in so many ways—including absorbing the smell of pet. Just as an open box in your fridge will help reduce bad smells, baking soda left throughout your home will absorb odors naturally. If you’re not keen on the sight of an Arm & Hammer box on every surface, try using small decorative bowls.  You can also sprinkle baking soda into carpets and onto furniture. Leave it overnight, and vacuum it up the next day. As a bonus, baking soda can be used to treat stains or accidents caused by your pets, and it can safely be added to a litter box to reduce the smell.

Keep Your Filters Fresh
If the pet odor gets onto your furnace or air conditioning filters, the smell will continually recirculate throughout your home. You’ll want to check your filters frequently, changing or cleaning them once a month or so. Your diligent maintenance will have other positive effects, like making your HVAC system last even longer.

Maintain the Litter Box
If you have cats, be sure to scoop their little boxes daily—the bacteria can be a major source of smell. Scented litters are a bad idea: they won’t remove the smell, they’ll only cover it up. Plus, many cats don’t like the smell of scented litters and will take it upon themselves to find an alternative litter box stand in. Unscented is the best way to go. Thoroughly clean the litter box a few times per month. This means changing the litter and washing out the box. Plastic boxes will absorb bacteria over time, so they should be replaced once a year.

Clean the Walls
Animals often lie down against walls, leaving behind their natural oils, which can be a little smelly. If you have light-colored walls, you might actually see these oils staining them. Keep your walls clean using an enzymatic cleaner. In an extreme case, you can repaint the walls to get rid of the smell. If the smell is trapped in plaster, brick, paneling, masonry or woodwork, you can use a sealer to trap the smell and keep it from spreading.

Invest in an Air Purifier
Air purifiers improve indoor air quality by filtering particles in the air, thereby lessening dust, sanitizing the air and removing odors. A HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Absorption) filter is suitable for those with asthma or allergies and will also make your home smell as good as new. Models start at $100 but can work their way into the thousands, depending on the type of filter and the area it covers, among other things. These are the type of purifiers that are used in commercial airplanes.

Groom Your Pet
Since pet hair and dander can be a source of odor, brush your pet frequently to minimize shedding. That way, you can control where the excess fur ends up.  Many pet owners swear by a brush called the Furminator–not as intimidating as it sounds, but very effective.

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