How to Remove Dog Smell from Car

Removing dog smell from car can be done by cleaning carpets and upholstery with enzymatic cleaners to break down odors and using an air freshener. Now that you know how to get rid of dog smell in your car, read on for more tips to ensure the smell doesn’t return.

For many of us, our furry friends are like family members. We love to take them everywhere! But sometimes, they can leave behind a less than desirable odor in our cars. Whether it’s from a wet dog or just general pet dander, it’s important to know how to remove dog smell from car interiors.

In this article, we’ll cover several methods to help you get rid of dog smell in car upholstery and carpets as well as tips to prevent it from returning.

How to Remove Dog Smell from Car


Understanding The Causes Of Dog Smell In Your Car

Dogs are known for their lovable personalities, playful attitudes, and unrelenting loyalty. However, having a furry companion also means dealing with various smells. One of the most stubborn odors that pet owners often face is the lingering stench in their vehicles.

If you’re trying to figure out how to remove dog smell from car interiors, the first step is to understand why it’s there in the first place.

The Science Behind Why Dogs Leave A Persistent Odor In Vehicles

Dogs, like all mammals, produce oils on their skin. Additionally, they have sweat glands in their paw pads, which they use to regulate their body temperature. Apart from that, dogs also produce saliva and urine, all of which contribute to an unpleasant odor if not cleaned up regularly.

Here are some reasons why the foul smelling odor tends to persist even after cleaning:

  • Dog hair: Pet hair can accumulate in the carpet, seats, and dashboard of the car, producing an unyielding odor.
  • Bacteria: If you do not clean up after your pet, bacteria can quickly accumulate in the car, causing an unpleasant odor
  • Porous materials: Car interiors feature porous materials such as fabric seats, wool floor covers that are popular with dogs and other pets, creating an environment that easily traps dog smells.

Common Dog Smell Sources: Saliva, Sweat, Urine, And Fur

Here’s a more detailed look at the different sources of dog smell that can linger in a car:

  • Saliva: The constant drooling, panting, and licking can leave a mark in the car’s interior, mainly if your furry friend has access to the dashboard and windows.
  • Sweat: Dogs produce sweat through their paws. When they walk on the car’s carpet and floor mats, it’s easy for them to leave sweat stain and smells that stick around.
  • Urine: The unpleasant and potent smell of dog urine can make the car smell like a dungeon. If a dog pees a little bit in the car, you may have difficulty noticing it, but the odor it produces will linger for a long time.
  • Fur: As we mentioned earlier, pet hair is one of the most common contributors to the dog smell, particularly in cars. Dog hair can quickly get caught up in the fabric of the seats, dashboard and floor mats of a vehicle, trapping odor and making it harder to remove.

How To Identify The Source Of The Odor In Your Car

So that you can remove dog odor from your car, you need to identify the smell’s source. Here are tips to help you find which part of your car is the source of the odor:

  • Move your nose around: Check the areas where your pet typically sleeps or stays while in the car.
  • Check your car’s floor mats: Lift the floor mats and check for any stains and smell
  • Check under the seats: Adequately check the space underneath the seats, it’s a common place for pet hair and other debris to accumulate.
  • Inspect the dashboard: Check the dashboard for any stains and smells since dogs have been known to lick the dashboard or press their noses against the windscreen- an easy way to deposit some odors.

By knowing the sources of the dog’s smells, you can work on eliminating them and making your car interior more suitable, whether for your furry friend or yourself.

Preparing To Remove Dog Smell From Your Car

We all love our furry best friends, but dealing with the smell they leave behind in our cars can be challenging. You might have tried various air fresheners, but nothing seems to work. Removing dog smell from your car may seem like a daunting task, but it is not impossible.

Follow these preparatory steps to make the cleaning process easier and more effective.

Gathering The Necessary Items For The Cleaning Process

Before you start to clean, gather all the necessary items. Trust us; it saves time and makes the process much smoother. Some of the things you will need include:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottles
  • Microfiber towels
  • Carpet cleaning solutions designed for pets

Pre-Cleaning Preparation Tips To Maximize The Effectiveness Of The Cleaning Process

In order to effectively remove dog smell from your car, following these preparatory steps will maximize the cleaning process:

  • Take all your belongings out of the car before cleaning. The last thing you want it to start cleaning and realize you left something important inside the vehicle.
  • Vacuum the car thoroughly to remove the loose dog hair, dirt, and debris. Pay extra attention to the areas where your pet spends most of their time, like the back seat, cargo area, or trunk.
  • Treat any urine stains on the carpet or upholstery before cleaning. Use a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Then, mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray the affected area. After 5 minutes, blot the area with a dry cloth.
  • Use baking soda to absorb any lingering smells in the car. Sprinkle it on the car’s surfaces like carpets, seats, floor mats, and let it sit overnight or for a few hours. Vacuum the baking soda in the morning to remove it from surfaces.
  • Check if your carpet cleaner is suitable for pets and utilize it to wash your car seats and floor mats.

Safety Tips Before Beginning The Cleaning Process

Before starting the cleaning process, ensure your safety by following these safety tips:

  • Always wear rubber gloves while cleaning to avoid any exposure to chemicals.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid breathing in the fumes of the cleaning products.
  • Keep the cleaning solutions out of reach of children and pets.
  • Don’t use chemical cleaners that contain ammonia or bleach in your car, as these can be harsh and cause damage to car parts.

By following these preparatory steps, you can effectively remove dog smell from your car and enjoy fresh air in your vehicle.

Removing Dog Smell From Specific Areas Of Your Car

Removing Dog Odor From Specific Areas Of Your Car

We all love taking our furry friends out for drives. However, keeping our car’s sniff-worthy is a hassle. The lingering dog smell can be tough to remove, but it’s not impossible. In this blog post, we will take you through the methods of removing dog odor from specific areas of your car.

Removing Dog Odor From Seats, Carpets, And Floor Mats

Dogs love sitting on our car seats, and sometimes they also find the floor and carpets more comfortable to lay on. Here are the ways to remove dog odor from your car seats, carpets, and floor mats:

  • Vacuum the area thoroughly to remove hair and debris.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the affected area and let it sit for several hours or overnight.
  • Vacuum the area again to remove the baking soda.
  • If the odor persists, use an enzyme cleaner specifically designed for pet odors. Follow the instructions carefully and make sure it is safe to use on the material.
  • For leather seats, use a leather cleaner and conditioner to remove the dog smell.

Deodorizing Car Upholstery And Leather Interiors

Car upholstery and leather interiors are prone to retaining odors, and dog smell is no exception. Here are the ways to deodorize your car upholstery and leather interiors:

  • Wipe down the upholstery and leather with a damp cloth and a mild cleaning solution.
  • After cleaning, apply a deodorizer to the area. You can use an odor eliminator spray or homemade solution of vinegar and water.
  • Make sure to test any cleaning solution or spray on a small, inconspicuous area first.

Cleaning And Deodorizing Air Filters And Vents

The air filters and vents in your car are responsible for fresh air flow, but when they get clogged with dog hair and pawprints, they can become a breeding ground for odors. Here’s how to clean and deodorize your air filters and vents:

  • Remove the air filters and clean them with a mixture of water and vinegar.
  • Let them dry completely before putting them back in the car.
  • Use a can of air conditioner cleaner to clean the vents thoroughly.
  • After cleaning, turn on your car’s air conditioner and let it run on high speed to circulate fresh air.

By following these methods, you can remove the dog odor from specific areas of your car and make it smell pleasant again.

Deep-Cleaning Techniques For Stubborn Dog Odors

When it comes to removing dog smells from your car’s interior, sometimes surface cleaning is not enough. Stubborn odors caused by urine stains or vomit require deep-cleaning techniques to eliminate them completely. Here are two effective methods for deep-cleaning your car’s interior and getting rid of that pesky dog smell.

Using Enzymatic Cleaners To Break Down And Eliminate Tough Odors

Enzymatic cleaners are specially formulated to break down and eliminate tough organic stains. They work by targeting the odor-causing molecules and destroying them at the source. Here are a few key points to keep in mind when using enzymatic cleaners to remove dog smells from your car:

  • Choose an enzymatic cleaner that is specifically designed for pet stains and odors.
  • Read the instructions carefully before use, and test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of your car’s interior to check for any discoloration or damage.
  • Apply the cleaner generously to the affected area, making sure to saturate it thoroughly.
  • Allow the cleaner to sit for the recommended amount of time. This will usually be between 5-10 minutes, but may vary depending on the product.
  • Blot up the excess cleaner with a clean, dry cloth, and then allow the area to air dry completely before using your car again.

Deep-Cleaning Your Car’S Interior With A Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaning is another effective method for removing stubborn dog smells from your car’s interior. Here are some key points to keep in mind when using a steam cleaner:

  • Choose a steam cleaner that is specifically designed for automotive use. These cleaners are designed to be lightweight and easy to maneuver in tight spaces.
  • Before you start, vacuum the interior of your car thoroughly to remove any loose dirt or debris.
  • Fill the steam cleaner with water and turn it on. Wait for it to heat up and produce steam.
  • Using the attachment that best suits the area you are cleaning, apply the steam directly to the affected area. Be careful not to saturate the area too much, as excess water can lead to mold and mildew growth.
  • After steaming, use a clean, dry cloth to blot up any excess moisture, and then allow the area to air dry completely.

Addressing Foul Odors Caused By Long-Term Negligence

Foul odors caused by long-term negligence may require more intensive cleaning methods. Here are some key points to keep in mind when addressing these types of odors:

  • Begin by removing all loose items from your car’s interior, including floor mats, seat covers, and any other removable items.
  • Vacuum the interior thoroughly to remove any loose dirt or debris.
  • Wipe down all surfaces with a mild cleaner, such as a solution of water and vinegar or baking soda. This will help to remove surface-level stains and odors.
  • For more stubborn stains and odors, consider using an enzymatic cleaner or steam cleaner as described above.
  • If the offending odor is still present after cleaning, you may need to replace the affected item entirely. This could include replacing the carpet or even the car’s interior upholstery.

By following these deep-cleaning techniques, you will be able to eliminate even the most stubborn dog smells from your car’s interior. This will not only make your car a more pleasant place to be, but it will also help to protect the resale value of your vehicle in the long run.

Preventing Dog Smell From Returning

Dogs are man’s best friend, but they can cause quite a stink in our cars. Even after you’ve cleaned up the mess, the tell-tale dog smell may linger. Fortunately, with a bit of diligence and routine maintenance, you can keep your car smelling fresh and avoid that dreaded dog odor.

In this section, we’ll discuss some best practices to keep your car smelling fresh and clean and tips for traveling with your pets while maintaining a clean vehicle.

Best Practices To Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh And Clean

Maintaining the cleanliness and freshness of your car can be easily achieved by following these simple tips:

  • Regularly vacuum your car, including the carpets, seats, and floor mats, to remove any pet hair, dirt, or debris that may be causing unpleasant odors.
  • Wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth to remove any dog drool or dirt. Be sure to use a mild cleaner if necessary and avoid harsh chemicals that may damage your car’s interior.
  • Use an odor-neutralizing spray or air freshener to help eliminate any lingering odors in your car. Be sure to choose a product that is safe for pets and avoid using heavily scented sprays that may cause respiratory issues for your furry friend.
  • Keep your car well-ventilated and consider investing in a car air purifier to improve air quality and eliminate pet odors. This is particularly important if you travel with your pet frequently.

Tips For Traveling With Your Pets While Maintaining A Clean Vehicle

Traveling with your furry friend can be a fun experience, but it can also leave your car smelling unpleasant. Follow these tips to ensure a clean and fresh-smelling car:

  • Protect your car’s upholstery by using a pet seat cover or blanket to catch any stray hair or drool. This will make cleaning up after your pet much easier.
  • Pack cleaning supplies, such as a lint roller, stain remover, and wet wipes, to tackle any messes your pet may make while on the road.
  • Restrain your pet properly while driving to avoid any sudden movements that may cause accidents or messes.
  • Plan frequent stops along the way to allow your pet to stretch its legs and do its business.

Enjoying Your Car Once Again Without The Dreaded Dog Smell

By following the above best practices and tips for traveling with your pets, you can keep your car smelling fresh and clean. Routine cleaning and maintenance will go a long way in avoiding that dreaded dog smell. So, pack up your furry friend and hit the road with confidence, knowing that you can easily keep your car smelling fresh and clean.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Remove Dog Smell From Car

How Can I Remove Dog Smell From My Car Seats?

One of the best ways to remove dog smell from your car seats is by using a vinegar solution. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and spray it on the affected area. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then blot the area with a cloth.

You can also use an enzyme cleaner to remove the dog smell.

Can I Use Baking Soda To Remove Dog Smell From My Car?

Yes, baking soda is an effective way to remove dog smell from your car. Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area and let it sit for a few hours. Vacuum the baking soda thoroughly. You can repeat this process if the smell persists.

How Do I Get Rid Of Dog Hair From My Car Seats?

To get rid of dog hair from your car seats, you can use a lint roller or a rubber glove. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to suck the hair out of your car seats.

Another useful trick is to use a slightly dampened sponge or cloth to wipe the seats down.


Ultimately, it is not impossible to get rid of dog smell from your car. It might be a bit challenging, but by following the tips outlined in this blog post, you should be able to eliminate the odor effectively. Regular cleaning of your car is a crucial factor, as well as ensuring proper ventilation to keep the air flowing.

Essential oils, natural remedies, and commercial products are all viable options for tackling the dog smell. You could also consider seeking out professional deep cleaning services, especially if the smell is persistent. Whichever method you choose, the most important thing is to be consistent with the cleaning routine to prevent the build-up of bacteria and other odors.

Remember, a clean and fresh-smelling car will not only benefit you but also your furry friend’s health and well-being.

Daniel Methews
Daniel Methews
Daniel Methews is a cleaning expert with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field. With his expertise in various cleaning techniques, he has become a trusted specialist in the industry. Daniel's mastery lies in the art of vacuum cleaning, where he excels in utilizing the latest advancements in technology to ensure impeccable results. Additionally, his skills in stain removal are unparalleled, as he possesses an in-depth understanding of different types of stains and the most effective methods to eliminate them. Daniel Methews is dedicated to providing top-notch cleaning solutions, leaving spaces spotless and customers satisfied.

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