How To Remove Dog Odor From Your Car? (Plus Prevention Tips)

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dog sitting in the driver's seat

If you have a dog, chances are you’re fond of taking it everywhere with you- after all, they don’t say dogs are man’s best friend for nothing. Still, even though you love your furry friend, driving with a pet can be an unpleasant experience.

As we all know, dogs can leave an unpleasant odor in your car that will last for months if not attended to properly.

In this article, I’ll explain how to properly remove dog smell from your car and share some useful prevention tips so you can avoid the problem altogether.

Effective Techniques For Removing Dog Odors From Your Car

There’s some interesting science behind how bad smells- particularly those left by dogs and other furry pets- cling and stay in your vehicle. The unpleasant odor is usually caused by the yeast and bacteria molecules in your dog’s fur that evaporate into the air of your car or burrow into the fabric of the seats, which is why the cleaning process should focus on completely destroying or neutralizing those molecules.

1. Removing Excess Dog Hair

Before you give your car a deep soak and scrub, you’ll want to remove all excess dog hair that’s been left behind. A handheld vacuum should do the trick quickly. Make sure to vacuum your car’s whole interior- especially its seats- as dog hair tends to get stuck in small, not easily accessible places.

If you do not own a handheld vacuum, you can opt for a quick trip to your local car wash. Most better-equipped car washes have vacuum hoses that will do the job effectively.

If you want an even less costly way of removing excess hair, you could try using a lint roller. Just run the lint roller along the car upholstery in order to pick up any excess hair.

An even cheaper method is using duct tape: simply take a piece of duct tape and roll it around your hand, sticky side out, and then place your hand on every surface that has leftover hair. This method is the cheapest, but keep in mind that it’s also the most time-consuming and tiring.

2. Change Your Cabin Filters

Regularly changing the filters in your car does wonder for its hygiene. Air filters filter out the polluted air in your car, which is why it’s crucial that they be changed regularly. Otherwise, they can become clogged and dysfunctional.

I suggest you change the cabin filter twice a year. That’ll be enough to keep your car from extremely bad odors coming from the vents. Also, there are washable air filters nowadays, so think about that option.

3. Deep Clean Your Car More Often

There are dozen car shampoos on the market that aid in removing foul odors that get stuck in your car. If you have a particularly stubborn dog odor- like dog urine, for example- opting for a powerful car shampoo is probably the best idea. The ingredients in car upholstery cleaners dissolve the chemical compounds of the source of the odor, helping to remove it entirely.

Check my guide on deep cleaning a car without an extractor. It’ll help you to remove any bad odors from the vehicle.

4. Apply Odor Neutralizers

If you want to minimize the odor in your car quickly, you could use odor neutralizers, which help in destroying and neutralizing odor particles and replace the foul smell with a pleasant one. Most odor neutralizers aren’t costly and come in a ray of different smells, the most common being lavender and orange.

5. Use Charcoal

Charcoal has been proven to be a good absorber of bad smells. If you want to try this technique, simply put the charcoal powder in a little bag and place it in a place you deem fit (preferably the closest to the source of the odor or generally a central area of the car’s interior), and leave it overnight.

6. Use Vodka and Water

A mixture of vodka and water acts as an effective air freshener when sprayed on surfaces that have an odor. It has been proven to eliminate even the most stubborn of odors- dog odor being one of them. If you decide to use this method, make sure to spray a decent amount on the source of the odor and leave the windows of your car open, so the mixture doesn’t get into your air filters.

7. White Vinegar

Just like Vodka, white vinegar is a powerful natural odor remover when mixed with water and sprayed on a surface that accumulates a bad smell. After you spray your car with the solution, the odor should disappear by the time the solution dries. Just like the previous method, keep your car windows open to save your air filters from being damaged.

8. Apply Baking Soda

Baking soda works wonders when it comes to removing dog odor. Simply put ¼ cup of baking soda into a bowl and place it into the car. Make sure it sits in a stable place close to the smell’s source. Leaving the bowl in your car overnight should get the last of the lingering smell out.

Useful Tips for Preventing Dog Odor

dog seat in the car

Removing dog odors from your car is a tedious task, which is why knowing tips and tricks on how to prevent the whole problem altogether is highly important.

Regular grooming

As dog hair is the main culprit in causing odor, brushing your dog’s coat and removing the excess hair before you let your dog in the car is an excellent way of reducing the amount of dog hair that gets stuck in your vehicle. Regular baths and wiping your dog’s paws before getting into the car also help minimize odor.

Using seat covers

Buying seat covers is an excellent idea; since they’re easy to slip on and off and are washable, removing dog hair from your seats will be a dozen times easier. When buying car seat covers, make sure to pick those that are waterproof for even easier cleaning and handling.

Final Words

As you can see above, getting rid of dog odor in your car isn’t that difficult; it just needs a little dedication and time, which is a small price to pay for your own health and comfort.

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