How To Get Rid of Dog Smell In Your Car

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I have a cute French bulldog, and because he is so cute, I take him literally anywhere. But there’s a downside to that – my car interior accumulates these awful dog smells pretty quickly. Because of that, I have to clean my car much more frequently.

In this post, I’ll show you the step-by-step process I follow to remove dog smells from my car. Nothing’s hard, so I’m sure you’ll be able to apply the same to your vehicle.

Key Takeaways:

  • Removing pet hair and then deep cleaning the car is the best way to get rid of dog smells from your vehicle.
  • Ozone treatment should be used if you can’t get rid of dog odor from the car interior.
  • Alternative methods, such as replacing a cabin filter and using charcoal, baking soda, and even white vinegar, can help remove dog odors.
  • Regular grooming can help prevent dog odors from accumulating in your vehicle.

Guide on Removing Dog Smell From a Car Interior

dog sitting in the driver's seat

Here is an easy-to-follow guide on removing dog odors from any car.

1. Remove Dog Fur

Dog fur is the root cause of bad odor, and it should be removed first. Put gloves on and follow the steps below.

  • Grab a vacuum and thoroughly vacuum all the dog hair you see in the vehicle.
  • For hard-to-reach areas, use narrow vacuum attachments.
  • After vacuuming, use a pet hair remover to get rid of those tiny hairs stuck in seats and carpets.

2. Deep Clean The Car

After removing all the dog fur from the vehicle, the next step is to deep clean the car. I already wrote a guide on deep cleaning a car, so make sure to follow it if you need the details.

In short, here’s what you need to do:

  • Clean all the plastic parts inside the interior (dashboard, doors, wheel, etc.). I suggest using a car interior cleaner together with some detailing brushes and a microfiber cloth.
  • After that, use a carpet extractor to deep clean car seats and carpets.
  • If you don’t have an extractor, spray seats and carpets with fabric cleaner, agitate with a brush, and wipe off with a microfiber towel.
  • If you have to clean leather car seats, spray some leather cleaner, agitate with a brush, and wipe off with a microfiber towel.
  • Let the car interior completely dry before driving.

Related: Deep Clean a Car Without Extractor

3. Opt For a Car Ozone Treatment (Optional)

Car ozone treatment is the best way to handle bad odors in your car, especially if you still can smell a dog odor even after deep cleaning your vehicle.

An ozone generator is a tiny device that you put inside the car. Let it run for a few hours, and it’ll filter and neutralize all the bad smells, and your car will smell like new again.

It’s expensive to buy the ozone generator if you don’t need it very often (ca. $350), but you can always borrow one from someone or pay a professional car detailer to do the treatment.

4. Buy an Air Freshener

After neutralizing all the bad odors from your dog, buy a quality air freshener that will keep your car smelling nice.

Car air fresheners in jars are my personal favorites because they release the scent very slowly and they last a full month. I don’t recommend using those cheap crappy tree fresheners that last 2-3 days maximum.

Additional Tips For Removing Dog Smells From Cars

Here are a few additional tips that I recommend doing if you want to completely remove dog odors from your vehicle.

  • Replace the cabin filter. Cabin filter removes unpleasant odors and dust from your car, which is why it’s crucial that you replace it on a regular basis. I recommend replacing it every 6 months if you have a dog.
  • Charcoal. Charcoal has been proven to be a good absorber of bad smells. If you want to try this technique, put the charcoal powder in a little bag and place it inside your car. Leave it overnight, and in the morning, bad odors should be neutralized.
  • White vinegar. White vinegar is a powerful natural odor remover when mixed with water and sprayed on a surface that accumulates a bad smell. After spraying the mix, the odor should disappear by the time the solution dries. I recommend keeping car windows open during this procedure.
  • 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. Leave it overnight, and you’re done.

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.

Tips to prevent dog smells in your car:

  • 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.
  • Consider buying seat covers. Buying seat covers is an excellent idea; 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.

Wrapping Up

Sometimes, it’s hard to get rid of dog smells, but by following the tips that I gave you above, I’m sure you’ll have a nice-smelling vehicle in no time.

One more thing I just remembered! Pick one spot in your car for your dog to sit. It’s easier to clean one spot than the whole car. Also, don’t let your dog jump on all the seats; it makes a big mess.

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