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How to get dog smells out of the couch

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Inside: The three best ways to eliminate dog smells from upholstered furniture like sofas, couches, chairs and even bedding and mattresses.

Guys, I LOVE my dog. Buddy stole our hearts and became a member of our family last December. He’s an old fella and because of that, I’ve been a bit lax in forcing him off our living room couch. I honestly never thought I’d be in my 30s and looking for how to get dog smells out of the couch – but alas, here we are.

Having a dog has been the single biggest challenge to keeping my house clean. I’m constantly laundering drapery, bleaching my slipcovers and freshening my mattresses all because of the dog! But the one question I’m consistently asked is how to stop the dog smell from getting all over everything.

Read my ULTIMATE GUIDE: How to Keep Your House Clean When You Have Pets

Prevent Dog Odours on the Couch by Providing an Alternative

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I know the best way to get the ‘smells out of the couch’ is to not let the dog on the couch in the first place LOL. And we have been looking at all sorts of options for our sweet old Bud, including getting him his own Orthopedic Pet Sofa. 

This orthopedic pet sofa (affiliate) isn’t bad looking and the price point seems to be decent at under $70. You can also invest in pet blankets (I have them rolled up in baskets all over the house!).

But I know that dogs will go on couches and beds when we aren’t around and that it’s still an issue even if you have the best dog bed ever made. This means keeping dog HAIR off your upholstery and carpets is also an issue. I’ve got an entire guide on hacks to keep your home pet hair free. 

get dog smells out of the couch

Tips for Keeping Dog Smells at Bay

Seriously, Buddy is my first dog ever in my life. I never thought I’d have a dog, let alone a giant slobbery one who takes up ALL the space on the couch.  The FIRST thing I did was put one of these pet blankets on every floor of the house.

If you have a wafting odor of dog or cat that just sticks in a room no matter what (think rooms that house the litter box or maybe where the dog bed stays), you might want to try making your own simple DIY Air Freshener to Combat Pet Odors. These work to absorb the overall odors that linger in the air and will help keep the smells at bay between cleanings. 


I also make it part of my routine to regularly scrub the nose marks from the windows using this non-carcinogenic window cleaner.

I tackle dog hair with a simple set of rubber gloves! Just run your gloved hand over the mess of hair and it’ll ball right up and then you an either vacuum it up or just toss it into the bin.

If there are BIG messes – I’ll use a Scotch-Brite scouring pad to rub out the stain (I’ve used this on our synthetic rugs and our natural wool rugs in a back and forth non-circular motion) and a basic natural cleanser. If it’s particularly bad, I will also pre-treat it with this bar of Sunlight Soap.

Click to read the ULTIMATE GUIDE now!

Getting Dog Smells Out of Upholstery

While we do use blankets all the time, his distinct doggy smell does permeate into the upholstery. So not cool.

If you’re looking to clean the dog hair off the couch first, check out this post I have about the best hacks for getting dog and cat hair off furniture! Plus you might want to consider regular use of a lint brush on fabric upholstery (read more of my tips for how to use lint brushes). I use one every once in a while to keep things looking fresh – though the lint brush alone will not cut it if the dog or cat consistently sleeps on the couch!

Here’s the BEST, non-chemical solution I have found to combat pet smells in the couch! Fair warning, this definitely will not work for dog or cat pee – that’s a whole different ball of … well, stink. This works for ridding that plain old dog odour from your sofa.

All you need is a spray bottle, some sort of measuring cup, water and Vodka. Yes, vodka. Drink up! Cuz your house isn’t gonna smell anymore! 🙂

Living Room with a White Couch

Living Room Refresh

Mix three parts water to one part vodka in the spray bottle.

Disassemble the couch or chair and vacuum it out. Test first in an inconspicuous spot, but there was no problem with our dark grey micro fibre couch at all.A Christmas Letter to my dog via DIY Passion

Spray down the cushions, and the body of the couch and let it dry for about 30 minutes. Repeat.

You might want to repeat it a third time if it’s particularly smelly.

Before putting it back together, vacuum it one more time. Or you can actually just run your hand over the dirty areas and the dampness of the spray will pull all the dog hair and dirt right to the surface. Yucky – but it works REALLY well.

To give you a sense of how much solution you’ll need, I used approximately 1/3 cup of vodka and 1 cup of water for one pass on our couch. Even though the pillow covers and blanket are machine washable – I always spray them down too and let them dry out. It just freshens them that much more. 

Now, keep the dog off the couch until the guests come and go! 

Still need to do more house cleaning and deal with pet stains? 

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Lisa Brennan

Sunday 16th of February 2020

How would you try and eliminate dog odor on leather couch and recliners?


Thursday 31st of October 2019

This is an amazing article; As a mother of 2 kids and 3 dogs, I definitely needed to read some tips like these! By the way, your dog is SO cute!

Lindsay Clark

Wednesday 6th of March 2019

Never in a million years would have thought to use Vodka but I am definitely going to give this a shot. I have always turned to a carpet cleaning company that literally works WONDERS on any stain or smell but of-course that's only an annual thing. Can't wait to try this. I've been needing a more routine thing just to freshen my home up. I'm also curious about the carpets. Would love to hear about results from the other ladies!

James Goldberg

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

Some people will buy their pets their own furniture. They may buy used stuff from goodwill or a garage sale. Some people may even buy designer stuff to keep their pet in a life of luxury. They may opt for a nice stool covered in leather. Cat furniture can also be made from wood, metal, bamboo or anything else a manufacturer can think of that a cat would like.

Kelly Brown

Monday 31st of July 2017

Hi! I am also curious if this works on carpet. :)

DIY Passion

Friday 4th of August 2017

Hi Kelly - it probably would work on small carpets... I'd definitely do a test spot first! Good luck :)

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