9 Ways To Get That Dog Smell Out Of Your Car

One of my friends came back from a two week camping trip with her husband, kids, and their happy go-lucky Chocolate Lab. The trip was great and the dog enjoyed romping and exploring the woods. However, after cleaning all the camping gear out of the car, my friend was telling me about the lingering smell of dog that is in her car. She said it wasn’t too strong before the trip but now it is a mix of that “wet dog” smell and what we both call “Fritos funk,” which is that salty smell dogs tend to get on their paws.

After a long phone conversation, I realized we had swapped and brainstormed ways to remove the dog smell from cars which can also work on any fabric. I also did a search and found this forum and this WikiHow article. I had suggested shaving the dog, putting deodorant on her, and maybe pants but my friend didn’t think I was serious. These tips are more sane compared to my silly ideas.

Here are 9 ways to remove the dog smell from a car:

  1. Shampoo for pet stain and urine removal will thoroughly clean up the source of the smells more than a regular car shampoo. If your dog had an accident in the car, this may be the route you’ll need to go. The enzymatic cleaners made for pet stains breaks down the chemical compounds of pet urine and removes the smells.
  2. Place a small bowl of baking soda in the car overnight to absorb the smells. If the smell is very strong, repeat this a few nights in a row.
  3. Laying bread out on a dish towel will also help absorb the smells. Afterwards, toss the old bread out for the birds to eat.
  4. Charcoal briquets that are crumbled and laid out in the car will absorb smells.
  5. Vodka and water in a spray bottle in equal parts acts as an air freshener. As the solution dries, the alcohol carries off the unwanted odors. Leave the windows open to allow it to dry. Let this completely dry, you don’t want to drive around with your car smelling like a bar!
  6. White vinegar also acts as an odor remover. Mix it with water in equal parts and spray it in the car, when it dries the smells should be gone or at least not as a noticeable.
  7. Carpet cleaner and a wet/dry vac can clean and remove the smells from the fabric of your car. Spray the seats, floorboards, and hatch. Then using a wet/dry vacuum suck it all up.
  8. Steam cleaning the interior will remove the odors, dirt, and debris. Open all the windows when letting it dry out.
  9. If you travel often with your pet, you may want to lay out an old blanket across the seats or dog covers that can be found in pet stores. They protect your interior and prevent odors, dirt, and fur from getting onto the car seats themselves. They are easy to remove and can be tossed into the washing machine.

Do you have tips to remove dog odors from cars? Tell us!

Image from Amazing Creatures

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3 thoughts on “9 Ways To Get That Dog Smell Out Of Your Car

  1. Your suggestions are great, and are also great for removing stale cigarette odors from a car. My husband was a smoker and I am not so I needed to remove those odors. Also, you might mention regularly bathing/grooming the animal in question. Our Golden is a constant companion in our vehicles and he basically lives indoors. He never smells, and I attribute that to regular baths, brushing his coat and his teeth, and cleaning his ears. Just like humans, dogs can’t smell “fresh” unless they are!

  2. Onces the smell was so bad not only of the dog but because some meat blood had spilled in the back seat, that it really smelled like death. I washed the car with seat with laundry detergent rinse it with water and white vinager. I towel dried it as much as possible and then covered the seat with baking soda and left it to dry overnight with the windows open. Then I vaccumes next day and left three green apples in the car doe three days. It worked!!!!