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How to Get the Dog Smell Out of a Couch (10 Proven Ways)

Snuggling with your dog on the couch can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. But the smell they leave behind is, well, not so enjoyable. Heres how to keep your couch odor-free.

We all know how we justify letting our dogs on the couch — “they are a member of the family,” or “they are my best buddy,” or “they have as much right to the couch as I do.” Many dogs spend a good part of their life on the couch, whether with us or while we are gone.

Unfortunately, allowing your dog to enjoy sleeping on the couch comes with a price. The dog leaves behind a distinct dog smell on the couch that is impossible to ignore. Even the best dog owners can admit that this is one of the realities of being a dog parent. 

So how do you get the dog smell out of a couch?

The best method for getting rid of the dog smell from a couch or other furniture and carpet is usually a multi-pronged approach. It involves frequent maintenance cleaning of the couch and the dog, as well as a combination of odor-reducing formulas. And when you find a combination that works, stick with it.

Here are some easy and manageable tips.

Groom Your Pet Regularly

Let’s start with a preventive measure. The debris that accumulates on your dog’s fur contributes significantly to the dog smell on your couch. This means that if you keep your dog clean, you limit the scent they are likely to leave on the couch. Speak with your vet or groomer and learn how often you can safely wash your dog without affecting their coat or skin. 

By brushing and washing your dog regularly, you can keep the areas where the dog stays clean. Although this does not guarantee that you will have fresh couches all the time, it reduces the workload of eliminating the foul odor since the dog is not so smelly.

Use Throw Blankets and Other Washable Barriers

Putting a layer or more of fabric between your dog and your sofa can go a longs way toward keeping your couch odor-free. Your dog may actually enjoy having a regular blank to sleep on, and you don’t have sacrifice style as there are unlimited options.

Just make sure you use blankets or throws that are easily washable in the laundry. Another option is to purchase several fleece blankets that can be changed every couple of days and then laundered easily as they don’t take up much space in the washer and dry very quickly.

dog smells on couch

Vacuum Your Couch Often and Thoroughly

The foul smell on the couch results from residue that your dog leaves behind. This includes dog hair, dirt from outside, and dead skin, among other things. Vacuuming the couch before smells accumulate leaves the couch fresh. 

You should vacuum every day to minimize the possibility of having this bad-smelling debris build up on the couch over time. 

Remember to clean beneath the coach and in the crevices since hair tends to hide there. If your sofa has removable and non-removable parts, do not forget to pay attention to the non-removable parts when you vacuum.

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda can be of great help when you want to eliminate the dog smell from your couch. You will come to love baking soda as it absorbs the odor, leaving the couch smelling clean and fresh. 

Sprinkle the baking soda on the sofa and let it remain there overnight (without letting the dog have access, of course!). Later, thoroughly vacuum the couch, and this will eliminate the smell. 

In case you can still smell the odor, repeat the process until the sofa is fresh. Baking soda is natural and safe. You can, therefore, use it as often as possible without fearing any effects that it may have on the dog or other couch users.

Remove and Wash as Many Elements as You Can

If your couch has removable elements such as couch covers or pillow covers, it is best to take them off and wash them separately. And if your couch has removable covers, you can even replace them at some point if necessary.

Remove these covers at least once every three weeks and if they are machine washable, wash them in a washing machine. Otherwise, hand-wash them or take them to a dry cleaner. 

Add some white vinegar when washing these removable parts to help get rid of any odor. If they still smell after washing, repeat the process until they are fresh. 

You can also air out the cushions on a sunny day, and the sun rays can kill any odor-causing bacteria.

dog upside down on couch

Use Cold Water When Laundering

It is tempting to use hot water when attempting to wash away dog odor, assuming that this will work best. 

However, hot water often causes more harm than good since the heat can set any stains further into the fabric. Therefore, when washing any parts of the couch, always use cold water. 

If the material still smells after washing it in hot water, rewash it until it is fresh before putting it in the dryer. Otherwise, the heat in the dryer will make the smell set even more, making it hard to eliminate it even in the future.

Depending on your couch’s fabric, avoiding hot water and hot drying temperatures can also keep the fabric from shrinking. You don’t want to end up with a cushion cover that you can’t get back onto the cushion.

Use An Upholstery Cleaning Machine

An upholstery cleaning machine helps get rid of bad smells on parts of the couch that you cannot put in the wash. This includes the base and back of the couch, which can contribute to the bad smell. 

You can rent or buy an upholstery cleaning machine, which usually operates using steam. Be sure to use the recommended cleaning solution that is compatible with your machine.

When you steam clean your furniture, you kill the bacteria causing the bad smell. This not only keeps off the bad odor but also provides a healthier environment for both you and your pet. Steam cleaning is also more effective than most cleaning methods since it cleans parts that other cleaning methods do not. 

Use Non-Chemical Cleaning Solutions

When looking for solutions to clean the odor from your couch, you will want to get non-chemical solutions. Some chemicals that you can use to clean the scent can be harmful to your dog and other people in the house. 

For this reason, look for natural solutions such as baking soda, as mentioned above, to keep your couch clean without causing any risks to the dog. Other natural solutions that you can use are:

  • Vinegar

Vinegar works like baking soda, though it also can deodorize and neutralize the smell. 

You can prepare vinegar spray by mixing 1 cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1/2 tablespoon of mild dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the couch, leave it for a few minutes, lightly scrub with a rag or brush, and then spray with plain water to rinse. Blot dry with a towel or shop vac.

You can then vacuum the sofa thoroughly to eliminate the vinegar smell. Since vinegar is acidic, test the solution first on an unobtrusive part of the couch to see if it discolors it at all.

This vinegar/water/dish soap solution is very effective and we recommend it highly.

  • Vodka

You can create a vodka cleaning solution by mixing vodka and water. When using the vodka solution, first spray the couch with water before then spraying on the solution. It is also good to test the vodka on a small inconspicuous area of the couch before using a lot of it to determine whether or not it stains. 

  • Yucca Powder

You can use yucca powder to create a natural cleaning solution that you use to eliminate foul odor. Mix yucca powder with water in a spray bottle and shake well to dissolve it to create the solution. 

Do a test to confirm that the solution does not ruin your couch and if all is well, spray it over the smelly areas. Vacuum the couch after several hours and if the smell is still present, repeat the process until you get a fresh scent.

  • Solution of Baking Soda and Vinegar 

You can use both baking soda and vinegar solutions individually to clean the doggie smell, but they are more effective when used together. 

To make the solution, mix vinegar, baking soda, and water in a spray bottle. After you do a test check, spray the solution on the couch and let it settle on the couch for several hours before vacuuming. 

You can repeat the process in case the odor is still present.

Use an Enzyme Deodorizer or Pet Odor Eliminator

You can get an enzyme deodorizer in pet stores or online to get rid of the dog smell. This enzyme deodorizer is vet recommended as it has enzymes that effectively eliminate the smell. You can spray it on the couch and leave it to dry for a while before you vacuum. 

Pet odor eliminators work in the same way and can effectively eliminate the odor. There are many brands available on the market. We recommend Rocco & Roxie Pet Odor Eliminator

However, check out the ingredients before buying to avoid chemicals that could be harmful to you or your dog.

Have Your Couch Professionally Cleaned

You can avoid the hassle of cleaning the couch smell by hiring professional cleaners. These cleaners have all the solutions and equipment necessary to clean the couch. 

Additionally, you save yourself the fear that you might ruin the sofa since they know what solutions to use on specific materials.

What Should You Avoid When Dealing with Dog Odor?

As you attempt to remove the dog smell from your couch, be careful about the products you use. 

For instance, using ammonia or solutions with other harmful chemicals could negatively affect your dog and other couch users. Always consult a vet if you are not sure about a solution, especially if it is not a natural solution.

On the other hand, always confirm that your solution to clean your couch will not bleach the couch. Test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area, and if it is likely to bleach, get a better solution.


It is possible to keep a couch clean and fresh smelling, heat also still allow your dog on it. Use the tips above and you can continue letting your dog lounge on the sofa without having to live with the odors they leave behind on it.

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor