How to Remove Pet Smells and Odors When Selling Your Home

petWhen potential home buyers walk through of a home, not everything always meets the eye. In fact, there’s one thing that can send potential homebuyers running: the smell of a family pet.

The Humane Society estimates that approximately 15% of the population is allergic to cats or dogs. Although you and your pet aren’t planning on living there anymore, your home may still carry the pet odors that can cause allergies for new homeowners.

So what can you do? Fortunately, with a little elbow grease and an afternoon blocked off, you can rid your home of pet odors. Sure, you probably used scented room sprays, candles, or even fancy dog odor sprays, but pet odors can stay trapped in any fabric and material in your home. That’s right – curtains, sofas, carpets, and even hardwood floors can harbor your pet odors, unless you give them a good scrub down. One word of caution, though: Wait before you opt to steam clean your carpet. Steam cleaning can actually lock in odors.

So where should you start? Gather these items: white vinegar, water, spray bottle, clean white towels, baking soda, and broom or vacuum.

Start by washing any sheets, curtains, or blankets that the pet was near. These can be harboring the pet odors. If you have rugs, take them outside to breathe a bit and use this opportunity to clean your floors.

Next, scope out where your pet’s urine stains could be lurking because they can harbor huge amounts of odor. A black light will help you to identify any spots that didn’t stain or were unnoticed.

In a spray bottle, mix one part white vinegar with two to three parts warm water. When you notice a spot, spray the spot and the area around it. Soak the spot and then lay a clean white towel over it. To apply pressure so that the mixture sinks through to the sub-floor, apply pressure with a stack of books. Leave the towel and pressure on for about an hour.

After the spot is dry, you may want to blot the stain with another dry towel just to be sure. The vinegar may leave a bit of a smell after the spot has dried, so sprinkle some baking soda on the spot and around it. Let it sit for another hour. After that, vacuum or sweep it up. Voila! The smell should be gone!

As home inspectors, we’re concerned with more than the cosmetics of the house. However, potential home buyers also factor in concerns like pet smells and allergies into their buying decisions. Take a well-rounded approach to improving your home, and you should be on your way to selling your home in no time!

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