How to Get Dog Smell Out of the Couch

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We love our furry friends, but not always the lingering odors they leave behind. Whether it’s from wet dog playtime or simply the natural scent they carry, our couches often bear the brunt of these canine aromas.

In this article, we’ll cover how to get dog smell out of the couch, how to prevent your dog from stinking up the couch, and how to clean your couch so it doesn’t smell anymore.

But first, what causes dogs to make the couches smelly?

What Causes Dog Smell on Couches

There are several things about dogs that cause them to leave their scent on furniture. Dogs have a natural aroma just like you and I do, they also sweat.

If you experience warm weather or your dog is active, your dog will sweat adding to their natural scent. 

They also secrete oils that prevent their skin from drying out. These oils are important for their well-being, but they do contribute to your dog’s smell throughout your house.

This smell can get worse if your dog has gotten wet for any reason as it distributes the oil throughout their fur. Making it easier to spread to other surfaces.

The third thing that can have a huge impact on your couch’s aroma is accidental spills and accidents.

Whether you have a young puppy who isn’t completely housebroken, or an older dog who suffers from incontinence. Both can wreak havoc on the smell of your house, especially when absorbed into furniture.

The good news is that there are some steps you can take that will prevent your dog from stinking up your couch.

How to Prevent Dog Smell on Couches

If you’re tired of smelly furniture, it may be time to start taking a preventative approach. Here are some strategies that will help you avoid that wet dog smell.

Grooming and Bathing

Regularly grooming and bathing your dog will help a lot to decrease the lingering smell. Keep your dog brushed out so that smelly fur doesn’t spread when they get on the couch.

Clipping dog breeds with longer fur during the hotter months can keep shedding to a minimum, regular shampooing will also help to get rid of the oils your dog produces and keep your dog smelling fresh.

Dog Blanket or Cover

Keeping a dog blanket over your couch provides a barrier against direct contact. This will help your couch to not absorb as many odors from your dog into the couch material.

dog sleeping on sofa
Image Credit: karolina grabowska from Pexels

Cleaning Dog’s Paws

If your dog spends a lot of time outside, there’s a good chance that they are walking on some smelly stuff.

Keeping your dog’s paws clean will help to avoid the spread of dirt and other unfortunate things. Both throughout your house and on your furniture.

Vacuuming and Cleaning

Regularly vacuuming and cleaning will help to prevent a buildup of your dog’s scent on the couch. This will keep the smell from getting stronger. so it won’t build on itself to get stronger.

But the damage is already done. So how do you go about cleaning an already smelly piece of furniture?

Step-By-Step Guide: How to Remove Dog Smell From Couch – Home Remedies

There are several steps that can make cleaning your couch an easier and quicker process.

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Gather Supplies

First, make sure you have the right supplies gathered up and ready to go. Not having to hunt through all your cupboards each time you want to clean the couch makes it easier to get the job done.

Here are a few recommended products:

  • Enzyme-based upholstery cleaners
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • A mild detergent or dish soap
  • Activated charcoal

These are all great products that will streamline the cleaning process.

Vacuuming and Upholstery Cleaning

Next, you want to make sure you have a good vacuum ready to go with specific upholstery attachments, and remove pet hair and debris from the couch before cleaning. Otherwise, you’ll make a bigger mess with wet dog hair.

Choosing the right upholstery cleaners is really important, choose a pet-based cleaner designed to destroy pet scents for necessary spot cleaning.

Spot-clean anything with a tag that says it is washing machine safe, then throw all the washable items into the washer to cycle.

Now it’s time to clean the rest of your couch.

Spot Cleaning

Look around your couch cushions and locate any visible stains and spots, you’ll want to make sure you hit these with some form of upholstery cleaner.

You can either choose to make a homemade cleaner or buy one premade.

Before you spray the cleaner on any spots all over your couch you’re going to want to test it, choose a small hidden area of the couch to spray it on.

This will ensure it doesn’t discolor or further stain your couch, spray the spot and then wait till it dries to be sure. 

Homemade spot cleaners are fairly easy to make.

Baking Soda and Vacuuming

Here is a possible recipe for a useful at-home spot cleaner:

  • 3 Tablespoons Baking Soda
  • 8 Ounces of Hydrogen peroxide
  • A few drops of dish soap or detergent

Mix all the ingredients together and then spray the stains and spots. You’ll want to allow it to dry before vacuuming the baking soda residue off of the area. 

But you don’t have to make your own cleaner. There are many enzyme-based cleaners on the market that you can use to clean your stains.

Enzymatic Cleaners

Enzymatic cleaners contain enzymes that break down soils, urine, feces, and food. Once the molecules are smaller, the bacteria eat them up leaving nothing behind.

Depending on how big a stain you have you may have to spray and allow it to dry several times. But eventually, your couch will be back to normal on the surface at least.

Steam Cleaning

For those really tough, old stains that have penetrated deep, it may be a good idea to rent or borrow a steam cleaner.

Steam cleaning is great because it removes dirt, dust, allergens, and bacteria completely.

It will clean and sanitize your couch leaving it almost as good as new, it removes all the odor-causing particles leaving no odor if done correctly.

If you don’t want to rent a steam cleaner, a good odor-neutralizing solution is to set your couch in the sunlight.

Sunlight and Fresh Air

With all the products we’ve come up with, few compare with nature. For a quick fix, take your couch outside and set it in the sun, the UV rays the sun emits will penetrate the couch and kill the odor-producing bacteria.

Being outdoors also allows your couch to air out. Just make sure you choose a sunny day with no rain in the forecast!

There are also some great odor-absorbing products that will help neutralize indoor smells.

Using Odor-Absorbing Products

Odor-absorbing products use physical objects to trap the odor molecules and eliminate them, an example of this is activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal is a porous substance, if you place a piece of it in a bowl or container near the smell it will begin to absorb the smell into itself.

After the charcoal has been absorbing odors for a while, set it outside in the sunlight, and let the UV rays kill off the bacteria. Then put it back in a smelly area to continue working its magic.

If your couch is really smelly and your dog has had a potty accident (or two) on it, you may need a different approach.

How to Get Dog Urine Smell Out of Couch After It Has Dried

The smell of urine in your home can be pretty unbearable. Here are a couple of methods to help clean it up.

Homemade Vinegar Solution

  • Start by mixing equal parts water and white vinegar.
  • Dab the solution onto the urine stain.
  • Let the solution sit on the stain for 10-15 minutes.
  • Blot the area with a cloth and allow the area to dry completely.

You may need to follow this procedure a few times depending on how long the urine has been on the couch.

Enzymatic Cleaners for Dried Urine

Enzymes attach to the uric acid crystals that cause odor, break them down, and then destroy them.

Look at the label on the enzyme cleaner and follow the instructions, if it is a large or deep stain it may take many applications to break down all the particles.

Now that your couch is clean, there are several things you can do to speed up the cleanup process in the future.

How to Maintain a Fresh-Smelling Couch Going Forward

Start by cleaning your couch on a regular basis, not letting the smell and stains get out of control will make the clean-up process much quicker.

Another method you can use is training your dog to avoid the couch, if your dog doesn’t get on it, it will absorb less odors, it can be hard to make your dog stay off it completely though.

Consider putting a cover or a blanket on top of the couch that is easy to clean. 


How to get dog urine smell out of couch cushion

If your couch cushion smells of urine, follow the procedure above to remove the smell and any stains.

How often should I clean my couch to prevent dog odor?

Your cleaning schedule will depend on your dog(s). How long their fur is, how active they are, if they are potty trained, and how much they use the couch.

A good schedule for maintenance cleaning is every two weeks, this will keep it smelling fresh and not let any stains set in.

Are there any specific fabrics that resist retaining dog odors?

A couple of fabrics that are less likely to trap odor are microfiber or synthetic velvet, these fabrics are low pile and have less materials to trap odor.

What if the odor persists even after trying these methods?

You’ve cleaned your couch but it still smells. It’s time to hire a professional upholstery cleaning service. Old stains and urine that has soaked in deeply may be hard to remove with a surface cleaning.


Having a smelly couch literally stinks, hopefully, you’ve learned how to get dog smell out of the couch.

Being proactive is the best way to not have a smelly couch, more recent stains and smells are more able to be mitigated. So keeping a regular cleaning routine is very important.

Smells are made up of bacteria, having an odor-free living space is important for both humans and pets. It will prevent your dog from thinking they can pee where they have before in the future.

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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