Remove Dog Smells from Carpet


In this article you will learn:

  • How to get dog smell out of car mats and carpet

  • Which cleaners to use to get rid of stubborn pet odors

  • Tips to prevent lingering pet smells and odors

Anytime we have pets in the car, we tend to hold our breath and hope for the best; but, deep down, we know accidents are bound to happen. Whether they track in mud on a wet, rainy day or get sick all over the floor mats and carpet, our furry friends can leave behind quite the mess.

Even after cleaning pet urine or vomit, that nasty odor can linger inside your car for weeks. No one enjoys the suffocating stench of puppy breath, so let’s talk about how to get that smell out of your car for good.

What you need to know

Most car seats and carpet are made of woven nonporous, polyester fibers that are excellent at absorbing odors and fluids. The moment pet urine or dog slobber comes into contact with these polyester fibers, it begins to sink deep into your carpet or upholstery. Wiping the mess with a damp cloth or paper towel is a great first step, but it won’t get rid of deep-seated contaminants that perpetuate bad smells and odors.

You’ll need a heavy-duty stain and odor remover to get rid of the source of the smell completely. We recommend an interior cleaning kit designed especially to address pet messes and accidents, such as the Turtle Wax Pet Mess Kit. This kit includes our Power Out Fresh Clean All-Surface Cleaner to remove stains from any surface, an ergonomic pet hair sponge and our Odor-X odor removal spray to eliminate odors at the molecular level.

Note: If you have leather car seats and upholstery, we recommend testing any cleaners on an inconspicuous area of your leather to ensure that they’re safe to use on these surfaces. Leather seats can become dry and discolored when you use the wrong cleaners. To remove dog odors from these more sensitive surfaces, we recommend a dedicated leather cleaner like Hybrid Solutions Leather Care, followed by our Odor-X Spray.

puppy with a cleaning sponge

Vacuum your floor mats and carpet

Start by scooping up any solids left by your friendly Fido with a fresh paper towel. Then, remove your floor mats from inside the car. If there’s any mud or vomit stuck to your mats, smack them against the pavement to break up these tough soils, then give them a good shake.

Use a portable vacuum on your floor mats, carpet and upholstery to suck up loose dirt, dog hair and dried-up vomit. Use the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner to concentrate on any tough, embedded soils and reach every nook and cranny of your car interior. Be sure to collapse and recline your car seats, pushing them forward and backward so you can vacuum the area under the seats.

Treat stains and soils with the appropriate cleaner

Depending on the kind of mess you’re dealing with, you may need to use a different cleaner to remove the stains from your car interior. If you have a heavy stain, like urine or vomit on your carpet, you’ll want to treat these areas with a carpet shampoo like POWER OUT! Carpets & Mats. If some of the mess got on your car seats and upholstery, you’ll want to use an upholstery cleaner like POWER OUT! Upholstery to blot up the mess. These stain removers are infused with our Odor-X technology, so you can lift these stains and eliminate odors all in one step!

Apply the appropriate cleaner to your carpet or upholstery. Use a scrubber brush or a separate scrubbing pad to lift and agitate stains and soils. Blot up the mess as needed with several, clean microfiber cloths or a roll of paper towels. Use a towel or a wet-dry vac and a bucket of warm water to rinse the area.

the appropriate cleaner

Clean the general area

Once you’ve eliminated the source of the smell, it’s time to clean the rest of your carpets to remove any residual stains and odors. Spot cleaning can leave behind a noticeable ring of cleaner, so it’s important to blend your stain remover into the rest of your carpet with a detailing spray to create a clean, even finish.

Use an interior detailer like Power Out Fresh Clean All-Surface Cleaner or Turtle Wax Dash & Glass to spray and wipe your floor mats and carpet. Use a clean, microfiber cloth to wipe away dirt and stains. Continue to spray and wipe these surfaces until no more dirt is drawn into your microfiber towel.

turtle wax dash & glass spray

Use an odor eliminator

Now that you’ve cleaned up the mess left behind by your furry passengers, your car interior likely looks—and smells—much better than it did before! However, there may still be traces of wet dog smell lingering inside your car. To clear the air, spray an odor eliminator like Odor-X Fresh Car Spray to seek and destroy any remaining odor molecules. These air fresheners continue to eliminate unpleasant smells and odors inside your car for up to 30 days, so they work great as an odor preventative when you know you’ll have pets in the car again! Just spray a quick mist of Odor-X before letting the pets in to keep your car smelling fresh and make future messes easier to clean!

dog and odor-x fresh car spray


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