How to Reduce Pet Dander and Pet Odors

Love your pets without worrying about their impact on home wellness.

When you open your home up to lovable little furballs, you often adopt the pet odors and pet dander that come with them. Wondering what kills pet dander and odor? Fortunately, there's a lot of ways to help your house smell like normal people live there instead of doubling as a kennel. In this post, we’re sharing a few tips for how to reduce pet dander in your home and how to get rid of pet odor for good.

How to Get Rid of Pet Dander

Baking Soda: Man’s True Best Friend

Baking soda is a fantastic neutralizer, which is why it’s top of the list for how to get rid of pet odor. Ever had anyone recommend you leave baking soda in the fridge to eat up weird smells? The same concept applies outside of the fridge, too! All you have to do is sprinkle it on your most pungent areas and it should absorb most of the smells, especially if you're dealing with pet urine. Then after a few minutes, vacuum up the baking soda.

Now you may have heard similar claims with vinegar. So, does vinegar kill pet dander? While vinegar is also a great deodorizer but be careful using it if you have cats in the house. The smell of vinegar is similar to ammonia, which is similar to the smell of pet urine, which can attract them to continually mark or pee on certain locations. Dealing with cat dander? Learn proven tips to get rid of cat dander in your home and the allergies that come with it.

If you want something more specific than baking soda or vinegar solutions, enzymatic cleaners are also a great way to target pet urine stains and smells.

Keep Pet Accessories Clean

Does your dog or cat have a favorite (conveniently machine-washable) toy? Do you use the same harness and leash every day on your walks? Is the dog bed completely covered with fur, dirt and other lovely doggy byproducts?

Clean up! Clean out food and water dishes regularly. Throw toys, leashes, pet beds and other accessories into the washing machine (or wash by hand).

Wash Your Human Accessories, Too

When it comes to how to get rid of pet dander, along with odor, you’ll have to clean some human things too. If you let your pets onto the bed or couch, you're going to have to keep those areas clean too. Target the areas where your animal stays regularly and make sure they're vacuumed and free of pet hair and dander.

Change Your Air Filters on a Regular Basis

So not to be biased here, but changing your air filters consistently (especially if you have more than one pet) is a highly effective way to help deal with pet smells. If you have allergies or guests who may be allergic to your animals, it's also just the considerate thing to do in the long term.

Because pet dander is microscopic, you’ll need an air filter with a high MERV rating to ensure it catches all those pesky particles. Not sure what size air filter you need? No problem. Check out our complete guide to air filter sizes.

Brush Your Pet(s) at Least Once a Week

Brushing is not only a way for you to further bond with your pet but also keeps the fur from flying and is how to reduce pet dander. Some sources recommend brushing your pet daily but it also depends on the length of your animal's fur - the general guideline is long-haired animals are best brushed daily (to prevent tangling and matting of fur/hair), medium-haired animals are best to be on a weekly basis and short-haired animals can go a few weeks but at least once a month is best.

Clean The Dander Traps

You may need to incorporate some new areas into your cleaning regime or restrict the areas that your pet plays to keep Sparky away from some of the more common pet dander trap areas. Follow these quick tips for how to get rid of pet dander:

  • Do not allow pets near your bedding.
  • Bathe your pet weekly, at least.
  • Keep pets off of the couch.
  • Vacuum soft surfaces (aside from the normal carpet vacuuming) like drapes, curtains, sofas, and stairs.
  • Consider replacing carpet with hardwood floors or selecting a home that has more hardwoods than carpeting, as carpets are a HUGE trap for pet dander.

We understand your pets are a part of the family and that you want to keep them around as long as possible. We also understand that you want to know what kills pet dander and odor the fastest. By implementing these tips, you can significantly reduce (if not eliminate) pet odors and pet dander from your home. Not only will your home be more pleasant without pet odor, but reducing pet dander improves your indoor air quality. If you or your family have allergies or asthma, you can reduce allergy symptoms and asthma triggers by fighting pet dander in your home. So, what are you waiting for? You know how to reduce pet dander and odor. Hop to it!

Alec Lower

Content Writer

Alec is a third-year member of the team at Second Nature. He brings expert knowledge of a myriad of home air filtration topics including HVAC filters, filtration efficiency, and indoor air quality.