This was so weird and fun that I had to share. Enjoy!
File this under “people who should be shot”. I don’t know what bothers me more…the irresponsible dog owner or the petty car owner.
Many thanks to my friend, Jill, for offering me these tips on making your house smell less “doggy” when trying to sell it (or to just make it smell better!)
You probably know this, but just in case you don’t…Try to hide the signs that you have dogs, or at least try to “camouflage” how many you have. Because it was impossible for us to hide that we had dogs at all, we staged our house to make it look like we only had 2. But we did put away all our pictures of them, and put up (or hid) all the dog beds, toys, bowls etc. We also put away all photos of them too. Also, when possible, we took the dogs out of the house and would take down the crates when we had a showing.
Okay, now onto this supposed odor. I could never really smell it. Especially after we put in new carpeting, drapes etc. But I really think just the thought that we had dogs is what turned people off and they’d say they smelled them, even when I was convinced that they couldn’t. But I did give them some benefit of the doubt, and this started me on this quest to get rid of any odor that could be there that I couldn’t smell. I must have accomplished this, because the final showings of the house no one ever mentioned any kind of a dog-odor.
To get rid of the dog-odor, I didn’t do one thing, I did and used several things. Here’s what I found worked for us.
Canned Air Fresheners:
Stay away from the ones that have some kind of flower in their name. For some reason, the really flowery ones seem to clash with dog-odors and make it worse. Use ones that are called something like “Clothesline Fresh” etc. My favorite, which is pretty inexpensive compared to others, is made by Air Wick. It’s “Odor Stop-Mountain Breeze” and has baking soda in it. Baking soda is supposed to be good at killing odors. It stays in the air for a several hours I think is a good fresh smell. I never used it sparingly (and I still don’t).
Febreeze – The regular spray I like okay but its a bit ”perfumy,” at least for me, and seems to cling to everything (I guess that’s what it’s made for). They do have canned air-fresheners which are pretty good too. Febreeze also makes dual-plug ins that I really like. I put one in each room, and in the family room where we had dog crates, I put two. Again, I stuck to using ones called something like Morning Walk/Cleansing Rain. These are slightly floral, but not as bad as other brands. I also recommend to use the same ones throughout the house. Febreeze does have a plug in that is made to get rid of pet odor which is good too.
For any accidents that you may have in the house, the product that I like better than “Natures Miracle” is called “Fresh ‘n Clean” that has “Oxy-Strength.” I even used it as an air freshener by spritzing it a few times in each room after we vacuumed (which we did daily). I think it has a nice clean/fresh smell and I really love it. I also didn’t let the dogs lay on the new carpeting. We used painters cloths or sheets to cover up the carpet, because I was paranoid that the carpet would pick up a dog odor.
Homemade Odor Control:
You can boil oranges and/or lemons on your stove stop in water. This did a great job during the summer months which I’ll explain about in a minute.
Half water and vinegar in a spray bottle also can knock down odors and be used as an air freshener of sorts–I would spritz it a few times in the mornings before I left, but never just before a showing.
Our house was for sale during the summer. During this time, I have to admit that there were times that I did notice the dog odor. Especially when it was humid. That’s when boiling the oranges and lemons helped. I just sliced oranges and lemons and would cover them with water in a sauce pan and just let the pan boil (uncovered) on top of the stove. When the water got low, I’d turn it off and let the pan set until cool. Then I’d put what was left in the garbage disposal–That helped that to smell good too.
I would also open a few windows at night and early mornings when it was cooler and put fans in the windows etc., to get fresh air in the house. I also kept the house cooler because any humidity seems to bring up any dog-odor.
Other things I did:
I started using my crock-pot. I’d find something cheap and let it cook all day. There’s nothing like the smell of soup, or a roast (or ribs) when you walk into a house. We had several positive comments when we did this. I also thought it would help to “mask” any dog-odor that could be there.
I bought an electric tart warmer and would put one on when I left the house before a showing (never during the day). Since it’s electric I felt safer leaving it on. Again, I used tarts by Yankee with names like “Clothesline Fresh” and “Fresh Linen” etc.
I hope this helps. Doing all this was a lot of work, and I did most of this every day. It got to be a bit of an obsession (and paranoia) with me because it was the one thing I worried about the most, and the dog odor was the comment I hated to hear, and we heard over and over again. I would just kill me when anyone would say anything about the dogs. But I just stuck with it, and did the best I/we could, and we hoped that our buyers would be dog-lovers. They weren’t…But then the dogs were never mentioned in anything they said about the house.
I know how hard it is to sell a house with dogs, and I know how hard it is to hear the less than positive things about them. I really do wish you all the best of luck in selling your home!!!!!
We’ve been in the process of selling our house and buying something with more land for our pups. So, posts have been a little sporadic. Please hang in there – as things slow down, I’ll start writing more!
In the meantime, here’s part of an email I received from a good friend about the animal welfare efforts in Maricopa County, AZ. This is one way to “git ‘er done”!
Maricopa County was spending approx. $18 million dollars a year on stray animals, like cats and dogs. Sheriff Joe offered to take the department over, and the County Supervisors said okay. The animal shelters are now all staffed and operated by prisoners. They feed and care for the strays. Every animal in his care is taken out and walked twice daily. He now has prisoners who are experts in animal nutrition and behavior. They give great classes for anyone who’d like to adopt an animal. He has literally taken stray dogs off the street, given them to the care of prisoners, and had them place in dog shows. The best part? His budget for the entire department is now under $3 million. Teresa and I adopted a Weimaraner from a Maricopa County shelter two years ago. He was neutered, and current on all shots, in great health, and even had a microchip inserted the day we got him. Cost us $78.
The prisoners get the benefit of about $0.28 an hour for working, but most would work for free, just to be out of their cells for the day. Most of his budget is for utilities, building maintenance, etc. He pays the prisoners out of the fees collected for adopted animals.