How to Remove Pet Odors and Stains from Your Car

A woman and her dog go for a ride in the car. Pets can leave all kinds of smells and stains that need to be cleaned so your vehicle can have a fresh smell.

Our four-legged friends are part of our families, and bringing them along for family outings, vacations, and errands is natural. But when our pets spend a significant amount of time in our vehicles, smells, fur, and stains need to be cleaned. In this article, we will give you some tips and ideas on cleaning those unwanted smells and blemishes from your car, leaving it looking and smelling fresh.

Why Pet Smell in Car is a Problem

Pets enjoy road trips as much as people, but the problem is that they cannot express their needs in the same way. Your pet may inevitably have an accident in the car and leave some stain or odor for one reason or another. If these accidents are not properly cleaned, your vehicle will quickly be a source of messes and bad smells.

Identifying the Source of the Pet Smell

Before you begin, you must find the spot where the accident occurred. In most cases, your nose will naturally take you to the right place, but some products can help if needed.

Moisture Detector

When urine dries, it becomes ammonia and alkaline salts through a chemical reaction. The salt residue in most environments holds enough wetness to activate the detector, typically when the moisture content reaches around 16 percent.

UV Light

Urine residue glows under ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light has many wavelengths like white light has many colors. The best UV for finding urine deposits is long-wave UV at 385 nanometers. Under a black light, urine is not the only thing that will glow. Urine can be identified by its shape and characteristic yellow or greenish glow, depending on the animal. A bluish light may occur if a cleaning product with an optical brightener has been used.

Tips for Removing Pet Odors and Stains from Your Car

Once you’ve identified the location of the blemish, you are ready to remove the pet smell and stains from your vehicle. Follow these tips below for the best results.

Open the Windows

This tip might seem obvious, but if the odor is not from a pet potty accident, open the windows and let your vehicle air out. Some fresh air circulation can do wonders for removing unwanted animal smells.

Mark the Stains

Consider marking the blemishes with a penny, white chalk, or some other marker that helps you know where to clean.

Clean Stains Immediately

If the upholstery has been soiled, you must clean the area immediately to prevent the stain from damaging the interior. Remove the waste and use a cleaning solution to disinfect and eliminate the stains. You can use many different cleaning solutions, but refer to your car’s manual for guidelines about which solutions are appropriate for your interior.

Steps for Cleaning the Car Interior

Keeping your car clean can be challenging, especially if you have pets. Pet odors and stains can quickly accumulate in your vehicle, leaving an unpleasant smell and unsightly stains. However, there are steps you can take to clean your car of pet odors and stains.

Remove the Hair

Getting all the dog hair that has been shredded could be the most time-consuming part of cleaning your vehicle. Thankfully, you can easily pick up unwanted fur in many different ways.

  • Lint roller: this method is perfect for quick on-the-go hair removal. They are small enough to keep in the console for use at a moment’s notice.
  • Duct tape: roll a piece of tape around your hand with the sticky side out. Firmly place your hand on the surface and repeat until the hair is gone.
  • Rubber gloves: First, put on a pair of gloves. Thoroughly wet the surface of the gloves. Use a spray bottle to mist water over the car seats. Rub the gloved hand vigorously over the dampened seats to remove hair. Finally, dip the gloves in a bucket of water to remove the hair.
  • Dryer sheets: these are great for the quick removal of fur on the hard surfaces of your car.
  • Squeegee: move the tool forward on the seats and floor, putting all the hair into one pile.

Use a Neutralizer

An air freshener or odor neutralizer can remove pet smells from your car. Avoid spraying air fresheners while your pet is in the car. A natural solution is to have a cup of baking soda sit on the vehicle’s floor overnight to absorb the stench.

Allow the Car to Air Out

Open the car windows to reduce smells and allow sprays or products to dry. Since dogs are susceptible to fumes, it is recommended that the car be exposed to open air for a while before being allowed back inside.

Vacuum the Car

Once you’ve successfully removed most unwanted pet hair from your seats and floor, you can use a vacuum or shop vac to get the remaining fur. Be sure to use the thin nozzle to get into those hard-to-reach spaces.

Shampooing the Carpets and Upholstery

You can find pet carpets and upholstery cleaners that work wonderfully in your vehicle. Use the cleaner and a concentrated stain remover for stubborn blemishes. After you’ve cleaned all the soft surfaces, a steam cleaner will remove any lingering odors. If you prefer a natural approach to cleaning products, try some of these options before using commercial cleaners.

  • Vinegar and water
  • Baking soda
  • Listerine
  • Vodka and water

Change Air Filters

To keep your car interior clean, replace the cabin air filter when detailing your vehicle. This filter can easily get blocked with debris and pet hair, and changing the air filter is essential if you frequently travel with your pet. Plus, washable and reusable air filters are convenient and cost-effective.

A golden lab sits on towels in the back of a car so the rest of the vehicle does not get dirty from her walk in the park. Learn how to remove dirt from your furry pal.

Preventing Pet Smell In the Car

Limiting pet odors in cars is essential for the comfort of the passengers and the pet’s health. Various reasons, such as shedding, drooling, and accidents, can cause pet odors. While it is not possible to have

Have Your Pet Sit On a Place Mat

Pets can enjoy road trips, but they should be seated in a manner that will help the car stay clean at all times. Some people will use a towel or placemat to cover the seat dog’s seat in case of accidents and to protect the car from pet hair. A small cushion with a towel covering the seat can be very comfortable for your pet. A blanket or towel can easily be tossed into the washer for a quick and easy refresh.

Utilize Seat Covers

The idea behind a seat cover is to protect the upholstery in your car. Seat covers can be removed to wash and give your car a refreshing smell once put back on. There are specially designed pet covers that are waterproof for additional protection.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

The better you are at establishing a routine for keeping your car clean and odor free, the easier it will be to take care of this vital task. The longer you let time go between cleanings will only make more work for you.

Make More Bathroom Stops

Frequent stops will reduce the likelihood of an accident inside the car, but some pet accidents are unavoidable, especially if you are driving for an extended period.

Prevent Shedding

We all know it’s impossible to prevent your pet from shedding while going on a ride with you. However, you can take a few minutes before they hop into your car and give them a quick brushing to remove as much loose hair as possible. Stay on top of their grooming appointments as well. While these suggestions will not stop dog fur from falling onto your seat cushions or floor mats, you can lessen the likelihood of a bigger furry mess.

Enjoying a Fresh-Smelling Car with Your Pets

When it comes to stains, timing is vital because removing them sooner rather than later is more manageable. Be selective about cleaning solutions because some of them can be damaging to certain types of materials. Clean the area, let the car air out, and continue to drive safely!

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