pets sitting on outdoor cushion

These easy tricks and tips will help distract potential buyers from pet odor, messes, and damage.


Furry creatures may currently live in your home, but you don’t want pet odor to scare off potential buyers.

Do you refer to your pet as one of your children, without irony? (It’s OK; you’re not alone.) But this unconditional love is likely not a sentiment all who visit your home share, particularly if they stand up from the couch and discover their once-black pants are now covered in stinky (and trendy!) ombré doggie fur.

While most guests will likely shrug off their new fur coat or suggest a coffee shop for your next get-together, potential buyers may not be so forgiving of your pets.

When you put your home on the market, pet odor could deter buyers or reduce offer amounts. These easy tricks and tips will help distract potential buyers from pet odor, messes, and damage.

1. Rubber glove treatment

Put on a damp rubber glove and rub over furniture; the static electricity created will help remove fur quite easily.

2. Duct tape solves everything

You choose: Purchase 15 lint rollers to pick up fur from couches and car seats, or go DIY and wrap duct tape, sticky side up, around a paint roller. You’ll be able to cover more surface area with the paint roller, which can help remove pet hair from carpet or upholstery.

3. Squeegee power

Sometimes vacuuming is no match for the fur buried deep down in the living room rug. Amazingly, a window squeegee can do the trick.

4. Better bitter

To stop dogs and cats from chewing on furniture or — zzzzt! — power cords, you can purchase Bitter Apple spray, or make your own DIY spray by mixing white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar.

5. Stick ’em up

This special double-stick tape will annoy cats enough to make them avoid using your furniture as a scratching post. (We imagine regular double-stick tape would do the trick too.)

6. Leave the mud outside

Keep unscented baby wipes in your entryway to wipe your dog’s paws after he’s played outside in the mud. Want to have a little more fun cleaning up? This Paw Plunger may be even more effective.

7. Smell check

Before you list your home, you might want to invite over an exceptionally honest friend who can tell you if your home smells like wet dog or a very well-decorated litter box. Don’t kid yourself; you’ve likely become nose-blind to the stench — you need this friend to tell you the truth.

8. Clean those rugs (and clean them again)

You can’t control pet accidents, and sometimes they happen right before potential buyers arrive. Baking soda does wonders for neutralizing odors. Sprinkle a thin layer over carpets and let it set overnight; vacuum in the morning for a fresh scent.

9. Litter on the barbecue

The worst pet odor offender is undoubtedly the litter box. Activated charcoal can help absorb the ammonialike scent of an, uh, active litter box. But since it’s black and sooty, you don’t want to add it to the litter. (Paw prints!) Instead, fill a dish near the box with the charcoal.

10. Clean ears = happy noses

If your dog is prone to stinky ears, clean them regularly with a solution of vinegar and alcohol. Clean ears will keep your carpets and furniture smelling cleaner too.

11. Trunk no-show

The Internet is flooded with instructions on how to customize old trunks, new IKEA storage units, and built-in cabinets into excellent litter box and dog crate camouflage.

12. Play date

Consider asking a friend or neighbor to have your fur babies over to play the day of your showing. Also, be sure to put away pet toys and pet photos. You shouldn’t lie to potential buyers about furry creatures living there, but you don’t want any unnecessary reminders around either.

Have you had experience selling your home with pets around? Share your tips for fighting pet odor and messes in the comments below!