How to Get Rid of Pet Odors Left Behind by Previous Tenants

in Help Me Now!, Pets on by

Pet Stain

Found the perfect apartment but undecided because of pet odors left behind by previous tenants? Fortunately for you (and the landlord), there are plenty of ways to get rid of pet odors so you don’t have to continue searching for your dream home.

As many pet owners know from experience, old, stinky pet odors can range from barely tolerable to downright horrific. While it’s always best to properly clean up after animals right away, people who are just moving into a new apartment with pet odors left behind by previous tenants can only move forward.

Here are a few different things you can do to get rid of pet odors once and for all:

Clean the Apartment

Chances are the landlord has already gone through the apartment and cleaned it in its entirety before your move-in, or perhaps they even hired someone else to do it. Regardless of whether or not someone has been through the place and cleaned it out, you’ll unfortunately have to deal with any lingering pet odors yourself. Standard cleaning isn’t going to work on pet odors, but it’s a start.

You’re going to want to clean the apartment from top to bottom before you start working on any stains or particularly stinky spots, because pet dander and fur can settle on ceiling fans, shelves, and plenty of other high-up surfaces. Cleaning your floors first will be pointless if the particles up above aren’t cleared away beforehand.

Open the Windows

Sunshine and fresh air will do wonders when trying to get rid of pet odors left behind by previous tenants. Make sure the windows are open when cleaning to help air the place out. Then leave the windows open for several hours a day to continue airing it out.


Pet odors usually cling to carpets along with fur and dander, even after the carpets have been cleaned. So if your new apartment has carpeting, you’re going to want to thoroughly vacuum all of it. Even if they’re hardwood, laminate, or tile, you’ll still want to vacuum because fur and dander can linger on non-carpeted floors, too.

Once you’ve vacuumed the floors completely, go through each room and sprinkle baking soda over the carpeted areas. Baking soda is great for neutralizing trapped odors. Let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up.

Use a Blacklight

You can use a regular blacklight to pinpoint any source of odors. Simply wait until it’s darker outside, turn off the lights, and walk through each room that has carpets with a handheld blacklight to reveal urine stains. These are the areas you’ll have to focus on.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are excellent household items for cleaning, and they’re especially good at combatting pet odors.

Start by mixing equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Before you put it to use, test the solution on a part of the carpet that’s in an inconspicuous area, such as inside a closet. The vinegar shouldn’t discolor the carpet, but it’s always best to be sure.

Next, wet the urine spots on the carpet using your spray bottle. They don’t need to be soaked, so just spritz them until they’re damp. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then blot the area with a paper towel to remove as much liquid as you can.

Wait for it to dry. You can place a fan near it if you want it to dry faster. Once the spot is fully dry, sprinkle baking soda over it. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and then vacuum it up.

If it still smells after all that, try repeating this step.

Enzymatic Cleaner

If it’s a particularly stubborn pet stain, you can try cleaning it with an enzymatic cleaner.

An all-natural enzymatic cleaner works wonders when it comes to cleaning up after pets. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the label.

Scrub the Walls

Some dogs will mark their territory indoors by going on the walls. If this seems to have happened in your new apartment, you’re going to want to scrub down the walls, too.

Using your vinegar solution, spray the walls just enough to make them damp. You can then scrub them using a wet sponge. Next, take some baking soda and sprinkle or rub it onto the walls. Let it sit for a few minutes to dry before you brush or vacuum up the powder.

Another way to eliminate pet odors from your walls is to repaint them using an odor and stain-blocking paint or primer.

New Carpet

If you find that there is still a strong pet odor in your apartment after all of this, your carpet might just need to be replaced. Don’t be afraid to bring it up to the landlord and see if they will do something about it.

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