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Our pets are super cute and know exactly when to bust out their “humane society” face – the heart-melting, adorable, “Did I do that?” expression they use when we learn they’ve had an accident or destroyed something in the house. Luckily, there are plenty of easy home remedies to combat pet odors that are inexpensive and 10,000 times better than resorting to toxic cleaning products.

Here are 9 home remedies to help you maintain a home full of pets sans pet odors:

1. Absorb odors with apples

As far as home remedies go, this one’s super easy: Cut an apple in half, and set it in a smelly area (such as around a litter box). The apple halves will absorb odors for up to six hours! This is a great way to use fruit that’s been sitting on the counter too long.

2. Neutralize urine odors with vinegar

Put vinegar in a spray bottle and saturate the area. Let it sit for a few hours, then go over it with a steam cleaner. You can leave the vinegar until it dries too, and as the smell fades the urine smell will too.

3. Combat uber-smelly areas with baking soda or corn starch

Baking soda neutralizes super strong odors. Sprinkle it on the area and use a scrub brush so it reaches the odor’s source. Let it sit for a full day before vacuuming. If the smell’s particularly rank, add a little bit of water and turn the baking soda into a paste. Let it dry before vacuuming. The same goes for corn starch if you’re out of baking soda.

4. Dust/vacuum your floors and furniture regularly

Animal hair and dander carry your pet’s body oils, which will eventually lead to unwanted odors. For extra-stubborn areas, use a rubber glove to wipe the fur from your furniture, then use your vacuum’s brush attachment for finishing touches. Keep odors from escaping the vacuum by throwing a scented dryer sheet in the canister beforehand.

5. Freshen your carpet

Mix three cups of baking soda and 20 drops of your favorite essential oil into a shaker jar. Sprinkle lightly onto your carpet, and let it sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming.

6. Freshen the air and fabrics

Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a spray bottle of water and spritz in the air. It also works great on curtains, throw pillows, and other fabrics in your home.

7. Brush your pet regularly

It’s a great way to combat the shedding before it starts. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to be brushed just for existing?

8. Keep pets off or cover your furniture

If you’re like me and your pet has you wrapped around his little paw, the best plan of attack is to purchase slipcovers for your furniture. Instead of pulling muscles scrubbing (a la Cinderella), you can throw the covers in with the rest of your laundry.

9. Clean pet bedding regularly

Make sure you regularly clean your pet’s favorite spots, as these are where odors will build quickly. Don’t forget to add the sun to your arsenal of home remedies: It has natural deodorizing properties, so after washing put your pet’s items outside for a while.

What home remedies do you use to combat pet odors?

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Image: Kristof Borkowski