How to Make Your Car Smell Like New After a Dog Poop Accident

Picture this: you’re on a road trip with your beloved furry friend, and suddenly, an accident happens – your dog poops in the car! Now you’re left with an unpleasant odor that’s driving you crazy. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide on how to get rid of dog poop smell in your car.


Understanding the Problem: Dealing with Dog Poop Odor in Your Car

Dogs are wonderful companions, but they can sometimes make a mess, especially during long car rides. The odor of dog poop can be overwhelming and embarrassing, making it essential to know how to tackle this issue effectively.

The Importance of a Fresh-Smelling Car Interior

A clean and fresh-smelling car not only enhances your driving experience but also leaves a positive impression on passengers. Let’s dive into the steps to eliminate that pesky dog poop smell.

Immediate Cleanup

Supplies You’ll Need

To effectively clean up dog poop in your car, gather the following supplies:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper towels or disposable wipes
  • Mild detergent
  • Vinegar or baking soda (optional)
  • Odor-neutralizing spray

Step-by-Step Cleanup Process

  1. Put on disposable gloves to protect your hands.
  2. Carefully pick up and dispose of the dog poop in a plastic bag.
  3. Use paper towels or disposable wipes to remove any remaining residue.
  4. Mix mild detergent with water and gently scrub the affected area.
  5. Rinse and wipe the area with clean water.
  6. To neutralize lingering odors, you can use a mixture of vinegar or baking soda with water.
  7. Finish by spraying an odor-neutralizing spray in your car.

Preventing Future Incidents

Dog-Friendly Car Accessories

Invest in accessories like seat covers, pet seat belts, and pet carriers to make your car more pet-friendly. These items can help contain messes and protect your car’s interior.

Must-Have Dog-Friendly Car Accessories

Traveling with your dog can be a joy, but it also requires some preparation to ensure both your pet’s safety and the cleanliness of your car. Here are some essential dog-friendly car accessories:

1. Dog Seat Belt or Harness

Safety on the Road

Invest in a dog seat belt or harness designed specifically for car travel. This accessory secures your dog in place, preventing them from roaming around the car and causing distractions. It also keeps them safe in case of sudden stops or accidents.

2. Car Seat Cover

Protect Your Seats

A car seat cover is a must-have accessory to protect your car’s upholstery from dirt, pet hair, and potential accidents. Look for covers that are waterproof and easy to clean, ensuring that your car remains in pristine condition.

3. Pet Barrier

Create a Safe Zone

If you have a larger dog or multiple dogs, a pet barrier is essential. It creates a partition between the back seat and the rest of the car, preventing your dog from accessing the front area and distracting you while driving.

4. Travel Crates and Carriers

Secure Containment

For smaller dogs or those who feel more secure in enclosed spaces, a travel crate or carrier is an excellent choice. Make sure it’s well-ventilated and appropriately sized for your pet.

5. Window Shades

Block Sun and Glare

Protect your dog from harsh sunlight and glare by using window shades. This accessory keeps the car interior cooler and more comfortable for your pet during hot weather.

6. Pet First Aid Kit

Emergency Preparedness

Include a pet-specific first aid kit in your car. This should contain essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and any medications your dog may need. It’s crucial for addressing minor injuries while on the road.

7. Travel Food and Water Bowls

Hydration and Nourishment

Pack collapsible or spill-proof food and water bowls for your dog. This ensures that your pet stays hydrated and fed during longer journeys.

8. Dog-Friendly Seat Covers

Comfort for Your Pet

Consider adding dog-friendly seat covers to your car seats. These covers are designed with your dog’s comfort in mind, providing them with a cozy spot to relax during the ride.

9. Ramp or Steps

Easy Access

For older dogs or those with mobility issues, a ramp or steps can make it easier for them to enter and exit the car. This accessory reduces the risk of injury and strain.

10. Travel Bag for Pet Essentials

Stay Organized

Keep a dedicated travel bag stocked with your dog’s essentials, such as food, water, leash, waste bags, and toys. This ensures that you have everything you need for your pet’s comfort and well-being on the road.

11. Dog-Friendly Safety Kit

Be Prepared

In addition to a regular first aid kit, consider assembling a dog-specific safety kit that includes your dog’s medical records, identification tags, a recent photo, and contact information for local veterinarians and emergency pet services at your travel destination.

12. Entertainment and Comfort Items

Keep Your Dog Happy

Pack your dog’s favorite toys, blankets, and comfort items to keep them relaxed and entertained during the journey.

By investing in these dog-friendly car accessories, you can create a safer, more comfortable, and enjoyable travel experience for both you and your four-legged companion. Whether you’re going on a short trip to the park or embarking on a cross-country adventure, these accessories will help make the journey memorable for all the right reasons.

Training Tips

Properly train your dog to behave in the car. Gradually introduce your pet to car rides and reward good behavior. This will reduce the likelihood of future accidents.

Training Tips for a Well-Behaved Car Companion

When it comes to having a pleasant and safe car ride with your furry friend, proper training is key. Here are some essential training tips to ensure your dog behaves well in the car:

1. Start with Short Trips

Gradual Introduction

Begin by taking short car trips with your dog. This helps them get accustomed to the car’s movements and the experience of riding in it. Start with trips to fun destinations like the park or a pet store.

2. Create Positive Associations

Reward Good Behavior

Whenever your dog behaves well in the car, offer praise and rewards. Use treats, verbal praise, and affection to reinforce positive behavior. This encourages your dog to view car rides as a positive experience.

3. Use Safety Restraints

Safety First

Always use safety restraints like a dog seat belt or a crate to secure your pet during car rides. This not only keeps your dog safe but also prevents them from moving around and causing distractions.

4. Familiarize with the Car

Let Them Explore

Allow your dog to explore the inside of the car when it’s stationary. This helps them become familiar with the space and reduces anxiety associated with the car.

5. Gradually Increase Trip Length

Lengthen the Rides

As your dog becomes more comfortable with short trips, gradually extend the duration of your car rides. This helps them build tolerance and confidence.

6. Keep the Environment Calm

Minimize Distractions

While driving, keep the car environment as calm as possible. Avoid loud music or sudden movements that could startle your dog.

7. Practice Obedience Commands

Reinforce Training

During car rides, reinforce basic obedience commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down.” This not only ensures safety but also reinforces your dog’s training.

8. Be Patient and Consistent

Consistency is Key

Remember that every dog is unique, and it may take time for some to feel completely at ease in the car. Be patient and consistent with your training efforts.

9. Consult a Professional Trainer

Seeking Expert Advice

If your dog experiences extreme anxiety or refuses to cooperate during car rides, consider consulting a professional dog trainer or a behaviorist. They can provide specialized guidance to address specific issues.

10. Keep the Experience Positive

Make it Enjoyable

Above all, ensure that car rides remain a positive and enjoyable experience for your dog. With time and effort, your furry friend will become a well-behaved and relaxed car companion.

Remember, the key to successful training is patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. By following these training tips, you can help your dog overcome car-related anxiety and ensure safe and enjoyable travels together.

Keeping Your Car Fresh

Routine Maintenance

To ensure your car remains odor-free, establish a regular cleaning routine. Vacuum and clean the interior, including seats and carpets. Additionally, use air fresheners designed for cars to maintain a pleasant scent.

Routine Maintenance for a Fresh-Smelling Car Interior

Maintaining a clean and odor-free car interior is essential, especially if you often travel with your furry friend. Here are some routine maintenance tips to ensure your car always smells fresh:

Establishing a Cleaning Routine

Consistency is Key

Regular cleaning is the foundation of a fresh-smelling car interior. Set a cleaning schedule to prevent odors from building up over time.


Removing Pet Hair and Debris

Invest in a quality car vacuum cleaner to remove pet hair, crumbs, and debris from seats, carpets, and floor mats. Pay extra attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas where odors can linger.

Upholstery Cleaning

Tackling Stains and Odors

If you notice stains or lingering odors, use upholstery cleaner designed for your car’s interior. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be thorough in your cleaning efforts.

Air Fresheners

Choosing the Right Scent

Select a car air freshener with a scent that you find pleasant. Avoid overpowering fragrances that may irritate your dog’s sensitive nose. Consider using natural and pet-friendly options.

Odor Neutralizing Sprays

Targeted Freshening

Keep an odor-neutralizing spray in your car and use it as needed. These sprays can quickly refresh the air and eliminate odors.

Pet Hair Removal

Specialized Tools

Invest in pet hair removal tools such as lint rollers or pet hair brushes to efficiently remove fur from your car’s upholstery.

Wash and Replace Pet Accessories

Cleanliness Matters

Regularly wash your dog’s blankets, bed, and any other accessories they use in the car. Dirty accessories can contribute to unpleasant odors.

Using Air Ventilation

Fresh Air Flow

While driving, open the car windows to allow fresh air to circulate. This helps remove stale odors and maintains a pleasant atmosphere.

Avoid Smoking

Keep the Car Smoke-Free

If you smoke, avoid doing so in the car. Cigarette smoke can cling to surfaces and create unpleasant odors.

Pet-Specific Cleaning Products

Effective and Safe

Use cleaning products specifically designed for pet odors. These products are formulated to neutralize odors effectively without using harsh chemicals.

Professional Detailing

Periodic Deep Cleaning

Consider periodic professional detailing for your car’s interior. Detailing services can provide a deep clean, removing odors and stains that may be challenging to tackle on your own.


A Fresh and Inviting Car Interior

By incorporating these routine maintenance practices, you can enjoy a fresh-smelling car interior, even when traveling with your furry friend. Consistency in cleaning and the use of pet-friendly products will help ensure that your car remains a comfortable and inviting space for both you and your dog.

Maintaining a clean and fresh-smelling car interior not only enhances your driving experience but also makes the journey more enjoyable for your canine companion. With these tips, you can create a harmonious and pleasant environment for all your car rides together.


In conclusion, dog poop odor in your car is a common problem, but it can be effectively addressed with the right approach. By promptly cleaning up the mess, using odor-neutralizing products, and taking preventive measures, you can enjoy a fresh and pleasant car interior once again.


  1. How do I get rid of stubborn dog poop stains in my car upholstery?
    • Getting rid of stubborn dog poop stains from car upholstery can be challenging, but with the right approach and some patience, you can often restore your car’s upholstery to its original condition. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:
    • Materials you’ll need:
    • Step 1: Wear protective gloves Before you begin, put on rubber gloves to protect your hands from any bacteria or germs present in the dog poop.
    • Step 2: Remove excess poop Use a plastic scraper or spatula to gently lift off as much of the dried poop as possible. Be careful not to scratch the upholstery.
    • Step 3: Blot the stain Blot the remaining stain with paper towels or old rags to soak up any moisture. Do not rub, as this can spread the stain further into the fabric.
    • Step 4: Prepare a cleaning solution Mix a solution of mild detergent (or upholstery cleaner) and water. Follow the product’s instructions for dilution. Alternatively, you can create a homemade cleaning solution by mixing a few drops of dish soap with water. For tough stains and odors, you can add a small amount of distilled white vinegar to the solution (1 part vinegar to 2 parts water).
    • Step 5: Test in an inconspicuous area Before applying the cleaning solution to the stained area, test it in a hidden or inconspicuous spot on the upholstery to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage or color fading.
    • Step 6: Clean the stain Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with the cleaning solution and gently blot the stained area. Continue blotting until the stain starts to lift. Avoid scrubbing too vigorously, as this may damage the fabric.
    • Step 7: Rinse and blot After removing the stain, use a separate clean cloth dampened with plain water to rinse the area thoroughly. Then, blot the area with dry paper towels or a clean cloth to remove excess moisture.
    • Step 8: Apply baking soda Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the cleaned area. Baking soda can help absorb any remaining odors and moisture. Leave it on for several hours or overnight.
    • Step 9: Vacuum After the baking soda has had time to work, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to thoroughly remove the baking soda from the upholstery.
    • Step 10: Check and repeat if necessary Inspect the upholstery to see if the stain and odor are completely gone. If not, you may need to repeat the cleaning process.

2. Are there any pet-safe air fresheners for cars?

  • There are pet-safe air fresheners available for cars that are designed to be safe for both pets and humans. When choosing an air freshener for your car that is safe for pets, consider the following options:
  • Activated Charcoal Air Purifiers: These are natural and non-toxic air fresheners that can help eliminate odors without using chemicals or fragrances. Activated charcoal absorbs and traps odors, making the air cleaner and fresher.
  • Natural Essential Oils: Some essential oils are safe for pets when used in moderation and with proper ventilation. You can use a car diffuser with pet-safe essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or frankincense. Be sure to research and choose essential oils that are known to be safe for the specific pets you have, and use them sparingly.
  • Bamboo Charcoal Bags: These bags are filled with bamboo charcoal and are effective at absorbing odors. They are non-toxic and safe for pets and humans.
  • Pet-Friendly Air Fresheners: Look for air fresheners specifically marketed as “pet-friendly” or “pet-safe.” These products are formulated to be safe around animals and typically avoid using harmful chemicals or strong fragrances.
  • DIY Air Fresheners: You can make your own pet-safe air freshener by filling a small cloth bag with baking soda or dried herbs like lavender or mint. Hang it in your car to help absorb odors naturally.
  • Vent Clips: Some car air fresheners are designed to clip onto your car’s air vents and release a subtle fragrance. Look for ones that are labeled as pet-safe and use natural fragrances.
  • Always be cautious when using any type of air freshener around pets. While certain essential oils and natural options can be safe in moderation, it’s essential to ensure proper ventilation and monitor your pets’ reactions. Some pets may be more sensitive to scents than others, and strong fragrances can potentially irritate their respiratory systems. If you notice any adverse reactions in your pets, discontinue use of the air freshener and consult with your veterinarian.
  • When using air fresheners in your car, it’s a good practice to periodically ventilate the vehicle by opening the windows and ensuring that your pets are comfortable. Additionally, secure any air fresheners in a way that prevents your pets from accessing them to avoid ingestion or contact.

3.What should I do if my dog has motion sickness in the car?

  • If your dog experiences motion sickness in the car, it can be distressing for both you and your furry friend. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort during car rides:
  • How to Handle Dog Motion Sickness in the Car
  • Gradual Introduction
  • Start Slow: If your dog is not used to car rides or experiences motion sickness, start with short trips to get them accustomed to the sensation of being in a moving vehicle.
  • Proper Seating
  • Secure Restraint: Use a dog seat belt or harness to secure your dog safely in the back seat. This prevents them from moving around and helps reduce motion-induced stress.
  • Ventilation
  • Fresh Air: Keep the car well-ventilated by cracking open a window slightly. Fresh air can help alleviate nausea.
  • Limit Food and Water
  • Feeding Time: Avoid feeding your dog a large meal right before a car ride. Instead, offer a small, light meal several hours before departure. Also, limit their water intake to prevent a full stomach.
  • Gradual Progression
  • Shorter Trips: Initially, take short car rides around the block and gradually extend the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable.
  • Familiarity
  • Familiar Scent: Bring a familiar blanket or toy from home to provide comfort and familiarity during the ride.
  • Breaks and Walks
  • Frequent Stops: Plan for frequent breaks during longer trips. This allows your dog to stretch their legs, go for a walk, and relieve themselves.
  • Calming Techniques
  • Calming Strategies: Consider using calming techniques such as soothing music or pheromone sprays designed for dogs. These can help reduce anxiety during the ride.

4. Can I use bleach to clean dog poop in my car?

  • Using bleach to clean dog poop in your car is not recommended. While bleach is an effective disinfectant and cleaner, it’s not suitable for cleaning pet messes, especially in confined spaces like a car. Here’s why:
  • Toxic Fumes: Bleach emits strong and potentially harmful fumes that can be dangerous for both you and your dog, especially in the enclosed environment of a car.
  • Irritating to Pets: The odor of bleach can be irritating to dogs, and it may cause discomfort or stress to your pet.
  • Damage to Car Interior: Bleach is a harsh chemical that can damage the upholstery, carpet, and other materials in your car’s interior. It can cause discoloration, weakening of fabrics, and even corrode surfaces.
  • Residue: Bleach can leave behind a residue that may be harmful if ingested by your dog. Even after thorough rinsing, it can be challenging to completely remove all traces of bleach from the car interior.
  • Instead of bleach, consider using pet-friendly cleaning products designed specifically for removing pet messes and odors. These products are formulated to be safe for pets and are effective at eliminating the smell of dog poop. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any cleaning product, and ensure that your car is well-ventilated during and after cleaning to prevent the buildup of fumes.

Leave a Comment