How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket

Spread the love

Fleece blankets, with their softness and warmth, have become a favorite in many households, especially for our furry friends. While snuggling with dogs on a cozy fleece blanket is a comforting experience, it comes with a rather unpleasant consequence – the lingering smell of dog. This issue not only affects the comfort of using the blanket but also poses a challenge in maintaining a fresh and clean home environment. The problem at hand is the stubborn dog smell that seems to cling to fleece blankets, resisting regular washing methods and leaving pet owners puzzled about how to get dog smell out of fleece blanket.

But why does fleece, in particular, seem to hold onto pet odors more tenaciously? The science behind this phenomenon lies in the structure of fleece fabric itself. Fleece is designed to be high-density yet lightweight, attributes that make it an excellent insulator and incredibly soft to the touch. However, these same characteristics also mean that fleece can trap and hold onto odors, including body oils, sweat, and yes, the distinct scent of a dog. This is compounded by the fact that dogs, by their nature, carry a unique odor caused by oils in their skin and fur, along with any dirt they may bring in from the outdoors.

How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket

However, pet owners need not despair. There are effective and practical solutions to tackle this pervasive issue. This guide aims to offer hope by illuminating several tried-and-true methods on how to get dog smell out of a fleece blanket. Before we dive into the specifics of each method, it is crucial to start with some preliminary steps to ensure the best results. First and foremost, always check the care label on your fleece blanket. Some materials may require specific care or are not suitable for certain cleaning agents. Pre-treating any noticeable stains or heavily soiled areas can also enhance the effectiveness of the washing process. Additionally, choosing the right cleaning method based on the severity of the odor and the type of fleece is essential for success.

To prepare for the cleaning process, gathering your “cleaning arsenal” is a key step. This includes but is not limited to mild detergent suitable for the fabric, baking soda for its odor-absorbing qualities, white vinegar for its natural deodorizing properties, and, in some cases, enzymatic cleaners designed to break down odor-causing compounds. Armed with these supplies and a clear understanding of the problem and its solutions, pet owners can feel equipped to tackle the challenge head-on and restore their fleece blankets to a pristine, odor-free condition.

Understanding Fleece Fabric

Fleece Properties

Fleece is a synthetic fabric highly regarded for its exceptional warmth and lightweight structure, making it a popular choice for blankets, including those used by dogs. Unlike natural fibers, fleece is made from polyester, which gives it those much-loved insulating and soft qualities. However, this synthetic origin also means fleece has a high tendency to retain odors. The fabric’s texture allows it to trap and hold onto the oils and sweat from dogs, contributing to the persistent smell that seems to linger even after washing.

Benefits and Drawbacks

The pros of using fleece for dog blankets are undeniable. Its softness provides a comfortable resting place for pets, while its excellent insulating properties ensure they stay warm. This makes fleece a top material for pet bedding, especially in cooler environments. On the downside, its ability to absorb and retain odors is a significant drawback. This odor retention can make a fleece blanket smell like a dog even after it has been cleaned, posing a challenge for pet owners striving for a fresh-smelling home.

How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket

Pre-Treatment for Deep Cleaning

Before engaging in the main washing process, pre-treating your fleece blanket can significantly enhance the effectiveness of the cleaning and ensure a deeper removal of dog smell. This preparatory step involves a few critical actions.

Brushing Away Fur and Debris

It’s essential to remove as much loose fur and dirt as possible from the fleece blanket before washing it. This is because fur and debris can further embed into the fabric during the washing process, making odors more difficult to eliminate. Use a soft-bristled brush or a pet hair remover tool to gently brush the blanket, focusing on areas that your dog favors. This step not only helps in reducing the amount of hair and dirt that could potentially cause the washer to work less efficiently but also prevents the smell from becoming more ingrained within the fleece fibers.

Tackling Stains

Dog-related stains such as drool, urine, or mud can contribute significantly to the overall odor of a fleece blanket. Pre-treating these stains before washing can boost the chances of completely removing them. For organic stains like urine or drool, using an enzymatic cleaner can be particularly effective as it breaks down the odor-causing bacteria. Alternatively, a mixture of water and mild detergent can be used to pre-treat most stains. Gently apply the solution to the stained area and allow it to sit for several minutes before blotting it dry with a clean cloth.

Baking Soda Power

Baking soda is known for its deodorizing properties, making it an excellent agent for pre-treating a smelly fleece blanket. To utilize its full power, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda over the entire surface of the blanket. Gently rub it into the fabric with your hands or a soft brush, allowing it to penetrate the fibers. Leave the baking soda on the blanket for at least 15 minutes, or even overnight for severe odors, before shaking it off and proceeding with the washing. This step not only helps in neutralizing odors but also in loosening any additional fur or debris embedded in the fleece.

How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket: Comprehensive Guide

The Washing Machine Method (Preferred)

Choosing the Right Settings:

Water Temperature: Hot water is often recommended for sanitizing and effectively removing odors. However, it’s crucial to consult the care label first as some fleece materials may not tolerate high temperatures well, risking shrinkage or damage. Cold water, on the other hand, is safer for the fabric but may not be as effective in odor elimination.

How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket

Cycle Type: A heavy-duty cycle can provide a thorough cleaning for heavily soiled blankets, while a delicate cycle is gentler on the fabric but may not remove odors as efficiently. The choice depends on the blanket’s condition and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Spin Speed: A higher spin speed helps remove more water, which aids in reducing drying time. However, too high of a spin speed on delicate materials like fleece might cause unnecessary wear and tear. Opt for a medium or low spin speed to balance efficiency with care.

Detergent Selection:

Enzyme cleaners are particularly effective against organic odors and stains, such as those from pets, by breaking down the odor-causing molecules. When selecting a detergent, look for one that specifies it contains enzymes.

High-efficiency (HE) detergents are designed for use in machines that use less water. They’re concentrated for better cleaning without leaving residues that can harbor smells. Ensure that the detergent chosen is compatible with your washing machine type.

Natural Cleaning Boosters:

Adding a half cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle can act as a natural fabric softener and deodorizer without leaving a vinegar smell behind. Its acidic nature helps to break down odors at their source.

Borax, when added to the wash cycle, can boost cleaning power by softening hard water and making detergents more effective. It also has natural odor-eliminating properties. Use according to the package instructions, typically a half-cup per large load, ensuring it’s distributed evenly throughout.

Tips for Washing Machine Method

  • Use a gentle or short cycle for delicate fleece materials.
  • For particularly smelly blankets, run an additional rinse cycle with vinegar to neutralize odors further.
  • Avoid using fabric softeners as they can leave behind residue that traps odors and reduces the blanket’s absorbency.
  • Hang the fleece blanket to air dry if possible, as excessive heat from the dryer can damage or shrink the fabric. If using a dryer, use a low heat setting and add wool dryer balls or clean tennis balls to help fluff up the fleece and reduce drying time.

The Hand-Washing Method (Alternative)

Handwashing for Delicate Fleeces (Alternative)

Filling the Basin:

Begin by selecting a sufficiently large basin or sink and fill it with lukewarm water – neither too hot nor too cold, as extreme temperatures can affect the fleece’s integrity. Add a small amount of mild, enzyme-based detergent to the water, ensuring it’s meant for handwashing if possible. Stir the water gently to evenly distribute the detergent, forming a uniform cleaning solution that’s ready for your fleece blanket.

Soaking and Gentle Agitation:

Place your fleece blanket into the prepared basin, ensuring it’s completely submerged. Allow it to soak for at least 15 minutes, giving the cleaning solution ample time to penetrate the fibers and start breaking down odors and stains. After soaking, gently agitate the blanket by hand, carefully moving it through the water with a squeezing motion rather than scrubbing or twisting, which can stretch or damage the fleece materials. This gentle agitation helps to loosen and lift any remaining dirt, fur, and odors from the fabric.

How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket

Rinsing Thoroughly:

After washing, the next critical step is to rinse the blanket thoroughly to remove all detergent residues, as these can attract dirt and foster the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Empty the basin and refill it with clean, cool water. Submerge the blanket again, gently squeezing it to flush out soap. You may need to replace the rinse water a few times until it runs clear, ensuring no detergent remains. This thorough rinsing is crucial in maintaining the fleece’s softness and preventing any future odor build-up.

Drying the Freshly Washed Blanket

Air Drying

Air drying is the recommended method to preserve the softness and integrity of your fleece blanket. After thoroughly rinsing, gently squeeze out excess water without wringing the fabric, as this can damage the fleece. Spread the blanket out flat on a clean drying rack or hang it on a clothesline in a well-ventilated area, avoiding direct sunlight which can fade colors and weaken fibers. Allow it to dry completely in the air, flipping it over periodically to ensure even drying. This method maintains the blanket’s plushness and avoids the wear and tear associated with mechanical drying.

Tumble Drying (Use Caution)

While tumble drying is faster, it comes with risks such as potential shrinking and static build-up. If you choose to use a dryer, proceed with caution. Select the lowest heat setting and consider adding clean tennis balls or wool dryer balls to the dryer. These balls help to fluff the fleece and promote more efficient drying by enhancing air circulation within the drum. It’s crucial to regularly check the blanket throughout the drying process to prevent overheating and removing it from the dryer while it’s still slightly damp to air dry the rest of the way. This minimizes the risk of shrinking and helps maintain the blanket’s optimal condition.

Dealing with Stubborn Dog Odor

Identifying the Source of the Odor

To effectively tackle stubborn dog odor on fleece blankets, it’s crucial first to identify the source of the smell. General dog smell, which pervades from a pet’s natural oils and sweat, differs significantly from the sharp, ammonia-like scent of urine accidents. Inspecting the blanket closely for any visual signs or more concentrated areas of odor can help determine if the smell is due to general presence or specific incidents. Addressing the exact source is key to selecting the most effective cleaning method.

How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket

Enzyme Cleaner to the Rescue

Enzyme cleaners are highly effective in breaking down the organic compounds that cause odors, especially from pet urine. These cleaners contain beneficial bacteria that digest odor-causing residues, eliminating the smell at its source rather than merely masking it. For blankets affected by urine, applying an enzyme cleaner directly to the stained area before washing can significantly enhance odor removal. Ensure the product has enough contact time with the fabric as per the instructions for optimal results.

Vinegar Rinse for Extra Deodorization

For an added deodorization step, incorporating a diluted vinegar rinse into the cleaning process can neutralize stubborn odors that survive the initial wash. After washing the blanket with your chosen method, adding a cup of white vinegar to a final rinse can help eliminate lingering smells. The acidity of vinegar works effectively against the alkaline nature of pet urine, breaking down the molecules that contribute to the odor. This step ensures that your fleece blanket is not only clean but also completely free of any persistent dog-related scents.

Fresh Scents for a Finishing Touch

Enhancing the freshness of your fleece blanket after a thorough wash can make it feel even more inviting and comforting. While cleanliness is paramount, introducing a light, pleasant scent can elevate the sensory experience of using the blanket. Below are optional ways to infuse your blanket with a fresh fragrance, bearing in mind the importance of maintaining the fabric’s integrity.

Essential Oils for a Light Fragrance (Optional)

For those who prefer a natural approach to imbuing textiles with fragrance, essential oils offer a delightful solution. Lavender, known for its calming properties, and lemongrass, with its invigorating scent, are excellent choices. However, it’s crucial to use these oils safely. Add a few drops to wool dryer balls or a damp washcloth, then place them in the dryer with your fleece blanket on a low or no-heat setting. This method allows the fragrance to disperse gently without direct oil contact, minimizing the risk of oil stains or fabric damage.

Fabric Softeners for Added Comfort (Optional)

Fabric softeners can leave your fleece blanket feeling softer and smelling fresh. However, they come with considerations. Traditional fabric softeners might increase static cling in synthetic fabrics like fleece and potentially reduce the fabric’s absorbency over time. A suitable alternative is using a fabric softener specifically designed for synthetic fabrics or opting for dryer sheets that are less likely to impact the blanket’s breathable qualities. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid adversely affecting the fleece’s texture and functionality.

How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket

Preventing Doggy Odors in the Future

Maintaining a fresh, clean environment for both you and your pets doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By implementing a few proactive strategies, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of doggy odors becoming a persistent issue in your home. Here we outline essential practices to keep your blankets and living spaces smelling fresh.

Regular Washing Routine

One of the simplest yet most effective strategies to prevent odor accumulation on your fleece blankets is to establish a regular washing routine. Regular laundering not only removes dirt and oil but also eliminates odor-causing bacteria before they have a chance to settle deeply into the fabric fibers. Depending on your dog’s level of activity and the blanket’s usage, a bi-weekly or monthly washing schedule can help maintain a consistently clean and odor-free condition. Remember, frequent washing keeps the need for intensive deodorization at bay, ensuring your blankets remain inviting and comfortable for both you and your pet.

Bathing Your Dog Regularly

The cleanliness of your fleece blankets is directly tied to the cleanliness of your dog. Regular bathing reduces the amount of natural oils and sweat your pet transfers to fabrics, significantly diminishing the potential for odor development. Establish a bathing routine suited to your dog’s breed, lifestyle, and skin needs. This practice not only keeps your pet healthy and happy but also contributes to maintaining a cleaner, fresher home environment.

Dog Beds as an Alternative

Investing in a high-quality dog bed offers a dedicated space for your pet to relax while minimizing the transfer of dirt and odors to household textiles, such as your fleece blankets. Dog beds are designed to be easily washable, allowing for more frequent cleaning without affecting your home’s overall laundry load. Encourage your dog to use their bed by placing it in a favored area of your home and incorporating it into their routine, thereby creating a positive association with the space.

Fresh Air Ventilation

Regularly airing out your fleece blankets can significantly prevent the accumulation of musty odors. Periodic exposure to fresh air and sunlight (while being mindful of fading) naturally combats moisture build-up and odor-causing bacteria. Even on cold or overcast days, a brief outdoor airing can refresh fabric fibers and dissipate lingering smells. Integrating this simple step into your care routine ensures that your blankets remain pleasantly fresh between washes.

In conclusion, learning how to get dog smell out of a fleece blanket encompasses identifying the source, employing enzyme cleaners, utilizing vinegar rinses, choosing fresh scents, and implementing preventive measures. These steps ensure that your fleece remains inviting and odor-free, enhancing the comfort of both you and your pet.

Addressing Common Mistakes to Avoid

Maintaining the freshness and cleanliness of your fleece blankets, especially when pets are involved, does require attention to detail. Avoiding common missteps can make a significant difference in preserving the quality and longevity of your blankets while ensuring they remain free from unpleasant odors. Below are key points to consider in your cleaning regimen.

Overuse of Detergent

An instinctive response to a heavily soiled or smelly blanket might be to add extra detergent to the washing cycle, believing it will enhance cleaning power. However, this can backfire. Excess detergent can leave a residue on fleece fabrics, trapping odors and reducing the material’s softness. It’s advisable to use the recommended detergent amount or slightly less, particularly for high-efficiency washers.

Neglecting Drying Guidelines

Fleece is a delicate material that doesn’t take well to high heat. Ignoring the proper drying instructions can lead to damage such as shrinkage, loss of softness, and even setting in odors that you were trying to eliminate. Always opt for air drying when possible or use a low heat setting on your dryer. Removing the blanket promptly once dry can prevent static build-up and ensure it retains its plush texture.

How to Get Dog Smell out Of Fleece Blanket

Waiting Too Long to Wash

Postponing the washing of your pet’s favorite fleece blanket can lead to deeply embedded odors and bacteria, making them harder to remove. Procrastination in laundering not only complicates the cleaning process but can also shorten the lifespan of your blanket. Adhering to a routine washing schedule is crucial for maintaining a clean, inviting, and odor-free environment.

Using Harsh Chemicals

While it might be tempting to use strong chemical cleaners to tackle stubborn odors, these can harm the fleece material, leading to deterioration and potential skin irritation for both you and your pet. Opt for milder, pet-safe cleaning options that are effective yet gentle on fabrics. Enzyme-based cleaners, for example, offer a powerful solution to organic stains and odors without the harsh side effects.

By steering clear of these common mistakes and following the recommended care practices, you can ensure that your fleece blankets remain a cozy and clean haven for you and your furry frieFr

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why Does My Fleece Blanket Smell Like My Dog?

A: Fleece blankets can absorb odors, including the natural scent of your dog. This is especially true if your dog frequently lays on or snuggles with the blanket.

Q: How Can I Tell if My Fleece Blanket Smells Like My Dog?

A: You may notice a distinct doggy odor when using or handling the fleece blanket, even after it has been washed.

Q: Can I Use Regular Laundry Detergent to Remove the Dog Smell from My Fleece Blanket?

A: Yes, you can use regular laundry detergent, but you may need additional steps or products to completely eliminate the odor.


In essence, learning how to get dog smell out of fleece blankets revolves around a blend of proactive and regular maintenance habits coupled with a mindful approach to cleaning.

Whether it’s establishing a regular washing routine, ensuring your dog remains clean and healthy, or simply airing out your blankets, each step plays a crucial role in preserving the freshness and comfort of your living spaces.

By avoiding common pitfalls such as the overuse of detergent or neglecting drying guidelines, you can significantly extend the life and enjoyment of your fleece blankets. Remember, maintaining a clean, odor-free environment is not just about removing unpleasant smells; it’s about creating a cozy, welcoming home for you and your cherished pets.

Spread the love

Leave a Comment