House Smells Like Wet dog – Though No Dog? 4 Reasons (Explained)

No one likes having unpleasant odors in their house because it can affect their living condition. These unpleasant odors can make you feel uncomfortable, plus they’re usually an indicator that there’s something not quite right in the house.

Have you ever had that wet dog smell in your house? If you’ve experienced that and you have a dog, then it is obvious who the culprit is.

What if you don’t have a dog? What could be causing that funky wet dog smell?

We found out the 4 most common reasons why your house smells like a wet dog:

1. Mold or Mildew Growth

Excess moisture, high humidity levels, and organic material cause mold or mildew growth.

Both mold and mildew can create that strange, damp, mucky smell that makes it seem like a wet dog is living in your house.

Excess moisture in the house usually comes from leaky pipes and damp areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and basement.

It can also come if you have malfunctioning appliances, such as a washing machine or dishwasher, that start leaking water which is often a sign that they’re close to the end of their lifespan.

In addition, organic materials like wood and natural fabrics can be breeding grounds for mold spores. So if you have wooden furniture or surfaces or rugs made from natural fabrics, mold, and mildew can quickly grow and multiply on them if they become wet.

To prevent mold and mildew growth in your house so you can prevent from having that wet dog smell, it’s crucial to regulate moisture levels and regularly check for any leaks in the house.

Furthermore, adequate ventilation and air circulation can help regulate the house’s humidity levels to prevent mold and mildew growth.

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2. Bacteria Growth

Bacteria can grow in the house for several reasons, including poor hygiene, improper food handling, and the overall poor quality of cleaning in the house.

Bacteria can grow and thrive in different areas when you don’t clean the house properly or frequently. They can grow on kitchen countertops, inside the bathroom, and on the floors.

They can grow under your rugs, and they can even grow on the curtains.

This is why cleaning your house properly and frequently is so important. How frequently you need to clean your house depends on a lot of factors.

You need to clean more often if you have kids and pets who are always making a mess. You also need to clean more if your house is close to the streets, which can get dusty.

Apart from cleaning the surfaces in the house, you also need to clean the different items in your house to prevent bacteria from growing in them:

  1. Rugs must be vacuumed at least once a week and deep-cleaned every few months or so, depending on their material.
  2. Curtains should be washed every 3 to 6 months.
  3. Upholstery should be wiped clean and sanitized regularly.
  4. Kitchen sponges should be replaced every two weeks.
  5. Towels should be changed out after three days, and bed linens should be changed out weekly.

If there’s a mess or spill somewhere in the house, spot-clean it immediately to prevent bacteria from growing.

In addition, you and your household members must also practice good hygiene, which includes regularly washing your hands. If you don’t have good hygiene, the bacteria from your body can spread on your clothing, towels, and bed linens.

Improper food handling can also cause the growth of bacteria in the house. Bacteria can grow on food without handling or storing it properly. It can also grow on expired food that you don’t throw out.

To prevent that wet dog smell in the house caused by bacterial growth, always practice good hygiene, clean and sanitize the surfaces in your house thoroughly and regularly, wash rugs and curtains, and ensure you handle food properly.

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3. Dirty Air Filters

The air filters in your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system could be dirty, which is causing that wet dog smell in the house.

Air filters can become dirty over time even when you’re using them normally, and this is why it is important to regularly clean and maintain them.

However, they can become dirty more quickly for various reasons, including poor air quality, pet dander, and cigarette smoking in the house.

The air quality becomes poor if the house is located close to busy roads, construction sites, or industrial sites because of the air pollutants they cause. Air filters are made to eliminate these pollutants, and if there are too many air pollutants, they tend to become dirty more quickly and can even get clogged.

If you have pets, this could be another reason your air filter is dirty. Pet hair can accumulate in air filters which causes them to become dirty more quickly.

If you or someone in your household smokes cigarettes, then this can also make your air filters dirty more quickly because the smoke contains air pollutants.

To prevent that wet dog smell from coming from dirty air filters, make sure to clean them regularly. Frequent cleaning is needed if you smoke, have pets, or live near a busy road, construction site, or industrial site.

Additionally, replacing air filters every 1 to 3 months is recommended to ensure that you always get good-quality air in your house.

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4. Pest Infestations

Pest infestations can also cause that wet dog smell in the house, even if there’s no dog.

Various factors, such as poor cleaning and sanitation practices and structural issues in the house, can cause pest infestations. It can also be caused by environmental factors, especially if your house is located close to nature and wildlife.

As discussed earlier, it’s important to regularly clean and sanitize the house properly. Besides bacterial growth, poor cleaning and sanitation practices can also cause pest infestation.

Dirty surfaces, food crumbs, trash left out, and uncleaned dirt, spills, and messes can attract pests such as cockroaches, ants, and rodents.

Structural issues like cracks and gaps in the walls, floors, ceiling, and foundation can also cause pest infestations. These can be entry points for pests.

When pests start living in your house, they leave droppings or create nests that will give your house that funky wet dog smell.

To prevent this, always clean your house thoroughly and as frequently as needed, immediately clean any spills and messes, and do not leave the trash out. Regularly check your house for gaps and cracks in the surfaces so that you can fix them to prevent pests from entering.

If you live in an area close to wildlife or prone to pests, implement pest control measures, including inspections and chemical treatments, to eliminate them effectively.

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