Skip to content

Car Smells Like Wet Dog – How to Get Rid of Bad Odor

  • by
Car Smells Like Wet Dog

Riding with your favorite pet dog on a long trip is quite fun. But what if you notice the car smells like a wet dog? It’s quite annoying to drive while you have a bad odor in your car, right? 

But why your car smells like a wet dog and how to get rid of the bad odor? Generally, the dog’s bad breath, anal sacs, or if you have old or wet carpets are the main reason for the wet dog smell. Simply use a vacuum cleaner regularly, get an extra seat cover, and cleaning spray to get rid of this stink.

In this article, we’ll discuss some possible causes and give you some excellent methods to get rid of this issue. Hopefully, our article will be helpful to you.

Why Does My Car Smell Like A Wet Dog – 5 Reasons Behind The Smell

Why Does My Car Smell Like A Wet Dog

Wet dog odors in cars are very common for car riders. It can occur for tons of reasons.

  1. Bacterial Infections in the Body: Numerous kinds of bacterial infections can cause such kind of smell. A healthy dog has strong defenses against bacteria. But if your dog has an allergy or hormonal issues, the bacteria can gradually grow and produce an unpleasant odor.
  2. Irregularity in Bathing: Regular bathing is necessary for every pet. If your dog doesn’t bathe regularly, it will odor very bad.
  3. Anal Sacs: One of the most common causes behind the smell of a wet dog is anal sacs. Most dogs are likely to smell other dogs. The excessive anal gland can be the result of a wet dog smell. 
  4. Damp Carpets: You’ll feel some moldy smell if you have wet or damp carpets in your car. Especially in the rainy season, car owners face this issue. The smell will remain the same until the carpet gets fully dry.
  5. Leakage of water: If you have any leaks in your car, you’ll find some musky smells in the car. If water remains for a while, mold and fungus will grow, and the car’s cabin will begin to smell.

How to Keep Your Car From Smelling Like Dog – Ideas to Follow

The first thing that comes to every rider’s mind is applying an air freshener to remove the wet dog smell from the car. Yet, it can’t remove the smell permanently. To do so, you can follow some of our tips here.   

How to Keep Your Car From Smelling Like Dog

Tips 1. Identify the Origin

First, you need to find the root of this problem. Usually, it occurs due to bacteria that grow in wet areas. Before getting into the car, your dog needs to be dry. Otherwise, it will produce a wet smell in your car. 

Tips 2. Using Urine Detector or UV Stain

We have some magical ways to know the root behind the smell. So, how about using Pet Urine Detector or UV Stain? Your dog’s frequent urinating spots are undetectable to the human eye, but UV Stain Detector keeps track of everything.

Tips 3. Use Charcoal or Carbon

For controlling odors, charcoal works like a magical thing. Any uncomfortable smells are absorbed by the surface area of activated charcoal or carbon. The carbon really eliminates smells caused by pet, mold, or volatile organic compounds also referred to as VOC.

Tips 4. Wash your Car

Any removable items from your car should be washed in the washing machine. By using your preferred liquid soap, the dog odor will be removed. You might need to spray and thoroughly clean any removable parts that cannot be washed in a machine.

Wash your Car

Tips 5. Change the Seat Cover

You can change the cover of your seat since you might notice musty smells. Additionally, you can get an extra seat for your dog but make sure you remove it after the road trip. 

Tips 6. Remove Dampness and Wetness

If you notice any wet carpets in your car, get a towel and wipe the excess water from it as soon as possible. If any other moveable items have been damaged by wetness, you may easily remove them and let them dry. 

You can let them dry naturally in the sunlight. If possible, opening the car doors might be the best option.

Remove Dampness and Wetness

Tips 7. Replace the Air Filter

If you don’t change the air filter regularly, they become blocked. So, after a trip with your dog, you should check the air filters to make sure no pollution is produced while the car was moving.

Tips 8. Try to Find Water Leakage

Check for any leakage because wet dog odors typically come from water that stays for a while. Keep an eye out for any mold or mildew that may have grown as a result of humidity in your car. Therefore, remove the carpets and matting from your car’s floor to check.

Tips 9. Wipe Any Mold or Mildew

During heavy rainfalls, opening your car window or door creates the ideal conditions for mold and mildew growth. Also, if you find any old clothes or mats that have been damaged by mold, it’s better to remove them. Otherwise, you’ll feel some weird smell from your car.

Tips 10. Apply Car Shampoo

You can get tons of shampoos for your car. It’s better to buy shampoo used for cars and pet odors.

Tips 11. Use Car Vacuum

Vacuum is something that you should do regularly. And try to use a hand-held vacuum as it has greater flexibility. 

Use Car Vacuum

Tips 12. Enzyme Cleaning or Smell Stain Removers

Once you apply enzymes for car odors on the spot, they will start digesting and organically absorbing the smell. Though it takes time, if you love the smell of it, it is worth working on.

Tips 13. The Mixture of Vodka and Water

Applying a mixture of vodka and water can help to get rid of unpleasant odors. Before applying it, you should know where the smells come from. Make sure to keep your windows open after applying them. 

Tips 14. Baking Soda

It gently removes any kind of stubborn stains or dirt. If needed, you can leave it overnight to remove the smell. 

Wash your Car

Tips 15. White Vinegar

You can also combine vinegar and water in equal portions. Just spray into the affected area and let them dry.

Tips 16. Bread

Many car owners don’t know that a piece of bread can absorb the odor. You just need a dish plate, then cut the bread into pieces and leave it overnight to remove the odor. 

Tips 17. Taking Proper Care of Your Canine

Regular bathing will make your dog neat and clean and it won’t cause any bad smell. Make sure you’re applying natural shampoo to your dog. Also, it’s better to avoid excessive oil while bathing. 

If your car has a persistent wet dog smell, it’s important to identify and address the underlying cause. In addition to potential water intrusion and mold growth, the odor could be a result of coolant-related issues. Understanding why your coolant is red can help shed light on the situation. Our article on why is my coolant red provides valuable insights into the composition and properties of coolant, including the presence of specific additives that give it a red color. Additionally, maintaining your car’s cooling system is crucial for optimal performance and preventing overheating. A professional cooling system flush offers several benefits, such as improved coolant circulation, removal of contaminants, and prevention of corrosion. To explore the advantages of a professional cooling system flush, we recommend reading our article on benefits of a professional cooling system flush for your car. By addressing any coolant-related issues and maintaining your cooling system, you can help eliminate the wet dog smell and ensure your car operates smoothly and efficiently.


Here, we have included the possible queries that might come from the car owners. Read on and you can also click on this site, “how to get rid of car smell Reddit” for more information.

Q: Does vinegar get rid of the wet dog smell?

Yes, of course. You can keep it in your car overnight in a small bowl. Use a wet towel, vinegar, and water mixture to spray and wipe the affected area.

Q: How to get a wet, musty smell out of a car interior?

Apply an enzyme cleaning or anti-mildew treatment once you are sure that the entire area is totally dry. Alternatively, you can use baking soda over the fabric and let it sit there for a few hours.

Q: How would you describe the smell of a wet dog?

The evaporation of water causes that fragrance. It smells like a combination of almonds, honey, fruit, and mushroom, with notes of sulfur as well as feces.

Final Words

Car smells like a wet dog is a common problem nowadays. Though, it is very simple if you follow the above guidelines properly. Whenever you smell something like a wet dog, just read our instructions to get rid of it. 

Keep in mind that if you clean your pet on a daily basis by grooming and cleaning, you can reduce the odor of the dog in your vehicle. Also, check any kind of damp carpets inside your car. We hope these suggestions will help reduce your car’s unpleasant smells. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *