Potty Training

How Do I Keep Washable Potty Pads From Smelling?

by Anoushka Shetty

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Pee pads are a fantastic tool for potty training. However, it can be a bit wasteful to throw out a pad each time your dog dirties it. That’s why a lot of people turn to reusable puppy pads.

I loved using reusable potty pads when my pup was young because it would save me money. However, my pup’s potty training area would always be pretty stinky, no matter what I did. 

To help out any new pet parents, we’ve compiled a list of tips to ensure that your washable potty pad won’t retain any strong smells. 

How Can I Keep Potty Pads From Smelling?

A dog on an absorbent diaper diaper pad

So, how can you keep your reusable potty pads from retaining any odors? Here are a few helpful tips you can try implementing to keep your pup’s potty area smelling fresh.

Wash regularly

  • Wash the pee pads often & with the right technique. Although the manufacturers may state that you only need to wash the pads every 48 hours, I recommend washing them every 24 hours.
  • This is because the longer the urine is allowed to soak into the fabric, the more stubborn the odors will be.
  • So, get a new pad every day & wash the old one out as soon as possible. Wash it according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, but try using the hottest water possible & a pet-safe detergent. 
  • Since I couldn’t run a load of laundry every day, I had a bucket of diluted vinegar & baking soda in the garage. After 24 hours of use, I would take the pad & soak it in the solution until I was able to wash it. 
  • This eliminates any odors and stains without having to wash the whole thing.

Have a pad rotation

  • In order to change your reusable pads out frequently, you should definitely have enough clean pads on standby. I recommend that you should have at least 4 clean pads at any given time.
  • Although it may seem excessive, you really don’t have to keep rebuying them, & they will also last a lot longer if you keep cycling them.  
  • Rotating them often means that smells won’t be stuck in the fibers of the pad, so they are easier to wash out.

Pick up solid waste immediately

Cute dog near underpad with wet spot 1
  • If you see that your puppy has gone number 2 on the pad, pick it up immediately & spot-clean it with water or an odor eliminator.
  • The smell of feces can really stick to most materials, so it’s crucial to get it off as soon as possible. Plus, if your dog has already gone on the pad, it’s possible that they won’t want to go if they can see their poop on the mat.

Look for absorbent pads

  • The absorbency of the pads is the most important feature in reducing smell. You need a pad with maximum absorbency. High-quality reusable pads are able to hold large amounts of liquid without leaking.
  • If it leaks, it will cause a strong smell to latch onto your floors or carpets. So, check out these excellent reusable puppy pads to find one that won’t leak even if you leave it for 24 hours.
  • I recommend a pad that can hold at least 7 cups of liquid. 

Choose the right size

  • If you get a puppy pad that is too small, there’s a high likelihood that your pooch will just miss every time he tries to go to the bathroom. The length of the pad should be at least as long as your pup from nose to tail. 
  • This way, if your dog likes to circle the bed before peeing, he will be able to without going right off the mat!
  • You can try out different sizes with regular disposable pads & see which one works the best for your pooch.

Use odor eliminators

  • Odor eliminators are an absolute necessity for a pup that doesn’t know how to go on pads yet. Simply spray it on & let it sit for the desired time.
  • An odor eliminator not only lifts stains, but it deodorizes odor-causing molecules so they can’t leak out into the air and stink up your potty area.
  • Personally, I really like this odor eliminator by Woolite, but any high-quality stain & scent remover should do the trick.

Dry in sunlight

Pads dried in veranda
  • While drying a bed in the dryer is great for killing pathogens, I’ve noticed that drying the pads in harsh sunlight kills any odors.
  • So, if you live in an area where you get a good amount of sunlight, you should definitely consider leaving them out after you wash them.
  • Not only will this save energy, but it will also dry up any odor-causing molecules that could still be stuck to the fabric of the bed.

Replace when necessary

  • If you take care of them properly, reusable pee pads can last for years! However, to prevent odors, it’s crucial that you replace them when necessary.
  • Change them out whenever they begin to fray, or some layers start to peel off.

Consider scented pads

  • If all else fails, you may consider using a scented pee pad. There are tons of scents available such as fresh laundry on lavender. 
  • However, keep in mind that these smells may be a little strong & artificial. So, they may be uncomfortable for people with strong senses of smell. Also, some dogs do not like to go on scented pads.


When I was potty training my pup, pee pads were intrinsic to the process. Reusable pads are great because they are better for the environment, but they tend to get a little stinky with use.

To reduce odors, it’s important to change them out frequently, wash them with a pet-safe detergent, and replace them when they get worn out.

If you have any other tips on how to keep your puppy’s pad smelling fresh, please leave a comment down below.

Thanks for reading!

1 thought on “How Do I Keep Washable Potty Pads From Smelling?”

  1. I bought some laundry deodorizing crystals, plus, I add a small amount of vinegar to the wash cycle. The pads do have an odor of their own that is noticeable before ever being used, so that adds to the smell. I change the pads every day, and keep them in a wire basket in the garage till there’s enough for a wash load. They do have a minor smell, but better that than the added bulk to my trash each week from those disposable pads, and the hit to the environment. Plus, my kitchen trash smelled horrible all week. I am so glad to have discovered washable pee pads.


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