Think you need to go deeper? Get your ducts cleaned before showing the home. A home's air ducts can collect everything from animal dander and hair to skin cells, mold and dust — things that will agitate a particularly sensitive would-be homebuyer. Also, if you have cats and have been using clay kitty litter, definitely get your ducts cleaned, Szabo says. The micro-dust generated from clay litter goes everywhere, she says. (And if you're still in the house, switch to a non-clay litter.)
But to add some quick atmosphere, bake an apple for 15 minutes with a cinnamon stick inside it, she says. Or, take a stick or two of cinnamon and put them in a pot of water and gently simmer it on the stovetop. You can also throw in some cloves and orange rind. "This is kind of a Christmasy smell that most people like."
Get out the scrubbing bubbles
Also add some baking soda and vinegar to the washing machine (with detergent) when washing dog beds and other materials animals have used. "It really does cut down on odors," she says.
Use Get Serious! on the mattress — apply and then blot, Szabo says. If the mattress is a serious challenge, Szabo recommends a mattress protector by Crypton to seal in "whatever ick might be in there, for the purposes of showing the house."
Here's another way to bag odors: Moso Natural Air Purifying Bags. The burlap bags ($9.95-$22.95; they look a bit like pillows) are filled with bamboo charcoal. Hang one anywhere you want to eliminate odors. The bag works like a low-tech dehumidifier, swallowing moisture and stink. Put it in closets, where pet smells can gather. To refresh it, simply hang it in the sunshine.
Some people resist the cost; they shouldn't, Aslett says. "You've got a $400,000 house – and you're going to let a $2,000 carpet ruin the sale?" he says. Put down new carpet.
One final tip, as you look toward your next home: "The best cure for pet cleanup is N-O-W," Aslett says. At your next home, jump on any of Spot's accidents ASAP, so you'll have less to worry about in the future.
Follow these tips, and you'll be wagging your tail when the homebuyers coming knocking and the offers come pouring in.