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How to Get Dog Poop Smell Off Your Hands: A Comprehensive Guide

by | 23 June 2024

Have you ever been in the middle of a pleasant walk with your furry friend when they decide it’s time to “do their business”? You dutifully bend down, execute the “Doggy Yoga Pose – The Downward Dog,” and pick up the “doggy chocolates” with a trusty dog poop bag. Maybe you get some poop on your hands or even after disposing of the bag, you can’t seem to shake off that lingering odour on your hands. Don’t worry; you’re not alone! Many dog owners struggle with this stinky situation.

Getting rid of the dog poop smell on your hands is not only important for your comfort but also for your health. Dog feces can harbour harmful bacteria and germs that can lead to illness if not properly cleaned off your skin.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into why dog poop smell lingers on your skin, the health implications, and, most importantly, how to effectively remove the dog poop smell from your hands. We’ll also share tips on preventing the smell from getting on your hands in the first place. So, let’s get started and bid farewell to those smelly hands!

Why Does Dog Poop Smell Linger on Skin?

Dog poop is notorious for its strong, unpleasant odour. This is due to the combination of bacteria, undigested food, and waste products in your dog’s digestive system. When you pick up dog poop, even with a bag, some of these odorous particles can transfer onto your skin.

The smell lingers because of the oils and bacteria present in dog feces. These substances can adhere to the natural oils on your skin, making it difficult to remove the odour with just a quick rinse. The bacteria can also continue to emit the foul smell until they are thoroughly cleaned off your hands.

Health Implications of Lingering Dog Poop Smell

Beyond the unpleasant odour, lingering dog poop smell on your hands can pose health risks. Dog feces can contain various harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter, as well as parasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

If you don’t properly clean your hands after handling dog poop, these germs can spread to other surfaces or even enter your body if you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. This can lead to illnesses like diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

Studies have shown that dog feces can be a significant source of bacterial contamination in urban areas. So, it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to remove the smell and the germs from your hands after picking up after your pup.

How to Remove the Dog Poop Smell from Your Hands

Effective Methods to Remove Dog Poop Smell from Hands

Using Soap and Water

Cartoon of someone putting liquid soap on their hands

The most basic and effective method to remove dog poop smell from your hands is to thoroughly wash them with soap and water. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Wet your hands with warm running water.
  2. Apply a generous amount of soap. Antibacterial soap is preferred, but any hand soap will do.
  3. Rub your hands together to lather the soap, making sure to scrub between your fingers, under your nails, and on the backs of your hands.
  4. Continue scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. You can sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to ensure you’ve washed long enough.
  5. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  6. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.

Home Remedies

If soap and water alone don’t seem to do the trick, try these home remedies:

Vinegar and Baking Soda: Mix equal parts white vinegar and baking soda to make a paste. Rub this mixture all over your hands, paying special attention to areas where the smell seems strongest. Let it sit for a minute or two, then rinse it off with warm water and wash your hands with soap as usual.

Lemon Juice: Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side all over your hands. The citric acid in the lemon will help break down the odour-causing bacteria and oils. Rinse your hands with water and wash with soap afterwards.

Oil, Lemon & Coffee Grounds: If you are a coffee drinker, this could be the perfect DIY smell removal remedy to get smells of your hands. The example used in this video is removing Garlic, but it will work for dog poop too.


I use this DIY scrub to get garlic and all food odors off my hands – save this video!

♬ original sound – Kathleen Ashmore

Toothpaste: We haven’t tried this one, but according to Delta Dental on TikTok, toothpaste is another home remedy that will help you get the dog poop smell  off your hands:


When washing your hands just doesn’t do the trick- try this hack! 🧼 The toothpaste will help to neutralize the smell. Don’t knock it until you try it! 🤗 #lifehack #cleanhands #smellgood #smellfresh

♬ original sound – Delta Dental Insurance Company

Commercial Products

There are also specialised soaps and hand sanitisers available that are designed to neutralise strong odours like dog poop smell. Look for products containing enzymes or activated charcoal, as these ingredients are particularly effective at breaking down organic compounds and absorbing odours.

Tips for Persistent Smell

If the smell persists after trying the above methods, try soaking your hands in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water for a few minutes before washing with soap. You can also try using a nail brush to scrub under your nails where bacteria and odours can linger.

How Long Does Dog Poop Smell Last on Skin?

The duration of the dog poop smell on your skin can vary depending on factors like:

  • The composition of your dog’s poop (diet, health, etc.)
  • How long the poop was in contact with your skin
  • Your skin type and sensitivity
  • The effectiveness of your cleaning method

In most cases, the smell should dissipate within a few minutes to a few hours after thoroughly washing your hands. If the odour persists longer than that, it may be due to bacteria or oils that were not fully removed. In this case, repeat the cleaning process or try a different method.

Preventing Dog Poop Smell on Hands

The best way to deal with dog poop smell on your hands is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips:

Use Gloves

Wearing disposable gloves when picking up dog poop can create a barrier between your skin and the smelly substance. Just be sure to remove and dispose of the gloves properly afterwards.

Proper Bag Handling

When using dog poop bags, try to minimise contact between the poop and your hands. Use the bag as a barrier, and avoid touching the outside of the bag after picking up the poop. Oh Crap, dog poop bags are 3x thicker than average poop bags, which helps reduce the chances of getting that warm, wet feeling (and lingering smell) on your hands.

Hand Sanitising Wipes

Carry a pack of hand sanitising wipes with you on walks, or pack them in the back of the car for those doggy days out. After disposing of the poop bag, use a wipe to clean your hands until you can get to a sink to wash them thoroughly.

Scientific Data and Stats

  • A study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that dog feces can contain up to 23 million fecal coliform bacteria per gram. If ingested, these bacteria can cause serious illnesses in humans. For context, human poop has about 13 million per gram, so our furry friends have some potent poop! 
  • According to the Australian Department of Health, handwashing can reduce the risk of diarrhoeal illness by up to 48%. This highlights the importance of proper hand hygiene after handling dog poop. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does dog poop smell linger on the skin? 

Dog poop contains bacteria and oils that can adhere to the natural oils on your skin, making the odour difficult to remove without thorough cleaning.

What are the best home remedies to remove dog poop smell from your hands?

Vinegar and baking soda paste or lemon juice can help neutralise the odour. Rub either mixture on your hands, let it sit for a minute, then rinse and wash with soap and water.

Are there commercial products that effectively remove dog poop smell from hands?

Yes, look for soaps or hand sanitisers containing enzymes or activated charcoal, which are effective at breaking down odour-causing compounds.

How long does dog poop smell last on the skin?

The duration varies, but the smell should dissipate within minutes to hours after thoroughly washing your hands. If it persists, repeat the cleaning process.

What are the best ways to prevent dog poop smell from getting on your hands?

Wear disposable gloves, use thick dog poop bags (like Oh Crap bags) to minimise contact, and carry hand sanitising wipes for quick cleaning until you can wash your hands.


Dealing with the lingering smell of dog poop on your hands is an unpleasant but common experience for dog owners. Understanding why the odour sticks around and knowing the proper techniques to remove it can keep your hands clean, fresh, and germ-free.

Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after picking up after your pup. If the smell persists, try home remedies like vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice, or invest in specialised odour-neutralising products.

Prevention is key, so consider using disposable gloves, high-quality poop bags, and carrying hand-sanitising wipes in the back of the car for those days out. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy dog ownership’s joys without the lingering stink!

You may also be interested in these posts:

Do you have any other tried-and-true methods for removing dog poop smell from your hands? Share your tips and experiences in the comments below, and let’s help fellow dog owners say goodbye to smelly hands together!

Featured Image by ivabalk from Pixabay.

<a href="" target="_self">Henry Reith</a>

Henry Reith

Henry is proud to be one of the crapologists at Oh Crap, and specialises in crap jokes & sharing paw-some content.

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