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That Ripe Dog Smell Isn’t a Great Addition to a Small Apartment — Colorfil Is the Solution

Using air purifying technology without any of the added chemicals, this brand aims to get your pup’s odor under control.

by Rebecca Caplan
August 9, 2022
A dog laying on a furry carpet next to two colorfil filters.
@colorfil_air

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I have kind of a gross confession: I love “dog smell.” Seriously, give me all the fur dander and corn chip-smelling paws you got. However, my girlfriend, a person who many would refer to as “having a normal working nose,” does not care for the several layers of dog musk that permeate our home. So, deciding to privilege our relationship over my unique olfactory preferences, I began looking for a solution.

Of course, keeping things clean was a big factor in getting rid of the smell — wiping down surfaces, vacuuming rugs, changing sheets, etc. But, being the crunchy-ish New Yorker I am, I became concerned about consistently using harsh chemicals in such a small space- especially with our dogs and their sensitive noses. Switching to natural products helped; this odor-destroying multi-purpose spray from kin+kind quickly became my secret weapon in the fight against funk. But it turned out that, above all, I am kind of lazy and don’t feel like spraying my whole apartment down every time the dogs come in from a rainy summer walk. 

Finally, I decided I had to step up my game, but I cringed thinking about how my only option seemed to be one of those really expensive air purifiers — you know the giant space robot-y looking ones that haunt your living room from the corner, oscillating menacingly and judging you for your less-than-perfect air? Oh, and also, they cost $400? 

Luckily, just as I was about to bite the bullet and buy my own judg-y air robot, I stumbled onto Colorfil — a brand-new air filter designed specifically to neutralize and eliminate pet odors from your home. Functionally speaking, it works like any other HVAC filter but with the added bonus of using color-changing technology to let you know when you need to replace the filter. The pet odor-destroying component comes into play with Colorfil’s patented citric acid coating, which is both naturally derived and powerfully effective (huzzah to all my fellow crunchy-ish pet parents!). Colorfil also offers tons of sizes, as well as the option to send in custom dimensions, which can be a lifesaver for those with older or non-standard HVAC units.

So, what’s the downside? Well, Colorfil is technically designed for use on an HVAC system – not for standing or window units. However, friends we recommended the filter to were able to jerry-rig their Colorfil filters for their window units and reported back that it worked just as well. That said, it is always necessary to speak with a heating and cooling specialist before making any modifications to any air-conditioning device. 

As for us, the Colorfil filter was an immediate success. As was the case with many of the reviews on the Colorfil website, our air actually felt lighter. Our surfaces were less dusty and our rugs less dander-y, and our apartment finally started to smell more human than Dachshund. And you know what, I actually don’t mind the lack of dog smell — possibly because I no longer have to deal with the constant harsh chemical odors as an alternative. 

As for other specs, the Colorfil filter ranges anywhere from $22 to $58 depending on size and depth. According to their website, Colorfil’s color-changing technology will indicate a need for a filter change anywhere between two weeks to four months of use (for reference, we have two non-hypoallergenic dogs and our $25, one-inch deep option lasted two months.) Colorfil also offers a multiples discount — starting at 18 percent for two filters and going up to 28 percent for a pack of six — in addition to a subscription option that lets you save an additional 10 percent.

On top of all that, Colorfil donates 3 percent of every purchase to the company’s local humane society located in Champaign, Illinois. Plus, the brand uses NASA-backed research on new spacesuit technology — which works by removing toxic chemicals and kills viruses, bacteria, and mold from the air — to improve the air quality of pet parents who use their products.

Having left my smelly-dog-apartment days in the past, I can confidently say that I have no regrets. Having a cleaner home without having to use harsh chemicals is a win for the health and happiness of me, my girlfriend, and our pups. And, if I ever miss that doggo smell, I figure I can always get my fix from one whiff of any of the eight corn-chip-smelling paws I keep around this place.

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rebecca caplan

Rebecca Caplan

Rebecca Caplan is a writer based in Brooklyn whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Reductress, and Vulture. She lives in Brooklyn with her perfect, toothless dog Moose.