Cleaning with Pets in the House
Simple tips to make it easier to keep your home clean when you have furry friends.
We all love our dogs and cats so much that we consider them part of the family. However, it can be a little bit trickier to keep our homes as clean as we’d like with pets roaming the house. Here are some pet-proof tips to make cleaning with pets in the house a whole lot easier, while keeping our homes more livable.
The Basics: How to maintain control of all that animal hair!
Let’s face it. The biggest thing about having pets that prevent us from having a cleaner home is all that animal dander. Dogs and cats tend to shed their hair quite a bit, and all that hair tends to end up on our floors, furniture, clothes, and just about anywhere else you can think of.
The best thing you can do to lessen the effects of animal dander is to prevent it in the first place. Some of the best advice I can give is:
- Groom your pets regularly. This involves a few easy steps:
- Trim their coats to a manageable length that won’t shed so much.
- Give your pets regular baths (I bathe my Yorkie about once every two weeks.) Bathing your animals will keep them and your home smelling clean and fresh.
- Brush your pets’ coat every day, whenever possible. This will help to minimize shedding as well as keep your pets’ coat healthy.
Now, having said all that, some animal hair is likely to end up in places around your home, even when you take preventative steps. It’s just the nature of having animals in the home.
One of the best things I ever did was to buy one of those robotic vacuum cleaners. Sure, at first my pup thought it was her new toy. But, eventually, she got used to the idea of having it roll across the floor and started ignoring it.
I have all wood and ceramic floors, no carpets, so two things have really simplified cleaning of my floors – the robotic cleaner and the Swiffer Sweeper Wet Mop Cleaner. I can run the robotic cleaner on a regular schedule of my choosing, day or night, or whether I’m there or not.
It’ll pick up not only all the pet hair, but all the dirt and everything else that makes its way into the house. Be sure to get one that has good reviews for picking up animal hair.
The Swiffer mop works well to pick up any animal hair that remains while giving my home a light mopping. I can “mop” my 1400 square foot home in 15 minutes with hardly any exertion. You just can’t beat that!
As far as your furniture and other items that collect animal hair, a lint roller works great. You can use it on sofa cushions, nooks and crannies, and anywhere else you see your pet’s fur.
If you have carpets, vacuum your home as you normally would, but empty the bag on your vacuum cleaner often so it doesn’t clog up and spit out the hair again, leaving you at square one.
No matter how trained our pets are, accidents still happen. The key to keeping them from leaving a permanent mark is to clean the stains up as soon as you notice them.
Here are some easy tips to banish those unsightly pet stains:
- Use a clean, white towel to blot fresh stains to help absorb as much of the moisture as possible.
- Remove solid matter with an old, dull knife that you keep just for this purpose.
- Make a solution of ¼ teaspoon of clear dishwashing soap, a half-cup of white vinegar and a cup of lukewarm water. Take another clean and dry towel and blot this solution over the stain. Alternate the soapy solution with a clean, damp towel until the stain is removed. Don’t be tempted to dry the stain quickly with a heat source. Some stains might appear to be gone, but come up once dry. If you use a heat source, it’ll set the stain in. If this stain isn’t gone with the first round of cleaning, repeat the above steps.
- I’ve also heard that some swear by using foam shaving cream as a miracle pet stain remover, particularly on cat urine and dog vomit. Spray the shaving cream on the stain, let it sit for a minute, then wipe with warm water.
Another consideration is to address the areas where pets go in and out of your home.
- First, you want to have doormats at each entryway, the kind that are indoor/outdoor mats. These will help trap dirt and moisture when your pets first come back in from outside.
- I like to go beyond just having mats, though. I keep a clean hand towel with part of it slightly damp near doors, and wipe the paws of my little furry friends before they make their way all over the house. This should keep the majority of any outdoor dirt and moisture out of your home.
Address the areas where your pets spend time
Our dogs and cats tend to have their favorite areas of the home where they spent most of their time. Target these areas proactively and minimize any impact that might make more work for you. For instance:
- Have inexpensive throw blankets where your pets like to sleep. Mine love the sofa, so I have a couple of small blankets there to help collect animal dander or any accidents that might occur. I wash these blankets once to twice a week to keep it all fresh.
- Have a slide-free placemat or a small mat under your pets food bowls to catch any spillage that occurs when they eat. Once a day or as needed, you can just simply wipe the mats clean.
Keeping your home smelling fresh
Any pet owner understands how challenging it can be to keep their home smelling fresh with an animal in the house. However, it’s quite doable with these helpful tips:
- If you have cats, the most important thing you can do to keep your home smelling fresh is to replace the litter from the litter box on a regular basis. Empty the litter into a garbage bag, and then clean the box with soap, vinegar and water. (You may want to do this outside). Scrub it all up with a brush, rinse, and air dry. Then replace the litter and sprinkle baking soda in it to freshen it up.
- To freshen up your furniture and living spaces, sprinkle a little bit of baking soda over the furniture, leave for a little while, then use a hand vacuum to vacuum the baking soda back up. (Test a small area first to be sure it won’t discolor your fabric).
- For a more extensive cleanup (only every few months or so), use a carpet shampooer to clean carpets.
- Fill a bucket with half water and half vinegar and dip a sponge or towel, then wring it out well. Just gently brush the sponge or towel over your furniture to freshen it up.
- Don’t forget about your pet’s bedding. While many of our dogs and cats tend to sleep with us, some have their own little beds. Wash their beds (if small enough) or the covers and add vinegar to the wash cycle to get rid of any odors.
- Wash your pets toys as well as they can accumulate odors over time.
Don’t forget your regular cleaning routine
Of course, while you’re putting so much emphasis on what you can do to clean with animals in the house, it’s easy to get distracted away from your regular cleaning routine. These simple basics will do the trick:
- Clean your kitchen and bathroom surfaces and countertops daily by just wiping clean with your favorite cleaning product, whether it’s a homemade vinegar and water solution or a commercially prepared brand.
- Wipe any kitchen spills immediately to keep your kitties and pups out of the mess.
- Sweep your floors often, especially in the kitchen. Aim for sweeping the kitchen at least every other day.
- Vacuum at least once a week or do a more thorough cleaning of your floors at least once a week.
- Dust and clean surfaces of your living areas and bedrooms at least once a week.
- Wash bedding at least once a week.
- Clean bathrooms thoroughly at least once or twice a week.
Cleaning with pets in the house may seem overwhelming, but it really isn’t. Once you get into a routine, it’ll be second nature and your home will be cleaner than ever.
One thing to consider if time is a factor is that you can hire a cleaning agency to do some of the heavier lifting for you, like the more in-depth weekly chores. Either way, it’s possible to have the clean home you always wanted, even with dogs and cats roaming your home.