One of the constant struggles that pet families deal with is keeping the house clean. With pets, if it’s not copious amounts of hair, it’s muddy paws, drool, poo in the backyard, or nose prints on the windows. Here are 10 tips on how to keep your home (relatively) clean with pets.
1. Leave Messes at the Door
Pets got out. Messes come in. But your pet isn’t going to wait for you to run to the cupboard and grab a rag every time they come in. So keep your house clean by having something ready right at the door. There are many microfiber towels on the market specifically for pet paws. They are great for paw messes because they remove more dirt and water than standard towels. Also perfect for removing water quickly from wet pets.
Alternatively, use multi-use pre-moistened wipes like Organic Oscar Pet Wipes, which are easy to store and use wherever you need them.. Made with aloe vera, these pet wipes are soothing to your pet's skin, not like standard baby wipes, which can be irritating to dog skin. Baby wipes also often contain propylene glycol, even though they don't include this in the ingredients list. This ingredient can be mildly to moderately toxic for your pet to ingest.
2. Tackle Dirty Paws Before They Happen
Another effective way to keep pet paws (and your house) clean? Use pet boots in messy seasons. Everyone knows there are dog boots for winter, but did you know there are boots you can use in the warmer months, too?
Pawz dog boots are thin, reusable boots that are perfect for keeping your pet’s feet dry and your floors clean. Too dirty? Simply toss them – they come in packs of 12.
3. Use Furniture Covers
There are convenient furniture covers out now that make it easy to keep pet hair (and other messes) from your couches and chairs. These washable covers are easy to remove when guests visit unannounced.
Does your pet have a favourite spot on the couch? No need for a special furniture cover. Just use a thin pet mat or bed to designate “their spot”. Your pet will probably love the extra comfort.
4. Vacuum and Sweep Often, Brush More
There’s no quick fix to shedding pets. Most pets shed. But, there are some things you can do to control the mess. First, brush, brush, brush your pets. Invest in a high-quality deshedding brush such as the Furminator. I can’t stress how much a quality brush decreases the time spent brushing and improves your results. Brush frequently at first – even daily – until the amount of shed hair decreases substantially.
Vacuum and sweep. Invest in a good vacuum and microfiber broom or dry mop. Check Consumer Reports – not always the best vacuums for pet hair mention pets in the title at all. For pet hair, a microfiber dry mop is a necessity.
5. Use Enzyme Cleaners
For the best clean, use an enzyme cleaner from the start. I can’t sing enough praises for Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odour Remover. Use on any organic messes – pet urine and feces, vomit, drool, blood, grass, dirt, and even food. A good enzyme cleaner can also help you house train effectively. If your pet smells an old mess, they are more likely to poo or pee there again. (Other pets may follow suit, too!) Enzyme cleaners actually eat away the proteins that make up the mess, so there’s nothing left to smell, and you don't have to worry about any toxic chemicals in cleaners, either.
6. Say No to Tracking
Does your cat track litter all over the house? I’m surprised how far away from the box litter can actually make it. Even so-called trackless litters find their way out of the box.
Place a specially designed litter track mat, or a textured mat, like many welcome mats, in front of your cat’s litter box. I’ve seen quite a few DIY projects that include a mandatory walkway for your cat to tread that will remove any litter stuck to their paws.
7. Keep Air Fresh
Keeping air fresh – really fresh – means more than lighting a candle or spraying an aerosol. If you have pets, investing in a quality air filter is a good idea. HEPA air filters are downright essential if someone in your family has asthma or mild allergies. Remember to replace filters often.
For incidentals, enzyme sprays eliminate smells at their source, without lacing your air with nasty chemicals. Tropiclean Freshen Up Body Spray is both a non-toxic and organic solution.
Make sure your litter box has a carbon filter to keep bad smells in. Remember to replace it every 1-3 months to keep it fresh.
8. Keep Bathing to a Minimum
Unless your pet is really dirty, keep bathing to once a month or less for dogs. Most cats can bathe themselves and do not need baths. Too much bathing can dry out the skin causing even more shedding as well as skin flaking, which contributes to dust. Check out more pet bathing tips here.
9. Pick Up Poo
Okay, so this may technically fall outside of your house, but don’t underestimate the value of a clean yard. Nothing like stepping in poo to ruin the mood of an outdoor party. Instead of cleaning up poo only in the spring and fall, do a quick once a week pick-up. It will take much less time and won’t seem like an overwhelming task.
If you can, get your pet to poo in only one area. Use a Pee Post or collect your pet’s poo and place it in one area of the yard. Pets like to go where they’ve gone before, so your pet may just like his private potty. Another option? Porch potties.
And, to keep your neighborhood clean and your neighbors happy, always, ALWAYS pick up your pet’s poo while going for a walk. Earth Rated Poop Bags can attach to your leash. They smell great, too, so your walk doesn’t have to be tainted with a smelly reminder of your dog’s business.
10. Wash Your Pet Supplies
Washing your pet’s bed regularly keeps hair from tracking, reduces the likelihood of pest contamination, and keeps your house smelling fresh. Wash your pet’s bed in the laundry machine (check the fabric first) or spot clean using an enzyme based cleaner (like Nature's Miracle Stain and Odour Remover).
Use a laundry detergent that is gentle and won’t irritate your pet’s skin. There are pet-friendly laundry detergent additives such as Nature's Miracle Laundry Boost that are both tough on stains and odour and sensitive on skin. This is especially helpful for pets with skin allergies. Don’t just stop at the bed – most pet blankets and toys can also be washed.
Also, rinse bowls and food dishes at least once a week. Many dishes are dishwasher safe, but always check first. Keeping your pet’s food mat and the surrounding area clean decreases the risk of bacterial infection.
You CAN have pets and a clean home. You just have to plan ahead and be creative.