Your pets are much-loved members of your family, but a tribe of furry friends can make it hard work to keep your home clean and odor-free.
Here are 21 handy time and money-saving cleaning tips and tricks every pet owner must know!
1. Use duct tape. Wrap duct tape with the sticky side facing out around an old paint roller. Roll the roller over fabric upholstery and carpets to pick up pet hair.
2. Make pets fragrant. Dogs have a habit of rolling in something stinky and bringing the smell indoors with them. Sometimes, even bathing your pet won’t shift the odor. But spritz your pup with a non-toxic, biodegradable, odor-eliminating spray, and those nasty smells will magically disappear!
3. Wear rubber gloves. Rubber gloves are extremely efficient at removing pet hair and grease from fabric. Simply rub your gloved palm across the furniture, using your fingers to remove fur from awkward corners. When you’re done, wash the gloves in warm water and dish soap to remove dirt and grease.
4. Vacuum your dog. Rather than vacuuming your carpets and furniture to get rid of dog hair, run your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment over your pet. That way, you’re cutting out the middleman and sending all that loose hair straight into the vacuum cleaner bag or cylinder!
5. Brush your dog. You can catch a lot of pet hair before it gets loose in your home by brushing your pet frequently.
Give your dog (or cat) a thorough brush every other day, and more often during shedding periods, and you’ll save yourself a lot of vacuuming time. Most dogs seem to enjoy the experience too!
6. Keep pets off furniture. If you don’t want your pets sleeping on your furniture, place a plastic carpet runner across your furry friend’s favorite chair with the runner’s plastic teeth pointing upward. Suddenly, Fido will find his own bed much more comfortable than your sofa!
7. Use Sticky Sheets. StickySheets are reusable plastic sheets that lift pet hair quickly and easily from your furniture. Simply remove the backing, press the sheet against the hairy surface, and lift it up.
8. Disguise scratch marks. Scrabbling claws can leave marks and scratches on wooden door frames. Use a gel stain to cover the marks and finish off with a light varnish.
9. Deodorize upholstery with Baking Soda. Baking soda is amazingly effective at removing pet smells from your furniture. Simply sprinkle a generous quantity of baking soda across the material and allow it to rest for up to 30 minutes. Then, use a handheld vacuum or a hose attachment to remove the baking soda, and the smell will go with it.
10. Freshen up vacuum cleaners. When you replace the bag in an upright vacuum cleaner, pop an unused fabric softener sheet into the bag. As you vacuum, you’ll enjoy a fresh scent instead of the aroma of musty dog hair and old lint!
11. Use enzyme cleaners. To remove pet stains, always use enzyme cleaning products. Enzyme cleaners are formulated with harmless bacteria that digest the organic matter causing the stain and odor. Once all the organic matter is gone, the bacteria die, and you’re left with a spotless, odor-free result.
12. Make kitty litter clean up hassle-free. Before filling the box or pan with kitty litter, line it with a plastic garbage bag. When it’s time to clean the pan and change the litter, just lift out the bag, and you’re good to go!
13. Protect doors from scratches. Dog and cat claws can ruin wooden doors. But you can easily protect your doors from damage and keep them looking smart. Take a one-eighth inch piece of plastic or plexiglass, cut it to fit inside the door jambs, and install the plastic about a foot above the reach of your pets using round-headed wood screws. Then, all you need to do is wipe down the plastic door protector with a damp cloth, and it’ll look as good as new.
14. Keep furniture fragrant. Put a fabric conditioner sheet into an envelope and slip it under your chair cushions, sofa, or pet’s bed. That’ll keep your room smelling fresh for longer.
15. Prevent clogged drains. If you wash your dog in your shower stall or bathtub, loose fur will eventually block your drain. In your tub, take two mesh-style scrubbing pads and wedge them under either side of the stopper. In a shower, use a bobby pin to clip one pad to the drain plate. The pads will catch the hair but allow the water to drain away.
16. Protect furniture with throws. Dogs and cats not only shed hair, but they also tend to leave pawprints and grease anywhere they lie. Protect your soft furnishings by investing in a few cheap, easy-care throws that you can pop into the wash whenever they get grubby.
17. Keep eating areas tidy. Rather than spending time scrubbing your floor where your pets have spilled food, buy a wipe-clean mat. Put your pets’ food and water bowls on the mat instead of directly on the floor.
18. Scoop out litter boxes frequently. Cat litter boxes get dirty quickly, and that can make your entire home smelly in no time. Rather than emptying the litter box every couple of days, take a few minutes two or three times a day to remove whatever Tibbles has left in the box. That can save you a fortune in kitty litter and keeps the box clean and fresh for longer.
19. Use a lint roller. A lint roller is an essential cleaning kit item for every pet owner! Even after vacuuming, there can still be some loose pet hair clinging to your furniture, and a lint roller is perfect for dealing with that. Also, once a week or so, run a lint roller over your shades and drapes to lift any stray fur that’s clinging there.
20. Save your floors. Pets, especially dogs, always seem to track in dirt and mud from outside. Keep an old towel and a plant sprayer full of water beside the door so that you can wipe off your mucky pup’s paws as soon as he comes indoors. Also, position mats inside and outside your doors and train your dog to wait there while you clean him up.
21. Wash pet clothing and beds. Your dog’s skin produces natural oils that can leave collars and bedding with that unpleasant smell of damp dog that pervades your entire home. Be sure you buy washable pet bedding, and wash everything at least once every two weeks to keep odors down. Collars should be soaked in a bowl of hot water and dog shampoo for half an hour. Then, rinse the collars thoroughly and air-dry. If you prefer, and your family is cool with the idea, you can put most non-leather collars in your dishwasher.
A furry friend or two in your family can make extra cleaning work for you. Use the handy and practical cleaning tips and tricks we’ve included in this guide to keep your home (and your pet) smelling fresh and looking spick and span!
Author Bio: Tammi Avallone is the editor of fivebarks.com. She enjoys sharing her experiences and knowledge of raising and keeping various dog breeds as pets.