As a pet owner, you accept that your home may never be white glove clean — that’s just the price you pay for the companionship of your furred friend. However, if visitors can’t leave without pet hair plastered to their clothing, you might have a problem. If you’re having trouble keeping your house clean with pets, these seven tips can help.
1. Keep Your Pets Clean
If your pet stinks, it won’t be long until your whole house stinks. Schedule regular baths for your dog — every few weeks is best — and always wipe his paws before he comes inside on rainy, snowy, or otherwise mucky days. If you have a caged pet like a bird, small mammal, or reptile, set daily and weekly cleaning schedules to keep the enclosure smelling fresh. Doctors Foster and Smith recommend scooping waste and wet bedding daily and doing a full cage cleaning and disinfecting once per week.
2. Scoop Waste Daily
Caged pets aren’t the only ones producing waste. If you’ve ever stepped outside on a humid day only to be met with the stench of dog poop, you know just how offensive pet waste odors can be. Get in the habit of scooping waste from litter boxes and the backyard on a daily basis. Rotate poop duty through household members so no one person is stuck with the dirty work.
There’s no way to completely prevent shedding, but you can eliminate fur tumbleweeds from accumulating under your sofas by regularly brushing your dog or cat. Any fur you remove with a brush or deshedding tool is fur that doesn’t end up on your floors, furniture, and clothing.
4. Monitor for Health Issues
If you keep your pet groomed but the smell remains, there could be an underlying health issue contributing to the foul odor. AKC Pet Insurance advises that dental problems, ear infections, allergies, and impacted anal sacs can cause your pet to smell. If your pet has a smell you can’t explain, it’s time to talk to your vet.
5. Clean the Floors
Sweeping and vacuuming high-traffic areas on a daily basis takes less than 30 minutes, but makes a world of difference for your home’s cleanliness. Stash brooms throughout the house so it’s easy to do a quick sweep, and invest in a lightweight vacuum designed for pet hair so you get maximum results with minimum effort. It’s worth it to pay more for a vacuum that’s powerful and easy to use, because you’re going to be using it a lot.
6. Keep Pets Off the Furniture
When your pet lounges on the sofa, he’s not just leaving fur behind. Oils, dander, and other odor-causing bacteria can seep into the upholstery and cushions of your furniture and cause musty, unpleasant odors. Train your pets to lay on their own beds instead. If you can’t bear to kick Fido off the couch, use slipcovers that you can remove and launder. Choose slipcovers in colors similar to your pet’s coat to mask fur and use a lint roller to tidy up between washes.
7. Clean Accidents Immediately
The longer you let urine, vomit, or another pet mess sit, the harder it is to clean. React immediately when your pet has an accident, especially if it’s on carpet or upholstery. Avoid scrubbing messes, as it can drive stains and odors deeper. Instead, use a blotting action to clean pet messes and keep an enzyme-based cleaner on hand to neutralize odors before they settle in.
As pet owners, it’s easy to grow blind to our pets’ messes and smells. But while you might not mind a little fur on your furniture (or on your clothes, or in your food …), guests aren’t likely to feel the same way. When you apply these cleanliness tips, you can invite friends and family over with confidence — and maybe even introduce some black back into your wardrobe.