They say a house is not a home without a pet, and how true it is! We love our furry family members just as much as our human ones, but they do tend to err on the messy side. Pet owners are faced with all sorts of extra chores, from vacuuming up stubborn pet hair (and the allergens that come with it) to jumping to action to address accidents. But there are a few things you can do to ensure that your home looks and smells pet-free, even when you’ve got a menagerie of adorable houseguests.
Vacuuming: The Key to a Clean Home
Without a doubt the best thing you can do to keep your pet-friendly home in tip-top shape is to invest in a good-quality vacuum cleaner and use it often! If you’ve got a pet that sheds, then you’ll appreciate the value of a good quality vacuum. Eliminating the piles of fur that accumulate on the floor, thereby lessening the fur that gets stuck to your furniture, clothes and everything else. Vacuuming up pet hair also reduces pet dander, easing symptoms for allergy sufferers, and sucks up flea eggs and larvae that could eventually pester your pets.
Here are some quick tips for vacuuming with pets:
- Pick the Right Vacuum—The Miele Cat and Dog line is one of the best vacuum cleaners for homes with pets because it has a very strong electric powerhead with agitating bristles that go deep into fibers to remove dander. We recommend choosing a vacuum such as this with a charcoal filter to help eliminate odors.
- Change the Filter Often—One of the things we often forget about when cleaning our homes is the vacuum cleaner filter. Not changing the filter as often as necessary—about once a month for most vacuums—can cause a musty odor or reintroduce allergens into the home. If you have severe pet allergies, a HEPA filter is a must.
- Dust Before You Sweep—If you’ve got some playful kitties who like to sit on top of the bookshelf or mantel, then you know the fuzz sometimes accumulates above ground. Make sure to dust before you vacuum so that you can sweep up any particles that fall during dusting.
- Maintain with Automation—You know those robotic vacuum cleaners that do the work for you? They can’t replace old-fashioned sweepers just yet, but in homes with pets, they do help. Many people do use vacuum cleaning robots to maintain in between deep cleans. An excellent plan for busy pet parents!
Cleaning Up Pet Accidents
Second to pet hair, pet accidents are the biggest threat to a clean pet-friendly home. But, regardless of if you’re dealing with a puppy not yet housetrained or a finicky feline who just doesn’t like a certain type of litter, the occasional accident is pretty much inevitable. Animals that are more accident-prone than others are at a much higher risk of abandonment or abuse, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Arming yourself with the proper tools and cleaning supplies will help you handle accidents with grace!
Here are a few tips for cleaning pet accidents and stains:
- Invest in the Right Tools—If you have carpet, you already know that the occasional deep-clean is necessary, even without pets. But shelling out hundreds of dollars every few months for a professional clean can get expensive, so it might be worth your while to invest in a carpet shampooer, such as a Rug Doctor. The great thing about owning versus renting a carpet cleaner is that you can put it to use immediately after you detect an accident.
- Act as Quickly as Possible—If you have hardwood floors, this can’t be understated: Make sure that you blot up any liquid accidents immediately, as any standing liquid can be detrimental to the wood. Any hard surface floors should be cleaned using the appropriate, manufacturer-recommended cleaners, as some cleaners can damage the finish of certain flooring types.
Preventing Pet Hair
Of course, taking care of the floors is always a primary focus of pet owners who expect nothing but the cleanest. But what if you didn’t have to sweep up any hair to begin with? Don’t get excited…there’s no real way to do this besides swapping your fuzzy friends for scaly ones (we don’t recommend it), but there are a few things you can do to prevent pet messes.
- Find a Good Groomer—Regularly grooming your pet is important for his or her health and it also improves the cleanliness of your home. A good grooming removes layers of fur that would otherwise be dispersed throughout your home. Make sure that you’re thoroughly brushing your pets in between grooming appointments.
- Go for the Slipcover—While today’s vacuums are often equipped with powerful attachments that simplify cleaning furniture, using slipcovers, blankets or furniture pet covers can make regular fur removal even simpler. Machine-washable slipcovers can be easily tossed into the washing machine, eliminating that thick layer of fur that accumulates when your pet has found her preferred spot.
- Be Understanding—It’s frustrating when our pets use our home as a bathroom, but there’s usually a good reason for it. Do your best to discover why your pet may be having accidents. Are they getting enough potty breaks? Do they drink enough water? Could their food be causing urinary issues? Understanding the root cause of the problem will help you tackle it appropriately.
- Clean Those Paws—In many pet-filled homes, it’s not uncommon to see the occasional line of dusty paw prints throughout the house, on hardwood floors, countertops and even the dining room table, as gross as it is. Make sure to wipe your pets’ paws when they come in from the outdoors to prevent dirt from being tracked in.
With all these great tips, you’ll be well on your way to a spotless home in spite of Spot! Keeping a clean, pet-friendly home is all about a little bit of weekly maintenance and the right tools. When you get it down to a science, you’ll have much more time for what matters most: petting sessions!