Pet Cleaning Tips: How to Keep Your Pet-Friendly Home Clean

If you struggle to handle pet messes, don’t fret. We’ve got your pet cleaning needs covered. Here are 10 cleaning tips all pet owners need to know!

Published on
January 24, 2024
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Pet Cleaning Tips: How to Keep Your Pet-Friendly Home Clean


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We all love our furry family members, but it’s harder to love the messes that often come with them. From carpet stains to scratched flooring to hairy furniture, there are a myriad of ways our beloved pets put their mark on our homes. While you may believe these are just unavoidable side effects of owning a pet, there are tons of tips and tricks to help pet owners keep their homes in the best condition possible. 

If you struggle to handle pet messes, don’t fret. We’ve got your pet cleaning needs covered. Here are 10 cleaning tips all pet owners need to know! 

  1. Groom Your Pet Regularly 

The first step to keeping your home neat with pets is to make sure your pet is clean. Dogs especially can track dirt into the house from outside, making it hard to keep floors and furniture tidy. To prevent this, groom your pets regularly. Use a pet-safe shampoo from time to time, and in between those groomings, you can wash your pet down with water or use a pet-safe dry shampoo (Merry Maids). Some animals may require professional grooming, which can also help to reduce pet damage and dirt — trimming your dog’s hair regularly can mitigate shedding, while trimming your cat’s nails often can reduce damage to carpeting and furniture caused by scratching (Driver, 2017). 

PRO TIP: When washing your pet in the sink or bathtub, use a drain catcher to filter any hair that was shed and prevent your drain from clogging. Plus, use a handheld sprayer in the shower to better control the water stream and make the experience of bathing less stressful for your pet (Family Handyman, 2023). 

  1. Use Rubber Gloves or Tape to Banish Pet Hair 

Pet hair plagues pet owners more than anything — it sticks to clothing, furniture, and bedding in a way that seems never-ending. However, there are a few sure-fire ways to combat pesky pet hair. For one, put on some rubber dishwashing gloves and run your hands over the surface you want to de-fur. The hair will stick to the gloves, and afterward, you can run the gloves under water to clean off the hair (Bingham-Smith & Ulloa, 2020; Merry Maids). Alternatively, you can use duct tape or StickySheets to remove the hair by laying the sticky side across the surface and pulling it off gently, discarding the tape when done (Family Handyman, 2023). 

To remove pet hair from clothing, simply put dirty clothes in the dryer for a few minutes before washing so that the lint filter catches the hair and it doesn’t get stuck between the folds in your clothes during the wash cycle (Merry Maids). To remove pet hair from carpeting or furniture, invest in a quality vacuum cleaner designed to pick up pet hair. Fun fact: many of these vacuums designed to catch pet hair also work to reduce odors that may linger after pet accidents (Driver, 2017).

  1. Combine Baking Soda and Vinegar to Dissolve Carpet Stains

Even well-trained pets have their fair share of accidents, which is why having an effective stain remover is imperative for pet owners. To prevent and remove carpet stains, a combination of baking soda and vinegar is the way to go. Start by covering the stain with a bit of vinegar; then, sprinkle a layer of baking soda on top and let it absorb the stain. Next, dab the stain away with a towel and vacuum once dry. Not only will this remove the stain, but it will also eliminate any odor (Driver, 2017; Merry Maids). Be sure to clean up accidents as quickly as possible before the stain sets in (Driver, 2017). Likewise, don’t use a steamer on fresh accidents, as this can set stains on the carpet (Merry Maids). 

PRO TIP: Use a UV black light to locate sneaky accidents! Simply turn off the lights, activate the UV light, and you’ll be able to see any messes you may have missed (Merry Maids).

  1. Tidy Your Pet’s Eating Area 

Although most pets eat dry food, they can still be messy eaters! Spilled food pieces can attract ants, so use a pet placemat to keep your pet’s eating area tidy (Bingham-Smith and Ulloa, 2020). Plus, to prevent any spillage, use tip-proof or elevated food and water dishes (Family Handyman, 2023). If this still doesn’t keep the ants away, you can place a water-filled pan under your pet’s food bowl (Family Handyman, 2023). 

PRO TIP: Spray your pet’s bowl with cooking spray to keep it spot-free (Bingham-Smith and Ulloa, 2020). Pets deserve shiny dining ware, too, don’t they? 

  1. Create a Pet Cleaning Station

As mentioned above, pets can track dirt indoors from outside, making keeping your house clean exponentially harder. To combat this, set up a pet cleaning station in your laundry room or entranceway to wipe your pet’s paws after taking them outside (Driver, 2017; Merry Maids). Stock your station with wipes, towels, and treats, of course! Plus, use pet sprays to eliminate odors like wet dog stench (Family Handyman, 2023). 

  1. Use Decorative Throws to Protect Furniture 

You may try to keep your pet off the furniture, but chances are, they enjoy lounging on the couch as much as you do. In this case, investing in a pet-friendly sofa that is easy to wipe down and wash may be a good idea. Otherwise, you can buy some inexpensive decorative throw blankets and pillows (look for 100% cotton or an acrylic-cotton blend) to lay across your couch so that your pet can still lounge without sitting on the couch directly. When your pet inevitably gets these blankets and pillows dirty, you can wash or replace them (Bingham-Smith and Ulloa, 2020; Driver, 2017). You can also use an aluminum foil couch cover or a plastic carpet protector to repel pets from furniture. However, these options aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as a cozy throw blanket (Family Handyman, 2023). 

  1. Use Pet Repellent to Deter Pets from Furniture

Sometimes when pets mark their territory, they continue to return to that spot. If you’re having issues with repeated accidents in a specific location — whether that be on the carpet or a piece of furniture — lemon juice is a great way to deter future accidents. Pets don’t like the smell of lemons, so spritz some lemon juice over the spot you want to protect, and your pet is likely to avoid it. 

Buying chew-free cords or cord protectors can also prevent pets from chewing through electrical cords (Family Handyman, 2023). This not only protects your cords from being eaten through, but it also prevents your pet from accidentally electrocuting themself. 

  1. Clean Pet Items Often 

Just like our pets can get smelly, their toys, beds, collars, and leashes can stink as well. To banish pet odors, wash these items regularly. Buying washing machine-safe items is super convenient — just toss them in the washing machine every month or so and let them air dry. Some pet beds are made of water-resistant material, making them easy to wipe down in between washes (Driver, 2017). 

For our feline friends, litter box cleanup can be a hassle. Inexplicably, litter always ends up stuck in the carpet and every crack and crevice in the house. For easier cleanup, line your cat’s litter box with a plastic garbage bag so that you can easily tie it up for quick and painless disposal (Family Handyman, 2023). 

PRO TIP: Put a litter-catching mat under your cat’s litter box. If your cat kicks some litter out of the box or tracks it out in their paws, the mat will catch it and prevent it from getting caught in your carpet. When needed, just shake the mat out outside to dispose of the litter. 

  1. Buy Pet-Friendly Furniture and Rugs 

Pets like being cozy as much as we do, which means they’re always looking to find the comfiest spot on the couch or carpet. Unfortunately, these materials are often easy to get dirty and difficult to get clean, and pets are bound to rub some filth off on them every once in a while. However, this can be prevented by investing in pet-friendly items. 

As mentioned above, pet-friendly sofas and throw blankets are great options to keep your furniture tidy, but indoor-outdoor rugs and carpet tiles are also fantastic options for keeping your carpeting clean. Indoor-outdoor rugs are made to be weathered and are therefore easy to wipe down. While carpet tiles may not be quite as durable, they are easier and more convenient to replace than your entire carpet (Bingham-Smith and Ulloa, 2020).

  1.  Utilize Dark Paint, Stain, and Varnish to Mask Stains and Scratches 

While some furniture and pet items may be easy to wash, pet owners will know that there seems to be an ever-present coating of grime on walls and low cabinets caused by wet nose marks and filth from pets. These things are difficult to prevent, but they can be disguised by using dark paint, stain, or varnish on your furniture (Bingham-Smith and Ulloa, 2020; Family Handyman, 2023). Adding plexiglass sheets to your doors, walls, and any other scratchable surface to prevent claw marks is another great renter-friendly tip for protecting your home (Family Handyman, 2023).

Pets are undoubtedly essential family members. Despite the messes they make, we can’t live without them. But with the right tips, you don’t have to choose between owning a pet and having a clean home. These tips will help you strike the perfect balance between keeping your home looking and smelling nice — and making sure your pet is healthy and happy!

For more information on home maintenance tips, check out our blog


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