Having a pet—whether it's a dog, cat, bird, reptile, or other furry, feathery, or scaly family member—has countless benefits for your health and happiness. But between pet hair and dander, urine, poop, and vomit stains, and parasites, like fleas or ticks, being a pet owner can get, well, messy.
The good news is, there are plenty of ways for pet owners to keep their homes fresh and clean—despite their animalic family members' best efforts. Here are some of our favorite home cleaning hacks for pet parents.
Invest in a Robotic Vacuum (or One Designed for Pet Hair)
If you've seen a tumbleweed of dog or cat hair roll across your kitchen, it might be time to invest in a robotic vacuum cleaner or a vacuum designed specially for pet hair. They're on the pricier side, but investing in a robotic vacuum—or one that you can "set and forget"—makes keeping on top of pet hair extremely easy. Alternatively, check out handheld or upright vacuums with special attachments designed for removing pet hair. Look for options with strong suction, easy-to-clean filters, and attachments for both solid surfaces and upholstery.
Use The Spruce's Waterless Pet Wash
Keeping your pet groomed is one of the best ways to keep your home clean and pet odor-free, but constant trips to the groomer can be timely and expensive. Not to mention, over-bathing can harm your pets' sensitive skin. A waterless cleansing product, like The Spruce Waterless Pet Wash, can make it easy to keep your pet's coat fresh, clean, and moisturized.
The Spruce Waterless Pet Wash is pH balanced for pets' skin, and free from alcohol, caustics, dyes, synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, chlorine, formaldehyde, triclosan, or phosphates. Translation: It's super safe for your pet. Plus, its enzyme-activated formula works to gently remove dirt and other debris without rinsing. Plus, it's meant to be used daily, so you can keep your pets clean and smelling fresh 24/7.
Protect Your Soft Surfaces
Can't bear the thought of kicking your pet off the couch? Rather than banishing him to the floor, try covering your soft surfaces with comfy blankets for him to lounge on. Putting a barrier between your pet and the couch, bed, or other soft surface will prevent yucky pet odors from transferring to the material. Plus, when the blanket inevitably gets a little smelly, you can just toss it in the washing machine.
In the market for a new, pet-friendly couch? Consider a pet-proof material, like leather, or a tightly woven fabric in a color similar to your pet's coat. These materials will repel odors better than looser weaves.
Clean Pet Stains As They Happen
When it comes to being a pet parent, stains come with the territory. It can be hard to stay on top of stains—especially if you work outside of the home—but doing so will prevent odor and discoloration, and minimize the risk of your pet going back to the same spot to relieve herself. Surprise: Even if you think you've cleaned up the entire mess, your pet may still be able to sniff it out.
If you notice urine, poop, or vomit, it's important to clean up as much of the mess without rubbing it into the surface. Then, gently blot the area with a clean cloth and treat it with a cleansing product like The Spruce Stain and Odor Remover, which contains scent-neutralizing enzymes. These enzymes can mask the scents your pet can pick up on and even help to discourage pets from repeating their actions
If you're worried about urine stains you may have missed, investing in a black light can help you locate uncleaned accidents.
Plug In an Air Purifier
If you or a family member is allergic to pet hair or dander, an air purifier is a must-have. Air purifiers work by pulling the air in your home through a series of filters. These filters catch and trap pet hair and dander, as well as dust and other allergens. Then, the purified air is circulated back into the room.
Fortunately, there are tons of air purifiers on the market, ranging from lower budget to higher budget picks.
Wipe Your Pooch's Paws After Walks
It may seem like a no-brainer, but wiping your dog's paws after walks can keep your floors, carpeting, and soft surfaces free from dirt, dust, and other grime. We recommend keeping a dispenser of all-natural dog wipes near your door or dog walking station for easy access.
Consider a Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Cleaning the litter box is pretty high on the list of "annoying chores" for most cat owners—but a self-cleaning litter box can make your kitty litter a little bit easier to maintain.
Using a series of motion-activated sensors, most self-cleaning litter boxes sift out clumps and dump waste into an odor-neutralizing chamber. Then, new litter is added to the box. All you have to do is empty the waste drawer every few weeks. Want an even more hands-off approach? Some automated litter boxes can be connected to your toilet, so the waste can be flushed away.
Store Your Pet's Toys in One Place
Does your living room look more like the toy aisle in a pet store? You can keep the floor neat, tidy, and hazard-free by storing all of your pets' toys in a small box or basket. Check your favorite home goods or craft store for a cute woven or wire basket that's easy for your pet to access. She has to be able to reach her most beloved toy, after all.