Spring is the time to start fresh, and nothing says fresh like a spotless home. For a pet owner there’s always a set of challenges when cleaning a home, especially if you’re (un)lucky to live in a large house. I personally enjoy this time, and I’m always excited to prepare for spring time by resetting my home. Here are my favorite tips on how to get your home in spring-worthy condition if you’re also a pet owner.
1. Keep your air fresh and healthy
The first step? Open those windows and let the fresh air and sunshine stream inside. Sunlight actually has some disinfecting properties and leaving certain dog’s belongings outside in the sun after washing them will help kill bacteria and any developing smells.
An air filter with an ionizer will keep lint, hairs and dust mites under control. This is especially important for people who suffer from allergies. A humidifier will also improve your air quality, but, surprisingly enough, the extra humidity might also stop hairs from sticking to your furniture. For a final touch, get a nice, natural air freshener – for instance, diffuser reeds.
2. Neutralize odors
Living with pets can result in some pretty funky smells, especially when there are potty accidents involved. If you’re dealing with just a funny smelling carpet or couch, sprinkle some baking soda on it and leave it for half an hour, then vacuum. If you’re looking to remove stains along with odors, make a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, apply liberally to the stain and leave for a while. Scrub if necessary, then leave to dry and vacuum.
Bear in mind that hydrogen peroxide has a whitening effect, so it should only be used on white objects, for instance, mattresses. Commercial pet odor eliminators with enzymes are another excellent way to get rid of odors. These products contain bacteria that eat the organic matter that causes the stain and the smell. The bacteria are harmless and die once they are out of food.
3. Make vacuuming more effective
Vacuuming all that hair sometimes feels downright hopeless. If you can afford it, investing in a powerful robotic vacuum might be the best gift you could give yourself. When vacuuming carpets, to remove the hair as much as possible, you can try to dampen your carpet a little bit before you start. Running over it with a rubber broom can also remove some of the hairs. Use an upholstery attachment for furniture, and a beater-bar for carpets.
Don’t forget to run your vacuum head several times in all directions. This will help dislodge stubborn hairs that got embedded deep into the fibers of the carpet. If that doesn’t help, you can use any kind of smaller brush with natural or plastic bristles to remove the hair manually. For a quick fix, when you don’t have time to vacuum, just run a window squeegee over the carpet to remove the hairs that are on the surface. Use a wet mop or cloth on hardwood floors, tiles, and other kinds of floors.
4. Use lint rollers for a quick fix
While you would need who knows how many lint rollers to clean your entire house, they do come in handy for a quick fix. Always have one on hand to remove stray hairs of your clothes and furniture. Doing this regularly will prevent build up so you’ll have less work when you’re doing more detailed cleaning. To save money, or if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a lint roller on hand, you can always just use duct tape to make your own. Alternatively, you can also use dryer sheets or even a balloon – the electricity will collect stray hairs.
5. Invest in covers
Once your home is fresh and hair-free, it’s time to make things easier and better organized for the future. To protect your furniture both from pet hairs and from damage like scratches and stains, I usually invest in some covers and blankets. Once they get dirty, I’ll just pop them in the washing machine while my furniture will remain clean. When it comes to furniture, look for pieces with upholstery that is easy to clean, doesn’t collect hairs, and doesn’t retain odors. Real and fake leather, tightly woven fabrics, and sturdy nylon blends work best for pet owners.
6. Don’t track dirt into the house
The cleaner your dog, the cleaner you house. Every time you come back home from a walk, wipe his paws with a soft cloth and a bit of warm water. There’s no need to use soap every time, as it might cause paw dryness. If your puppy often returns soaked or wet from walks, keep an absorbent towel or microfiber cloth by the door to dry him before he can bring dirt into the house. Personally, I found that a sturdy doggy doormat and some wipes are necessary for my dog’s cleaning station to be complete. Making this tiny effort every time will keep both your home and your dog much cleaner in the long run.
7. Keep your dog groomed
Keep your pet regularly groomed – the more you brush, the less flyaway hair there will be around your home. Bathing him regularly will help neutralize smells. Bathing once a month is the standard. If your pooch develops an unpleasant smell more often than that, make sure you use a mild, soap-free shampoo to avoid allergies, dryness, itchiness and other skin conditions. If you have a long-haired breed, take him to a professional groomer on occasion to get his hair trimmed.
To avoid scratches on the floor and furniture, and to keep your dog’s joints in optimal health, get his nails trimmed as soon as they grow out. Don’t forget to wash your dog’s belongings too – like his bedding and toys. This will help prevent odors from developing and keep bacteria at bay. Drying in the dryer on an elevated temperature will disinfect and kill germs – which is especially important for beds and towels.
Once your home is squeaky clean and sparkling, it only takes a little bit of extra care to keep it that way. Make a habit of keeping your puppy fresh and dirt-free, and do some light upkeep regularly, and the number of chores you need to do next time will drop significantly. All that’s left is to enjoy your spotless home and your pet’s company.