We all love our furry friends. Cats, dogs, rabbits, gerbils…you name it. But for all of the joy that they bring us, it’s hard to deny the mess that pets come with. And if you aren’t careful, these hairy roommates can turn your cozy home into a smelly zoo.
6 Ways to Keep Your House Looking and Smelling Clean
When you look at the latest data, it’s clear that pet ownership is on the rise. Presently, 68 percent of all U.S. households have a pet, which is the highest point in history. Roughly 48 percent of the population has a dog, while 38 percent welcome friendly felines into their homes. The other most popular species include freshwater fish, birds, small animals (rodents), reptiles, horses, and saltwater fish.
Whether you have one pet or multiple, there’s no denying the fact that animals come with messes. From shedding and saliva to urine and feces, dogs, cats, and other small animals aren’t known for being clean. But that doesn’t mean your house has to be a smelly mess.
Here are some practical things you can do to maintain a clean, pet-friendly abode.
1. Keep Your Pets Clean
This may sound obvious, but the first step to keeping your house clean is to keep your pets clean. Any dirt, hair, or mess that you remove from them is less dirt, hair, or mess that ends up on your floors, furniture, or walls.
Dogs tend to be the messiest animals, since they frequently move between the indoors and outdoors. For best results, set up a little grooming station near the door that they enter and exit through most. Keep pet wipes, brushes, dry shampoo, dental chews, and ear cleansing pads on hand. This will prevent you from having to bathe your dog every time they get messy.
2. Restrict Your Pets’ Movement
There’s no reason your pets should have free rein over your entire house. This simply increases the amount of square footage you have to keep clean.
Ideally, pets should be restricted to main living areas – such as the kitchen and living room. It’s also wise to train them to stay on hard surfaces, which lessens the chances of damaging carpet, rugs, and furniture.
If you can’t train your pets to stay in a certain area, pet gates work well to seal off ingress and egress points. Better yet, do what pet owners did in decades past: restrict pets to living outside.
3. Have the Right Supplies on Hand
If you own pets, you need to be prepared for the messes they’ll make. No matter how well-trained your dog or cat is, they’re going to have accidents from time to time. Having the right supplies on hand will allow you to deal with them effectively.
In addition to good cleaning products and sprays, a powerful pet vacuum cleaner is an absolute must-have for dog and cat owners.
“If you have carpets and rugs, you need a vacuum cleaner that not only has great suction, but also a rotating brush to help pull the fur out of the carpet,” Jeff Flowers writes for Allergy & Air. “Depending on the type of pet you have, the fur may be tough to get out of the carpet. This is why having a vacuum cleaner with a rotating brush is useful. However, that same rotating brush may damage hardwood floors, which is one reason why it’s so important to look at various models closely.”
4. React Quickly
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to let a pet mess sit for a while. Whether it’s vomit, feces, or urine, leaving messes unattended can result in permanent staining and foul odors. Make it a point to clean up quickly and thoroughly, using the appropriate products to remove the unwanted substance and disinfect the surrounding area.
5. Make Your House Smell Good
From a cleanliness perspective, the biggest problem with pets is that they can make your house smell. In addition to cleaning up the visual messes – like pet hair and feces – do your best to clean the less obvious areas – including fabrics.
“Just about any fabric in your home can develop odors, so send everything you can through the washing machine,” pet blogger Ben Team writes. “This includes all of your bed linens, the covers on the couch cushions and throw pillows, and anything else in your home that is machine-washable. Always be sure to dry everything completely before putting it back where it belongs.”
As for carpet, it’s easy for smells to become embedded in the fibers over time. In addition to regular vacuuming, it’s a good idea to occasionally have carpets steam cleaned by professionals. This will reach deep into the carpet and remove those funky pet smells that drive you crazy.
If you find that your house still has a pet smell – even after conducting a deep clean – you’ll want to bring some other, more favorable aromas into the house. You have several options, including diffusing essential oils, attaching air fresheners to your HVAC vents, regularly simmering spices on your stovetop, and using things like potpourris in living areas.
6. Just Relax
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a clean house, you may need to relax a bit. With more than two out of three households owning a pet, most people are going to be pretty understanding of the occasional mess. Do your best to keep your house clean, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Enjoy being a pet owner and choose to look at the positives.
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