Owning a pet is a delight, but it isn't always easy! Cleaning up after furry friends can sometimes feel like a full-time job, but it doesn't have to!
Ready for fur-free floors and fresh-smelling sofas? Then let's get started.
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in September 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in November 2018.
Dog cleaning tips
Has your home developed a 'dog smell'? Try out the tips below and it'll look like a dog-free zone!
1. Hoover your dog
No...really! Dyson have a fantastic grooming tool called the Dyson Groom that could save you so much time - especially if your dog moults a lot.
It attaches to your vacuum to remove loose hair and dead skin, collecting allergens from your dog before they're left around your home.
Not only will it keep your home fur-free, but it's also said to be more comfortable for your dog than a standard brush.
2. Mask smells with lavender
It turns out dogs can benefit from essential oils too!
Lavender essential oils are said to soothe dogs and also help keep fleas and ticks at bay. Just apply regularly between their shoulder blades.
Additionally, it's great for on the go. Mix 10 drops with some water in a small spray bottle and pop into your car. It'll keep your dog calm on long journeys and your car smelling fresh.
3. Quickly clean muddy paws
The key to keeping the house clean post dog walk is to get prepared pre dog walk!
Before you head out, place a shallow tray or bowl of water and a large towel by the door. Upon your return, dip your dog's paws into the tray and then rub clean with the towel - they'll be no paw prints in sight!
4. Deter dogs from digging
Some dogs are sensitive to citrus so if you have a few places in the garden where you don’t want them to dig up, simply scatter some orange peels around the area.
This will keep your garden looking nice and their paws much cleaner too.
5. Keeping smells at bay
That 'wet dog' smell is hard to avoid, unless you know this trick, that is!
Pop a fabric softener sheet into an envelope and keep it under your dog's bed, sofa or chair cushions where your dog likes to rest to keep the area smelling clean and fresh.
6. Treat them to a bandana
For excessive droolers, dribblers and messy eaters, a doggy bandana is the ultimate accessory!
It'll keep their drool off their fur (and your furnishings), and when it gets too wet you can just chuck it in the wash with the rest of your washing load.
7. Invest in easy-care throws
If you've got anything that's light-coloured, you'll know how perilous it can be to have your dog near it.
Easy-care throws provide a simple solution to muddy paw prints on your soft furnishings. Scatter some throws on your bed, sofa and anywhere else your dog likes to jump onto. You can chuck them in the wash every time they get dirty and your bedding and sofa won't get ruined.
They're easy to whip off when the guests come over too - what dogs?!
Cat cleaning tips
Cats are, in general, relatively clean, but going the extra mile to keep your home looking spotless is never a bad idea.
8. Keep litter trays fresh
Add a thin layer of baking soda to the litter tray before adding kitty litter and it should help keep any smells under control between litter changes.
9. Line litter trays
When it comes to cleaning out your cat's dirty litter tray, there's nothing that makes it easier than when it's lined with a plastic bag.
More essential cleaning tips for pet owners
Dog, cat, tortoise, bunny - these are the essential cleaning tips every pet owner should know.
10. Remove fur with a lint roller
Is hair around your home driving you crazy?
We have some good news - a lint roller can pick up hair from almost any surface.
It's great for those emergency moments when your friends stop by unannounced.
For easy pet bed cleaning, first vacuum the cover to suck up any large clumps of hair, dirt and other debris. Next, go over it with a lint roller to catch any trapped hairs and dust that you may have missed.
11. Wash bed covers with baking soda to soak up smells
Baking soda has so many uses, and today we're showing you how to use it for the pets, too.
When picking a pet bed, make sure you opt for one with a removable cover - it'll make washing so much easier.
Use a mild detergent – no dyes, fragrances or fabric softener – and add a cup of baking soda to the load. This will help neutralise any stubborn odours. Wash on a hot cycle to kill allergens and other bacteria that could be lurking.
12. Deep clean collars
When was the last time you gave your pet's collar a good clean?
They can get grubby and smelly pretty quickly, so you should really be washing them every other week or so.
The easy and most effective way to deep clean them is by putting a couple of squirts of dog shampoo in a bowl and filling it with hot water. Pop the collars in to soak for at least 15 minutes, then rub the collars against themselves to extract any dirt. Rinse under a cool tap and pat with a towel before hanging to dry.
13. Easy fur removal
Another amazingly easy way to remove fur from your furniture, curtains, cushions and any other fabrics is with rubber gloves.
Pop a pair on, dampen them slightly, then sweep your hands over the hair-ridden areas. Use your fingers to get into those hard to reach areas, and hair will quickly stick to the rubber. Baby wipes also work well to remove hair from fabrics.
14. Deep clean toys in the dishwasher
Dishwashers aren't just for cleaning plates, pots and pans.
Wash plastic toys in the dishwasher to keep them germ-free and in good condition. You can wash any soft fabric toys in the washing machine, just pop them into a small garment bag before and don’t use a detergent unless it’s pet safe.
15. Invest in a robotic vacuum cleaner
Technology can really benefit your cleaning routine too...
...why spend hours vacuuming and cleaning up pet hair when a robotic vacuum will do it for you?
Roombas and other robotic vacuums have come a long way since they first appeared on the market, and they're more affordable than ever.
Programme it to clean up for a certain amount of time and it will happily hoover up all that pet hair. It could even provide some extra entertainment for your pets.
16. Tidy eating area
Do your pets tend to end up with more food on the floor than in their mouths?
Don't spend time scrubbing the floor - a wipe clean mat will make the job much easier. Place one under their food area to keep everything nice and tidy.
17. Pet-friendly pot plants
Some plants are particularly good at filtering the air in our home.
Pet-friendly plants such as Cape Marigolds, Bamboo Palms, Brazilian Orchids and Duffil Ferns are a fantastic way to get rid of pet-related odours.
Keep a plant (or two) in areas where your pet likes to rest, like the living room, and it should have an odour-neutralising effect.
18. Pet urine cleaning
It's something all pet owners dread! A petcident on the carpet not only looks bad but the odour can be hard to get rid of too.
We have the answer!
Pet-friendly kitchen cupboard ingredients make an effective stain remover with added odour neutralising properties. Mix 1/2 a bottle of white vinegar with water and add 4 heaped tsp of baking soda. Keep it in a spray bottle and bring it out when your pet has an accident.
First blot the stain, then spray your stain remover liberally on top. Leave for 10 minutes then blot again.
19. Reed diffusers
Never underestimate the power of room deodorisers!
Whether you use scented candles, diffusers, linen spray or plug-in air fresheners - room deodorisers are essential when you have a pet. Use them regularly to keep your home smelling fresh and clean. Just be careful when lighting candles and ensure sure your pet isn't allergic to anything.
Don't forget the importance of fresh air, either. Air out your home every week by opening all the windows. Pop an electric fan on to try and get the air circulating around - it'll make a huge difference to how your home feels and smells.
20. Easy pet bowl cleaning
Providing your pet's diet won't be affected, a light mist of low-fat cooking oil sprayed onto empty feeding bowls will prevent food from sticking and make cleaning them easier than ever before.
21. Put pet bowls in the dishwasher
This is a slightly controversial one, but most pet bowls can be safely washed in the dishwasher.
If you live in shared accommodation, just be sure to get everyone's permission to do this before you start chucking them in alongside their plates.
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