11 Cleaning Tips Every Dog or Cat Owner Should Know
These cleaning tips for pet owners offer practical solutions for everything from a no-mess litter box to keeping furniture clean.
Remove pet hair with duct tape
That’s right. We’ve found another use for duct tape—cleaning. The stickiness of duct tape makes it perfect for a makeshift pet hair remover.
Wrap duct tape around a paint roller cover, sticky side out. Roll the paint cover over furniture or carpet to pick up the pet hair. Add more tape as the surface gets full of hair.
Enzymes eliminate pet stains and odours
Enzyme products are easy to use on pet stains—just spray or blot them on the stain according to the directions. The products contain harmless bacteria that “eat” the organic matter that causes the odour. When the organic matter is gone, the bacteria run out of food and die. The whole process will take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Some manufacturers recommend covering the area with plastic or a wet cloth to keep the bacteria moist and healthy. (Also, check out the best plants for removing indoor air pollution.)
Chew-free electrical cords
Some cats and dogs love to gnaw on electrical cords around the house. This is not only dangerous but also really irritating when they destroy your computer cables. Solve the problem by wrapping the cords with a split flexible plastic conduit that you get at home centers and automotive stores. Just cut the length you need and push the cords into the pre-split slot. Your pet will soon lose interest in the cords (so you have time to fix them).
Pet repellent for furniture
To train your pets to stay off furniture, place plastic carpet protectors—prickly side up—on their favourite perch. Available in office supply stores and the carpet/flooring department of home centers, the protectors can be cut to the size you need with a scissors or a utility knife. The plastic teeth will train your pet to associate the couch with being “uncomfortable.” Soon they will seek cozier spots to relax on and leave the couch to you. Just remember to remove the protector before you sit down.
A fast way to remove pet hair
If you have a shedding pet, StickySheets can make cleaning up after it a lot easier. Just peel off the backing, press the sheet against the furniture, then pull it up. The hair sticks to the sheet, but the 24 x 36-in. sheets won’t stick to each other, making application easier. The sheets can be reused up to three times. (Remember: These common bedroom items are secretly toxic.)
Easier bath time
For a calmer and easier bath time, make a dog washing station in your shower. Cover the drain with a hair catcher to prevent fur from clogging it. Cut a hole in a bath mat so it fits over the drain and lay it in the shower to prevent your dog from slipping around.
Using a handheld sprayer gives you more control and lets you avoid spraying water into your pet’s ears. Everyone involved will find bath day a whole lot more pleasant.
Clean upholstery with baking soda
Use this handy hint if there’s a funky pet smell lurking in your couch or upholstered chair: Sprinkle a generous amount of regular baking soda onto the fabric and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. The baking soda will help to release odours and break up some light stains in the fabric.
After about 20 minutes, remove the baking soda—and the funky smell—with a handheld vacuum or a hose attachment for your large vacuum. (Also, you might want to check out these other ways to use baking soda around the house.)
Don’t brush the pet
Instead of brushing your pet and then cleaning up the fur with a vacuum, use the vacuum with an upholstery attachment to brush the dog. The vacuum sucks up all the loose fur so you don’t spend any extra time cleaning. (Plus, here’s a definitive guide on how often you should clean your home.)
No-mess litter box
It’s not fancy, but it’s a cheap way to keep litter in the litter box where it belongs. Trace an opening on one end of a plastic storage container, then push a sharp razor knife into the plastic and cut out the opening. Pour in the litter and your cat will figure out the rest.
Protect your doors from scratches
Protect your doors from your dog’s claws with a sheet of plastic. Buy 1/8-in. or thinner Plexiglas or plastic at any home center. Cut the Plexiglas so it fits just inside the door jambs and is 1 ft. higher than the reach of your dog. Most home centers will cut the Plexiglas for you, but you can also cut it with a utility knife and a straightedge. (If you have a large dog and need plastic above the doorknob, use a 3-in. hole saw to make a cutout for the knob.) Mount the Plexiglas to the door with 3/4-in. roundhead wood screws.
Tip: Mask shallow claw marks and scratches in wood doors with stain and varnish. Gel stains work well for matching the existing finish.
Ant-proof pet food dishes
In the summertime, a favourite destination for ants is often a pet’s food bowl. Here’s a simple way to keep them out of your dog or cat’s food: Set the dish in a pan of water. Not only does it keep the ants out of the pet food, but your pet can take a gulp of water from the pan whenever he or she needs a drink.
Next, read up on the best diet for dogs.