When it comes time to tackle spring cleaning, some of us break out the colored markers and make family chore wheels, and some of us start to make a mental list of how much we can get away with not doing.
Pet parents face special challenges when it's time to de-dust and un-mess a house, like collections of pet hair that weigh more than the pet in question or beloved (read: drool-soaked) chew toys you've started only nudging toward your dog with your shoe. Whichever "type" you are when it comes to cleaning, all pet parents know that cleaning a house with pets is more challenging than cleaning a house without.
Plus, with your house in disarray as you tackle one job and then another, and your attention focused on fighting stains or organizing that closet, curious pets could find and chew on things they shouldn't, like bottles of cleaning solution. Keep this checklist handy as you tackle each chore or room.
Squeaky Clean Pet Supplies
Pet Crates and Carriers:
Wash plastic or metal crates out with warm soapy water. Use bleach only where necessary, and then follow up with another soapy wash and let the crate air out before your pet will be using it. Check soft-sided carriers to see if they can be laundered, or spot-clean them with a rag and bucket of soapy water on hand. If you need to use disinfectant, rinse, rinse, rinse, and then let the crate or carrier air out away from pets.
Beds and Blankets:
Remove pet bed covers if you can and wash them in the warm cycle, using non-scented detergent and no fabric softener. Extra scents and chemicals could irritate your pet's skin later. If you can manage it, pencil in washing bedding once a week, and you'll avoid a bigger job next year.
Bowls and Dishes:
These can be washed in the sink with dish soap or in the dishwasher. You can run an all-pet dishwasher cycle and get any plastic toys that are dishwasher safe as well.
If soft toys are looking limp and smelly, it's time to replace them. Chew ropes especially can be easily replaced, and your dog will benefit from the teeth cleaning that chewing on a new one will give them. If you can't say goodbye yet, some soft toys can be put through the washing machine -- check the tag or label. Hard-sided toys can be washed with regular dish soap and rinsed, but if it's been chewed to bits, it's time for a new one.
Don't forget your dog's house! If your pet has a favorite haven outdoors, scrub it like you would your own floor. Or if the doghouse has seen too many rainy days, replace it. And remember to clean the pet door. If your dog or cat goes in and out by themselves, the pet door may have an interesting collection of hair, dandruff, and dirt. If you know you can put it back together, break out the tools to dismantle it to really reach every cranny.
Pet Safety Tips
Cleaners and Sprays:
You'll be armed with disinfectants, bleaches, soaps, and more. Make sure your pets are either closed away in another part of the house when you're working on one room or keep all cleaners except the one in your hand in a closed cabinet. For fewer chemicals flying around in the air, check out these 7 essential eco-friendly pet products.
When throwing away expired medications or cosmetics, put them in their own trash bag right away and close it up so pets don't gulp them up out of curiosity.
Check your calendar and make sure your pet is scheduled to see the vet at least once this year for a check-up. Stock up on flea and tick medications for the next year, and make sure your pets have up-to-date ID tags.
5 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Dog-Loving Home
Keep Your Home Clean Even with a Messy Dog
Dogs love to get outside in the spring flowers and kick up some dirt. Here are some tips on keeping your home clean, even if your dog gets muddy!
We love dogs without reservation and they love us back. After forced incarceration indoors due to cold winter weather, dogs yearn to get outside in the spring flowers and kick up some dirt. They don’t mean to turn into dirty dogs, but often become furry dust mops that collect and deposit mud with the efficiency of a human toddler on a sugar high.
It’s not just the muddy paw prints or nose-smeared windows that challenge your spring cleaning routine. Jowly dogs like St. Bernard, for example, can paint walls with drool simply by shaking their massive heads to satisfy an itch. Dogs shed at this time of year, too, and furry drifts turn bright carpets dull, collect in kitchen corners, and coat clothing and upholstery with fuzz. It’s not just long-haired fluffy dogs, either—the shed fur from short-haired pooches proves particularly tough to eradicate. The doggy odor from your pet’s misadventures rolling in noxious “stuff” can taint your home in unpleasant ways.
You can’t totally prevent dogs from—well, from being dogs. But you can prevent some of the worst dirty-dog problems. Here are five tips for spring cleaning your dog-loving home.
After playtime in the yard, take a moment to wipe down your dog’s paws. Since dogs don’t wear shoes or take off slippers to cross the floor, some paw-attention drastically reduces the footprints that end up on your clean floor. You can have the dog step into a shallow water-filled roasting pan, for instance, to rinse off the worst offenders. Or use baby wipes or dog-specific products designed to keep paws smelling fresh.
Neutralize Dog Odor
They can’t help being aromatic but you can de-stink your dog with baths or even doggy deodorant. Wipe-on products can absorb the odor and get the worst of the smell off until a thorough dunking is possible. Check into carpet powders that absorb and remove pet smells. Those designed specifically for dogs smell good to you but won’t offend your dog.
De-Shed The Fur
Combing and brushing your dog on a regular basis pulls off fur that otherwise will be shed in your house and on clothes. A variety of grooming products are available. It’s best to de-shed your dog—especially those with long double coats—outside the house to avoid piles of fluff escaping to multiply under the bed. By de-shedding the dog outside, you also supply birds and other small wildlife with baby material when they line burrows or nests with insulating dog wool.
Collect Pet Hair
It seems to be a dog “rule” that light-colored fur ends up on dark clothes and dark fur sticks to light upholstery. Vacuum cleaners designed for pet homes work quite well to keep fur off carpets, while attachments can address upholstery. Hand-held pet hair collectors also prove helpful, and even low-tech sticky tape from a roller is an inexpensive and effective shedding management tool for furniture and clothing. You also can provide a furniture cover for your dog’s favorite lounging areas, remove it daily for a hard shake outside, and/or toss into the washing machine when they get too dingy.
Clean Surfaces Promptly
Dogs shake off as a way to clean themselves, settle an itch or irritation, or just to relieve stress. Your walls, furniture, windows or anything else within “firing range” can end up with doggy droplets that may be a combination of rain, mud, saliva/drool and mucus. Clean with your favorite surface cleaner immediately, before drool and/or mucus hardens.