Keeping your home clean when you have pets can be a headache at the best of times. We love our furry little friends but that fur just doesn’t agree with furniture, carpets, and linens. We love to pet them and snuggle them, but their dander can aggravate our airways, especially if we have asthma or allergies.
The best way to live peacefully with our furry family members is to keep a clean house. But, that’s a lot easier said than done sometimes. This article includes my favorite tips, tricks, and products to keep your home and air clean when living with pets.
If you have a pet and just can’t seem to get the cleaning under control, this article is for you.
If you want a pet but aren’t sure if you can handle the cleaning associated with one, this article is definitely for you.
Use Mess-Free Feeding Techniques
If your pets have their own, specific, place to sleep they’ll be less likely to carry hair, dander, dirt, and slobber onto your furniture. That means less cleaning for you!
It’s not always possible, though, is it? Some pets just want nothing to do with the bed you buy. And, more importantly, too many of us have hearts that melt when they look up at us, begging for a place on the sofa. This is when furniture covers come in very handy. You can pop them on and slip them off for a quick wash whenever necessary.
A designated eating area is also important if you want to keep mess to a minimum. Most pet parents already have food dishes for their pets and may manage to feed them in the same place every day. The other day, I read an article on Martha Stewart’s website that really got me thinking: Why not use a placemat, too?
A placemat helps keep messes contained to an area that you can lift off the floor, dump into the garbage can or wash in the sink. I suggest finding one with a lip around the edge to keep kibble from flying around the floor.
Training Tips for Mess-Free Feeding
- Use a food dish to feed your pet.
- Give your pet a designated eating zone.
- Always feed your pet at the designated zone.
- If your pet tries to take food away from the designated zone, bring it back.
Brush Your Pet On a Regular Basis
Veterinarian Nancy Katz suggests brushing your pets on a regular basis to reduce the amount of pet hair and dander in your home. I take this a step further and, when the weather cooperates, take pets outside to be brushed.
Because even though you are brushing them to stop hair from falling out all around your house a certain amount of that hair and the dander beneath it will not be picked up by the brush, temporarily increasing the amount of irritants and mess-makers being spread around.
Unfortunately, brushing pets outdoors isn’t always possible, thanks to things like rain and cold weather and pets who simple aren’t fans of the outdoors. In these situations, I prefer to brush pets in contained rooms such as bathrooms and laundry room, where any of the hair and dander dispersed in the process isn’t able to spread around the house before I can come in with a vacuum. I especially like using the bathroom because many bathrooms have fans with filters which can grab the airborne allergens released in the brushing process.
Filter Your Air to Remove Allergens
People often forget about the importance of clean air. After sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, and mopping for hours they can’t understand why they still feel a tightness in their chest. They don’t know why they are still wheezing, coughing, or experiencing allergic symptoms. The problem is that, although they have cleaned their surfaces, they haven’t cleaned their air.
Pet hair and dander collects on our surfaces, under our furniture (where we often forget to clean), and in our heating/cooling registers and ducts. When we clean with brooms, vacuums, mops and the like we are only tackling visible surfaces. Some people like to deep clean and will go so far as to wash drapes or move furniture, but even they are missing some hair and dander along the way.
You may think, “If we can’t reach it to clean it, it won’t cause a problem.” But that’s not the case. When your heat or air conditioning kicks on it rustles up all those particles settled in your registers and ductwork. It then blows them up and into the air you are breathing, sending aggravating substances into your airways and back into your room. The hair and dander under your furniture blows around, too, as the forced air makes its way through the room and as you create your own mini windstorms from the simple act of walking. A plume of dust, dander and hair flies up into the air every time you sit on your plush sofa.
So what do you do to capture all of those irritants? Well, you can’t exactly stop them from collecting in those places. What you can do, though, is trap them once they’ve started floating around in the air. This is why I am a huge fan of air purifiers for people who own pets.
I remember when my Dad (an owner of two dogs, one cat, and 3 birds) purchased an air purifier. Before he got the purifier he was constantly on top of cleaning the surfaces in his home. Still, whenever a family get-together rolled around I found myself having allergic reactions. After he purchased and began using his air purifier regularly, all my symptoms disappeared!
Use Cleaning Products Made for Pets
When it comes to cleaning, we need to consider more than just hair and dander. Although eliminating those allergens is important to the overall air quality in your home, pets create all kinds of other messes.
They track in messes from outdoors, make messes when being trained, shed, molt, slobber, and eat in a messy way. It’s a good thing they’re so adorable and entertaining! We wouldn’t put up with this from many humans!
There are all sorts of special, pet-friendly cleaning products to choose from. You can get special clothes and dusters, special soaps, and special vacuum cleaners. My favorite pet-friendly cleaning product, though, is a steam mop.
Since pets often lick hard surfaces (especially when eating) traditional cleaners can be dangerous. Steam mops do not need chemicals to clean your hard floors, they use the cleaning power of steam. Many steam mops even come with pet-specific cleaning pads and nozzle attachments. If you have hard floors and a pet, I really think a steam mop is a must.