Having a pet is not always bliss. Sometimes they can create a mess in your home, and they never clean up after themselves. You are the only one responsible for the tidiness of your home as well as the health of your family and pets. We have a plan to help you stay ahead of the mess.
Pet-Friendly Cleaning Products
There are many household cleaning products that might be either poisonous to your pet or that can irritate their skin, respiratory, or digestive system if they are not used properly. This is why it is important to always read the label and directions provided by the manufacturer before using a product. If you have any questions about choosing the appropriate product and its applications, contact your veterinarian or the manufacturer before cleaning.
If you use commercial cleaning products, make sure to store them in their original packaging safely out of reach of pets. When you use the product, dilute it as instructed and prevent access to the treated area until the product is dry.
If you prefer to use alternative methods rather than available commercial products, there are several options to begin with: steam-cleaning, nonionic or anionic detergents (such as diluted washing-up liquid), and diluted bleach.
To learn more, you can visit:
- Calaveras Humane Society: Pet-safe household cleaning products
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Poisonous household products
- International Cat Care: Keeping cats safe-disinfectants
DIY Pet-Friendly Cleaning Products
In addition to that, you can make your own homemade, environmentally safe, and pet-friendly cleaning products with just a few ingredients that you probably already have. The natural ingredients most commonly used for cleaning are water, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and salt.
- To make an all-purpose cleaner – Mix vinegar and salt to use for cleaning, or combine baking soda and vinegar on a damp sponge or cloth and use it to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
- To remove grease spots – Pour salt to absorb grease and prevent stains, or baking soda to scrub the tub, sink, and kitchen floor.
- To treat wooden areas – Rub in vegetable oil mixed with lemon juice.
- To clean rugs and windows – Use cornstarch.
- To clean the oven – While the oven is still warm, pour salt on greasy areas. When it cools down scrape the grime off and wash it clean. Another option is to apply vinegar mixed with water and a layer of baking soda, rub the oven with a cloth, and in the end rinse with water and wipe dry.
- To clean a drain – Pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar down the drain and leave it covered for 30 minutes.
- To clean the toilet-bowl – Put some baking soda into the bowl, then splash some vinegar and scour with a toilet brush.
For more information, visit:
- PETA: DIY Cruelty-free household cleaners
- Oregon metro: Green cleaning
- Keene State College: Green clean
Cleaning Up After Pets
Now that you have the right products to use around your pets, it may be time to clean up!
Shedding / Fur
Shedding is a natural process which lasts all year long, but it is the heaviest in the spring when animals begin to get rid of their “winter coat.” There is no way to stop shedding in dogs, but you can control excessive shedding by brushing and bathing your dog regularly. When you brush your dog, work against the grain and close to the skin. The more hair you comb off, the less will end up on your floor, furniture, and clothes.
To remove the hair that does end up on your belongings:
- Use a lint brush, velour, or tape.
- Wipe the surface with a damp sponge or cloth.
- Wipe the surface with a wet rubber glove.
- Use a vacuum with a good brush roller.
For more information, you can visit:
- Partnership for Animal Welfare: Dog tips- cleaning
- American Kennel Club: What does it mean when your puppy sheds his coat
- American Animal Hospital Association: Why is my pet shedding so much
To remove new urine stains from carpeted areas and upholstery, soak up as much of urine as possible by pressing a thick layer of paper towels and newspapers onto the spot and underneath the soiled area. After that, use a few drops of dishwashing detergent mixed with water and let it sit on the area. Do not rub it in. After an hour or two rinse the zone with clean water. Lastly, soak the area with club soda for 10 minutes, rinse, and then dry it.
Never use steam cleaners on carpets and upholstery as they will permanently set the stain. Also, avoid cleaning chemicals such as ammonia because it may encourage your pet to keep urinating in that spot.
Still need more information? Visit any of the following links:
- The Humane Society of the United States: Removing pet stains and odors
- The Ohio State University- College of Veterinary Medicine: How to clean up cat urine?
- Dumb Friends League: Successful cleaning to remove pet odors and stains
Smells and Odors
The first step in attempting to remove pet odor is to locate the area that needs to be cleaned. However, this can sometimes be problematic, especially on dark flooring and furniture. If you cannot find the spot, illuminate it with a black light.
It is important to clean the area as soon as the accident happens because animals have the tendency to go back to eliminate in the area where they can detect the scent of urine or feces.
Natural pet odor removal substances are vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, lemon, and club soda. Each of these (mixed with water) can be applied directly to the area and then blotted once they sit for a few minutes. If the odor persists after applying these methods, consider buying an enzyme solution from the pet store. It digests the proteins found in dog and cat urine.
If you cannot remove the odor by yourself and the smell remains after attempting to clean it with different methods, consider hiring a professional.
For more ideas, visit:
- Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification: The best way to approach pet odor removal
- Animal Care Center of New York: Removing pet stains and odors
- House Rabbit Society: Rabbit odor control
Fish Tanks and Other Pet Containers
To keep a fish tank clean, remove uneaten food and waste with a net every other day. If the water looks cloudy, you should filter or change it. Use a filtered siphon to change 20 percent of the water every 10 days. This is done by taking out several gallons of water from the tank and replacing it with clean pre-aged water which is the same temperature as the water in the fish tank.
The bottom of bird and rabbit cages, ferret houses, and hamster homes should be cleaned daily. On a weekly basis, you should wipe them down with a sponge sprinkled with baking soda or dampened with vinegar to keep everything clean and tidy and your animals healthy.
For more information, visit:
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Fish
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources: Ongoing Aquarium and equipment maintenance
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Aquarium
- Parrots for Patriots: Parrot cage care
Whichever type of flooring you use in the house, you probably want to minimize the damage to it from your pets. Here are some tips on how to achieve that:
- Trim your pet’s nails regularly.
- Wipe your dog’s paws off before coming inside.
- If you have a pet that sheds, choose a flooring color similar to your pet’s hair.
- Put a mat under your animal’s drinking bowl and clean up any accidents or spills as quickly as possible.
- Place rugs in high-traffic areas.
To learn more, visit:
- Seattle Humane: Hardwood floors your pets
- Best friends: Counter surfing dogs how to keep dog away from the kitchen counter
- Animal Humane Society: How do I keep my cat off the counter
Keeping Paws Clean
Use an old towel or rag to wipe your dog’s muddy paws as they enter the door to your home. If the paws are particularly muddy or dirty, rinse them in a small bucket of warm water and dry them. Keep a towel close to the door to avoid having to look for one each time you come inside from a walk.
For more paw cleaning information, visit:
- Michigan Humane Society: Clean muddy dog paws
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Keeping your house clean
- RSPCA Dog Insurance: Dog grooming guide
Staying Ahead of the Mess
To minimize the mess from your pets and reduce the time it takes to keep your house clean, plan in advance, take some preventive measures, and take the time to train your pet.
If you have a dog, set a scheduled time to take your dog out to do its business. If your adult dog is having accidents in the house, there could be several reasons for it including tension in the household, anxiety about being left alone, or a medical problem. Observe patterns in behavior and start retraining your dog accordingly.
Cat owners should teach their felines to use a litter box. It is recommended to get a covered litter box and put a mat in front of it, which will catch any remaining litter from your cat’s paws and stop it from being dispersed around the house. It is best to clean a cat’s litter box contents at least once a day, and the whole litter box once a week.
To learn more, visit:
- DSPCA: Your home and your pet
- Blue cross for pets: House-training adult dog
- Forrest City Area Humane Society: The dog housetraining method that really works
Protecting Your Furniture
In order to be healthy and happy, cats must have places to scratch. To keep them off your favorite sofa, teach your cats to scratch where you want them to. You will need to provide both vertical and horizontal scratching posts in several locations for your cats to scratch. However, it will take some time for your cats to learn to use these posts. Until you train them, you can protect your furniture by:
- Putting double-sided carpet tape on them
- Covering them with netting, shelf paper, bubble wrap, or foil
- Scenting them with citrus spray or peel, diluted perfume, enzyme odor eliminator, or a 50/50 water-vinegar mixture
For more ideas, visit:
- Berkley Parents Network: Stopping cats from clawing furniture
- Friends of Pets: Save The Sofa
- Tree House Humane Society: Why cats need their claws
Pet-Friendly Pest Control
Before using pesticide always read the label and follow instructions. Make sure to keep pets away from areas you are treating until the space has completely dried and it has been well ventilated. Cover fish tanks to prevent liquids and vapors from entering the tank. If you are using bait, choose a type with lower potential for secondary poisoning, and place them where your pet cannot reach them.
To learn more, try the following websites:
- National Pesticide Information Center: Pesticide use around pets
- Montana State University Extension: Chemicals and animal safety
- Environmental Protection Agency: Read label first protect your pets
- University of Missouri Extension: Using pesticides safely