How to Live with Pets AND Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh


Whether your new dog or cat is your first pet or your 50th pet, we can all use some reminders about how to clean up after our pets and keep our homes are clean even with our furry friends living with us. Here are a few pointers for new pet owners and seasoned pet owners, alike.

All pet owners need to have these items in their homes (and in their cars).

Lint Roller: Keep one in the closet, in the bathroom and in your car so you are always ready to roll out the door with fur-free clothes. If you’re in a pinch and have pulled the last piece of sticky goodness off the roller, scotch tape, masking tape or even blue painter’s tape will work. These work like magic on furniture, too.

Dishwashing Gloves: In a hurry to clean some pet hair off furniture, tables or chairs? Put on a pair of dishwashing gloves and sweep your hand over the area your need to remove fur from. It’s quick, inexpensive and works well for small clean ups.

Throw Blankets: You don’t need the fancy, dry clean-only throws. You need the old-fashioned, can-take-a-good-spin-in-the- washer-and-dryer throw blankets. You can put these on Fido’s favorite place on the couch, chair or bed, and quickly toss them aside when company comes. Your furniture is fresh and fur-free, so you can relax with your visitors. When you’re ready to give the house a good cleaning, just take these outside and shake off the loose fur before you put them in the washing machine. And if you’re ready to freshen them up, but you don’t have the time or desire to put them through a full wash, simply pop them in the dryer on “air.”

Throw Rugs: Get some cheap, washable throw rugs for your pets’ favorite places to sleep on the floor, too! Put one where your dogs go in and out to catch some of the paw prints from the floor.

A Shallow Bowl of Water: Keep a towel and shallow container filled one-third of the way with room-temperature water by your door prior to walking out the door. Once the walk is over, dip each of your dog’s paws into the water and dry them off when he comes in the house. This is especially useful during the winter when sidewalks and driveways are often covered with ice-melt.

Place Mats: Place mats slide easily under your pets’ food and water bowls and can be easily removed and wiped down with ease after each mealtime.

Some tips for washing machine washable items

If a pet has an accident on a machine washable item, machine wash as usual, adding a cup of baking soda to your regular detergent. When possible, air dry these items rather than putting them in the dryer. If you can still see the stain or smell the urine, machine wash the item again and add an enzymatic cleaner (available at pet supply stores) that breaks down pet-waste odors. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

Clean any stains as soon as you see them – the sooner the better! Blot fresh stains with a clean, white cloth. After absorbing as much moisture as possible, apply a solution of 1/4 teaspoon clear dish washing liquid mixed with one cup tepid water; blot with another clean, dry towel. Rinse by blotting with a towel dampened with tepid water. Continue alternating with a soapy towel and a clean, damp towel until the stain is gone. For stale stains or persistent odor, call a professional carpet cleaner. Keep enzyme-based pet odor neutralizer on hand to help neutralize odor.

Final tips

Dust and vacuum at least once a week. Pet hair and dirty litter that get tracked around your home all hold odors. The sooner you get rid of it and the more often you clean it up, the less likely your house will absorb any of these odors, and the less of it you’ll see!

Brush your pets on a regular basis. Veterinarians recommend brushing and grooming your pets regularly in order to reduce the amount of hair in the air and on the ground. Perhaps brush your pets a few times a week. If the hair is on the brush, then it’s not on the floor. Always check with your vet to see how often you should groom your dog or cat.

We can all live together harmoniously and relatively free of pet odors by following just a few tips.