Our pets provide us with endless amounts of joy. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, or a guinea pig—pets are special, no doubt about it. They enrich our lives, teach our children responsibility, and pay us back with a love that knows no end. However, every pet owner knows that having a pet, even a small one, comes with a big challenge: keeping your home clean. This can be an especially big task if your pet spends time both inside and outdoors. Then, in addition to fur, you also have to deal with the dirt, grass, leaves, and even insects that pets bring with them when they come inside after their walk or playtime in the yard. There will be muddy pawprints, spilled food, and fur in places you didn’t think it could go. It is a drawback every pet owner is willing to take.
The good news is that there are ways to keep a pet and a clean house at the same time. With a little planning and preparation, keeping your home clean while caring for your pet will be easier than you might think. Here are five tips that are essential for balancing having a pet with having a clean house.
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Have your vacuum handy
No matter what type of pet you have, an efficient, high-performing vacuum is a must-have. There will be fur on the floors, the rugs, the furniture, the stairs, and your clothes. You get the idea. So even if you have a pet that is not supposed to shed, be prepared to vacuum your home on a daily basis. It is probably the most important step in keeping your house clean. Make sure you vacuum in different directions to get all the fur off your floors, and routinely change the vacuum bag. If your vacuum operates without a bag and has a collection bin instead, empty it after each use of the vacuum cleaner. This will ensure your vacuum has maximum suction power. These days, you can choose from a large variety of vacuum cleaner models. There are robot vacuums, such as good quality iRobot Roomba Series Vacuums, that can run while you are busy doing other work; there are portable cordless models that can go wherever you need them most, and there are vacuums that specialize in cleaning up after pets. With a little bit of research, you can easily find the model that will work best for you. One place to start is here: Best Pet Hair Vacuum
Keep cleaning supplies in stock
In addition to a vacuum cleaner, keep paper towels, stain removers, and lint or tape rollers in stock. Even the best-behaved pet can sometimes have an accident. Plus, unlike people, pets don’t know to use the bathroom if they battle an upset stomach or intestinal virus. So, it is invaluable to have paper towels on hand to quickly clean up any unexpected messes. Specialized cleaners help to keep odors in check and permanent stains from marring the look of your home. A lint or tape roller is invaluable in cleaning tricky surfaces like curtains, lamp shades, or clothing. A squeegee is an easy way to quickly wipe fur off a couch or rug, if you don’t feel like hauling out the vacuum cleaner to spot-clean a small area. If you own a larger house, or one with more than one floor, keep several caddies stocked throughout your home for quick access. Cleaning up after your pet will be less of a hassle if you know that you have all the supplies you need in an easy-to-access location.
Keep the dirt from spreading
You will make your life easier if you keep a door mat or a washable throw rug in your entrance way. Both are designed to catch dirt—whether it comes from your shoes or your pet’s paws. Additionally, if your pets have gotten particularly dirty while playing outside or doing their business in wet weather, a door mat or rug is a good place for them to stop while you brush and dry them off. Make sure you have what you need handy to rinse off muddy paws—a water basin and clean towel will do the trick. This will be the first step in preventing the dirt from spreading through your home.
If your pet has a few favorite spots to take a nap, cover them up. Get some sheets or towels to make your pet’s favorite place a comfortable spot to hang out in. You will protect your furniture at the same time. Plus, you can quickly throw the sheets or towels in the wash if they get dirty or smelly. If there are rooms in your home you don’t want your pet to go in, invest in a baby gate or other barrier to block off the area. You will likely still have to vacuum up pet hair that has mysteriously traveled into the room, but it will keep down any other necessary cleaning.
Finally, place a mat or a rimmed tray underneath your pet’s food dishes. Both will help in keeping the feeding area clean. A mat, combined with bowls that have suction cups to keep them from moving around the floor, is easy to wipe down once your pet is done eating. And a rimmed tray, which will prevent spilled food or water from spreading, can quickly be picked up and rinsed off. Again, the more you are able to contain the mess, the easier it will be to clean up after your pet.
Keep your pets clean and groomed
Keeping your pets clean means more than just wiping off muddy paws and brushing off leaves when they come inside. It means keeping nails trimmed and fur cut and combed. Short nails mean less damage to hardwood floors, rugs, and furniture. And short fur is much easier to clean up than long strands. Also, getting your dog shampooed once a month cuts down on the amount of fur and dander your pet will shed. With regular trips to the groomer you will get two for one: your pet will look good and your home is easier to keep clean. Also, make sure you keep up with flea prevention treatments. It takes a little time to plan ahead and set up reminders, but it is time well spent. It will be a lot harder and take a lot more time to battle a flea infestation.
Invest in low-maintenance furniture
Furniture that’s made from strong, sturdy materials that are easy to clean are best for a home with pets. High-quality leather is usually able to withstand the wear and tear caused by a pet. It is also easy to wipe down. If you are not a fan of leather furniture, then microfiber is a good alternative. Whatever you choose, look for tightly woven materials that are stain-resistant. If you decide to purchase new furniture, select a color that matches your pets’ fur, and go for a pattern rather than a solid color. If possible, stay away from light colors. Try to avoid shaggy rugs, which are often hard to vacuum. A low-pile rug without fringes is much easier to keep clean. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the fringes getting tangled up in your vacuum cleaner.
If you follow these simple, easy-to-follow tips to keep your home clean, you will never have to fear a surprise visit by uninvited guests ever again.