Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners
Cleaning hacks. We all can admit to looking up cleaning suggestions and inexpensive ideas when it comes to our homes. Especially with animals, keeping a clean house can be a challenge. With 5 dogs and 4 cats’ hair and paw prints are a constant battle to keep off my floors. If you are like me then you most likely have bought the products that are targeted towards animals specifically, are well known brands or the advertising on them have convinced you to give them a try. After all, in our market advertising that they have the best product is what companies excel at. However, have you ever been disappointed by a product that you were so confident would be great? I can raise my hand to that question. To stop this from happening over the years I have experimented with different products to determine which truly are the best, which are overpriced for quality and which are hidden treasures. Today I am happy to share with you my favorites.
I have a love hate relationship with carpets. I love how they are easy to maintain with just vacuuming, and occasionally washing them. On the other hand, they hold mud, potty and any other stain that falls onto them. If you have carpets in your house, then these 3 items are my must haves.
You may be thinking how a food item would be used to clean and one that smells so strongly too. Well vinegar has many different uses from cooking to cleaning. The acid in it is very high meaning it has natural antibacterial properties that allow it to kill mold and loosen dirt and stains from fibers in carpets. Growing up my parents used it for stains and to clean our carpets. The smell is very strong but once the carpet dries the smell disappears. In my house I use it in our vacuum cleaner in replacement of those expensive carpet cleaning solutions. It is also great for potty stains as it kills the smell left behind deterring the animal from coming back to that spot. Simply spray it on and let it soak for 10 minutes, then blot it clean with a towel.
2.) BISSELL Proheat 2X Liftoff Pet with Antibacterial 1-Speed 0.75-Gallon Upright Carpet Cleaner
I had a Hoover carpet cleaner for many years before it needed to retire as our animal family grew and it couldn’t keep up. I bought another Hoover that was targeted for animal households this time and it ended up breaking on the second time I used it. Again, it couldn’t stand up to an animal household. The carpet part was good but the attachments for furniture would clog extremely easily. So goodbye to Hoover and my husband bought us a Bissell. It has been the best $320 spent! I love that it is essentially a 2 in 1 product with a detachable vacuum to use on carpeted stairs and for quick clean ups without having to drag the entire machine around. It really stands up to our zoo and that is saying a lot. It is pricey but it is priced accurately for the product quality. A reminder if you are washing your floors or furniture is to always best to vacuum first before using the cleaner. This will help prevent clogs as well as keep it running longer. This isn’t a requirement but a lesson my parents taught me that I carry through in my family now.
3.) Food Lion Advanced Formula Carpet Cleaner
This is the best carpet cleaner solution I have found. If you are looking for an inexpensive all in 1 carpet cleaner for everyday stains, then this is a must have for your cleaning pantry. I came across this product when I moved south after college right next to a Food Lion. Having only 1 dog and cat at the time I knew I would need something in case of stains. In college I would buy all the expensive cleaners for pets and none of them really wowed me so I figured I would give this a try. The first time I used it was when I spilled red wine on my carpet. I sprayed this on and rubbed it in with a bathroom scrubbing brush then let it sit for 5 minutes before blotting it up. The stain was gone! Red wine, one of the hardest stains to clean and it was no match to this cleaner. After that I used this cleaner for quick stain pickups that my animals or myself would make. It is a quick solution to even be used with a carpet cleaner. If you do not want to use vinegar, then spray this on the stain and scrub it in. In 5 minutes run your carpet cleaner over it with hot water inside the machine and any stain will come out, old or new. I do recommend for pee stains to use vinegar still as it will help kill the smell but for any other stains this is a go to solution that won’t leave behind any smell and is cheap at $4.
There are many other different types of floors and for each one you must be careful on what kind of cleaning solutions you use on them. It is important to read carefully each label. I have had hard wood floors, tile, vinyl and plank floors. Of course, tile and vinyl are the easiest to clean as many solutions are safe for these. When you get into hardwood and plank floors is when it can become tricky. I personally have stuck to Swiffer for my floor cleaning needs for almost all my floors.
1.) Swiffer wet jet wood floors
If you have wood floors in your house, then the Swiffer wood floor formula is safe and can be used on all the rest of the floors in your house without having to switch products and is animal safe. It is great for mud stains that are tracked in after being outside as well as cleaning up accidents. For pee accidents I recommend wiping it up with paper towels first then going over it with the Swiffer to clean any residue left behind. You can get the mop and a starter pack for $24.
2.) Swiffer wet jet regular formula
Great for all other kinds of solid floors. In our old house we had vinyl wood floors and never had any issues of it peeling off the coating or causing it to buckle from being wet. I use my Swiffer weekly to clean all the solid floors in my house even if I think they look clean. The Swiffer will prove to you just how dirty floors get from everyday use.
3.) Dish soap and hot water
If you have plank floors that only a custom cleaner can be used on them or if you are looking for a cheaper solution to buying a Swiffer or other cleaning solutions dish soap and hot water in a bucket goes a long way in cleaning floors. Dish soap will pull up any grime or stains. Hot water will help boast this cleaning power as well. The only downfall to using a mop is that you are often putting dirty water back on your floors unless you have two buckets, one for emptying the dirt just cleaned and another for putting more water on the mop to continue cleaning.
Hair, hair and more hair
Long hair or short hair our pets love to share it all. Most breeds of dogs and cats shed their hair. I have all short haired pets and their hair still manages to get on couches, tv stands and under anything it can. It was getting to the point where we had to dust and vacuum multiple times a week. It got old quickly and for someone who has OCD seeing it all over was difficult for me to manage mentally. Knowing that we had to come up with a solution before I lost my mind, we took a chance on an iRobot.
1.) iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550)
I was nervous that it wouldn’t hold up to all the hair or that I would have to be emptying it constantly so we did our research on what one would be best for us and we purchased the iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum with automatic dirt disposal. It is expensive at $949 and I couldn’t believe I was spending so much on a vacuum but now I don’t know what I would do without it. It is Wi-Fi connected and has an app for your phone where you can set a schedule for it to run on any day and time. We have ours run daily to help eliminate any hair or dirt on the ground from that day. It will automatically empty itself into its trash can at the end of each cycle. If it fills up or is low on battery it will go to its dock and empty, then recharge and automatically come back out to finish its cleaning. This was important to me that I didn’t have to empty it when it got full and wasn’t done cleaning like the cheaper versions of iRobot. It also can connect to Alexa and can be told to clean a specific room only for those quick clean ups. It has really made a huge impact on my cleaning and is safe for all kinds of floors.
2.) Swiffer duster and Pledge
Now that we have the floors and fabric furniture covered the only thing left to do is dust. Hair and dirt are bound to find its way up on furniture which can make a home look dirtier then it is. For my wood furniture I trap all the hair and dust with their Swiffer duster. You can get the beginner pack with the handle and 2 dusters for $11. 1 duster pad will last me a month if I use it weekly. My method is even if its dirty if I shake it and no hair comes out its still good. I use my duster before using pledge on my wood furniture. I have tried all kinds of other furniture dust sprays and none of them have given me the quality clean as Pledge cleaner. It is priced at almost $5 but a little spray goes a long way. Along with cleaning any dust and allergens it helps to keep dust off furniture in between uses and gives them a nice clean look.
Now that you know all my cleaning hacks hopefully some of them can help you save money and time spent cleaning and keeping a clean animal household. As animal lovers and owners, we know how challenging this can be but staying on top of cleaning will lead to a healthier living environment from allergens, dust mites, fleas and give you a sense of calmness. If you have any cleaning hacks that you want to share post them on the comments section under this blog post for all our Love and a Leash clientele to see. We are all a big community who want the best for our animals and each other.