My Five Favorite Tips for Keeping a Cleaner Home with Dogs (and Kids!)



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Our Boston terrier, Hope, is everyone’s favorite family member – she’s the best greeter, cuddler, and comedic entertainment around! She’s happiest when she’s being carried around (sometimes I joke that I should get a baby sling because she’d seriously love it) or is snuggled up next to us in the family room. We should probably be better dog parents and set more ground rules for her around the house but the honest truth is that she rules the roost! She’s allowed up on all of our furniture and not only sleeps on our bed but when she recently began having trouble jumping up onto it with her old age, we bought her doggie steps to help. Definitely a spoiled pooch but she’s such a sweetheart that she deserves every bit of spoiling she gets! 

Such great tips on keeping your house clean with pets!

Such great tips on keeping your house clean with pets!

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(more pics of our kitchen and a full source list are available in {this kitchen post})

 

Along with all of the joys of having Hope come the dirt and the dog hair that make it a little bit more of a challenge to keep our house clean. After 20+ years of dog ownership, I’ve definitely found a few tricks and tips for living with pets while still keeping a clean (or maybe I should say “cleaner” ) home. Today I’m sharing my five favorites with you including everything from our double doormat system to some upholstered furniture advice, a must-have mat for under food and water bowls and more! Let’s get to it! (post includes affiliate links – full disclosure statement available {here})

 

Driven by Decor - One

Driven by Decor - One

Keeping our house clean with pets and kids starts at the front door! Well, actually it’s our door from the kitchen to the garage since that’s the one we use the most going in and out of the house. To help keep Hope from tracking in dirt and from getting our floors wet on rainy and snowy days, we’ve started using a system of layering a bathmat on top of our larger patterned entry rug: 

An easy to wash bathmat layered over a larger rug is a practical, stylish idea to keep dogs and kids from tracking dirt and mud into your home!

An easy to wash bathmat layered over a larger rug is a practical, stylish idea to keep dogs and kids from tracking dirt and mud into your home!

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(more pics and details of this space are available in {this garage entryway post})

 

The bathmat is really absorbent so it takes any wetness off of Hope’s paws when she comes in and since it’s so easy to wash, whenever it starts looking grungy like this: 

Smart idea to layer an easy to wash doormat over a patterned rug!

Smart idea to layer an easy to wash doormat over a patterned rug!

I simply throw in the washer and dryer and it comes out looking like new. And it works just as well for kids running in and out of the house with dirty shoes as it does for pets! I now rarely have to wash our patterned rug which is a good thing – it’s wool so it’s really not supposed to be thrown in the washer even though I do it anyway. It seems to have done ok being washed but it takes FOREVER to air dry. I think my two-mat system will help my patterned rug stay in great shape for a long time to come!

 

Driven by Decor - Two

Driven by Decor - Two

Keeping your upholstered furniture clean with pets is easiest if you simply don’t let them up on the furniture at all but we all love cuddling on the sofa with Hope so we have to have a plan B for keeping everything clean! That plan involves lots of cozy throws! I make sure there’s always a cozy throw or two on every piece of upholstered furniture and Hope typically jumps up and cozies on in so she’s lying on a throw instead of the furniture itself. I make sure that the throws I choose are machine washable and aren’t a loosely woven knit that Hope’s toenails can get stuck in. {This super soft ruched fur throw} is her fave (and mine too!):

Our favorite fur throw - so super soft and washes beautifully!

Our favorite fur throw - so super soft and washes beautifully!

We have lots of other cozy throws that get the job done too! I snapped this pic just a few weeks ago when our rhododendron was in full bloom outside of our living room window – being on top of a cozy throw sandwiched between her two sisters is Hope’s happy place!

Our favorite seat in the house pilled with pillows and throws!

Our favorite seat in the house pilled with pillows and throws!

(Our pom pom throw was a HomeGoods find – {this cozy throw} is similar)

Every now and then, Hope bypasses the throws and nestles on into a group of pillows E.T. style (do any of your pets do this??) but 95% of the time a cozy throw does the trick!

The cutest! Our dog snuggles on top of our pillows too!

The cutest! Our dog snuggles on top of our pillows too!

 

Driven by Decor - Three

Driven by Decor - Three

Keeping on top of dog hair is key and I’ve got two favorite tools to do just that. The first is {this microfiber mop} that I use on all of my hardwood floors. It’s similar to a Swiffer but a bit larger and it comes with cloths that can be washed and reused instead of disposable ones that you throw away. It hardly takes any time at all to run it around our kitchen to pick up hair, dirt, and crumbs which then get sucked right up into the toe kick vacuum built into our kitchen island (but can easily be swept up too!):

This microfiber hardwood floor mop is the best! Love that the pads can be washed and reused!

This microfiber hardwood floor mop is the best! Love that the pads can be washed and reused!

(Oversized brass drawer pulls can be found {here})

The second is my Dyson handheld vac which I use every single day – it’s ten times better than any Dustbuster I’ve had before with crazy amazing suction power! I have the Dyson V6 handheld which I bought refurbished from the Dyson Store on eBay to save money (If you buy directly from the eBay Dyson shop, they come with the same warranty as a new vacuum). I love it for getting into all of the little nooks and crannies where dog hair seems to accumulate like under the cushions of the couch and the next to my baseboards. And it’s great for reaching spots you would have a hard time getting to with a regular vacuum attachment like the top of molding over windows and the ledge above my range (which yes, somehow dog hair can find its way to too!!):

Hands-down, this Dyson is the BEST handheld vacuum I've ever owned!

Hands-down, this Dyson is the BEST handheld vacuum I've ever owned!

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It looks like eBay doesn’t currently have any refurbished versions of the exact model that I bought but they have several of {this very similar version}. If you prefer to buy new, you can see your options for Dyson handheld vacs {here}.  If that gives you too much sticker shock, a less expensive option is {this Shark handheld vacuum} – a friend of mine who just bought it said she absolutely loves it because it’s slim and sleek, has amazing suction, and empties with the single touch of a button.

 

Driven by Decor - Four

Driven by Decor - Four

Whenever I post a photo of our kitchen eat-in area on Instagram, I invariably have a few people who say how ridiculous it is to have an upholstered piece like our banquette as part of our kitchen dining area because it would be a stained mess with kids. What they don’t know is that half the reason I DIY’ed this banquette instead of buying one is that I wanted one with indoor/outdoor fabric that would wear well and was highly scrubbable and I couldn’t find that in anything store-bought. I used {this Sunbrella fabric that looks like linen} to upholster our banquette and it has been amazing. It definitely gets spills and stains on the cushion from time to time but I’ve always been able to scrub them out. You can even use a diluted bleach/soap mixture on Sunbrella fabric without causing discoloration! So if you have pets that are allowed up on the furniture (Hope likes to hang out with her sister on the banquette at breakfast time) or messy kids, choosing a performance fabric like Sunbrella is a lifesaver!

Sunbrella indoor/outdoor fabrics are amazing for when you have pets! That's what we upholstered our banquette with! Super cleanable and wears well!

Sunbrella indoor/outdoor fabrics are amazing for when you have pets! That's what we upholstered our banquette with! Super cleanable and wears well!

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(more pics of our kitchen eat-in area and a full source list are available in {this kitchen eat-in reveal post})

 

Another tip is to go with slipcovered furniture. Like I mentioned, Hope tends to gravitate towards the throws on our furniture but every now and then we have a throw blanket fail:

Great post on keeping a clean house with pets! Loving this slipcovered sectional!

Great post on keeping a clean house with pets! Loving this slipcovered sectional!

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(more pics of our family room and a full source list are available in {this family room reveal post})

 

While our sectional isn’t a performance fabric, it IS slipcovered so if it gets dirty or stained, I can remove the slipcover to spot clean it or take it to the laundromat for cleaning. Total life-saver! We’ve had our sectional a few years now and even though it’s used daily by all of us and Hope, it is still stain free because I’ve been able to spot-clean any stains we’ve had by removing the slipcover or, on one occasion, taking it to the dry cleaner. 

 

Driven by Decor - Five

Driven by Decor - Five

I just got {this silicone pet bowl mat} last week after stumbling upon it while searching for something else – how did I never know that such a thing existed? 

This silicone pet bowl mat is a lifesaver! Keeps dog and cat food and water bowl spills from harming your floors!

This silicone pet bowl mat is a lifesaver! Keeps dog and cat food and water bowl spills from harming your floors!

I’ve always used a fabric placemat which isn’t ideal because when water is spills on it, it stays damp against my hardwood floors (and I’m pretty protective of the new floors in our kitchen!). This silicone mat catches all the spills and has a slightly raised edge so any spilled water stays on the mat rather than spilling over onto the floor. And it’s super easy to wash up in the sink.

So those are my five favorite tips – do you guys have any others to share? Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’ll be back later in the week to reveal the new mini mudroom area in our laundry room. After having lived without a closet on our first floor for six years, having this new space for coats and shoes is a game-changer so I can’t wait to share it!



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