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Don’t Let Things Get Hairy: Learn How to Clean Up After Your PetsAugust 20th, 2014 by
Pets are some of the best companions—they love unconditionally and seem to have an uncanny awareness of human emotions, and their furry faces can instantly brighten a day. It would be nice if they could clean up after themselves, too; unfortunately, that’s not an option, so we humans bear the burden of cleaning up their messes. Here are some tips to help you keep a clean home while still enjoying the company of your four-pawed friends.
1. Keep Your Pets Clean
Many pet owners forget that regularly bathing and brushing pets—especially long-haired animals and those who enjoy rolling in mud, dirt, and other unspeakable things—can help keep a home from getting too dirty in the first place. When your pup runs into the house covered in dust from her backyard digging session, that dust will eventually end up in the air and all over your floors, even if you can’t see it right away. Healthy cats will bathe themselves, but cleaning up after your dog should involve regular grooming sessions and monthly baths—done either in the comfort of your home or at a groomer’s salon—to help keep dirt, dust, and loose fur from landing on your furniture, floors, and window coverings. To further minimize the chance that clouds of fur will chase you around the house, brush your pets outside if at all possible.
2. Vacuum Often
Most experts recommend vacuuming several times—at least twice—a week to keep the pet mess at bay. Vacuums with HEPA filters work best for carpet in pet-friendly homes, but use an electrostatic mop on hard floors so that you don’t just blow the hair around. Brooms and dustmops work well, too, but they won’t attract the hair and dust in the same way that an electrostatic mop will. Many vacuums also have special attachments that are specifically designed to grab hair and dirt off furniture, so take advantage of those before or after cleaning the floors.
3. Address Stains Quickly
As you clean up after your pets, you will almost certainly need to get rid of a stain or two. A good rule to follow is to start treating the stain as soon as you see it. Not only is it easier to remove fresh stains, but many pets see an untreated stain as an invitation to repeat the behavior that caused the stain in the first place. Use a clean cloth to blot the stain and absorb as much moisture as possible. Spray the affected area, remembering to do a patch test first, with an enzyme cleanser or a cleaning solution of a quarter teaspoon of clear dishwashing liquid mixed with a cup of lukewarm water. Don’t use ammonia-based cleaning solutions—they will encourage pets to urinate in the same spot. Use another clean towel to blot the stain again, and then rinse the area by blotting with a towel dampened with lukewarm water. You may have to repeat this process a few times, but if the stain or the smell simply doesn’t go away, call a Best Pick that specializes in carpet cleaning.
4. Make Decorating Decisions with Pets in Mind
Cleaning up after your dog or cat can be a chore, but choosing pet-friendly fabrics and household accessories can help mitigate the mess. Leather furniture—especially semianiline leather, which is treated to resist puncture—is durable and easy to clean, but if fabric is your preference, stay away from loose weaves and fabric with loops of yarn or other material. Instead, look for microsuede or microfiber options and other synthetic, tightly woven fabrics, and keep an eye out for materials that are made with pet owners in mind. Many sources suggest trying to match your fabric and carpet decisions to the color of your pet’s fur. An attractive, inexpensive throw or afghan placed on your pet’s favorite chair or couch can also help protect your furniture.
Pets play an important role in the lives of their people, but we don’t always want their presence to be quite so apparent when visitors arrive at our homes or when we walk in the door after a long day at work. Taking a few minutes each week to tidy up and run the vacuum will help keep any pet messes manageable.
Sources: HGTV; MarthaStewart.com; MercolaHealthyPets.com; WebMD.
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