Caitlin UltimoPet Lovers / Pet Parenting

10 Smart Pet Cleaning Hacks

Cats and dogs are adorable. But with their cuteness comes hair. Lots and lots of it—on your furniture, in your carpet, on your clothes, in your car. It’s everywhere.

To keep you from pulling out your own hair in your quest to control the mess, we came up with a list of helpful and easy cleaning hacks. They’ll not only minimize the seemingly endless supply of fur around your house, but they’ll also help you tackle pet accidents, stains, spills, paw prints and drool. Follow these simple tips, and maintaining a clean pet-friendly house will no longer seem like an impossible task.


via Shutterstock

Cleaning Fix: Homemade Cleaning Solution

Pets are bound to have bathroom accidents every now and then. To remove stains, whip up a homemade cleaning solution that’s equal parts water and white vinegar, with a tiny bit of gentle dishwashing soap, suggests Serena Faber Nelson, owner of Pretty Fluffy, a pet-friendly lifestyle site. It’s a fraction of the cost of chemical cleaners, and not toxic to you or your pet.

“Use a paper towel to pick up any solid parts of the stain, and then apply the solution liberally to the stain,” she says. “Always spot test the surface you’re applying any cleaning solution to.”

Afterwards, learn how to put a stop to dog peeing indoors.

Fur on Clothes

Fur on Clothes

borzywoj via Shutterstock

Cleaning Fix: Lint Roller

Faber Nelson was the pet parent to a Border Collie, Soda, for several years, which meant dog hair was prevalent in her home. She recommends keeping a large lint roller available to remove fur from clothes, pillows, and furniture. She even kept a smaller one in her car to run over her seats before getting in or her clothes before getting out.

Read more hacks for getting rid of pet fur.

Spilled Food and Water

Spilled Food and Water

dogboxstudio via Shutterstock

Cleaning Fix: Plastic Placemat

Unfortunately, your pet doesn’t have table manners. He doesn’t care if his kibble goes all over the kitchen floor or if water spills every time he laps it up with his tongue. For easy cleanup, situate a plastic, waterproof dining placemat underneath his bowls, says Faber Nelson. You can wipe it clean.

Want to make your own? Buy a piece of fun-print paper or have your child draw a picture of your pet, and then laminate it.

Drool, Fur or Hair Balls

Drool, Fur or Hair Balls

Annette Shaff via Shutterstock

Cleaning Fix: Blanket or Sheet

Drool, fur, hair balls and muddy paw prints can wreak havoc on your favorite upholstered furniture. Place designated pet blankets or sheets over those items, says Faber Nelson. It’s much easier to throw them in the wash than to clean the couch, chair or ottoman itself. Then, when you have guests coming over, just remove the blankets so your furniture looks tidy. And remember: Regularly grooming your pet will help diminish the problem of too much hair.

Read more tips for controlling your cat’s hairballs.

Open Bags of Pet Food

Open Bags of Pet Food

kasidach Thongjam via Shutterstock

Cleaning Fix: Pitcher or Tub

Many pet foods come in bags. Once those bulky bags are open, though, it’s hard to keep them sealed. Open bags can lead to spills and ants, and even stale food.

Instead, pour the food into a pitcher with an airtight lid. This keeps the food fresh, and makes it easy to dispense the food into a bowl.

Have a lot of food? Pour it into a large plastic storage bin with a lid. Keep a pitcher or scooper inside, so you can easily dish out the food.

Pet Hair on Furniture

Pet Hair on Furniture

Adya via Shutterstock

Cleaning Fix: Rubber Dishwashing Gloves

Upholstered chairs and couches covered in fur? Throw on a pair of rubber dishwashing gloves and run your hands over the furniture, recommends Faber Nelson. It’s a quick way to “de-fuzz” furniture when you don’t have enough time to vacuum them.

Read seven easy ways to protect your furniture from pet fur.

Fur in the Carpet

Fur in the Carpet

cunaplus via Shutterstock

Cleaning Fix: Squeegee

Sometimes a vacuum isn’t enough to get all of your pet’s locks from the carpet—especially around corners and edges. Try running a squeegee over those areas to pick up any stragglers.

Muddy Paw Prints

Muddy Paw Prints

Micolo J via Flickr

Cleaning Fix: Doggy Door Mat

“In one quick run, your pup can get paw prints over a variety of surfaces that have to be cleaned separately,” says Faber Nelson. They can be time-consuming and tough to clean.

She recommends investing in doggy door mats. Place them at doors that your dog is constantly going through so you can wipe his feet clean before he enters.

Tangled Leashes

Tangled Leashes

Tony Alter via Flickr

Cleaning Fix: Key Hook

Keep your leashes organized by hanging them on a wall-mounted key hook by the door. That’s also a great place to store bags for picking up your pet’s waste along the walk.

Bad Pet Odors

Bad Pet Odors

Tiplyashina Evgeniya via Shutterstock

Cleaning Fix: Homemade Air Freshener

No one wants their house smelling like a cat litter box or wet fur. Combat the odors with easy-to-make homemade air freshener. It’s cheaper and safer than chemical deodorizers you buy at the store.

For one serving, place 1/2 cup of baking soda and about 10 to 15 drops of your favorite natural essential oil in a small bowl. Stir. Make as many as you want to leave around your house—but keep them out of reach of pets and children at all times.

Read more tips for cleaning up pet messes.

By: Jill Fanslau