If you own pets, you know the misery that comes with trying to keep your home clean and smell-free. We love our pets, they are part of the family, but geesh, do they have to smell as bad as a 15-year-old’s socks after lacrosse practice? And smells are only half the battle…hairballs, barf of various kinds, pet “accidents”, and the endless quest to tame loose pet hair gathering in all corners and covering the couch are just some of the challenges of owning a pet. So how can you keep your home clean, without driving yourself crazy?

Short of just giving up and letting your home start to look like great Aunt Sally’s with her six cats,  you need to make sure you have the right tools for the job, which will make life with pets so much easier.

The Value of a Good Vacuum

If you have a plethora of pet hair, then you NEED a good vacuum. And no, not all vacuums are created equal. What you need is a vacuum with enough suction power to really get that pet hair up off surfaces. Most vacuums that still use bags are just not up to the task. If you have anyone in the home with pet allergies, you are also going to want to look for models with HEPA filters.

What you need is a sealed canister bag-less vacuum. The sealed canister not only creates the best suction, but it also allows fewer allergens back into the environment. So, with all the choices out there, which is the best option? The answer to that largely depends on your space (carpets are hard flooring?), size, whether or not you need to navigate stairs or need detachable hand-held tools, and, of course, your budget and personal preferences. Prices can range from the royally priced Dyson pet models (the roller ball, stick vacuum, and canister styles all have pet versions), to the more economically priced Sharks, Bissells, and Hoovers. Find out more about highly rated pet vacuums at Rover.com.

Lint Rollers are Your Friend

When I was a kid, a common trick for getting pet hair off of dress slacks was to wrap masking tape around your hand with the sticky side up. Thanks goodness we now have lint rollers! We suggest investing in a 10-pack from Costco or Sams Club, which will last you about a week. Just kidding…or are we?

You can get giant lint rollers that cover more surface area, but it’s up to you whether the expense is worth it. The standard-sized lint roller will do the trick, although you may have to make a few more passes to get all the hair. They aren’t just for clothes! Use them on couches, chairs, and any surface that regularly collects hair but is difficult to vacuum.

The trick is to not let the hair build up too much, so if you have a pet that sheds a lot (I’m looking at you, Husky-lovers), then you may need to make this part of your daily routine (or at least several times per week).

Protect Your Floors with Rugs

You can protect your couch by covering it with a slip cover or sheet, but it’s more difficult to protect your floors. Tracked in mud and pet accidents are a bit easier to clean up on hard floors, but getting stains and odors out of carpeting can be a frustrating challenge. Places where your pet lays often also collect more than pet hair. Body oils can discolor the carpeting over time, making it look dingy no matter how much you clean. So to save your sanity, try the new indoor/outdoor rugs that have become popular in recent years. They come in many styles and colors, so a casual visitor may not even tell the difference between a good indoor/outdoor rug and a pricey area rug.

The best feature is that these rugs are usually impermeable, so pet soils never make it through to the carpet underneath, making clean up a breeze. Place smaller rugs at each exterior door to capture muddy paws, runners down long hallways, and large room-size rugs under the couch or dining room table. Pretty much, any place your dog frequently lays would be a good spot for a rug. Regularly vacuum up the pet hair and clean soils with a damp cloth.

Invest in an Ultraviolet Light

If you have a cat, you probably have already experienced the obsessive lengths your cat will go through to “hide” the evidence of an accident. Dark corners of closets, behind the couch, under the bed…often you can smell it, but have trouble finding it, especially if it’s already dried. So how do you find those hidden presents left by your loving pet? Invest in an ultraviolet light (or black light). They are available at most pet supply stores, or you can buy them online.

Urine will glow under a black light, due to the amount of phosphorus in the waste. If you smell an accident, you can make a sweep of the area with the black light to pinpoint the location. You may want to periodically do a sweep of the whole house, as part of your regular cleaning routine, to find any other hidden accidents. The quicker you get the spots treated and cleaned, the less likely your home will start to smell like a litter box.

Stock-Up on Shaving Cream

Pet accidents happen. But there is no need to invest in expensive pet cleaning products. You may already have what you need right in your home – shaving cream.

Don’t laugh! According to Architectural Digest this is the only “miracle” pet cleaner you need. The foaming action will deep clean stains, which you can then just wipe away. Make sure you don’t use the gel variety, though! A good foaming option, like Barbasol, works best. Just spray it on the offending area and let sit for several minutes, then wipe away the mess with warm water. It works on everything from barf to urine.

Choose the Right Sofa

Some sofa fabrics are just not pet friendly. You probably already know to stay away from white furniture if you have a pet, but the type of material matters, too. Some fabrics are much easier to clean and do not hold odors as much as others. Leather is a great option, but pricey. You’ll want a fabric that does not stain easily, so look for tightly-woven fabrics. Microfiber is an option that is easy to clean. Whatever you choose, you may also want to opt for the ScotchGard protection, which usually comes with some kind of warranty.

When you are ready to give Fido a bigger yard, we are here to help! Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia, we are always here to help with all your real estate needs! If you are unsure of your home’s value or if you are thinking about buying or selling, contact Jason at 703-298-7037 or Jason@JasonAndBonnie.com.