Pets are wonderful, but they sure do stink sometimes. To make matters worse, pet owners can often get so used to a bad smell, that the no longer realize when their pet is making their home stink to high heaven. So, here are 30 tips to keeping your home fresh and clean while living with a dog or cat.
65. Give Your Pets Regular Baths
Dogs need help being groomed, especially if they have long hair. Without regular brushing and cleaning, their fur can become matted, and a groomer will have no choice but to shave it all off. And, of course, the dirt, sweat, and bugs from playing outside will be in your pet’s fur for a while, as well. Cats are very good about cleaning themselves, but they can sometimes need help to get clean, especially if they are an indoor-outdoor pet. To prepare a pet’s bath, fill up a tub with warm water, have plenty of towels, and special pet shampoo ready. (Do NOT use human shampoo!) Speak in a calm and soothing voice, because your pet may be scared for the water. Also be sure to rinse off the shampoo thoroughly when you’re done. If you do not think you can handle this, consider taking your pet to a professional groomer.
Sometimes, health conditions will cause bad smells in your dog or cat. This can come from yeast infections, open sores, teeth issues, and so much more. If you notice a strange odor coming from your pet, take your dog or cat to the vet to see if there is a medical reason for their stink. Regularly taking them for wellness visits is a good idea, as well.
Not everyone can afford to build a dog washing station, but if you can, it is great for so many reasons. In the image above, you can see a titled concrete outdoor shower where the pet owner can clean off any excess mud and dirt without it ever coming inside of the house. Of course, an outdoor shower really only works if you are giving your dog a bath in the summer time. Some people have even custom-build a dog cleaning area in their mud room and laundry room indoors.
If you have an indoor-outdoor cat, you need to be careful of the fact that they’re natural-born hunters. Cats show their love by giving their owners “presents”, which come in the form of tiny animals they’ve hunted. Sometimes, they’re still alive, and you need to chase a critter out of the house. Other times, you might have to throw an unexpected funeral. Cats typically leave these presents for you near the front or back door of your home, because they want you to see it. In fact, they might wait proudly by their trophy for you to praise them. Put some gloves on, grab a plastic grocery bag, and pick up the little creature before putting it in the garbage can. Hose off the sidewalk or doorstep to eliminate anything leftover. Otherwise, it may attract bugs and smell awful.
Fabric couches and chairs have a tendency to absorb smells, stains, and hair far more than vinyl or leather. If you are allowing your pets to sit on the furniture, you may want to consider switching over to something like leather that is much easier to clean and condition.
If you give your dogs and cats treats on the floor, it is almost inevitable that they will leave crumbs behind. Even if the floor looks totally clean, you may come back to find a bunch of ants attacking the spot where you pet was eating. Next time this happens, be sure to clean up with a wet wipe or spray, so that you are sure that all of the crumbs are gone. Or, regularly sweep and wipe your floors.
If you have a long-haired dog or cat, you already know that they shed like crazy. Even if you have a short-haired furry friend, they will still leave behind hair and whiskers. This can cause an excess of dust build up in your home, as well as bad odors. This is why it is so important to have a high quality vacuum cleaner.
Stuffed animals can be put in the washing machine. Sometimes, the stuffing can come apart, so you may want to put the toys inside of washer-safe laundry bags. Also consider using detergent that is free of dyes or perfumes, to make sure your pet doesn’t suffer from any allergens. Plastic squeeky toys can be tipped in a solution of bleach and water. However, if you discover that the toys still reek to high heaven, even after washing them, it may be time to say “goodbye”. If your dog has a favorite toy, try to buy an identical replacement.
On Amazon, you can find dozens of brands that sell charcoal air purifying bags. After sitting in the sunlight for at least an hour, these bags will absorb excess moisture and odor from your home. These work especially well if you put them into a small area like your car, or you can put them by your litter cat’s box. Just make sure your dog won’t mistake it for a chew toy!
If you have long-haired dogs or cats, their hair gets on absolutely anything. The moment the jump up on you, or you pick them up, it’s over. This is why it is so important to keep lint rollers on-hand before you go out the door. In a pinch, you can also use a piece of masking tape.
Many people have a designated dog or cat area in their home for their pet’s bed and food bowls. You should too! However, if you have this pet area on a carpet or rug, that is a huge mistake. Whether it’s spilling their water, having an accident, or dropping wet food, carpets are going to get ruined very quickly. Keep your pets on tiled floors as much as humanly possible, to make cleanup easier.
Robot vacuum cleaners are expensive, and they honestly do not pick up very much hair. But the one amazing thing about them is that you can set it on a timer so that it will go through your home and pick up dog and cat hair before it gets out of hand. This may save you a lot of time in the long run.
It is important to scoop the clumps out of your cat’s litter box every single day for multiple reasons. The first is obviously the smell. Even if you have odor-free litter, it will still begin to stink. Second is the fact that if a box is too dirty, a cat will stop using it, and might go on the floor instead. Remember that cats have high standards!
Certain types of materials are more likely to pick up hair than others. When you are searching for a good dog bed, check to see if it seems like your dog’s shedding hair may cling to it. If so, you may need to move on to the next one. It may also be a good idea to buy a bed with a removable cover that will be easy to throw in your washing machine.
Sometimes, we cannot help leaving a puppy’s “accident” on the floor, especially if it happens while we are at work. However, if you are present when this happens, address it immediately. The longer it sits on the floor, the more likely the odor is to absorb into the floors.
When cleaning up messes on a tile floor, always use a mixture of water and bleach. Just make sure you don’t put in too much bleach, because it will be way too powerful. Just a few tablespoons should be fine. This will disinfect the area and neutralize odors. Also make sure to keep your pets away from the floor as it dries, and dump the water after using it. Bleach is toxic to drink, so you do not want to accidentally poison your pet.
It might sound like common sense, but if you have pets, you need to open your windows for ventilation. Also turn on a fan if you want to get some fresh air into the room. If you have a ceiling fan, you may also want to periodically turn that on to circulate the air in a room. With or without pets, stale and stagnant air can make odors linger for much longer than normal.
Unfortunately, a lot of people make the mistake of only keeping one litter box for multiple cats. Each cat has its own unique scent, and they like to have their own space to “do their business”. If you only have one box, you are dramatically increasing the likelihood that the cat will go to the bathroom outside of their litter box.
Baking soda neutralizes odors. If you find yourself in a situation where you clean up a litter box, and it still reeks, grab some baking soda and sprinkle it into the cat sand. Use the scoop to disperse the banking soda throughout the litter so that it gets throughout the box. Of course, this will not hurt your cat at all. Many litters come with baking soda already included as one of the ingredients.
Certain brands of wet cat food do not smell very good. And if you put the can down without removing the food first, you may find that the smell lingers, ants might crawl into the can, and so much more. The most hygienic way to handle wet food is to have a placement for your cat, take out a few scoops of food, and put it into their bowl. Then, cover the leftover food in the can with a plastic lid. (They are available online, and at Walmart.) Then, you can refrigerate the leftover food until it’s time to feed your cat again.
When you go to the cat litter aisle, you will notice that there is always “regular” and “clumping”. While “regular” might be cheaper, it is nowhere near as hygienic and clumping litter. With clumps, you can easily scoop out any moisture and dispose of it right away. If you get non-clumping litter, urine can seep through to the rest of the box, and it becomes extremely smelly in a very short period of time.
When you walk your dog or cuddle with your cat, you are still coming in contact with an animal. So it only makes sense that your clothing will eventually begin to smell like dogs and cats. If you allow your pets to sit on the couch or the bed, the same can be said about your blankets and sheets. So be sure to do laundry as often as humanly possible.
Dust is created by excess skin cells and hair. So if you have dogs and cats, you will therefore find more dust around your house than a house that is pet-free. If you allow dust to linger for too long, it has a very specific smell. You probably know what it smells like to step inside of a dusty attic. It can also trigger allergies. So try to be pro-active, and dust once a week.
After a while, the smell of urine will begin to seep into the plastic of a litter box. No matter how much you clean it, the stink will never go away. This is why some people buy disposable litter boxes. If you have had the same litter box for over a year, you may want to consider purchasing a new one.
Even if your pets are not jumping up on the table, the simple act of cleaning and wiping down your surfaces will help with odor in your home. You are probably prepping their meals and doing so much more on the table when it comes to living with a pet, so you never know if there is any dander, dirt, or germs on your counters, tables, and more.
Just like humans, dogs need to have their teeth brushed, too. It may not be easy, but try to get into the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth. Also buy treats like Greenies, which will help them clean their teeth, too. If you have never attempted to brush your animal’s teeth before, find a tutorial online to help you get started.
Certain breeds of dogs and cats are more prone to getting eye boogers (like pugs and Persian cats.) But even if you do not have an animal with this issue, it is still a good idea to consider buying pet wipes. These are great to help freshen up your pet without giving them a full-on bath. If they like to go outside, you may need these more often than you would think.
Both dogs and cats should be brushed on a regular basis, even if they have short hair. Cats will groom themselves, and if they have too much hair, this can lead to fur balls and potentially vomiting. Dogs can end up with matted fur that is unattended, as well.
We are saving this advice for last, because no everyone can afford to get a high-tech litter box. However, if you can swing it, people who own these self-cleaning boxes claim that it made a dramatic difference in the smell in their cat’s litter area. It also makes the cleaning process much simpler.
If you have pets who frequently have accidents on the rug or carpet, you may want to consider purchasing indoor-outdoor materials. These are much more durable, and easy to clean when they get wet or dirty. Obviously, it’s very expensive to completely redo your home in a new carpet. So consider buying smaller area rugs to place down in the spots where your pets hang out frequently.
Dogs tend to press their noses and slobber on just about everything, while cats like to mark their territory by rubbing their bodies on walls and furniture. While white cabinets may be all the rage nowadays, it will reveal every thing that’s getting dirty. Obviously, you still have to clean your cabinet doors and walls. But if things are painted in dark colors, it will be less noticeable so that you can clean once a week instead of daily.
In the olden days, people would put plastic on their furniture to keep it perfect for years after it was purchased. For a lot of people, that seems to extreme, and it also takes away from the comfort of enjoying your couch. A better solution is to purchase inexpensive throw blankets and pillows. When it gets smelly, it’s easy to pick up the blankets and bring them to the washing machine. Aside from covering your furniture, these blankets will also begin to smell like your pets. So they will feel comfortable knowing that their own scent is on the fabric.
Just like socks, dog and cat toys tend to get lost in the abyss. Instead of waiting years to find them again, purchase a Swiffer dry mop, and use it to reach underneath your furniture. You’ll be amazed at just how many toys (not to mention dust and hair) is hiding under the furniture. Give those toys a quick clean, and present them to your pets.
Every pet owner on the planet has to experience accidents on the carpet at some point. Foaming carpet cleaner is typically what you should reach for, but there is an obvious life hack- shaving cream! The foamy texture of the cream helps to break up anything that may be stuck in the fibers of the carpet. You may want to follow up with some disinfecting spray, like Lysol, to be sure that all bacteria and germs are gone.
Stores like Walmart and Target sell plastic trash bags called litter liners. These are shaped to perfectly fit a litter box, which makes it easier to take out all of your dirty litter at once. Admittedly, the downside to these bags is that your cat’s claws will most likely create small holes in the bags. Even if you don’t use these all the time, having them on-hand makes the cleanup process easier at times. It’s also great if you have next to no litter left, and you need a way to protect the box with a small amount of litter until you’re ready to go to the store the next morning.
When cats leave their litter box, they usually like to kick their paws as part of their cleaning ritual. Small pieces of sand will fall on the floor, as well. Even if you have tiled floors, cleaning this up can be a huge pain. By placing a rug just outside of the litter box, you’re giving your cats a place to clean themselves. It will become much easier to pick up the rug and shake it outside, as well as cleaning it in the washing machine.
Just like humans, animals can have very stinky farts. Most of the time, foul-smelling excrement is a sign that your pet is eating a poor diet. For dogs, it could be a sign that they have too much protein and sulfuric acid in their diet. Giving them beans, lentils, rice, and vegetables would be a good alternative. Cats exclusively eat meat, so you can’t swap out their diet. However, look into the quality of the food you’re giving your pet. Sometimes, dollar store food doesn’t cut it when it comes to consuming the best nutrients. Stinky farts can also be a sign of underlying health conditions. Consult your veterinarian if it becomes abnormally smelly.
Sometimes, it’s possible to prevent messes from happening before they start. Take a walk through your house and look for objects hanging on the edge of a countertop, plants that could be pulled down easily, or products that are within reach of your pets. Most of the time, it’s easy to predict what could potentially happen. If you have cats that like to climb up to high places, you’re going to have to work a lot harder to prevent your pet from knocking things down, but it’s worth it in the end.
26. Use Natural Cleaning Products Whenever Possible
Last and certainly not least is that you should try to use all natural pet-friendly products as often as possible. This is true for both inside and out of your house. For example, if your indoor-outdoor pet (or your neighbor’s pets) even brush up against weed killer, they will become violently ill. Always try to go with pet-friendly products first before you break out anything toxic. Vinegar and baking soda are two natural cleaners that work for even difficult cleanups. Try those before moving onto branded cleaning products.
If you’re trying to keep your home fresh while you own pets, take a look around your house and ask yourself if the environment is appropriate for your pet. For example, if you have a lot of furniture that your pets need to navigate, it’s possible that they are brushing up against the furniture and leaving their fur behind. And if your entire house is carpeted, the likelihood that they are going to have an accident and leave stain is much higher too. Look at the place where your pet usually eats or goes to sleep. And if you have a cat, where do they use the litter box? Try to figure out if there is a better setup for your pets which will also help keep your home fresh.
This might seem like common sense, but if you want your home to be cleaner, it’s best to train your dog. If your dog is poorly trained, there are more likely to go to the bathroom anywhere in the house that they please. They might not know that there are negative consequences to going in inappropriate places. A lot of people will take their new puppies to a training school so that they learn very early how to behave. However, a dog is never too old to learn a new trick. Start looking up videos on Youtube on how to train a dog, or consider hiring a professional to help you.
Dogs will eventually grow very long nails. Many owners never bother to trim their toenails, because they aren’t’ sharp like cats. However, they can still accidentally scratch you. Long nails also means that they will scratch up your hardwood floors when they run around the home. It also makes a loud clicking noise when they walk through the house. Trimming toenails can be done at home, or you can take them to a professional groomer. Be sure to watch some video tutorials online before you get started.
When you have a cat, it’s likely that they will eventually scratch and potentially ruin your furniture. However, please do not declaw your cat. This is inhumane, and has even been deemed illegal in certain parts of the United States. However, you can trim their nails without actually fully declawing them. It’s much better to ask a veterinarian or a professional groomer to do this if you have never done it before. And if you don’t want to subject your cat to having their nails trimmed in any way shape or form, I recommend buying several scratching posts for the house. If your cat doesn’t use it right away, buy some catnip and sprinkle it on to the scratching post. They will eventually learn to enjoy scratching there, instead of your furniture.
In 2020 and 2021, there are way more people out there buying air purifiers. It’s very possible that you already have one at home. But if you haven’t joined the bandwagon already, you should truly consider it. Air purifiers help to filter the air in your home so that it is cleaned, completely removing germs and viruses. When you have dogs and cats, their fur is floating in the air and contributing to dust and allergens. If anyone in your home is allergic to animals, turning on an air purifier will help to dramatically cut down on their symptoms, and it also makes everything smell fresh and clean.
Nothing feels more cozy then warm laundry when it first comes out of the dryer. Your pets think so, too! If you leave your laundry room door open with piles of laundry, you’re running the risk of your pets making themselves a little bed in your clothing. This might even happen when you aren’t around, and you’d never know that they soiled your laundry when you were away at work. Try to get your laundry done right away, and put your clothes in your closet or drawers when everything is clean. Or, keep your laundry room door closed so that your pets don’t end up inside. On top of that, some people have accidently started the machine not knowing their pets had crawled into the machine itself. Always check first!
You never know what’s lurking behind your furniture. Whenever I move my dresser or couch, I am guaranteed to find multiple cat toys covered with dust that have been lost for months. If you have dogs, the same is probably also true. Not only is this contributing to the mess, but too much dust accumulation will make it more difficult to breathe in the room. Make sure to regularly pull back the furniture and get behind there as often as possible.
If your rugs get dirty, there are only two options- spot clean, or use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner. It’s possible to rent a wet-dry vacuum from somewhere like Home Depot, but if you’re trying to clean on a regular basis, that can add up. One other option is to buy a washable throw rug. Remember that not all throw rugs are washable! The padding gets completely ruined, and it’s too easy to trip over. There are a few brands out there that are washable, so do your research before buying.
Whether you have an indoor-outdoor cat, or just keep the litter box out in the garage, it might be a good idea to bite the bullet and install a cat door. Some cat doors come with a flap to keep out the draft for when they go outside. Others are left open at all times, if you’re using it on an interior door. I recently got a cat door for my bedroom, because my cat has a habit of wanting to sleep in the room, but then she will wake me up anywhere between 2AM to 6AM wanting a snack, or to use the litter box.
When you clean out dog and cat bowls at the end of the day, it can be difficult to remove the residue from the canned food. One tip that pet owners use is spraying the bowls with cooking spray like Pam so that everything slides off easily. However, before you do this, make sure you read the bottle to see if there are any ingredients that may be harmful to your pets. Do a test first to see if they react with an allergy, or an upset stomach. More often than not, these cooking sprays are made from olive oil or butter, and should be find for your pets to eat.
Most people feed their dogs and cats by placing a bowl on the floor. This might seem like the easiest, most common sense thing. However, your animals are actually crouching down or squatting in order to reach this food. It would actually be more comfortable for them to stand up straight while eating. This also makes it less likely for them to make a mess. Elevated bowls will also keep out ants in the spring and summer.
Earlier on this list, we already mentioned giving throw blankets and pillows to your pets to help cover your couch. However, just because those objects are used by your pets exclusively doesn’t mean that you should keep them around forever. Regularly get rid of those pillows and buy new ones. Pillows can form mites inside of them, and it’s incredibly unsanitary. Luckily, even places like Dollar Tree sell small throw pillows. It should never be very expensive for you to continuously swap them out for your pets to use. Keep your pets away from your expensive pillows at all costs.
If your pets have a lot of accidents, it could be because they’re not on a regular schedule. Both dogs and cats thrive when they have a predictable schedule for them to use the bathroom and eat their meals. It helps reduce their stress levels, and helps them to be healthier overall. This can also be good for you too, because you’ll never need to set an alarm again. Cats and dogs will make sure to wake you up when it’s time to eat. This will result in less accidents, and better behaved pets.
A lot of people avoid taking their pets to a professional groomer, because they see it as an unnecessary expense. However, having your pet groomed makes a huge difference in how clean your house is. And if you let your grooming routine go for too long, a lot of terrible things can happen. One of my friends owns a professional grooming business, and she said that one of the biggest issues with dogs is matted fur. Once it’s matted, there is no going back, and the only option is to shave all of the hair off. Cats can visit the groomers, too. If your indoor-outdoor cat needs a good cleaning, don’t be afraid to pay a pro.
If you’re going to clean up after your pets on a regular basis, I highly recommend buying a box of disposable gloves. Alternately, you can buy a reusable pair of latex gloves from the Dollar Tree. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting your hands dirty when you pick up accidents. When walking the dog, a lot of people use the method of picking up the poo through the plastic bag. While this is fine, the gloves give you an added layer of protection.
As much as it pains me to say this, you shouldn’t let your dogs and cats sleep in bed with you. If you’re trying to keep your house as clean as possible, sharing a bed only makes it worse. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this myself. When I let my cat sleep in my bed, I find her claw shedding, fur, dirt, and bugs in my bed whenever she sleeps with me. It’s gross, and forces me to clean my bed sheets more often. Eventually, I had to put her in her own bed in order to keep mine clean. When you have dogs, the best thing to do is to give them a designated sleeping area of their own. With a comfortable bed, they should do just fine, even if they’re alone.
Puppies love to get into everything, and they’ll eat almost anything smelly….Including your cat’s poo. As gross as this might sound, you need to keep your puppies away from the litter box at all costs. This can cause your dog to become very sick, and vomit the waste onto your floor. It’s not pretty. When a dog is very young, set up baby gates to prevent them from going into the rooms where items are off-limits. This will help to manage the amount of accidents or potentially broken objects throughout your house.
Earlier on this list, we already mentioned how mopping your tile floors with bleach is very important when you clean up after your pets. But whenever you mop your floor, make sure you immediately dump the water down the toilet, or outside. Never leave the water sitting for too long, it’s bad for a few reasons. Firstly, it smells bad. Second, leaving this dirty water can grow more bacteria. Third is that your pets might mistake this for water they’re allowed to drink. This can be dangerous, especially if you mixed bleach in it.
Is your pet scooting? This is when they drag their backside along the carpet. It’s more than just an itchy butt. This is a sign that your pets have impacted anal glands. When your pets scoot, they’re going to get your carpet dirty in the worst way possible. They’re trying to release their anal glands all over your carpet. Sometimes, it’s so bad that you will need to take them to the vet to have the glands drained. Otherwise, you should purchase a product online that’s made for healing their impacted glands. I’ve used this product for my cat, and it really does work.
When you bring home a brand new puppy or kitten, it can be an exciting time. However, there are a million different things in your home that they can choke on. They might also get into something toxic, or an object that will cause them to vomit. Always check your floors to make sure there isn’t any string, toys, food, or anything else that your new pets could swallow.
Over the past couple years, backyard chicken coops have become incredibly popular, and many consider their birds to be pets. This can be helpful for anyone who is hoping to cut down on their trips to the grocery store. A lot of people feel that owning a chicken coop is rewarding. However, you can’t forget to clean up their poop! Some people use a compost system, instead. A lot of people reuse chicken waste in their backyard vegetable gardens. Always do your research beforehand, because if you leave waste for too long, your chickens can get sick or die.
Birds are a popular pet, because they are considered to be low-maintenance.Some birds are messier than others. However, no matter what bird you keep, they shed dander, feathers, quills, and down each day. Food remnants and waste also end up on the bottom of the cage, which is usually lined with newspaper. Unfortunately, this waste doesn’t stay in the cage. The feather and waste particles fly through the air, and can fall onto floors. If left for too long, it forms a fungus in your carpets, and you can get sick with an infection. There is also a disease called hypersensitivity pneumonitis, commonly called “birdkeeper’s lung”. For people who are allergic to birds, it can inflame their lungs, and even lead to death from congestive heart failure. If you or a loved one becomes sick, always make sure to tell the doctor that you own a bird. It may be best to wear a mask when you clean a bird cage.
Reptiles can get rashes and skin infections, just like people. So it’s very important to keep their cages and terrariums clean. According to Pet Coach, you should start by cleaning and sanitizing your cage accessories in boiling water, or sanitizing them in an oven. Then you should meticulously scrub every part of the cage, and work on a schedule. There is too much to mention, here. So if you’re new to owning reptiles, look for a step-by-step tutorial on a blog, or find a YouTube tutorial.
When you get a hamster, there are several steps in the process to keeping their cage clean. If you’re used to taking care of a cat, you might be used to scooping out the clumped litter, and leaving the rest. But with a hamster, you need to clean all of their bedding at once, because you can never tell how much of it was soiled. Clean the cage with soap and water, and let it air dry. On a daily basis, you also need to remove uneaten food and clean their water. Toys should also be cleaned or replaced regularly.
As time goes on, algae can form on the side of fish tanks. It’s important for you to clean out the tank, as well as using a filter machine to clean the water at all times. When you’re ready to clean your fish tank, remove your fish first, and drain the tank of water. Remove the accessories, and soak them in bleach water. When you’re ready to refill the tank, allow the water to go back to room temperature, and help your fish to gradually adjust to the temperature. For more step-by-step instructions, check out The Spruce.