Spring cleaning is a bit more of a chore when you have pets. Lovable and part of the family, there’s no denying that our dogs and cats bring with them cleaning challenges. Below are some tips to help get your house ready for the warmer weather.
This is an unending chore for those of us with pets who shed profusely. (Raising my hand here.) I have a Shepherd/Collie mix who blows her undercoat as soon as the weather gets warm. Even in the colder weather, she broadcasts hair wherever she goes.
Since the weather is getting warmer (hopefully), many of us get the itch to do a thorough spring cleaning and start fresh for the new season. If you have pets, you know that removing all pet hair from your home is impossible. Particularly if you have carpet, a complete clean would require moving each and every piece of furniture, cleaning under it, and THEN cleaning the underside of the furniture. If you want to finish before autumn, you’re going to have to take some shortcuts.
- Find where it’s hiding. If you move your refrigerator, you will find a treasure trove of pet hair, dog biscuits, and myriad small objects which have migrated to that lonely destination. Vacuuming that hair up, then cleaning the coils at the back of the fridge, will not only make your home fresher, but will also increase the efficiency of the appliance. Win-win.
- The corners of your home. Dog and cat hair tends to migrate to the corners, and even along the baseboard. A damp Swiffer, or cloth can remove that hair.
- Lampshades, and picture frames. These are often forgotten in general cleaning, but there is lots of hair lurking on both of these. A quick dust should get rid of that!
- Along the dust ruffle of your bed. Time to take that off and run it through the washer. Don’t forget to check the dryer lint trap halfway through drying. You’d be surprised how quickly that fills up with pet hair you didn’t even know existed.
- Heating vents, and vents to bathroom fans. Hair is attracted to moving air, and even more so to humid moving air (such as in the bathroom). Again, a damp dust cloth should take care of that problem.
- Blades of your ceiling fan(s). Even if there’s no hair up there, there will be plenty of dust and grease. If the blades are plastic, you can take them all down and run through the dishwasher.
- Since pet hair is light, it tends to float upwards as well as settling in the corners on the floor. Launder all curtain and dust all window shades in your house to remove as much as possible.
Pet beds are sometimes difficult to wash. Many say that you can spot clean only, which leaves lots of opportunity for bacteria to flourish. When you’re doing you spring cleaning, you may have to toss that bed if it’s grungy. Try to replace it with a washable bed, if at all possible. Vets will say that pet bedding should be washed at least twice a month to prevent illness.
Still, when you’re doing a whole-house cleaning, you don’t want to leave anything smelly like bedding uncleaned. Either wash in as hot water as possible, or trash and replace.
Also, remember to wash your pet. (At least wash your dog – I take no responsibility for injury to anyone who tries to bathe their cat……) You can either do this in your own bathtub, or sink, if the animal is small enough. Or, some pet stores, for example, PetValu, have tubs that you can use for a small fee. Still, if your pet’s bed is spic and span, it stands to reason your pet should be, too. Spring cleaning isn’t only for houses!
Although I’m sure you’re cleaning your litter boxes regularly, spring is a good time to do a more thorough job.
Use warm water and dish soap (no ammonia or citrus, since the smell may linger and deter your cats from using the box). Make sure everything is thoroughly rinsed and dried completely. Wet litter will stick to the sides and bottom and potentially make the box unusable. To keep it fresher a bit longer, spread a thin layer of baking soda at the bottom, before replacing the litter. Then, pufill and replace in the same location.
WINDOWS AND GLASS DOORS
This goes pretty much without saying if you have pets. My windows are full of “noseprints” which need to be cleaned. Since my small dog, when she was younger, used to bark at passers-by from the top of my couch, my “noseprints” go pretty high up the glass. Of course, Windex will do the job, but, for a cheaper and just as effective solution, use warm water and vinegar, then dry thoroughly.
Even if your pets never have accidents in the house, your rugs are still covered with dirt brought from outside by your pets, and covered with dog hair. I finally broke down and bought a rug shampooer – a purchase that has more than paid for itself. If you don’t have one, you can always rent from your local grocery store for a day. A good shampooing, allowing the carpet to dry completely, brings a breath of fresh air into the home.
Pets are wonderful to own, and none of us could imagine life without them. They do, however, bring some challenging cleaning problems. Hopefully, some of these ideas will help you with some of the more difficult areas.
If you have any special tips on efficient cleaning methods for pet mess, please share! I love hearing from my readers.
Image of woman with cleaning supplies by klimkin on Pixabay