Our pets provide us with an enormous amount of comfort and love. We simply wouldn’t be without them. But one thing most of us could do without is the mess they leave in their wake.
Whether you have an obedient cat or a house-trained pup, even the best-behaved pets can cause problems in the home. But you don’t always have to spend hours and copious amounts of elbow grease to clean up after your pets.
Whether it’s choosing the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair or restricting access to certain areas of your home, the decisions you make will determine how much pet-related housework you have to do.
We’ve put together 9 simple cleaning hacks that could make your life a whole lot easier.
1. Clean muddy paws at the door
Don’t let your dog run into your home without first having a thorough foot bath. Place a washing bowl of water at the door every time you leave for walkies. If you have a pet-friendly soap, you can add a little of it to the water. When you return, dip each of your dog’s paws into the water, remove any excess mud and dirt, and dry their paws with a clean cloth.
If you don’t want to leave bowls of water lying around, use some pet-friendly wipes. Even a clean, damp towel by the door can help you to stop mud being walked onto your carpets and wood floors.
2. Give your dog a bandana
If you don’t already know, dogs cool down through their mouths. As they don’t sweat efficiently in the same way humans do, panting allows dogs to release heat. This can mean that even the best-behaved dogs have a tendency to drool a lot – not ideal for prized furniture and clean carpets.
If your dog is happy to wear a bandana around their neck, this can help to catch some of this drool. When it gets wet, you can simply throw it in the wash.
3. Mask smells with fabric softener sheets
Keeping pet-related odours at bay often feels like a losing battle. While regular cleaning and vacuuming is the best defence against pet-related smells, there is another handy trick to help mask annoying whiffs when you don’t have time to clean.
Fabric softener sheets can fight this common problem. Place them in the areas your dog frequents, and that unmistakable smell won’t be quite as overpowering.
4. Use throws and mats throughout your home
Owning a pet — particularly a dog — is tough on carpets and upholstery. Hair, dander, odours and messes can become deeply ingrained in fabric, so it’s sensible to take steps to protect them. Fortunately, introducing this protection is probably easier than you think.
Simply place throws over upholstered furniture — particularly the areas on which your dog likes to sit. Every few days, wash the throw and replace it with a clean one. This same principle applies to mats and rugs on your pet’s favourite spots on the floor.
5. Line litter trays
One of the most unpleasant pet-related tasks in the home is replacing cat litter. Even if you’re careful, it’s hard to stop odours from pervading your entire home. But the whole process is made a lot easier when you use a liner.
Place a liner or bag at the bottom of the tray before you add the litter. When it’s time to replace it, the tray itself should be relatively clean. And the removal of the litter should be a lot simpler.
6. Always have a lint roller handy
Whether you own a cat or a dog, hair on your carpets and furniture will always be a problem. It’s a good idea to have a vacuum cleaner specifically designed to remove pet hair – but if you don’t have time to get the vacuum out, there are also alternative ways to remove this troublesome hair.
One simple, low-tech and cheap way is with the use of a lint roller. Just as effective on coats and clothing, a lint roller will pull trapped hairs out of upholstery fabrics in moments.
7. Always have rubber gloves and a squeegee handy
Pet hair can easily become embedded in carpet and upholstery. Another way to remove it is with rubber gloves. Put on a pair of gloves, dampen them then run your hands over the pet hair, and it should readily stick to the gloves.
The same principle applies to a window squeegee. Dampen it then run over your carpets and furniture like you’d clean windows. You might be surprised at how easily the troublesome pet hair can be removed.
8. Use your dishwasher
Everything your pet owns has the potential to smell. If you really want to keep on top of pet odours, you could create your own pet cleaning schedule. And if you do, your dishwasher could become your most powerful tool.
A surprising amount of pet items can be dishwasher friendly, from your pet’s toys to their food bowls. Wait until you have enough items to fill the dishwasher. Washing everything on a hot setting should be enough to kill the bacteria that cause bad odours – just be sure to keep your dishes separate from your pet’s possessions.
9. Choose a vacuum that’s designed for pet owners
Few things are more frustrating than attempting to clean with a vacuum that’s not up to the job. If you’re fighting the constant battle against pet hair, why not opt for a model that’s purposefully designed for homes with pets?
Shark’s TruePet vacuums all include a dedicated pet hair tool, featuring a bristle brush to remove even stubborn pet hair from sofas, stairs, curtains, cushions and more. Available across our corded and cordless vacuum cleaners, browse the range to find the right pet vacuum for you and your home.