Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fur and Fluff: Keeping Clean with Pets

Spring has sprung and, with it, comes the time of shedding. Every pet owner knows and loathes this time of year. Our little furry friends begin leaving trails of fur and fluff around the house, an act which sends OCD-me into a bit of a panic.

In the interest of full disclosure, here, furry floors and hairy chairs were two obstacles that kept me from adopting a pet for a while. I maintained that, if we got a pet, it would live outside. But then, my husband came home with a shivering 10-pound puppy bundle, and I couldn't stand the thought of the little thing being outside in the fall night air. Live outside?

Yet, broom and duster clutched in my fists, I refuse to have a home that smells like pets. No, pee-pee and furry mess will not prevail. Short of obsessively asking every guest if "my house smells like a dog" I have decided to undertake a strict cleaning regime. Much to Solo's chagrin, this dictatorial cleaning program includes the dog as much as the house. I thought I might share my cleaning routine, in case some of you have indoor pets of your own and, like me, worry about maintaining a clean home.

  •  Keep your pet clean. Solo typically gets a bath on Friday afternoons. This routine is especially crucial in the summer time if you spend a lot of time outdoors. I use this shampoo, which so far has not caused any dryness issues, a crucial thing to think about with bully breeds. However, if you're concerned about drying out your pup's tender skin, you can use puppy wipes instead. I use these to wipe off Solo's paws and legs, if he has to the park out just outside for awhile. Conveniently, these wipes also help with Solo's shedding.
  • Lint roll your dog. Yes, I know this sounds odd. But occasionally I actually do take a lint roller to Solo's back. Don't worry, it doesn't pull his hair out by the roots. It simply collects any loose hairs he may be shedding. (Now, you might not want to lint roll your cat, for obvious reasons.) Solo, however, seems to enjoy this little routine, when he isn't trying to bite the roller and play tug-of-war.
  • Mind your floors. Right now, I'm sweeping every other day to make sure that my floors aren't hairy. Typically, however, I clean my hardwood floors and vacuum the carpets once a week. This involves sweeping, dusting with a microfiber mop, and polishing. I use Method hardwood cleaner, a no-wax, non-toxic, biodegradable cleaner. Having clean, shiny floors does wonders to make a house with an indoor pet look inviting, lovely, and pet-free.
  • Clean the pet's bed. I regularly vacuum, wash, and Febreeze Solo's bed and blankets. After I vacuum the carpets, I address his bed. This will help reduce any possible pet odor and give your little buddy a nice, clean place to sleep. Solo always obsessively sniffs his bed after its cleaned. I think he may prefer the stinky smell, but my husband, my guests, and I do not!
  • Clean food bowls. An often over-looked task, cleaning your pets food and water bowls is important. Again, I use a non-toxic dish soap. Every other week, I let his dishes soak and give them a good scrub. This helps eliminate any odor and gives him a nice clean plate.
  • Dust often. In addition to the floors, I dust my surfaces often. Its amazing the bizarre places that pet hair can float. I also vacuum and wipe down my seating surfaces, especially the couch.
  • Wipe away nose smudges. The surest sign of a puppy resident is their nose smudges. While cute, they can obstruct window and door light flow and make your house look a bit, well, smudgy. I'm not going to lie...this is something I do often, because they usually reappear right after I've wiped them away.
  • Air fresheners are your friend. Someone once remarked that people who use air-fresheners don't have clean houses. This is simply not true. Personally, I just like to have a house that smells pleasant and fresh. I keep either a wax diffuser or a plug-in in each room. Try to keep the scent consistent throughout the house, if possible. Right now, I'm using a light and springy sweet-pea scent, but vanilla is also a good year-round flavor.
  • Set boundaries. Set boundaries about the places your puppy is allowed to lounge. Solo is allowed at the foot of our bed, but is absolutely not allowed on the guest bed. Likewise, he knows he has his own pouf to lay on in the living room and never jumps up without "asking." Also, he's not allowed to beg at the table for food. Not only does setting boundaries keep your house cleaner, it keeps you and your pet sane by letting everyone know exactly what is expected.
What strategies do you use for keeping a clean home? Let me know in your comments!

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