30 Tips for Keeping Your Home Fresh When You Live with Pets

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.

30. Give Your Pets Regular Baths

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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.

29. Monitor Your Pet’s Health

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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.

28. Create a Dog Cleaning Station

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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.

27. Check For Hidden “Presents”

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Cats love to catch mice. And as natural hunters, they’re very good at it. Your cat won’t huntbecause she’s hungry — she’s far too well fed with Science Diet cat food for that! She actually does it as a natural instinct.

26. Get a New Sofa

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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.

25. Check For Dropped Crumbs

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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.

24. Invest In a Good Vacuum Cleaner

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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.

23. Clean Their Toys

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.

22. Air Purifying Bags

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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!

21. Use Lint Rollers on Your Clothes

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.

20. Have a Carpet-Free Pet Area

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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.

19. Robot Vacuums

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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.

18. Scoop Your Litter Box Daily

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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!

17. Choose Dog Beds Carefully

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.

16. Clean “Accidents” Immediately

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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. open next page to see more

15. Bleach is Your Friend

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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.

14. Open Your Windows

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.

13. Use Multiple Boxes for Multiple Cats

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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.

12. Baking Soda in the Litter Box

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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.

11. Put Lids on Leftover Wet Pet Food

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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.

10. Buy Clumping Odor-Free Litter

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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.

9. Do Laundry A Few Times a Week

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.

8. Regularly Shampoo Your Carpets

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It is possible to spot-clean your carpet, but after a while, they generally need a deep cleaning. You can hire a professional to do this, or rent a wet-dry vac for a day from places like Home Depot.

7. Dust Once a Week

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.

6. Replace Your Litter Box Periodically

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.

5. Wipe Down Surfaces

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.

4. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

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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.

3. Use Pet-Friendly Wipes

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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.

2. Brush Your Pet Regularly

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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.

1. Upgrade to a High-Tech Litter Box

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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.