It’s that time of year again when Spring cleaning lands on the “honey-do” list for weekend chores. If you own pets, this task can be even more daunting than traditional spring cleaning. Pet owners often contend with fur, muddy paws, chew toys around the house, dirty pet bowls, stained carpets and stinky pet beds when tackling the cleaning, so additional cleaning supplies might be needed. The following tips offer some useful additions to your cleaning repertoire.
One of the first steps for a good overall clean is to dust all the surfaces and blinds in your home. Starting with this step gives you the chance to start at the “top” of the house and work your way down to the floor. The worst thing you can do is start with the floors, get them all clean and turn around and dust, only to add more dirt to the already cleaned floors. The last thing you want to do is have to go back and vacuum a second time, so starting with the top-down method alleviates going back over the floors again. This also gives you a chance to get the pet hair out of the bookshelves and window sills where your furry friends might perch.
Steam Cleaning the floors
Using steam to clean gives you the opportunity to disinfect the surface without having to use bleach or other toxic chemicals. Steam cleaning floors is a great option if the floor is routinely cleaned and isn’t terribly dirty. If the floor hasn’t been cleaned in awhile you will want to vacuum or sweep the floor to pick up the bulk of the dirt before steaming, otherwise, your steam mop will just smear the dirt around. Pet owners typically sweep or vacuum on the regular due to the fur content hanging around so once the first passthrough has been made, steaming is a wonderful way to disinfect and finish with a nice shine.
Some homes have slipcovers on furniture which is especially helpful when you have pets because it allows you to take the slipcover and toss it in the wash if there are spills or pet stains on it. If your furniture doesn’t have slipcovers, some things can be vacuumed by the hand-held attachments that come with most vacuum cleaners, or you can spot clean if the fabric permits. Getting a white, damp cloth and running it over the surface of the furniture can work too. You can also put a rubber glove on your hand and run it along the couch- this will pick up a lot of the loose fur on the surface and is easy to pick off the glove and throw away.
Clean out the pet toy box
To begin this cleaning task, round up the pet toys, inspect each one thoroughly and decide whether any of them have reached the point of unsafe status. This safety check should be done regularly if you have an animal that has a history of eating toy stuffing or squeakers. The toys can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria because they have been drooled on, chewed and saturated with all kinds of animal saliva. Toys can travel from the yard to your pet’s mouth, to your bed or couch and back to the floor or yard. This can spread the bacteria throughout the house and create unwanted smells that are hard to get rid of if you don’t realize the culprit is a small toy. Once you’ve made your inspections, throw out the toys that are ripped, falling apart or if the stuffing is exposed. Next, wash the toys in the washing machine or by hand and be sure to use only natural products since these toys spend a lot of time in your pet’s mouth. Distilled white vinegar mixed with hot water, is a great cleanser by itself or coupled with a non-toxic, organic detergent. Once the toys have been washed, toss them in the dryer on the highest heat setting which will kill off any lingering bacteria.
Clean your pet’s food and water bowls regularly
This is important and often overlooked by many pet owners. Ideally, food and water bowls should be cleaned every 12-24 hours to ensure elimination of bacteria, germs, bugs, and algae. If your pet eats dry food, you can usually get away with a thorough washing every couple of days, but the water bowl should be cleaned with soap and water every day to avoid algae growth. We want to keep our pets happy and healthy, so washing their food bowls regularly helps them avoid sickness and unsettled tummies.
Spring cleaning, although arduous, can be fun and once completed, it gives your home that extra sparkle that we all love and appreciate. One last tip to remember when you are gearing up for your Spring Cleaning is to pay close attention to the cleaning agents you are using. Some agents, weed killers, pesticides, and fertilizers can be fatal to pets if ingested and can cause a major pet emergency. Plant food can even be dangerous so knowing exactly what cleaning agents you are using and reading the warning labels helps keep everyone safe, including your four-legged friends.