Spring Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

Ah, spring. That time of year when many of us are struck by an overwhelming desire to get our proverbial – and literal – houses in order. We may be long past the days when a spring overhaul was thought necessary to clean up the soot left behind from heating your home with an open fire all winter, but there’s still something to be said for a thorough annual cleanse.

So, while you’re scrubbing your baseboards and attempting to ‘Marie Kondo’ your Tupperware this spring, here are a few cleaning tips for pets and their people.

For the Home

A great place to begin your spring cleaning is to deodorize all furniture, carpets and pet bedding. Baking soda is a cheap and easy way to absorb pet odors, so sprinkle it liberally on any surface you can vacuum, wait at least ten minutes and vacuum it up. Be sure to use appropriate attachments in order to get every speck of baking soda, especially when it comes to pet beds and all their nooks and crannies. Using a pet hair-specific vacuum means you can do double duty, collecting unwanted odors and pet hair at the same time. Pro tip: add a few drops of essential oil into the baking soda for an extra-aromatic cleanse. Just be sure to avoid oils that can be toxic to pets, such as peppermint, cinnamon and pine.

Next, consider investing in a black light so you can scan for any pet accidents you may not have known about. Apply an enzyme-based cleaner for best results, and let the spots air dry.

For those hard surfaces in your home that collect dust bunnies and pet dander, use a microfiber mop to grab every last hair. Take special care to clean under furniture, behind bookshelves and even the tops of ceiling fan blades, where we often don’t realize pet hair is accumulating.

In Your Vehicle

Does your pet accompany you everywhere? If so, you’re likely to find lots of pet hair and dander in your car, too. Start by vacuuming up any loose debris, like leaves, dirt or food crumbs. Leather seats can be wiped down with any leather cleaner, but cleaning cloth upholstery is sometimes a conundrum. Try using a damp rubber glove to collect pet hair – simply run your gloved hand along the upholstery and collect the hair as it loosens from the material.

If Fido spends lots of time with his nose pressed against the passenger window, use an auto glass cleaner to remove all those adorable nose prints and give him a crystal-clear view for your next excursion. If you live in the DC area, using one of the top rated local car washes might make things easier, too!

Toys, Toys, Toys

Your cat may spend lots of time licking her favorite toy, but that doesn’t mean it’s clean! Consider gathering up all your pet’s playthings and dividing them into categories for cleaning. Soft toys can go in the washing machine on the gentle cycle, using an unscented and pet-safe detergent. Skip the dryer for these, as heat can cause deterioration that could lead to the danger of loose parts. Line dry them instead, and wait until they’re fully dry to allow your pet access to them again.

 
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While many collars can go in the washing machine, you can also choose to soak them for 20-30 minutes in a mixture of warm water and pet-safe soap, then allow them to air-dry after you’ve rinsed out the soap. If you don’t have a backup collar for your pet to wear during this time, remember to take extra care to prevent an escape!

A Healthy Purge

Spring is also a good time to take stock of all your pet foods, treats and medications. Check expiration dates and throw out any products that are past their prime, and ensure proper storage, too. Wet foods should remain sealed tight, dry foods should be in air-tight containers to preserve their nutritional value and medications should be kept in cool, dry places out of direct sunlight. If you need to replenish your food supply, check out our store for the staff’s top food recommendations. Take this opportunity to thoroughly clean your pet’s food and water bowls, too. Many are dishwasher safe, but you can also scrub them by hand with a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent vinegar. It’s best to do this frequently, not simply when spring cleaning, because bacteria can collect quickly and affect your pet’s health.

You’ll also want to do a quick safety check of your pet’s bed and favorite home hangouts, which are at risk of accumulating dirt and grime. Give them a thorough cleaning, and watch for loose stuffing, unravelling blankets or other dangers that may cause harm to your furry BFF. When necessary, throw out bedding and blankets altogether and replace them with brand-new, cushy versions. Think about investing in a bed with a removable, machine-washable cover to save yourself time and money in the future.

Spring cleaning is important for pet hygiene, but studies show that pets (and people!) are happier in clean homes, too. So get your deep-clean on this spring to reinvigorate your home, your car and even your mood, and enjoy the season of renewal with your furry friends.

Katie Cavangh