We adore our pets and they are very much part of the family, but if you have a pet you will almost certainly agree how frustrating it can be to keep your home free of pet hair.
Cats and dogs tend to leave their hairs everywhere they go and even after you have cleaned your house, it seems that you are always finding more hairs.
Cat and dog hairs and hairs from other furry pets is not just a challenge when it comes to cleanliness but it can also represent a health risk, which is why you should do everything you can to keep your house clean.
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Understanding the Health Risks
Surveys regularly reveal that a large percentage of dog and cat owners regularly allow their pets to fall asleep with them in bed.
Sharing our bed with our cuddly companions is very comforting from a psychological point of view but this habit comes with some very definite risks.
While you might be terrified at the prospect of bed bugs and creepy critters that are invisible to the naked eye, you should also be equally wary of the health risks associated with allowing your dog or cat to sleep in your bed. It is necessary keep the bedroom and the bed itself as clean as possible to avoid a potential health problem.
A survey carried out by scientists based at the California Department of Health, recently published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC journal, revealed that our pets bring some unfriendly guests with them when they join us in our beds.
It is possible for humans to get bubonic plague from fleas and there have been a number of confirmed cases of plague that were subsequently linked to owners who slept with their cats and 44% of plague survivors were found to have slept with their dog. Clearly, both cats and dogs present a health risk but while dogs can carry plague fleas without displaying any symptoms of the disease, cats alway display symptoms, so you need to be more vigilant with your dog.
Another risk that you need to be aware of that are associated with fleas is Chagas disease, which is a potentially fatal disease caused by a protozoan parasite.
Cat-scratch disease is a bacterial infection that a person can get after being licked, scratched or bitten by a cat, even a kitten. The bacteria lives in the cat’s saliva without making the animals sick themselves and fleas help spread the bacteria between cats.
Parasites can sometimes be found on a pet’s fur. Dogs regularly carry hookworms and roundworms on their body, as well as protozoan parasites, and there are several bacteria that live in the mouths of carnivorous animals.
All of this information makes unpleasant reading but you should not be unduly alarmed, as it is quite rare to get any of these infections from sleeping next your pet.
If you follow a comprehensive cleaning routine in your bedroom and other areas of the house you will help to reduce this risk even further.
This ultimate checklist is intended to help you tackle the problems associated with keeping a house clean when you have pets.
We will discuss each main room in the house and give you a checklist of what you need to do to eliminate germs and animal hair and deal with any unpleasant odors.
You will find more detailed explanations and resources that you can refer to at the end of this guide.
Keep your kitchen floor and surfaces clean on a daily basis using a mop and a broom or vacuum cleaner that is effective in dealing with pet hairs.
Aim to keep litter trays out of the kitchen for better hygiene. Rather keep them in the laundry room or garage.
Do not leave dirty food dishes out after you have fed your pets as the remnants of food will attract flies or even rodents.
Clean your work surfaces regularly so that your kitchen is as free as possible from any pet hair.
Wipe down the work surfaces and countertops at least once a day using a clean soapy cloth or sponge.
Remember to cover areas where pets can brush up against and leave hairs, such as cupboard doors.
Wipe up any food spills on countertops or the floor immediately, especially if you have cats, as they like to investigate and may want to eat the food. Remember that all kinds of dirt and bacteria can be transferred to your surfaces by your pet’s tongue, so try not let them do lick any kitchen surfaces.
Sweep the floor of your kitchen frequently, especially if you live in an open-plan home. This design means that cat and dog hair can quickly be transported to other parts of your house if you don’t sweep the kitchen floor at least once a day.
Vacuum the carpet in your living room on a daily basis, preferably using a vacuum cleaner that is specifically designed to remove pet hairs from your carpet and furniture.
Use some of the tips provided in the guide to remove pet hairs from your furniture as well as your carpet, preferably on a daily basis, to avoid any potential build-up.
Daily vacuuming in your living room is the most effective way of removing dust and you should consider using a steam cleaner once a week to clean your furnishings, or use the baking powder solution suggested.
Keep regularly-used items like the TV remote away from your animals to avoid contamination. Wipe them clean frequently, using an antibacterial wipe or a suitable solution.
Place mats both outside and inside your home to be the first barrier to dirt; try to use washable mats so that cleaning is easier.
Dogs and cats are prone to soiling the entrance hall area if this is their normal means of leaving the house and can’t get out. Clear any mess up immediately and use a homemade or shop-bought deodorizing spray so that they don’t come back to the same spot again.
Try to keep an absorbent towel in the hallway so that you can deal with muddy paws when your pets first come into the house from a walk.
Vacuum and wash the hall floor frequently to avoid pet hair and dirt being transported to other parts of the house.
If you are an owner that doesn’t mind your dog or cat sharing your bedroom, you will need to wash the sheets and bedding at least once a week for sanitary and health reasons.
Vacuum the carpet frequently and use one of your favored methods for picking up the hair that has got into the fibers.
Clean all the surfaces in your bedroom at least once a week.
Avoid keeping clothes out which your pet could come into contact with.
Clean and scrub wooden floors thoroughly once a week.
The Problem with Pet Hair
When it comes to pet hair, the problem is that it can seem like it is everywhere but there are certain areas which are generally more affected than others, such as the carpet or floor, furniture and clothes.
Most of us realize that our pets shed their hair constantly regardless of the season, so you are facing a fairly constant battle to keep your house clean when you have pets.
Tips for Vacuuming your Home
A good starting point would be to choose a vacuum cleaner that is specifically designed to be very efficient in removing as many pet hairs as possible each time you clean.
We’ve put together a guide specifically to help pet owners select the right vacuum – see here.
Effective pet hair removal from carpets
There are several effective methods recommended when trying to successfully remove pet hairs and it works best when you use a combination of these for a comprehensive clean.
If you have low-pile carpeting, you can remove the pet hair using a sponge mop. You will need your vacuum cleaner, a clean kitchen sponge mop, which you should only use for pet hair, and a spray bottle with water.
Start by thoroughly vacuuming the carpet and then lightly spray the sponge mop with some water. Gently move the mop across the carpet to remove the pet hair from the carpet fibers.
This process will cause the pet hair to clump, allowing you to pick it up fairly easily by hand or by using the vacuum.
You can also use a fabric softener to help remove pet hairs, as this helps loosen the pet hair and makes it easier to remove.
You will need a bottle of liquid fabric softener together with some water, a spray bottle and your vacuum cleaner.
Mix one part fabric softener with three parts water in your spray bottle and then lightly mist the floor with the mixed solution; be careful not to overdo the spraying as you may end up soaking the carpet.
Let the solution dry, which should not be a long wait if you managed to mist the carpet as directed, and then use your vacuum cleaner.
Also consider sprinkling baking soda over the carpet and then vacuuming thoroughly after waiting a few minutes for the baking soda to work its way into the fibers. This method has the added effect of deodorizing the room at the same time.
Some sites worth visiting for more advice and tips on removing pet hairs are:
You might also want to see some tutorials posted on YouTube by pet owners to show you how they remove pet hair from carpets and furniture.
These methods should help you effectively remove pet hairs from your carpets and there are a few other ideas and tips you might want to try as well.
Some pet owners say that rubbing a balloon along the carpet will help to pull out the hairs using static.
Running your hands along the carpet while wearing rubber gloves also works as a quick-fix, but can be labor-intensive.
Regular Cleaning Regime
Getting rid of pet hairs from your carpet is an essential part of your cleaning routine and there are a number of methods and actions you can include in your regular cleaning regime in order to keep you home as clean as possible.
Use air cleaners around the house and make sure you change the air filters regularly.
Wash your bedding on a weekly basis and consider laying a blanket that is just for your pet over their favored resting spot; clean it regularly.
Consider buying a rubber broom to use with your vacuum cleaner. These brooms will help to scrape the hair off the carpet into a ball, which you can pick up more easily.
Carpets are the most common problem area for pet owners but you also need to clean furniture effectively and be able to successfully remove pet hairs and odors.
There are lots of thrifty tips available for a cost-effective way of getting rid of pet hairs from your furniture; give them a try to find out which are suitable for you and your home.
One of the most effective ways is using a damp washcloth. Rubber gloves can also work well in addition to using a vacuum. On the other hand, some pet owners suggest that a dry jumbo sponge like the one you would wash your car with works as an excellent magnet for pet hairs. Give all options a try and see who is right!
Brushing your dog or cat on a daily basis will obviously be a big help in keeping those hairs away from your furniture and floors.
Another interesting tip is to feed your pet good quality food. Some owners believe that their pets shed less hairs when they are fed good nutrients. There is food available that is specifically designed to meet their nutritional needs.
Dealing with Pet Odors
Keeping your home smelling fresh and clean is always going to be a bit of a challenge if you are sharing your space with pets.
Regardless of how well you groom your animals, there is sometimes a persistent odor that can be difficult to eliminate.
As you see here: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Your-House-to-Not-Smell-Like-Your-Pets, using baking soda is one of the best ways of removing general pet odors.
Baking soda can act as a natural air freshener as well as being able to neutralize those troublesome pet odors. Before you sprinkle baking soda all over your furniture and fabrics, it is advisable to check that it is not going to cause a stain, so sprinkle some on an inconspicuous area first as a trial.
It is unlikely that baking soda will stain or damage your furniture in any way but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
If your dog or cat has had a little accident on the floor, you can use baking powder, along with a cloth, to soak up the urine. You can find some tips on making a repellant that discourages this behavior in the first place and there are sprays that are aimed at neutralizing the scent so that your pet doesn’t return to the same spot again.
Another good tip is to mix baking soda into the cat litter, which will help absorb any odor.
Although you can buy products that are designed to neutralize odors, you can also make your own version using baking soda.
Simply add one teaspoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of white vinegar into a spray bottle that has a nozzle, to produce a fine mist. Once the initial foaming action has stopped, add two cups of water and give it a good shake.
Use this neutralizing odor-remover to prevent the animal from soiling the same area again, but make sure you thoroughly clean the area before spraying the solution.
Another problem with airborne pet odors is that they can easily become trapped in your air filters, causing the odors to recirculate.
It is not just odors you should be concerned with but the health issues that some people experience, so consider investing in an HEPA air filtration system to remove these odors effectively and remember to clean the filters regularly.
Air filters help people who suffer from allergies and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimate that at least 10% of the U.S population is affected by allergies, but this doesn’t stop many people from keeping pets.
We are a nation of pet-lovers and if you follow some of these tips and ideas for keeping your house as clean as possible, we should all be able to share our home with our four-legged friends.
Resources and useful sites: