When it comes time to tackle spring cleaning, some of us break out the colored markers and make family chore wheels, and some of us start to make a mental list of how much we can get away with not doing.
Pet parents face special challenges when it’s time to de-dust and un-mess a house, like collections of pet hair that weight more than the pet in question or beloved (read: drool-soaked) chew toys you’ve started only nudging toward your dog with your shoe.
Whichever “type” you are when it comes to cleaning, all pet parents know that cleaning a house with pets is more challenging than cleaning a house without. Plus, with your house in disarray as you tackle one job and then another, and your attention focused on fighting stains or organizing that closet, curious pets could find and chew on things they shouldn’t, like bottles of cleaning solution.
Keep this checklist handy as you tackle each chore or room.
Squeaky Clean Pet Supplies
Pet Crates and Carriers:
Wash plastic or metal crates out with warm soapy water. Use bleach only where necessary, and then follow up with another soapy wash and let the crate air out before your pet will be using it. Check soft-sided carriers to see if they can be laundered, or spot-clean them with a rag and bucket of soapy water on hand. If you need to use disinfectant, rinse, rinse, rinse, and then let the crate or carrier air out away from pets.
Beds and Blankets:
Remove pet bed covers if you can and wash them in the warm cycle, using non-scented detergent and no fabric softener. Extra scents and chemicals could irritate your pet’s skin later. If you can manage it, pencil in washing bedding once a week, and you’ll avoid a bigger job next year.
Bowls and Dishes:
These can be washed in the sink with dish soap or in the dishwasher. You can run an all-pet dishwasher cycle and get any plastic toys that are dishwasher safe as well.
If soft toys are looking limp and smelly, it’s time to replace them. Chew ropes especially can be easily replaced, and your dog will benefit from the teeth cleaning that chewing on a new one will give them. If you can’t say good-bye yet, some soft toys can be put through the washing machine — check the tag or label. Hard-sided toys can be washed with regular dish soap and rinsed, but if it’s been chewed to bits, it’s time for a new one.
Don’t forget your dog’s house! If your pet has a favorite haven outdoors, scrub it like you would your own floor. Or if the doghouse has seen too many rainy days, replace it.
And remember to clean the pet door. If your dog or cat goes in and out by themselves, the pet door may have an interesting collection of hair, dandruff, and dirt. If you know you can put it back together, break out the tools to dismantle it to really reach every cranny.
Pet Safety Tips
Cleaners and Sprays:
You’ll be armed with disinfectants, bleaches, soaps, and more. Make sure your pets are either closed away in another part of the house when you’re working on one room, or keep all cleaners except the one in your hand in a closed cabinet. For fewer chemicals flying around in the air, check out these 7 essential eco-friendly pet products.
When throwing away expired medications or cosmetics, put them in their own trash bag right away and close it up so pets don’t gulp them up out of curiosity.
Check your calendar and make sure your pet is scheduled to see the vet at least once this year for a check-up.
Stock up on flea and tick medications for the next year, and make sure your pets have up-to-date ID tags.