This might be a simple answer to some people: if you don't want the mess, don't have pets. But, I'm not one of those people. Our dogs are our fur babies, our four-legged children. Many of my online usernames have had some form of "FurMomma" in them. As much as we love them, they can be quite a chore to constantly clean up after, and it can get frustrating trying to keep the house clean. I'm sure many of us would love one of those amazing Roomba vacuum cleaners that magically makes all the hair disappear overnight, but personally, they are not going to fit in my budget. So, if your dogs are like your kids too, here are some more affordable, easy ways to deal with the mess...
1. Use a carpet powder when vacuuming
This is pretty obvious, but vacuuming every day can be a big help. If you've already been doing that for a long time with dogs around, you may have noticed that the vacuum starts to take on that dog smell eventually (especially if you don't regularly clean the vacuum filter). To combat that, I use a deodorizing carpet powder like Arm & Hammer. It works amazing and I love that it makes the whole house smell so clean, even if all you did was vacuum. Along with regular grocery stores, you can actually get it at the dollar store, which is nice whenever we're on a really tight budget.
If you have hard floors instead of carpet, try to use a dust mop or sweep every day. It really helps to keep the pet hair at bay and not get too out of control. I also like to keep some floor cleaner mixed with water in a spray bottle to make mopping up doggie footprints or other messes way easier, and makes the house smell good. If you’re concerned about using chemicals on the floor and dogs possibly walking through it, you can instead use a steam mop. It just uses water to sanitize your floors.
2. Find a nice couch cover
When my husband and I got married and got our two dogs, we had a set of well worn out and used couches. So it wasn't a big deal that our dogs spent a lot of time on them with us. But, when we got our first ever, brand new set of furniture, I was determined that they were not going to be allowed on them. Well, that lasted all of about two seconds.
My first solution was covering the new couch with some old blankets. They were more so fur collectors, that smelled even more like dogs than the dogs themselves. Plus they were mismatched and didn't fit the look I was going for in my living room so it drove me crazy still.
After searching around, I found these slipcovers for sofas that were actually affordable and had good reviews. It was super easy to put on, and comes in lots of colors so I found the perfect match for our set. It looks a million times nicer than just tossing on some blankets, and it's easy to take off and throw in the wash any time.
3. Keep a lint roller handy
When you don't have time to pull out the vacuum, a lint roller can be quick and effective for getting unwanted pet hair off of furniture. Keep one nearby in high traffic areas of your home, so that if/when you or your guests get that pesky dog hair all over your clothes, you can roll it right off. They make hefty, extra sticky rolls, or if you're on a budget, you can even get them at the dollar store.
4. Air it out!
Especially on a nice spring or fall day, opening up the windows in your home can have such a cleansing effect. That nice breeze through the house can get any stale dog smells out.
You can also grab all the blankets or pillows that your dogs like to hang out on, and hang them outside to air out as well. This can be a good substitute if you don't quite feel like throwing those things in the washer just yet.
Also, make sure to change the air filters in your home often. Shoot for once a month, although I would love to do it weekly if we could afford it! You could also buy a free standing air purifier for extra cleaning.
5. Use baby gates for "dog free" rooms
When I got pregnant, I got serious about having "pet free" zones in the house. I hated the thought of my newborn breathing all kinds of dog hair and dander floating around, and later on, crawling around in it. I also wanted to keep them out for safety reasons. So I found some baby gates online, and bought one for our bedroom, and one for the nursery. I used the kind that screws into the doorway, and then swings out like a door, so it would be easy to open with my hands full. But, you could also use the kind that wedge in the door frame, with no screws required. Once those were installed, it was much easier to control where the dogs and all their shedding mess went.
I hope some of these tips give you some ideas for keeping your home clean with your fur babies. They've made mine a lot easier! Let me know in the comments any other tips you have!