The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Pets and a Clean Home

You can keep your home clean despite your pets and for your pets with these tips.

Cleaning For Pet Health

Sometimes our pets get sick. A fur-baby can catch a virus, pick up bacteria, or become host to parasites. Prevention is key. Pets should receive regular vaccinations. See your veterinarian for the best guide in determining the timing of vaccinations for dogs, cats and other pets. There are also things you can do around the house to help keep your animal pals healthy and happy.

Healthy Coats and Fur Ball Prevention
The biggest challenge for pet owner is managing the shedding of pet hair around the home. Regular brushing will decrease the amount of hair that is shed. Ideally, you should brush your pet a few times a week.  Do a quick brushing, just to get the coat out  so the hair collects on the brush, not around the home. Brush your pet outside, if possible, so there is no need to sweep up after grooming. Make sure you select the right tools for the breed of pet that you have.

Brushing a cat regularly will also decrease health problems related to hair such as constipation and hairballs. When it comes to bathing, cats will clean themselves unless they are ill or elderly.  Dogs should not be bathed more than once a month, unless they have visible dirt, mud, etc. Bathing too often can dry out the natural oils in a pet’s skin.

Grimy Toys and Bowls
You wouldn’t want to eat out of a slimy or grimy bowl and neither does your pet. In some studies, the dog’s bowl has more germs than a kitchen sponge, kitchen sink, and the toothbrush holder!  It is important to keep bowls and toys clean for your pet’s well-being and happiness.  To clean toys and bowls do the following:

  • In a plastic dish pan, add 2 teaspoons of bleach to one gallon of water and stir to mix.
  • Add pre-washed pet bowls and plastic dog toys to the bleach and water solution and let them soak for two minutes.
  • After 2 minutes, drain, rinse the toys and bowls, then air dry.

Pet Illness Recovery and Prevention
You need to be aware where germs lurk in your pet’s environment, especially when your pet is recovering from illness. Make a list of every object your pet has touched or been.  It needs to be disinfected. A bleach solution may be used to disinfect hard, nonporous surfaces and accessories like crates and toys on a regular basis. Remember to only use ½ cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. To kill life threatening ailments like the parvo virus, soak the items in the solution for 10 minutes, then rinse and dry.  

Stay informed.  Germs can survive in the environment for a long time.  This is especially true where our furry friends are constantly coming in and out. 

Before dropping your pet at the vet or kennel, don’t be afraid to ask what measures are being taken to prevent the spread of germs.  Finally make your pet’s health part of the family routine. Get the needed vaccinations, disinfect their belongings and regularly ask questions of care providers.

Habitat Cleaning
Amphibians, reptiles and birds are also popular pets. Their environment also needs to be cleaned regularly to keep them happy and healthy. But these pets need special care because they can carry salmonella and shigella.  To avoid spreading these germs, wipe down cages and habitats daily and clean once the week while wearing gloves.  Don’t wash habitats in the kitchen sink.  Use the laundry room sink or the bathtub.

Cleaning Up After Pets

With today’s cleaning products, keeping pet hair under control is a breeze. Dust wipes are a life saver:

  • Use an extra-large size to quickly clean pet hair from hardwood and tile floors. Start on the edges of the room and sweep or wipe your way toward the center.
  • Use regular-size for stairways. Begin on the top stair, wiping pet hair out of the corners. As you work your way down the stairs, reposition the wipe in your hand so a clean portion is ready to grab more pet hair, dust, and allergens.

Urine Stains
Sometimes even the best pet has a rough day or perhaps a little puppy is new to your home.  Here’s how to clean up the accidents:

  • On hard, nonporous floors, first wipe away excess pee with a towel. Spray the stain directly with store bought urine remover of your choice until completely covered. Wait 5 minutes, then rinse with water and wipe dry with a clean towel.
  • On colorfast carpet, rugs, upholstery and mattresses, first blot away excess pee with a clean, dry absorbent cloth. Spray favorite urine remover directly onto stain until completely covered. Wait 3 minutes, then wipe with a clean damp cloth. Keep the treated area clear of people and pets while it dries completely. Remember, always test for colorfastness on a hidden area before use. Not recommended for silk or leather.
  • On sidewalks and outdoor tile, first hose down surfaces to remove excess dirt and debris. Spray specially formulated urine remover directly onto the stained or smelly area and simply allow to air dry. (Don’t rinse the product into a storm drain, lake, stream or other body of water.)

A cat’s litterbox needs to be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Bleach can be used as a basic disinfecting tool. Here’s how:

  • Remove the litter from the box.
  • Wash the litter box with soap and water.
  • Mix 3/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water and fill the litter box with the bleach solution, let stand 5 minutes.
  • Thoroughly rinse the litter box and air dry.

Counter Tops
Some fur babies, especially cats, tend to walk on surfaces where food is prepared or eaten.  Whether you permit your pet on the counter or constantly battle her to stay off, it’s a good bet that paws that have touched litter will also periodically touch food preparation surfaces.  Even if you don’t see sand tracks, always wipe counters with a cleansing wipe, or paper towel and cleaning solution, before and after you put food on the counter. Keep cutting boards, cutting knives, and other food preparation tools inside cupboards and drawers.

Contact with animals has many positive effects for people. However, appropriate hygiene should be practiced at all times after handling animals. To decrease the possibility of contracting a zoonotic disease (a disease transmitted between animals and humans), it is essential to wash hands with soap and water after petting, feeding, handling, or having any other contact with animals, their living quarters, or their waste. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has more resources about healthy pets and heathy people.

Always remember to keep all cleaning products up and out of reach of children, pets, and adults with special needs like Alzheimer’s.