While spring cleaning might not be the thing you or your pup most look forward to, it feels amazing when it's done! As you work to freshen up your home and move from winter to spring, don’t forget about your pup.
As you do your spring clean-out, it's the perfect time to refresh everything from their bed and doggie bowl to their collar and leash. Use these tips to tackle your dog’s toughest messes and make spring cleaning a breeze.
Spring cleaning for your pup
1. Purge the toy box
Constantly tripping over your pup’s toys? It’s time to sort through them and toss the ones that are damaged. Get rid of any with ripped seams, exposed squeakers, or jagged rubber edges, which could cause serious injuries.
If a toy is still in good shape but rarely gets used, consider dropping it off at a local shelter. But ask first, since some can't take used toys. If your pup is still enjoying a toy, give it a good washing. Hard or rubber toys can be cleaned with hot water and mild dish soap or placed in the top rack of the dishwasher. Soft, stuffed toys can be run through the washing machine on the delicate cycle.
2. Scrub those doggie dishes
PSA: Your dog’s bowl (and mat, if you use one) should be washed every day with hot water and mild dish soap (you wouldn’t eat a salad out of the same dirty bowl every day, would you?). It’s also a good idea to run them through the dishwasher (on the top rack, in a separate cycle) once a week. If your pup’s bowl has developed cracks or grooves, it might be time to invest in a new one. Go for one that’s stainless steel or ceramic; avoid plastic, which over time, can accumulate grooves that are breeding grounds for germs like E.coli, staph, and even parasites.
3. Check food, treats, and medications
Have a pack of Ollie that somehow slipped to the bottom of the freezer... last year? Go ahead and replace that. Kibble that's been lying around for ages? Treats a year past their best before date? Go ahead and get rid of all of these things and replace it with something your pup will really enjoy!
When you clean out your refrigerator, remember to wash out your puptainer really well and continue to do that weekly. Any leftover crumbs that linger can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
Do you have a first aid kit or medicine cabinet for your pup? Just like you clean these out for the humans, it is important to do the same for your pup. If you have old ointments from that weird rash or some old pain medicine that didn't really work for your pup that is still hanging around, it is important to dispose of them properly. At your next routine vet visit, you can ask your dog's doctor about restocking anything that is necessary or that you like to keep on hand.
4. Refresh your pup’s bed
We know, we know: your pup loves the comforting smell of his own bed but if it hasn’t been washed all winter, now is the time. Start by vacuuming or shaking the hair off outdoors. If the cover comes off, launder it with detergent and the hottest water that’s safe for the fabric. Then, put it in the dryer for 15 minutes to help remove more of the hair and hang it outside to dry. Do not put the foam insert into the washing machine, as it may disintegrate. Instead, wash it by hand in the bathtub using a small amount of laundry detergent; then, let it dry outside in the sun (if possible).
If the bed is one piece and small enough, wash it in your washing machine on the delicate cycle. If the bed is too big, take it to a dry cleaner to see if they can wash it in an industrial washer. Some beds may be stinky enough that they warrant tossing it out and buying a new one. If that’s the case, look for one with a removable cover, which will be much easier to keep clean in the future.
For minor stains and spills, you can use a portable upholstery cleaner like Bissell's Little Green Machine. You'll fill the tank with warm water and pet safe cleaning solution. They even sell an oxy booster for the most difficult pet stains. This can be a cost-effective and easy way to clean pet furniture. If you have a young puppy or senior pup who routinely has accidents, a cleaner like this can be worth its weight in gold!
Once the machine is ready to go, you'll turn it on, spray the water/solution mix, and then use the head to gently scrub out any stains. Finally, the head of the machine also has a vacuum to suck up extra water. Get as much out as you can and then let the bed air dry the rest of the way.
5. Check your pup’s collar and leash
If either one looks frayed or like it might break, definitely invest in some new gear. Otherwise, give your dog’s collar and leash a quick cleaning: soak them in separate bowls of hot water and three to five squirts of dog shampoo. Let sit for about a half-hour. Squeeze gently or rub the collar against itself to remove any ground-in dirt. Rinse, squeeze out the excess water, and then hang to dry.
6. Clear the air
Sometimes, even the deepest cleaning (including opening all the windows!) can’t get rid of lingering pet odors. If that’s the case, consider investing in an air purifier that is specifically designed to remove pet hair and dander from the air. In general, it’s a good idea to vacuum and dust regularly to reduce the amount of pet hair and dander in the air. Bathing and brushing your pet regularly also helps.
7. Get rid of stubborn pet hair
Got a pup who sheds? To get rid of stubborn pet hair, wet a pair of rubber gloves so they’re damp but not soaked. Run your hands over the area, and the hair will stick to the gloves. Rinse and repeat until the fur is gone. For carpets, vacuuming is the quickest and easiest way to pick up hair. Go over areas twice if you need to, and vacuum in alternate directions. If you have hardwood floors, skip the vacuum (all it does is blow dog hair everywhere) and use a dry microfiber mop instead.
Clean up your cleaning products
Before you begin to tackle your to-do list, start with your cleaning products. While you want to keep your home clean, you also want to keep your family (including pets) safe.
Harsh cleaners can have odors that require you to work with good ventilation and can be toxic if accidentally ingested by both people and pups. Before you start to clean, check your cleaning product choices and flag anything that might be unsafe for your pet. If you still need to use this product, do so when your pet is not in the area you're working in and ensure your home is properly ventilated. A few of our favorite pet-safe cleaning products include:
A good steam mop
The Bissell Power Fresh Deluxe is a great, affordable option. If you skip the fancy scented waters and fragrance disks, steam cleaning is very safe and won't bother your pets. Just remember not to let them get close when the mop is on or right after your turn it off as you don't want steam burns, and these mops get hot!
We recommend the Dry Heavy Duty pads to get up all the pet hair around the house. Opt for the unscented version so you don't overwhelm your dog's sensitive nose with harsh perfumes.
Method Cleaning Products
For a great all-purpose cleaner and for some of your bathroom needs check out Method. This line of products is safe to use as directed around your pets. As a bonus, they come in great scents that can give you an aromatherapy boost. For spring we're digging the Pink Grapefruit.
Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner
Puracy Multi-Surface cleaner will keep your home sparkling and your pets safe. If you want a product to clean up pet messes, consider using Puracy's Natual Pet Stain and Odor Remover. It comes in a gentle cucumber mint scent.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
If you really want to go the natural route, good old-fashioned baking soda and vinegar can be used in many ways to clean your home. From getting the grime out of your stove to getting your drains sparkling clean, this dynamic duo is cost-effective and non-toxic.
Remember to always use these products as directed. While they are safe for use around your pet you don't want your pup to eat any of them. If your pup does happen to get into your cleaning products, call your vet or animal poison control immediately for further instructions.
Spring cleaning can be tedious and time-consuming so remember to take some well-earned breaks to get outside with your pup. You'll both enjoy the leg stretches and some fresh air.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.