A Clean House is
Possible Even with Pets
A Clean House Is Possible Even With Pets!
It hasn't even rained yet and the big dog is tracking in mud. As water dogs
are wont to do, he makes the most of every available puddle, every leaking
sprinkler head, every full dish of water. To water, add dirt, which never seems
to be in short supply. Add dog and suddenly there are muddy paw prints across
the floor, big ones and little ones both.
As if that's not enough, the clump-by-clump shedding of the little dog, Andy,
with his long, thick coat, is surpassed only by the prodigious hair-by-hair
shedding of the big dog, Ben. Ignore it for a day or so and soon it seems every
corner of the house has a fur bunny in it.
Domesticity has never been my strong suit, but I cope as best I can. There
are others better-suited to the fight, though, people who make clean look easy.
People like cleaning expert Don Aslett, whose useful books offer many tips for
A few of his suggestions for those who like a clean house and pets, too:
- When choosing new carpets, forget wool and cotton and go for all-
synthetic fibers. Natural fibers absorb everything, and that, says Aslett,
guarantees stains and odors. Better still are all-synthetic carpets with stain
repellents built in. Aslett suggest a textured or multilevel loop, not a deep
shag, which is hardest to clean and provides the snuggest home for fleas.
Varied hues of the same color hide dirt and stains the best, he says, and even
better is matching the carpet color to your pet.
- Opt for tightly woven, smooth-surfaced upholstery. Such fabrics will
resist a few claw marks and will not encourage a furniture-scratching cat.
Steer clear of highly textured, nubby fabrics and wicker. "Anything with a
loose or open weave invites cats and dogs to pull at it, fiddle with it, claw
or scratch it," he's written.
- Make use of mats everywhere. Rubber-backed mats of synthetic pile collect
dirt and moisture and clean up easily. Aslett suggests using them just outside
and inside the doors, under food dishes and in sleeping areas.
- It's a good idea to keep a towel handy and teach your dog to wait on one
of those mats until you wipe off his dirty paws, which is what I'm working on
with Benjamin now. Sounds like too much effort? Consider this: Would you
rather spend a few minutes teaching your dog to wait for a wipe-off, or the
rest of your life cleaning up muddy foot prints?
- A couple of months ago a reader dropped me a line with another suggestion
than the mats Aslett suggests, which can be a little unattractive: Use car
mats. They, too, are durable, easy to clean and non-skid and the color options
make them more decorative.
- Clean up spills and messes immediately. "You can't let a pet mess go until
it's convenient," writes Aslett, "because if you leave it, the mess will
spread, stain, smell, attract pests and encourage repeat offenses."
- I remembered that last tip on a recent morning when I noticed that one of
the little darlings had been ill while sleeping on the couch. I was running a
little late for work but took the time to clean the cushion. When it was all
dry a day later -- no stain!
- My own tip to add to the list is grooming, which is good for your pet,
good for your relationship with your pet and good for the general cleanliness
of your home. Set time aside on a regular basis to comb and brush your pet,
making a fuss over him as you do so -- lots of pats, strokes and praise -- so
he'll come to love it. Grooming is also an excellent time to look for emerging
health problems not only fleas and other external parasites, but also lumps
and bumps you'll want your vet to check out.
- Not only will your pet be more attractive and happier for the extra
attention but every piece of fur you snare you'll spare from a future home on
your floor or sofa.
Gina Spadafori firstname.lastname@example.org