How to Keep a House Clean with Pets

My wife and I are fairly spontaneous, or at least we like to think we are. However, it took several conversations and many trips to our local SPCA before we ended up getting a dog. At the time, it felt like taking on a lot of responsibility, almost like having a kid. We would be inviting this creature into our lives, wholly dependent on us for its care. And as anyone who owns a pound puppy will tell you, shelter animals also come with a lot of emotional needs.

When at last we were ready to make “the” trip to the SPCA, we promised ourselves that we would adopt a short-haired dog. My wife had grown up with a German Shepherd and didn’t want to spend time chasing after tumbleweed clumps of fur. Fate had other plans. The adorable beast who won over our hearts was sweet, quiet, and of course, half  German Shepherd.


Then, after two years, we got another dog. She was smaller, short-haired, but still a shedder. Dog hair saturates my life. Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person, if you have pets you know this struggle well. How do you keep your house clean? Long story short, you’ll never get rid of all of it. But you can control most of it. For the most part, we’ve kept the amount of pet hair down to a tolerable level. Here are some strategies we’ve developed. By and large, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pet hair!

Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners:

  • Proper pet grooming is essential. Being diligent about brushing your furry friend means you’ll be pulling piles of hair out of a brush and not your carpet or clothes. Regular baths with an oatmeal-based shampoo will also keep your pet from getting itchy. The less Fido or Felix has to scratch, the less hair they’ll throw around the house. For dogs with particularly heavy coats, consider shaving them during the summer months. Clipping all that fur will give you both a much needed respite, especially since shedding usually gets worse during the warmer seasons.
  • Feeding your pet a healthy diet of high-quality food is an investment in your animal’s overall health, which translates to the health of their fur. Soft and shiny pet hair is strong hair, which is less likely to fall off your friend and onto your floor. (Better food can also keep the vet bills down by reducing the rate of things like ear infections.)
  • Your pet’s bedding is an accomplice to the crime. A lot of fabrics feel soft and cozy to human touch, but they don’t clean very well and act more like Velcro for pet hair. Look for bedding that can be shaken out or washed or vacuumed. Microfiber and canvas-like fabrics clean well.
  • Lastly, invest in a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner, preferably one designed with pets in mind. The smaller vacuum you had in college just won’t cut it. Or rather, it will, but only for a limited time. Models like those from Dyson might be a bit more than you want to spend, but I recommend them nonetheless. I went through three smaller vacuums before I learned my lesson. A stronger vacuum will help with dander as well as fur, too.

On a side note, if you do have a pet or two or three, be sure to check your HVAC system’s air filter regularly. Pet hair is easily dragged into the return and quickly builds up on most filters. A clogged air filter makes your air handler work harder than it needs to, potentially reducing equipment life.

Of course, you can also tear out all the carpet in your home and put down hardwood floors, but I’ll leave that project for another post! Have you discovered any good strategies for winning the battle against fur?


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