Although I am not a completely OCD, bleaching-work-tops-six-times-a-day kind of girl, I am very clean and tidy. But over the summer we got a new family member who is rather at odds with my love of a clean, fresh home.
This is Clara. Better known as Ms. Stinky Furball, which probably tells you everything you need to know about her arrival's impact on my housework routine.
Now I love dogs, but Eau de Dog is not my favorite smell in the world (read: I detest the smell of dog). So most of my cleaning practises are now geared towards ensuring guests don't catch the whiff of puppy the moment they enter the house.
Actually, my new cleaning routine seems to be going well and there isn't a great deal of difference in how my home looks (or smells) since before Clara entered our lives. As long as you ignore the half chewed and discarded toilet roll tubes that she likes to strategically scatter around my home.
Here are some of the best tips you can implement if, like me, you are pet loving, dog smell hating, tidy freak.
Bath Your Dog
If you never washed then you would, frankly, stink. The same is true of your dog! How often you can bath your dog depends on things like what type of coat they have, and whether they have any underlying skin conditions. You can ask your vet for advice, if necessary.
It might be a little bit of a learning curb, as not all breeds like water. We bribed our dog with treats, until she was perfectly happy to sit in the tub and be hosed down with the shower attachment.
Brush Your Dog
Bathing your dog doesn't just help them smell better because you are washing away dirt. Washing them removes some of the loose hairs - and dead fur is actually the biggest contributor to dog stink! Ideally, you need to be giving your dog a thorough brush every day.
We are still working on this to be honest, as our dog hates being brushed. But I can definitely smell the difference straight away when she's had a good brushing! And the more hair there is on the brush, the less there will be on your furniture.
Look At Their Diet
I completely forgot to include this one in the list, until a kind reader pointed it out to me (thanks Jennifer). Some breeds smell more than others and you can't completely eliminate their natural doggy odor, but you can lessen it by feeding them a high quality diet. Their diet affects their health, and in particular things like their coat - and a shiny coat and healthy skin gives off a much more pleasant odor. There is lots of information about optimizing your dog's diet online (there is too much information for me to include in this post), but steering clear of tinned dog food and corn based products is a good start.
The Vacuum Cleaner Is Your Best Friend
As I have just explained, dead dog hair is actually what you can smell if your home (or pet) is a bit whiffy. So naturally, you need to be removing that from your home as much as possible too. Vacuuming once a day should do the job. Don't forget to empty your vacuum cleaner and wash the filter often, or after a while you might find that your vacuum cleaner is the biggest culprit for spreading pet smells in your home!
Deodorize Your Floors
We have laminate, which is ideal if you have pets. Since getting a dog, we have steam cleaned once a week. This isn't just to kill the extra bacteria that our pet is constantly bringing in her paws (because actually I am pretty pro germs - healthy immune system and all that). Steam cleaning helps to lift the pet smell. If you don't have a steam cleaner, add a little white vinegar to your bucket before your mop instead. White vinegar has disinfectant properties, and it deodorizes.
If you have carpet and rugs then keeping the dog smell at bay is a little trickier. Once a week, sprinkle carpet deodorizer over your floors before you vacuum. Or for a natural alternative, use baking soda.
De-Fur The Furniture
Don't forget to make sure that your furniture (i.e, your sofa) is free of fur. Most vacuum cleaners have an upholstery attachment, but you can also just use a lint roller.
Clean Their Bedding Regularly
Nothing retains the smell of dog more than their favorite sleeping place. Ideally, you should plan ahead and buy them a couple of washing machine friendly beds. This means that you can have one in the wash and one for use, and neither should have time to develop a strong odor. If you ever use something like a crate, regularly spray the tray with white vinegar, or sprinkle it with baking soda, to deodorize the smell.
Don't forget their toys too, if they are getting a bit stinky and can handle a trip through the washing machine!
Clean With Vinegar
Did I mention that white vinegar is a deodorizer? I mention this fact several times because it is important if you want to get rid of pet smells! Plus, vinegar is an amazingly effective cleaning agent and you should be using it anyway. You can even just add it into a spray bottle and spritz it into the air - as the vinegar smell fades, so will the smell of dog.
Air Your Home
Most of us probably don't live in areas where you can throw your windows open all year round. But when the weather is warm enough, open your windows and let in some fresh air. It isn't just good for pet smells, it is great for freshening the air in general.
Mask The Scent
None of these extra cleaning measures should take up much of your time, and if you make a habit of them then your home shouldn't be smelling of pets. But if you do want to make sure your home smells lovely when guests come round, there is no shame in masking the scent. I'm not a fan of air fresheners, but will burn the occasional scented candle if I want to make doubly sure my house smells pleasant and welcoming.
So basically, common sense. But we all need a little reminder of these things some times. :)