Dogs are adorable – from their soft fur to their crazy battles with toys. What is not so adorable is when that fur covers your couch and those toys take over your family room. We’re here to help with the 2023 roundup of the 12 must-have pet cleaning items for dog owners to keep your home from looking like a fur-nado struck.
Before we dig in, remember: don’t let these tasks overwhelm you! “You don’t have to thoroughly sanitize each week, but keeping pet hair swept and vacuumed, ensuring urine is not lingering on floors or furniture, routine cleaning of surfaces, and not allowing food to crust on bowls are all good maintenance tips,” says Dr. Sandra Strong, Director of Animal Services in Orange County, North Carolina and a NCVMA committee chair for 2022-2023. She adds the key objective: “Maintaining a clean environment is healthy for you and your pet.”
Let’s dig into those top 12 pet cleaning products and organization ideas.
1. Carpet cleaner machines for pets
Let’s start with the big guns. Having your own carpet washer specifically made for people with pets is a dream for getting up pee stains, as well as general dirt. I have the HOOVER SmartWash PET Complete Automatic Carpet Cleaner and it works great. There are also steam cleaners specifically for tile and wood floors.
Check out Dogster’s tips on how to clean dog pee out of carpets.
Dr. Strong, specialty board certified by the American College of Animal Welfare, recommends another favorite in this category. “In my opinion, BISSEL is the No. 1 vacuum for two reasons: it has great products and it has the BISSELL Pet Foundation, which helps homeless pets and shelter animals. Its Little Green machine is awesome for spot cleaning. The Pet Hair Eraser and CrossWave are both great for pet messes.”
Need a professional job? Carpet cleaning professionals lift dirt and debris that has built up over time use pre-treatment for various tougher-than-normal stains like dog pee and muddy paws, removing not only the stains but odor and bacteria.
How often should you clean your carpet? For dog parents, three or four times a year will keep your carpet clean and free from stains. Dogster’s tip: Put some cute throw rugs on top of your wall-to-wall rug in high dog traffic areas and pop those into the washer weekly or every other week.
These are some of our favorite home carpet cleaning machines for dog owners. We like a cleaner that is easy to use, easy to clean and allows us to spot clean tough pet stains.
- HOOVER SmartWash PET Complete Automatic Carpet Cleaner. Just add the cleaning solution to the carpet cleaner and its ready to go, no mixing or spraying with a trigger. Washes when you move forward and dries when you pull it back. It’s easy to clean and has an antimicrobial pet tool to use on tough pet stains. Cost is $309.
- Bissell Little Green Machine. We love that it’s portable and can clean messes anywhere in the house, on the furniture or even in the car! Has a 48-ounce tank, so you don’t need to refill constantly. Scrubs and suctions and easy to clean out the hose after using. Costs $123.59.
- Black + Decker Spillbuster Pet Cordless Spill + Spot Cleaner. This is another portable cleaner and it’s cordless. Easy to clean and use, just spray, scrub and suck it up. Costs $99.98.
2. Hand-held vacuum for pet hair and spot cleaning
The hand-held vacuum is helpful when you need to do a spot cleaning. Many hand-held vacuums are chargeable and cordless. They’re perfect for using in the car after a trip to the beach or dog park. Dogster pet cleaning tip: Schedule daily hand-held vacuum cleanups at the end of the day in frequently-used areas like around the dog’s food dish.
Examples of hand-held vacuums for dog owners include:
- Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum
- Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ Cordless Handheld Vacuum
- Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum
3. Pet hair removers (lint rollers, lint shavers)
Small but powerful, a good lint roller or lint shaver can quickly get rid of pet hair and dirt on your couch, as well as any dog hair on your clothing.
Examples of pet hair removers include:
4. Pet cleaning products and odor eliminators
Face it, no one wants their house to stink, especially not of pet pee. That’s where a good dog pee cleaning product and due diligence come in. “Clean all elimination accidents as soon as possible and be thorough,” says certified dog trainer Robin Bennett and certified professional animal care operator Susan Briggs, who are both pet care business advisors and founders of the blog thedoggurus.com.
Not surprisingly, people have favorites in the pet cleaning and odor eliminators category. The Dog Gurus recommend TropiClean Shampoos and Unique Pet Odor & Stain Eliminator. Dr. Strong touts Out! Advanced Stain & Odor Remover. Pet parent Bryn Gillis Hutchinson from Aliso Viejo, California, reports Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator “is awesome on the carpet.”
Always opt for a pet-friendly cleaning product with pet-safe ingredients. “When using bleach, you must keep the product away from your pet, protect your skin and open a window for fresh air and ventilation,” says Dr. Strong. “A good general rule is if a product will burn or irritate your skin, it is not good for your dog.”
The Dog Gurus caution against the DIY approach. “We have not found them to work as well as commercial pet designed solutions.”
Examples of pet cleaning and odor eliminators include:
- Tropiclean Baby Powder Deodorizing Pet Spray
- Out! Advanced Stain & Odor Remover
- Rocco & Roxie Pro Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator
5. Air purifier for pet hair and dander
One of the most important things to keep clean is the thing you can’t see. Even if you don’t have asthma, an air purifier can make your environment cleaner and healthier for you. There are many on the market, including some specifically for pet owners, such as the TruSens Air Purifier and HEPA Pet Filter. If you do have a respiratory issue, consider Dr. Strong’s advice: “Pet hair, dander, dirt and human hair can all get trapped in the air duct system. Having your vents and ducts professionally vacuumed can help control airborne irritants.”
Example of air purifiers for dog lovers include:
- LEVOIT Core Pet Care True HEPA Air Purifier
- TotalClean PetPlus 5-in-1 Air Purifier
- TruSens Air Purifier and HEPA Pet Filter
6. Pet furniture covers and couch protectors
Pet furniture covers keep furniture clean. Let your dog lay on it, then give it a wash every week, or as needed. You can buy special ones for your car, as well. For older dogs that might have incontinent issues, get a waterproof blanket to help protect the upholstery.
Dogster tip for buying couch covers for dogs: Measure your couch and make sure it lines up with the size of the couch cover before purchasing.
Examples of furniture covers for pet owners include:
- the PupProtector Waterproof Throw Blanket that comes in many styles and two sizes
- Natural Life’s Perfect Sofa Covers that has three fun styles
- Lucky Paws Calming Furniture Protector that allows your dog to snuggle, available in two colors and three sizes
7. Dog dish mats/trays
Even if you have a dainty dog, there’s a good chance she doesn’t wipe her mouth after she drinks. Put down an absorbent mat under the water bowl or even a plastic tray. It’s easy to wash the mat/placemat to cut down on how often you wash the floor. It also helps prevent the water from migrating and perhaps causing someone to slip. Wipe or clean your mat or tray once every week or two depending on how messy your dog is.
Examples of dog dish mats and trays are:
- Loving Pets Dog Day Expressions Fashion Mat
- Aqua Paw Silicone Non-Slip Pet Feeding Mat
- West Paw’s Doggie Placemat
- Fable’s Signature Bowl Mat
- Soggy Doggy Slopmat
8. Dog leash and harness holder
These can easily get lost among other household items if you don’t have a dedicated place for them. You can take a hat or coat stand and make it a piece of decor, or use those metal hook racks that hang from the top of a door and hide it inside your closet. Whatever you decide, you might have the same results as the Fox family in San Clemente, California. “We added a dog leash hook in the kitchen and it stopped everyone from asking, ‘Where’s the dog leash?’” says Amy Johnson Fox.
Examples of dog leash and harness holders are:
9. Corral dog treats and meds into a container
Whether it is an oversize bowl on the counter or a basket in your pantry, it is helpful to keep all your dog’s medications in one place. The same is true for treats; this way you can see at a glance what you have in stock and what is running low. Just make sure it is out of reach so your dog doesn’t help himself!
Examples of dog treats and medicine organizers include:
- Rae Dunn Metal and Wood Dog Storage Basket
- Mobile Dog Gear Collapsible Multipurpose Organizer
- Paw Prints Pet Supply Bin
10. Dog toy boxes
Whether or not your dog is a rescue, all of her toys deserve a furever home, too. It’s amazing how great your house looks just from picking up all the dog toys! You can go with something neutral like a straw basket or lean in to being pet parents and get an actual toy box from the kid’s section of a store. If you don’t want your dog helping herself here, too, definitely get one with a lid.
Some helpful tips on keeping toy clutter down:
- Pick up the dog toys at the end of the day. This keeps the dog toy clutter manageable.
- Clean out the dog toy box at least quarterly. Get rid of the worn toys and wash any gently worn or untouched toys your dog doesn’t play with and donate them to your local dog shelter.
Examples of dog toy boxes are:
- Pottery Barn’s Handwoven Seagrass Pet Storage Basket
- In the Company of Dogs’ Canvas Toy Storage Bin
- The Container Store’s Fabric Pet Storage Bin.
11. Welcome floor mats and rugs for dog owners
“A good door mat, paw towels by the door and daily floor cleaning can go a long way to keeping your home clean,” Dr. Strong suggests. Put mats on the interior and exterior sides of a doggie door, as well. Get large living room rugs that are stain resistant and washable.
Examples of floor mats and rugs for dog owners include:
- Annie Selkie Indoor/Outdoor rugs — they are stylish, great for high traffic areas and dogs, plus easy to clean (dog stains come up easily)
- L.L. Bean Recycled Waterhog Dog Mat, Scattered Paws
- Colorful Dog Anti- Slip Rug
- Gorilla Grip Abstract Area Rug
Dog papers filing system
When did Maybelene get her last vaccination? What year was it when Dexter got his foot surgery? We keep an accordion file folder to keep all our pets’ records in one place with a slot for each animal so we can find these answers quickly. You could also use a three-ring binder or anything, really, that gives you a dedicated place to store and retrieve medical records, receipts, etc.
Examples of dog paper filing systems are:
- Personalized Pet Document Folder from HHGiftsandCrafts at etsy.com
- 13 Pocket Expanding File Folder
- Iris USA Portable Letter Size File Box
We hope these tips give you ideas to cut down your house work, freeing you up for more dog play!