Spring Cleaning: The Pet Edition

dog-introMost people aren’t thinking about spring in February, but if you’re in Georgia, chances are that spring is on your mind. As the weather warms up and spring blooms begin to show, it’s a great time to unearth some of your pet’s favorite corners and give them a good thorough cleaning. If you’re like me, you try to keep a handle on cleaning year-round, but you also love the once-a-year feeling of really digging to the bottom and doing a nice, deep sanitize on areas around your home. Why not start out the summer with a fresh, clean start?

Doggie and kitty bedding should be cleaned regularly. Wash the bed cover weekly. For a deep clean, you can also wash or fluff the bedding stuffing (according to the manufacturer’s instructions). When washing anything for your pet, be sure to use scentless detergent. Some detergent smells are too strong and will be irritating to your pet. It’s important to start out with a clean bed and keep it clean as we head back into tick and flea season. Deep clean the area around your pet’s bed by vacuuming or sweeping up any hair and dust. Sanitize it with a mild, pet-friendly cleaner. You can buy pet-friendly cleaners from the store or you can make your own. Typical ingredients used in homemade cleaners include water, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, and baking soda. Search for pet-friendly, homemade cleaners for specific recipes. While you’re cleaning your pet’s bedding, you should also deep clean your pet’s favorite napping spots.

Food Area:
Your pet’s water and food dishes should always be clean. You can also take the time to clean around your pet’s eating area. Food has a tendency to splash or spill, especially if your pet is an active and enthusiastic eater. Wipe down baseboards and cupboards in the area and dig out any lost food bits that escaped your pet’s notice.

Food Supply:
Review your pet’s food and snack stashes and throw out anything that seems old or stale. If you store your pet’s food in a bin, empty it out into a temporary container and clean the bin itself. When you refill it, put fresh food in first and then top it off with the old food so it will get eaten sooner.

Toy Sort:
If your pet’s toys have gotten so grimy that you’re afraid to touch them, it’s time to clean or toss them. Collect all your pet’s toys and throw out any that are dirty beyond hope. You should also get rid of any toys that are falling apart and pose a choking hazard to your pet (for example, a toy may have loose parts that could be torn off and swallowed). If you cannot repair these toys to make them safe, it’s best to toss them. Wash and sanitize any toys that can be cleaned. If it’s possible to put them through the washer, do so, otherwise you can use a mild cleanser to wipe them down.

Car Care:
While you’re in the cleaning mood, take the opportunity to clean up your car. If you take your pet for frequent outings, odds are your car could use a little cleaning. If you have fabric seats, you may find that pet hair has worked its way into the weave of your car’s upholstery. It can take at least two passes with a vacuum hose to dislodge this hair. It might be a good time to get seat covers if you don’t already have some. Even putting down a towel will help keep your car clean. If your pet uses a carrier for trips, clean that out as well. Any blankets or towels used in the carrier or car should be washed or replaced and any hard surfaces should be cleaned with a mild cleaner.

Hair Control:
Be proactive about your pet’s hair by brushing your cat or dog regularly during the spring months. This is the time when your pet will be shedding his winter coat. Don’t give the hair a chance to even hit the floor. Brush it out and dispose of it to keep it from collecting as dust bunnies or getting into the vents and air ducts of your home. While you’re thinking about keeping the air in your home clean, you can also change out the air filters in your heating and cooling systems. This will keep your air clean as you crank up the air for the summer. It will also give you an edge on pollen season.



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