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17 Cleaning Tips Every Dog or Cat Owner Should Know

These tips for pet owners offer practical solutions for everything from cleaning up fur to keeping pets off the furniture.

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Remove Pet Hair with Duct TapeFamily Handyman

Remove Pet Hair with Duct Tape

That’s right. We’ve found another use for duct tape—cleaning. The stickiness of duct tape makes it perfect for a makeshift pet hair remover and this method is faster than vacuuming. It also works on seats in vehicles. A sponge or cloth wrapped with duct tape works great for getting into corners. Wrap duct tape around a paint roller cover, sticky side out. Roll the paint cover over furniture or carpet to pick up the pet hair. Add more tape as the surface gets full of hair. This useful laundry tip will get pet hair off of your clothing.

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Spraying the couchFamily Handyman

Enzymes Eliminate Pet Stains and Odors

Enzyme products are easy to use on pet stains—just spray or blot them on the stain according to the directions. The products contain harmless bacteria that ‘eat’ the organic matter that causes the odor. When the organic matter is gone, the bacteria run out of food and die. The whole process will take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Some manufacturers recommend covering the area with plastic or a wet cloth to keep the bacteria moist and healthy. Bonus: You might want to give the Angry Orange Pet Odor Eliminator a try, too—it’s one of the internet’s favorite cleaning secrets for pet parents! Also, here’s how to snuff out bad smells all around the house.

Buy some Petzyme now on Amazon.

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Pouring kitty litterFamily Handyman

Quick Cleanup Cat Litter

Cut your litter cleanup time in half with this nifty trick. Line your litter pan with a plastic kitchen garbage bag before adding the litter. When it’s ready to be changed, simply slide the bag off, turn it inside off and toss. Get the best household cleaning supplies and products, according to our Test Kitchen.

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Lamp electrical cordsFamily Handyman

Chew-Free Electrical Cords

Some pets love to gnaw on electrical cords around the house. This is not only dangerous but also really irritating when they destroy your computer cables. Solve the problem by wrapping the cords with a split flexible plastic conduit that you get at home centers and automotive stores. Just cut the length you need and push the cords into the pre-split slot. Now if you could just get them to stop chewing up your slippers!

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Man and dog sitting on the arms of a chairFamily Handyman

Pet Repellent for Furniture

To train your pets to stay off furniture, place plastic carpet protectors—prickly side up—on their favorite perch. Available in office supply stores and the carpet/flooring department of home centers, the protectors can be cut to the size you need with scissors or a utility knife. The plastic teeth will train your pet to associate the couch with ‘uncomfortable.’ Soon they will seek cozier spots to relax on and leave the easy chair to you. Just remember to remove the protector before you sit down. Plus: 17 secret cleaning tips straight from the pros.

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Washing small dogFamily Handyman

Easier Bath Time

For a calmer and easier bath time, make a dog washing station in your shower. Cover the drain with a hair catcher to prevent fur from clogging it. Cut a hole in a bath mat so it fits over the drain and lay it in the shower to prevent your dog from slipping around. Using a handheld sprayer gives you more control and lets you avoid spraying water into your pet’s ears. Everyone involved will find bath day a whole lot more pleasant. These are the everyday habits of great dog owners.

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Man wiping over claw marks in a doorFamily Handyman

Mask Pet Claw Scratches

Mask shallow claw marks and scratches in wood doors with stain and varnish. Gel stains work well for matching the existing finish. Here’s how to easily repair pet claw marks.

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pouring baking soda onto upholstery

Clean Upholstery with Baking Soda

Use this handy hint if there’s a funky pet smell lurking in your couch or upholstered chair: Sprinkle a generous amount of regular baking soda onto the fabric and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. The baking soda will help to release odors and break up some light stains in the fabric. After about 20 minutes, remove the baking soda—and the funky smell—with a handheld vacuum or a hose attachment for your large vacuum. Take a look at 50 more clever ways you can clean with baking soda.

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Man vacuuming german shepard's furFamily Handyman

Don’t Brush the Dog — Use a Vacuum Instead!

Instead of brushing your pet and then cleaning up the fur with a vacuum, use the vacuum with an upholstery attachment to brush the dog. The vacuum sucks up all the loose fur so you don’t spend any extra time cleaning. By the way, these are the 14 best vacuums for picking up pet hair.

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Kitty coming out of a tub turned into a litterboxFamily Handyman

No-Mess Litter Box

It’s not fancy, but it’s a cheap way to keep litter in the litter box where it belongs. Trace an opening on one end of a plastic storage container, then push a sharp razor knife into the plastic and cut out the opening. Pour in the litter and your cat will figure out the rest.

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Two kids feeding huskyFamily Handyman

Neat and Tidy Pet Food Dispenser

Build this bin and you can fill the dog dish with the flick of a finger and do away with that crumpled bag of dog food lying on the garage floor. This bin easily holds two 20-lb. bags of food and allows you to dispense it right into the dish. And you can store two types of food so the cat won’t get jealous.

Slide open the ‘blast gate’ and food falls into the dish. A hinged top allows easy refilling. Get the instructions to make your own pet food dispenser.

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Cat scratching at plastic sheet over doorFamily Handyman

Protect Your Doors from Scratches

Protect your doors from your pet’s claws with a sheet of plastic. Buy 1/8-in. or thinner Plexiglas or plastic at any home center. Cut the Plexiglas so it fits just inside the door jambs and is 1 ft. higher than the reach of your pet. Most home centers will cut the Plexiglas for you, but you can also cut it with a utility knife and a straightedge. Mount the Plexiglas to the door with 3/4-in. roundhead wood screws. These are the secret health benefits of having a dog.

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Cat leaping off a couchFamily Handyman

Aluminum Foil Couch Saver

Keep your cats off the couch with aluminum foil. Tear off a piece of foil long enough to cover the top of your couch, and set it on the cushions. The feel and sound of the foil drives cats nuts and they’ll jump right off. Here’s why cats are afraid of cucumbers.

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Dog being bathedFamily Handyman

Fur Filter for Dog Bathing

If you wash your dog in the bathtub or shower, you’re begging for a clogged drain. Keep fur out of the drain with a mesh-type scrubbing pad. In a shower, clip the pad to the drain plate with a bobby pin. In a bathtub, wedge two pads under the stopper from two sides. The pads catch fur but let water flow through. Here are 7 ways you might be cleaning your bathroom wrong.

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Tip-Proof Watering DishFamily Handyman

Tip-Proof Watering Dish

Some dogs can’t grasp the idea that you don’t have to climb into the water dish to take a drink. So rather than refilling their dishes 10 times a day, make a tip-proof watering dish out of an old Bundt cake pan. Drive a stake through the hole in the middle of the pan. Now your dog will have to find some other source of amusement.

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Dog eating food from a dish in a tray of waterFamily Handyman

Ant-Proof Pet Food Dishes

In the summertime, a favorite destination for ants is often a pet’s food bowl. Here’s a simple way to keep them out of your dog or cat’s food: Set the dish in a pan of water. Not only does it keep the ants out of the pet food, but your pet can take a gulp of water from the pan whenever he or she needs a drink. Here’s how to get rid of bugs from your pantry.

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Smiling woman using a spray bottle on a dogFamily Handyman

Eliminate Pet Smells

Every once in awhile pets get into something they shouldn’t and lumber inside bringing a nasty smell indoors. One way to get rid of those bad smells is AtmosKlear. It can be spritzed directly on the pet! AtmosKlear has no smell of its own. What the odorless formula does is eliminate, not cover up, smells. The formula is an oxidizer. It must contact the odor source in order to work.

Buy some AtmosKlear now on Amazon.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman