As I sit down to type this blog post, the sun is rising, the birds are chirping, and my dormant bermudagrass is coming back to life. You guys … it’s SPRING! With the season change, I’m feeling inspired to do some major spring cleaning. But, as we all clean out our closets, vacuum behind the furniture, and scrub the refrigerator shelves, let’s not forget about our canine kids. From washing to organizing, us dog parents have a few extra cleaning tasks to add to our to-do list.
While I’ve added these tasks to my spring cleaning list, we should all work them into our regular cleaning routine too!
1. Walk Around Your House With a Blacklight
No one likes a smelly house. No one. To check for surprise puppy pee-pee accidents that could spark unwanted odors, wait until the evening when it’s dark, turn off all interior lights, grab a blacklight, and scan your entire house. Holding the blacklight about 1-2 inches away from the carpet, furniture, or mattress, slowly check every room, corner, and crevis. Keep an eye out for light yellow florescent glowing spots. Even well-trained dogs can occasionally let out a little squirt … that’s why it’s called an “accident”. If you find any urine spots, clean them up with an enzyme-based cleaning solution that will neutralize the odors and remove the stain. It’s important to find and treat urine spots so your dog doesn’t keep smelling and marking over and over.
This is the blacklight that I use:
2. Invest In a Robot Vacuum
If you’ve been thinking about buying a robot vacuum for quite some time, I’ve got some words of encouragement for you: DO IT NOW! I’ve mentioned this before and I’ll say it a million times again: I don’t know what I would do without my Shark Ion Robot Vacuum. She’s made my house-work chores so much easier. Every day, I just turn her on and she cleans my hardwood, area rugs, and carpets! When she’s done, she self-docs and recharges. All I have to do is dump out the dog hair, dander, grass, and any dust she collected during her ride around my house. I cannot say enough great things about the Shark Ion Robot.
3. Tackle Dog Hair On The Couch
Do your dogs shed? If so, trust me when I say I understand the #CleaningStruggleIsReal. My Chihuahua, Diego, is a huge shedder … and he’s allowed on all the furniture. Sooooo, that means I’m stuck cleaning his hair off the couches all. the. time! Plus, as we transition into warmer months our pups may start to shed more.
Good news: There’s a cool hack to easily get dog hair off your couch. Use a slightly damp rubber glove. Just run your glove-covered hand along your couch cushions and you’ll be amazed how much hair it collects.
4. Wash Your Dog’s Toys
Dog toys are slobbered on and dragged across the floor (for way more than 5 seconds). With everything those toys are exposed to, they’re filled with bacteria. That’s why they need to be cleaned from time-to-time. Good news: This is going to be way easier than you may have suspected!
Plush Toys: Just toss the dirty toys in your washing machine! Either use a mild, natural laundry detergent or sprinkle the toys with a little baking soda and a few capfuls of white vinegar. Once the cycle is done, pop those babies into the dryer. Make sure your dryer is set on low or air-only. You can also let the toys air dry. In case you’re wondering: Yes, the squeakers still work after!
Hard Toys: Most hard rubber and rope toys can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Load your dog’s hard toys on the top rack and let them go for a spin. Just make sure to skip the dish detergent and use natural vinegar instead. The hot water and pressure alone should kill the germs, but the vinegar will give it a little extra power. Don’t worry about your pup’s toys smelling like a salad afterward. Once they dry, the vinegar smell will go away.
5. Wash Your Dog’s Collar
Have you ever washed your dog’s collar? So many of us think to bathe our dog and wash their clothes (if they wear clothes). But we often overlook cleaning their collars! Here’s what you can do: Simply submerge your dog’s collar in a tub of hot water with a few drops of natural pet shampoo. Soak for about 30 minutes, rinse with water, and then hang dry.
6. Wash Your Dog’s Water Bowl
Have you ever felt a slippery slimy substance in your dog’s water bowl? Well, that slime is called biofilm. It’s a thin, gooey film of bacteria that adheres to various surfaces. While biofilm does contain some good bacteria, it also contains bad bacteria. Listeria, E. coli, and legionella are all organisms that call biofilm home. Bad biofilms have been linked to urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder infections, middle-ear infections, and more. To avoid this buildup from happening, you just have to wash your dog’s bowl!
Throughout the day, every time you refill your dog’s bowls, wipe it down with a paper towel (note: biofilm needs to be physically broken up). Then at the end of the day, wash their bowls in hot water by hand. You can also put them in the dishwasher for a deeper clean!
7. Keep Paw Wipes Near Your Door
Have you ever thought about the bacteria buildup on your pup’s paws? If not, let’s take a second to do that. Since most dogs don’t wear shoes outside, they’re constantly outside walking through grass, dirt, urine, and feces. Then, they come inside, prance around your area rugs, drag their paws along the carpets, and jump on your furniture. That’s why I like to keep a pack of paw wipes near the door. I give their tootsies a quick wash when they get inside and it makes me feel a whole lot cleaner! Here are the brands that I’ve used and really like:
8. Have a Dog-Friendly Pantry? Check Expiration Dates!
Here at Proud Dog Mom, we’re huge advocates of ditching store-bought dog treats and making your own. (We even have our own dog treat cookbook called Proud Dog Chef: Tail-Wagging Good Treat Recipes)! If you follow our treat recipes then you’ll likely develop a nice collection of gluten-free flours, grain-free flours, ground chia seeds, ground flax seeds, canned pumpkin puree, and much more. But, how quickly are you going through these ingredients? As you spring clean, it’s a good idea to take a peek at the expirations dates on your flours and other pantry staples.
9. Organize Dog Toys In a Bin
A place for everything and everything in its place! If your floor is covered with dog toys then it’s time to give your pup’s squeaky buddies a home of their own (AKA a toy bin)! I have an adorable metal one I found at HomeGoods and keep it in its own little doggy corner in my master bedroom. While I can’t find a link to my exact one, I also think this wicker bone-shaped basket is super adorable (it comes in small, medium, and large):
10. Organize Grooming Supplies in Plastic Drawer Organizers
Whether you’re full-out grooming your pooch (like hair cutting and buzzing) or you’re just doing a few basics (like bathing and trimming nails), chances are you have some dog grooming tools lying around your home. So, what do you do with them? Spring is the perfect time to pick up a few plastic drawer organizers and get organized. Check these out:
Do you have any great spring cleaning tips for fellow dog parents? Share them in the comment section below.