Keep your home smelling fresh, even with furry friends

It was a rude awakening two weeks after we got our first dog. A friend’s blunt teenager walked in the door, took a deep breath, and said, “Yep, it smells like you have a dog now.”

Cat reclining on a sofaWe were in no denial that our lives had changed with our new family member. But, admittedly, that particular clue had escaped us.

So, what to do?

Deodorize your rugs cheaply

Pets love carpets and rugs, and if you’ve seen one come in from outside only to roll its newfound dirt into the carpet nap, you know your rugs are an easy target for pet smells.

One of the biggest bang-for-your-buck solutions costs a box or two of baking soda. The best thing about baking soda is that, unlike sprays that cover up the smells, baking soda absorbs the offensive odors without residue. 

  • Generously sprinkle baking soda all over your rug—move furniture if you have to.
  • Leave it on for at least several hours, preferably at a time your little friends won’t be able to walk over it. Overnight is great.
  • Vacuum it up.
  • Repeat if necessary.

Wash your pet’s blankets with care

It’s very tempting to take care of that aromatic pet blanket or bed with a quick run through the washer and dryer. However, shed dog or cat fur can be a real challenge for a washing machine.

Throwing blankets and smaller pet beds directly into the washer can cause a maintenance headache down the line. All that wet fur can clump and clog the filter. A little extra effort to remove the hair before sending it through the wash will save your appliances and future maintenance calls.

Consumer Reports has some great tips for preparing and washing your pet’s bedding.

  • Brush your dog or cat regularly. Loosing and removing the shedding hair saves it from turning up all over your floors, clothes, and dog bed.
  • Use bed covers—that can be removed and washed easily—for your pet’s beds.
  • Vacuum your pet’s bed and anywhere else that fur collects.
  • Run your pet’s blankets or other soft materials through a no-heat dryer cycle first, allowing the fur to be picked up by the lint filter. A fabric softener sheet also helps. 

You don’t have to live with pet odors

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