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14 Cleaning Hacks 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.

14 Cleaning Hacks Every Dog or Cat Owner Should Know
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Feel like you're chasing your tail attempting to keep on top of the domestics? Try our handy pet hacks to cut down the amount of time you spend tending to your furry housemates.

1. Remove Pet Hair with Duct Tape
Remove Pet Hair with Duct Tape
The Family Handyman
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.
2. Enzymes Eliminate Pet Stains and Odours
2. Enzymes Eliminate Pet Stains and Odours
The Family Handyman
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.
3. Quick Cleanup Cat Litter
3. Quick Cleanup Cat Litter
The Family Handyman
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.
4. Pet Repellent for Furniture
4. Pet Repellent for Furniture
The Family Handyman
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 a 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.  
5. A Fast Way to Remove Pet Hair
5. A Fast Way to Remove Pet Hair
The Family Handyman
If you have a shedding pet, StickySheets can make cleaning up after it a lot easier. Just peel off the backing, press the sheet against the furniture, then pull it up. The hair sticks to the sheet, but the 24 x 36-in. sheets won't stick to each other, making application easier. The sheets can be reused up to three times. The manufacturer claims that Americans spend more than 200 million hours cleaning up more than 25,000 tons of pet hair each year. If that's true, then StickySheets can save a lot of time.
6. Mask Pet Claw Scratches
6. Mask Pet Claw Scratches
The Family Handyman
Mask shallow claw marks and scratches in wood doors with stain and varnish. Gel stains work well for matching the existing finish.
7. Don't Brush the Dog? Use a Vacuum Instead!
Don't Brush the Dog? Use a Vacuum Instead!
The Family Handyman
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.
8. No-Mess Litter Box
8. No-Mess Litter Box
The Family Handyman
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.
9. Neat and Tidy Pet Food Dispenser
9. Neat and Tidy Pet Food Dispenser
The Family Handyman
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
10. Protect Your Doors from Scratches
10. Protect Your Doors from Scratches
The Family Handyman
Protect your doors from your dog's claws with a sheet of plastic. Buy 1/8-in. or thinner Plexiglas or plastic at any home centre. Cut the Plexiglas so it fits just inside the door jambs and is 1 ft. higher than the reach of your dog. Most home centres will cut the Plexiglas for you, but you can also cut it with a utility knife and a straightedge. (If you have a large dog and need plastic above the doorknob, use a 3-in. hole saw to make a cutout for the knob.) Mount the Plexiglas to the door with 3/4-in. roundhead wood screws.
11. Aluminum Foil Couch Saver
11. Aluminum Foil Couch Saver
The Family Handyman
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 immediately jump off.
12. Fur Filter for Dog Bathing
12. Fur Filter for Dog Bathing
The Family Handyman
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.
13. Tip-Proof Watering Dish
13. Tip-Proof Watering Dish
The Family Handyman
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.
14. Eliminate Pet Smells
14. Eliminate Pet Smells
The Family Handyman
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 with a deodouriser that can be spritzed directly on the pet! Some deodourisers don't leave your room (or pet) smelling like flowers, cinnamon or incense. 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. From pets to tobacco to general household odors to smelly carpet in your car, some work great.


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