Guest post by James Hall
Studies have shown that sharing life with a cat reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and lowers the risk of stroke. For most of us, these benefits more than make up for the extra housework cats may cause us. The fact is that cats have a seemingly endless supply of hair to spread around furniture, carpets and beds. And of course, there’s the litter box. Keeping a home clean and odor-free may sometimes seem like an impossible task.
It doesn’t need to be this way though! The seven tips below can make cleaning a home with a cat faster, easier and more efficient.
1. Replace lint rollers with rubber gloves
Lint rollers are often an essential tool for pet parents. They are great for getting rid of hair from furniture or stairs – especially if your vacuum isn’t up to the task. However, if you want to save money, a cheaper option is to use a pair of rubber gloves. Rubber provides a static charge that attracts cat hairs on carpets and sofas, so you just need to run your hand over the surface to remove hair. Gloves are also re-usable after a quick wash.
2. Get rid of odors with baking soda
If a patch of carpet is stained or has absorbed a bad smell, try removing it with baking soda before spending money on an expensive cleaning product. Baking soda is surprisingly effective at absorbing odors, so you just need to spread it over the affected area and leave it for a short time. After vacuuming up the soda, most odors will be removed – or at least reduced.
It’s important to note that large amounts of baking soda can be toxic to cats because it can affect your cat’s electrolyte balance. It’s unlikely that your cat would eat a large enough amount of baking soda to cause any problems, so this won’t be an issue if you sprinkle a small amount on your carpet or sofa, but make sure the box is kept where your cat can’t get to it. If you’re going to use this tactic on a large area of carpet, keep your cat out of the room until you’ve vacuumed.
3. Vacuum every 3-5 days
Vacuuming your home with a powerful cleaner is one of the best ways to keep cat hair under control. It’s a time-consuming chore, but it can stop odors from developing. While many people recommend vacuuming once a week, I often advise pet owners to vacuum every 3-5 days. This keeps hair under control and prevents it from becoming ground into carpet fibers.
On a side note, if you suffer from allergies – or just don’t enjoy that “musty” smell after vacuuming – consider buying a vacuum with a HEPA filter. These filters are much more effective at preventing dust and pet dander from escaping into the air.
4. Brush your cat frequently
Brushing your cat frequently – as often as once a day – can make a big difference to the amount of hair in your home. Daily brushing removes dead hair and dander that would otherwise end up on your sofas or carpets.
5. Get a vacuum with a turbo brush
Most modern vacuums have strong suction power and can remove plenty of pet hair – especially those with a motorized brush bar. The problem is that standard hose attachments don’t have a brush bar or a way to agitate fabric fiber. This can make removing hair from sofas, curtains and stairs much more difficult. The best solution is to buy a vacuum with a powered turbo brush. These attachments have a miniature motorized brush for digging deeper into fibers and removing more hair. If your cat loves to spread hair over your bed or sofas, a turbo brush is an essential purchase.
6. Don’t forget to dust
Vacuuming gets rid of hair and dirt on floors and stairs. It doesn’t remove dust that’s built up on lampshades, baseboards and other areas of the house, though. For this reason, make sure you remember to dust as often as you vacuum. Cleaning “little and often” is more effective.
You should also wipe down kitchen counters with hot soapy water or a pet-friendly cleaning solution before cooking. This is, of course, a good practice in general, but you also never know when your cat may have stepped in the litter box before touching a surface you use for food preparation.
7. Replace Carpets with Hard Floors or Rugs
This tip might sound extreme, but carpets are magnets for dirt and hair. Carpets also absorb odors and are expensive to deep clean. Replacing carpets with hard floors is a great way to reduce the time you spend cleaning. Many vacuum cleaners find it easier to remove hair from hard wood or laminate.
I also recommend this tip for people who suffer from allergies. Dander and other allergens get caught in carpets and released when people (or cats) walk on them. Removing carpets eliminates this source of dander.
James Hall is a father, writer and cleaning expert from the UK. He grew up in a cat-loving household and has helped many cat parents clean their homes faster and more efficiently.