How to Keep a Clean House With Dogs

I love my dogs. I’m #crazydoglady to the ump-teenth degree over here and not ashamed.

Want to just indulge me for a second?  I mean, come on, look at how cute they are?


A post shared by Austin & Zoe (@austinandzoe) on

A post shared by Austin & Zoe (@austinandzoe) on

A post shared by Austin & Zoe (@austinandzoe) on

*everyone “oohs” and “ahhs” at how cute they are*

That being said…sometimes living with dogs is hard. They shed, they roll in the dirt (and occasionally poo, like…why?!), and sometimes they have that not so pleasant dog smell. These are all things you learn to deal with when you have dogs. You learn to lint roll the heck out of your clothes before leaving the house and turn nose blind to their doggy smells. But, there are definitely things you can do making keeping a clean house with dogs easier.

How to Keep A Clean House With Dogs | House Cleaning Hacks for Pets

I’ve had Austin for over 11 years (OMG WHERE DOES THE TIME GO) and Zoe about 10 years. In this time, I’ve learned some simple tricks for keeping the house clean with my fur babies that doesn’t require too much extra work.

I love my dogs...but sometimes they smell. This is how I keep my house clean with dogs. Click To Tweet

I like having a tidy home, but I’m no clean freak by any means. As long as it’s tidy and smells clean, I’m pretty happy. These tips won’t take you all the time in the world to manage but will keep your house looking cleaner, smelling cleaner, and overall easier maintain.

Dog Cleaning Hacks | Prevent the mess before it happens

Prevent the Mess Before it Happens

Prevention is the key, isn’t that what they say? I have a little setup by the back door that my dog’s use to go in and out. First is a rough doormat that helps to catch the dirt and grime on their paws when they come in. But, I also keep an old towel hanging by the back door too. When it’s rainy or muddy, I can give my dogs a quick wipe of their paws before letting them in the house, preventing any extra dirt from making its way in.

If they have gotten extra messy, (Austin, my little dog, is so close to the ground he’s always messy) then grab some dog bath wipes to keep around. These are like baby wipes for your pup and you can use them to wipe the dogs off in a pinch.

How to have a clean house with dogs | use a good vacuum

Invest in a proper vacuum

If you have dogs and you’re using a bad vacuum I feel your pain. Michael and I went through maybe 2 or 3 inferior vacuums before finally investing. The problem is, dog hair just isn’t a match for most vacuums. You need something that’s able to handle it, otherwise, you’ll be replacing it every 2 years. We bought ourselves a Dyson (similar to this one) about 8 years ago and it still works like a champ.

Tip: When it comes to vacuuming up dog hair from bare floors I tend to find that the handheld piece of the vacuum works better than the bare floor setting on my vacuum. Vacuums blow a lot of air out as they work, which will just blow the hair. This makes it hard to get it all. I like to go around with the handheld piece first to get up the hair.  Then I go in with the bare floor setting to get any dirt I missed.

how to have a clean house with dogs

Deep Clean Rugs and Upholstery

Fabrics hold on to that “dog” smell more than anything else in your house. Giving your rugs and upholstery a good deep cleaning can help to deodorize the entire space.

Fabrics hold on to smells more than anything. Give them a deep cleaning to deodorize your entire house. Click To Tweet

I take my small throw rugs outside and shake them out once a week. I let them lay out for an hour or two to get the fresh air. For those rugs that are machine washable, I pop them into the washing machine once a month or so. If the rug isn’t washing machine safe, then I’ll spritz it with some fabric cleaner and then spray it down with the hose and let it dry outside.

For larger rugs and upholstery that you can’t wash as easily, I love the Arm & Hammer, OxiClean Carpet Vacuum Booster. You sprinkle this down on your rug and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Then just vacuum it up. It helps to lift up dirt as well as deodorize. I’ve even found I can use it on my microfiber upholstery and it helps to eliminate that dog smell there too! I’d just make sure you test it on your furniture in a small spot before doing the entire piece.

Also, check if your upholstery can be machine washed. Often furniture has covers or pieces that are safe to go in the washing machine. If so, occasionally washing them will deep clean any odors away.

Dog Cleaning Hacks | Have a clean house with dogs

Clean dog, Clean House

One of the best ways to keep a clean house with dogs is to keep a clean dog. I notice a HUGE difference when I take the time to brush my dogs once a week (especially Zoe, my shedder.) Brushing pulls out the dead undercoat of her fur that will eventually make its way all over my floors. Not to mention, the undercoat is usually the fur that’s holding on to that dog smell, so it’s freshening her entire coat. After brushing, I follow up with a deodorizing spray to refresh her coat and make her smell nice.

The next thing I always do is clean her ears. I do this 1-2x a month. This is sort of gross, but the gunk in your dog’s ears actually smells…really bad. By keeping their ears clean you can keep them smelling A LOT better. I use this ear cleaner. Zoe lets me clean her ears, even though she hates it. Austin won’t let me clean them so I always make sure to ask the vet to do it each time we visit.

Keep Your House Clean With Dogs

Clean up Messes right away

If your dog has an accident in the house (or thought it’d be cool to eat part of your sandwich and just threw it up all over the floor), get to the mess right away. The longer it sits, the harder it’ll be to get the stain and smell out.

Start by getting up the liquid. Blot up as much as you can, avoiding scrubbing as that will push the stain deeper. Next, use a rug cleaner – I like this OxiClean one because it literally gets up everything. I follow the directions on the back to get up the rest of the stain. After that’s completely dry, I finish it with a little Nature’s Miracle. This stuff is amazing. It can get out odors and smells that you can’t see/smell but your dog can still smell. If your dog (or another dog) smells that “marked spot” later, they may try to pee on it again to mark their territory. Nature’s Miracle will get out any of that leftover smell.

how to keep furniture clean with dogs

Shop for furniture appropriately

If you’re in the place where you’re buying new furniture, always think about your pets when shopping. There are lots of upholsteries that help to repel pet fur. And, many are tough enough to not get worn down by animals walking or sitting on them frequently.

Synthetic Fiber, like Ultrasuede or Microfiber, is one of the best pet-proof fabrics you can get. While it’s maybe not the chicest fabric, you can find awesome styles nowadays with these fabrics. Not to mention, it’s easy to dress up a couch with throw pillows and rugs. Plus, it doesn’t matter how cute your couch is if the dog is going to muck it up in 6 months.

Check out some of these amazing microfiber sofas

clean house with dogs

Give them their own bed

Giving your dog their own spot to snooze means they’re less likely to do it on your furniture. Zoe has her own bed, and Austin has a crate (he was crate trained as a puppy so he LOVES his crate.) They both have their own spot both in the living area and in the bedroom. These means they have their own spot to sleep and aren’t on our bed or sofas.

Keeping your house clean with dogs

Wipe it all down

Dog hair gets in the most unbelievable spots. Because of this, when I am cleaning I make sure to wipe down spots that usually would only need to get dusted monthly. I’ll wipe the tops of picture frames (how dog hair gets up here I do not know), my baseboard and radiators, and the tops of lamps and other surfaces. I like using Method cleaner since it’s plant-based and a safer alternative.

Watch it: Clean With Me: How to Have a Clean House With Dogs

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I'm Kallie!

Also known as That Practical Mom

I’m all about helping you simplify the chaos of life so you can slow down and enjoy it.

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