Aah, home sweet home! Where Biggles and all the other poochie-poodles eat, play and love. Where your favourite cup awaits the next brew of coffee. Where – wait, what’s that awful smell?!

Over here, closer… oh, Biggles must have rolled in something rotten and smeared some of it across the pleather couch. That’s life with pets – they’re hilarious, adorable, and often rather dirty. You might have become accustomed to the smell, and only noticed visitors wrinkling their noses on entry.

If you’d like a few tips on how to keep your home smelling fresh as a daisy while living with Petal and the gang, we’ve got this. With a bit of elbow grease, you’ll have a clean, sweet-smelling, pet-filled home in six easy steps.

Here’s something to get you started:



Six ways to keep your pet-filled home clean and fresh


The best way to keep your home clean while living with and loving pets is to stop the dirt at the door. Of course, this isn’t always possible, and not everybody has a cleaning station for dogs outside, and as the mess and dirt sneak in, it accumulates. Here are six ways to hold sway against a dirty, smelly house filled with wonderful, active pets.


  1. Clean pet sleeping/living areas regularly. Sleeping spots may develop a pong over time. Clean tiled or wooden floors often, wash the dog blankets and cushion covers frequently, wipe surfaces with a non-toxic pet-friendly cleaning agent daily, sweep dust away (it can carry tick and flea eggs which can lead to worms) every day. If you can’t wash the pet beds, sprinkle baking soda while pets are not present, let it sit a bit, and then vacuum or sweep it away. Baking soda sachets are also useful for absorbing odours in other parts of the house. Just make sure kids and pets don’t mistake them for treats!
  2. Wash the toys, too. We love toys. Pets love toys. Toys love germs and holding on to saliva and whatever was on Biggles paws from the park, too. Wash the ones you can with piping hot water to sterilise them; the ones that you can’t (because they’ll melt or get water damaged), wipe down with a well-squeezed cloth using pet-friendly cleaning agent. Cleanliness is next to dogliness, after all! When everything’s clean, here are a few other purr-fect toys for pussy cats we found online. 
  3. Remove waste from the litter tray or lawn often. You might be used to it, but faeces and urine smell, and the odour lingers. Scoop poop at least once a day or more often if multiple pets are defecating in the same area. We investigated best practises for litter trays here. If kitty is urinating in odd places, this might help.  
  4. Pet-proof the couches. If yours is fabric or upholstery, it might absorb bad odours, body oils etc and become quite manky. A washable throw is an affordable hack but remember to remove it for regular cleaning. An added benefit is that it will also help protect the sofa against those naughty claws. If you’re buying a new couch, consider getting one covered in vinyl or other synthetic fabric that cleans easily – even one from hardy leather, or other more pet-appropriate materials.
  5. Don’t forget the crumbs. When you’re busy gobbling away, it’s easy to overlook nooks and crannies where you may have dropped a few crumbs, or bits and pieces of your food. Lift the couch and gaze at the floor. See that old bone lying there? That’s the strange smell you’ve been blaming on the new pot plant, isn’t it? Check behind the large standing lamp. Behold, pup’s first poop, almost petrified it’s so old, but still strangely stinky. Besides “eau de gross”, remnants of meals or other forgotten organic matter can attract ants, cockroaches, mice, and other creatures who might like to nibble leftover crumbs of kibble (or poop. It’s organic, after all). It’s also smart to check your pets’ favourite hiding places for stashed food that might attract rodents and uninvited bonus “pets”, too.
  6. Don’t let messes sit, soak or stain. The sooner you clean an accident, the better. Vomit and diarrhoea contain strong stomach acids which can stain, and the mess can become difficult to remove completely once it’s dry. Urine, despite being generally sterile (unless kitty is on meds, or sick) has a remarkably overpowering and unpleasant smell when it goes stale, even if your cats are spayed or neutered. If you have carpets, it’s a clever idea to wet shampoo them often using a good vacuum cleaner. You can also use vinegar as a natural deodoriser.

But what about the wear and tear that pets might have on furniture and interiors? We went hunting for ways to protect your home from scratches, bangs, and bites here. And what if you’re worried about your wheels now? Here’s how to protect your car from pet paws, claws, and jaws. Also, if you’re inspired by these tips, here are a few more to turn you into Pet Parent of the Year, at least, according to the furry, feathered friends you live with, that is.

Let us know your #dotsureHomefreshHacks by posting a pic on Instagram with this hashtag and tagging us in it using @dotsurepetsa (works for public-facing insta accounts only).