Pets at Home
Dealing with fur, hair, claws, slobber and mess are all part and parcel of owning a pet – but sharing the same space doesn't always have to mean sacrificing style and design. By choosing the right furnishings and materials it is possible to create an 'easy-care' home for you and your four legged friends.
To keep on top of the fur balls - sweep, dust, vacuum and mop floors regularly.
Ceramic tiles are an excellent choice of flooring if you have pets. Generally non-porous, they come in a wide range of colours and styles to suit most budgets. Easily maintained, once laid, most ceramic tiles need only a sweep or vacuum as well as a regular rinse with a mop and hot soapy water to keep them sparkling.
Polished timber is also a beautiful, as well as practical flooring option. To keep it looking it's best however, it will need regular on-going maintenance like polishing and waxing. If you have a large dog, it's worth looking out for harder timber varieties such as Spotted Gum or Ironbark as big dogs can scratch softer timbers.
For carpeted floors, a window squeegee on a long handle is ideal to 'rake' over carpet prior to vacuuming to remove clumps of hair and fur.
And if 'accidents' should happen, never allow urine, vomit or faeces to dry in the carpet. Quickly remove any solids and soak up as much moisture as possible by blotting with paper towels. Then spot clean according to the carpet manufacturer's directions.
walls and woodwork
Choose paint finishes which can be cleaned easily. Avoid flat, matt, suede, stone or even rust effects as they all mark easily and can be difficult, if not impossible, to keep looking fresh, clean and free from pet hair and dirt.
To remove hair and fur balls from a sofa prior to vacuuming, a good tip is to wear rubber washing up or gardening gloves and rigorously wipe over the fabric. The rubber nubs and textures in the palms of the gloves will help to gather up the hair.
Alternatively, use wide packing tape looped around your fingers with the sticky side out. This will help remove cat hair especially, as will a lightly damp sponge.
When on the hunt for a new sofa or seat fabrics look out for ones which are abrasion and stain resistant, as well being easy-care and have the ability to hide dirt. Great fabrics to consider are Macro Suede or Macro Soft, which have a little more texture. These popular fabrics are commonly available in a wide range of colours and made from a modern polyester material which appears to resemble real suede without the fuss. These fabrics can be easily spot-cleaned as well as dry-cleaned and are a real breakthrough if you're looking for something robust enough to handle children and pets without compromising on style.
When choosing other fabric types, it's best to avoid heavily textured synthetics which are often difficult to vacuum free of hair and fur, instead opt for light textures such as simple weaves in colours or patterns which may help to disguise dirt, fur, hair and wear.
Also consider having new upholstery treated with a fabric protector and make a point to vacuum your chairs regularly using the upholstery attachments of your cleaner. Remove all cushions and clean well underneath and into any crevices removing all fur and debris as this can accumulate in the fibres of the fabric causing longterm damage.
Leather is also a good furniture option for homes with pets. Not only is it now more affordable than ever but is also able to be wiped down and is reasonably durable. Be warned however, it can be scratched and scuffed quite badly by dog and cat claws, so it's probably not ideal if you like the 'pristine' look and your pet decides the sofa is a far more comfortable option then his own bed!
When pets and children are around avoid synthetic air fresheners and harsh cleaning chemicals. Instead shop for natural alternatives which are just as effective, low allergy, affordable and planet friendly too.
Another way to clear a home of stale odours is to simply open a door or window on opposite sides of the room to create a good cross-breeze. Try to do this each day or as often as you can.
For your pet's bed, use washable wicker or plastic baskets instead of quilted or velour varieties and use easily washable bedding.
Regular grooming is also essential to keeping your home as hair, odour and fur free as possible. Treat your pet to a daily brush and towel down, and wash them at least once per month. It also pays to be vigilant against fleas as infestations can quickly occur in carpets and soft furnishings.
And remember, by entertaining and exercising your pets often, they're less likely to become bored and start tearing up your home instead!