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How to Clean Your Pet’s Place

Steps you should be taking to thoroughly clean the areas of your home where pets hang out

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 39 percent of all U.S. households own at least one dog. In fact, 28 percent of owners have two dogs and 12 percent own three or more dogs. When it comes to cats, 33 percent of U.S. households own at least one cat and 52 percent own more than one cat. And if we include mice, snakes, lizards, gerbils, hamsters, spiders, birds and fish in the list of animals owned by Americans, it’s safe to say that most of us own at least one pet.  And as part of the family, most pets contribute to messes in the home. So how can we take care of our feathered and furred friends and keep our homes healthy and happy? Here are a few ideas from the professionals at My Cleaning Lady:


Make sure Rover has a fresh place to lay his head that’s outside of your own bed. Animal dander attracts dust mites. And, as we discussed in a recent My Cleaning Lady blog post, these microscopic insects are gross and should be avoided at all costs.

  • Take it outside and shake it out.
  • Wash it by itself.
  • Don’t add anything else to the load.
  • Use the highest water-level and temperature setting. Don’t worry about shrinking the bed. If it won’t make it through a wash load, you should toss it and buy something that is machine washable.
  • Use a second rinse.
  • Don’t use fabric softener.
  • Set the dryer to “fluff” or “air dry.”

Kennels and Cages

If your dog sleeps in a kennel or your hamster lives in a cage, follow these steps:

  • Your pet could develop health complications if you allow germs to grow unchecked in a plastic kennel or metal cage.
  • Remove bedding and dog toys from inside the kennel. See above tips for cleaning bedding.
  • Wipe out the kennel with a damp paper towel to eliminate dust and hair.
  • To eliminate germs and disease-causing organisms, scrub dog kennel using a bleach solution.
  • Using a hose, rinse the floor and walls.
  • Then, fill a bucket with warm, clean hot water mixed with one part bleach to 32 parts water. This solution should be strong enough to kill bacteria without irritating your dog’s eyes and airways.
  • Use a sponge or brush to apply the bleach solution, making sure you reach every nook and cranny of the kennel.
  • Let the solution rest for 30 minutes before rinsing.
  • Rinse inside and outside of kennel surfaces, using a clean towel to dry the floors. Your goal should be to remove most of the water but allow the remaining moisture to dry in the hot sun.
  • Disinfect rubber toys and food bowls before replacing in clean kennel.

Food Areas

Dog or cat food and water bowls need to be cleaned regularly. Follow these steps:

  • If the water bowl has hard-water buildup, heat household vinegar and pour into the bowl, where it will bubble away mineral deposits.
  • Rinse well.
  • For food bowls, clean the bowl between each use.
  • If there is a buildup of food, use a clean scrub brush.
  • Rinse well and dry.


  • Where your pet is concerned, quality is more important than quantity. So if any of his toys are dirty, throw them away.
  • If your dog or cat has a favorite toy that she doesn’t want to part with, clean it in your sink using a soft clean sponge and a mixture of bleach and water. Rinse carefully.

Litter Boxes

Since this is a blog about household cleaning and isn’t specifically about pets, we won’t go into great detail about the ins and outs of cleaning kitty litter boxes. Here is a website that provides detailed instructions for this nasty activity. But here are a few helpful hints for keeping your cat’s litter box neat and tidy.

  • Use a commercial kitty litter and remove waste at least once or twice each day. This is just good hygiene.
  • Change the litter at least once per week. When you empty the dirty litter into a plastic bag, wear a respirator so you won’t inhale escaping dust.
  • Wash the litter box inside and out with a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Scrub all surfaces and rinse well.

If your commitment to clean goes beyond the desire to keep pet areas clean, call the professionals at My Cleaning Lady,a domestic referral agency.  The house cleaners we refer offer complete home cleaning services including thorough dusting at reasonable prices. My Cleaning Lady Referral Agency proudly serves Arcadia, Chino, Chino Hills, Duarte, Ontario, Pomona, LaVerne, Covina, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Montclair, Claremont, Phillips Ranch, Upland, West Covina, Glendora, San Dimas, and Sierra Madre. Visit call (909) 593-6690 for information or to arrange a free estimate.