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A Pet Parent's Guide to Spring Cleaning

The sun is shining, the weather is warmer, and it's time for a fresh start to the year... SPRING CLEANING!

Pet's bring their own challenges when cleaning, but ensuring you deep clean every year is important. It can be a lot to remember and most of us would rather put it off. Choosing 1 or 2 areas per session will not only keep you on track, but keep the task more manageable. We have a guide just for you to help you along and to ensure you don't miss a thing. Get those windows open, put on your best tunes and get started!

Pet Hair- Concentrated areas will need a little TLC, even if you hoover these on a regular basis. Pet hair can be really stubborn to get up but we have a few tricks to help. Use a rubber glove to sweep over the area. The hair will grip to this and make it a much easier task. For a step up, wet the glove slightly. Clean the glove when it's full of hair to keep it effective. After you have picked up a majority of the hair, you can now go over this with your hoover. If you have a pet hair attachment, apply this for better results. If you have hard flooring, try using a microfiber cloth or microfiber mop attachment. The fur will cling to this and make the job simple and help catch any strays. Reserve the lint roller for clothing.

Pet Smells- We bathe our pets to keep them fresh, but sometimes odours can still linger in carpets and upholstered furniture. You can buy carpet and furniture fresheners to tackle pet odours, but you can also make some at home yourself. Plain baking soda is safe for humans and pets and makes a fantastic natural deodorizer. If you wish, you can also add in a few drops of pet safe essential oil. Sprinkle over the spot and rub into the fibres. Leave on the area for as long as you can (the longer the better). Once you are finished, simply hoover up the baking soda. You may also add an air purifier after if needed to keep the air fresher for longer.

Pet Linens and Accessories- Pet linens can harbor all sorts of smells and stains. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to pop those beds into the washing machine or give them a good scrub by hand. Collars, leads, harnesses, and pet clothing can be washed by hand by simply soaking them in a bowl of hot soapy water for 30-45 minutes. Gently scrub really soiled spots. Once clean, rinse with clean water and wring them out. Lay them out to dry completely. Always consult manufacturer cleaning instructions if they are provided.

Litter Boxes- Every day we clean out these on the surface, but when was the last time your litter box had a good scrub? Start by emptying out the entire contents of the box. Create a cleaning mixture of either hot soapy water, or 50/50 water and white vinegar. Soak the litter box, lid and scooper for 30-45 minutes. Once finished lay out on a towel to completely dry before refilling. Your cat will thank you!

Toys- No matter what species, your pet's toys will need extra cleaning from time to time to remove dirt and bacteria. The type of toy will determine the best way to clean them. Always consult manufacturer cleaning instructions if they are provided. Soft and plush toys can typically be put in the washing machine on a delicate wash and dry cycle. Other toys that are more durable (such as Kongs) can be put through the dishwasher on the top rack. Alternatively you can soak them in hot soapy water and scrub them with a brush. Ensure you rinse them thoroughly to remove all of the soap before giving them back to your pet.

Cages/Vivariums- Like beds for a cat or dog, cages and vivariums will need some extra special care to ensure your pet is happy and healthy. Depending on the species, a total clean schedule will need to be determined. Start by taking out our pet and putting them into a secure, temporary accommodation. Then, remove all fixtures and fittings from the enclosure such as food bowls, hides, tubes, water bottles, hay racks, and toys. Clean these in warm soapy water. For cloth accessories, toss them in the washing machine on a delicate cycle. After this has been done, take out all bedding/substrate. Clean the entire cage with a pet safe or specie specific cage cleaning product. Allow the enclosure to air dry before replacing the bedding/substrate as well as the the fixtures and fittings.

Aquariums- Your aquarium should be deep cleaned every 6 months to keep your pets healthy. This task takes a lot of time and effort so you may want to reserve a few hours for this. Start by unplugging any electric items such as a filter, heater, or lights. Once the electrics are off, remove any decoration pie, you can start cleaning the inside glass with a clean cloth. After the inside of the glass is clean, you can start to do a water change. Remove 25% of your tank's water using a gravel siphon. Make sure you have a bucket handy to catch the water to chuck away in your bath or shower. The siphon will remove dirt and other unwanted particles in the gravel and dirt sitting at the bottom of the aquarium. Once you have finished siphoning, you can move on to cleaning the decor and artificial plants. Do this in the sink using just water (or an aquarium safe disinfectant) and a brush. You can also use this time to rinse any filters and replace them. Once clean, return the decor and artificial plants to the tank. Using the bucket you emptied with the siphoned water, fill it back up with clean, fresh water. Ensure the water temperature matches the water left in your tank. Use a thermometer to do this. Changes in temperature will cause fish to go into shock and possibly kill them. Once the temperature matches, put the water into the tank. You can now add any supplements you need for your species such as salts or a conditioner. Stir these thoroughly. You are now ready to refill your pump (if you have one) and turn the electrics back on. To ensure minimal stress on your fish, keep the lights out for a few hours to allow them to settle.

Inventory- Spring cleaning is the perfect time to look at what you have and get rid of things that you will not need. Check the condition and dates of toys, bowls, accessories and food to see if they are damaged, expired, or unable to be repaired. If they are still able to be used and you want to donate them, there are plenty of shelters that would appreciate the donation. Just make sure you give them a good clean before you donate them.

Garden clean up- Your garden has lots of things to look at in your spring cleaning ritual. Poop is never a friendly sight in the garden. Especially if you accidently step in it! Take this opportunity to clean up any waste that you may have left in the garden. If doing this by hand is not what you have in mind, you may want to invest in a pooper scooper to help you in this task. While you are scooping, it is also a good idea to look out for any other issues lurking about. Ensure that if you have been gardening to put away any pesticides or fertilizers to keep them out of your pet's reach. Check fences for holes or openings your pet could slip through. Remove any toxic plants that may have sprouted. Now your garden is fresh and ready to go for you and your pet!

Car- Keeping a car clean without pets can be difficult, but with pets can be even more of a challenge. Pet hair and stains can be tough to clean, but don't push them off! You can always pay a valet company to do this, but you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself. Just like your indoor fabrics, you can use a rubber glove to remove hairs along with a hand attachment on your hoover. For stains, you can use your baking soda mixture. Having seat covers where your dog sits can greatly help keep hair off your seats so that cleaning is a little easier next time. For the final touch, add an air freshener or car diffuser to keep things fresh!

Remember: you don't have to tackle all of these tasks at once. Break them up if it is getting to be a bit too much. Once you are all done, you will feel so much better! Your pet will really appreciate it too.

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