Earth Friendly Ways to Clean Up After Your Pet

My family and I absolutely love our dog Molly, of course, but sometimes it can seem like cleaning her, her possessions and her messes is a full time job. Since it doesn’t look like she’ll be learning to do her own laundry or put her own dishes in the sink any time soon, I’ve come up with a few easy tricks to stay on top of her chores. It takes barely any extra effort at all to be a little friendlier to the earth in the process.

  1. Molly has a favorite blanket, one that we’ve long surrendered to her and all of her fur. Even though I wash it regularly with the rest of the laundry, it can hang onto that dog odor without some extra attention. About every other month, I skip the normal wash cycle and instead wash it in hot water with a cup of vinegar and no detergent. After that cycle, I wash it again with hot water and a ½ cup of baking soda and then dry it thoroughly. It refreshes the blanket without having to use any harsh chemicals. This trick works to refresh your towels, too, so load up the washer before running the loads to make the most of your water use.
     
  2. A clean dish is a happy dish.
    A clean dish is a happy dish.
    Don’t forget to wash your pet’s dishes! Because they typically sit on the floor in a corner, it can be hard to remember to regularly wash them, but it’s just as important for Fido’s dishes to be clean as it is for yours. To save time, I always buy pet bowls that are dishwasher safe, but if you don’t have a dishwasher, just make sure you give their bowls as much scrubbing attention as the rest of the dishes. I use the same eco-friendly dish soap on Molly’s dishes that I do on our own.
     
  3. Also clean your pet’s food container! Molly would happily tear through a bag of food and eat most of the contents (and probably part of the bag!) at the first opportunity, so we keep her food it a plastic storage bin in the bottom of the pantry. Before refilling it, I always give it a good scrub with hot water and dish detergent, usually employing the handheld showerhead and the bathtub to get the job done quickly without wasting water.
     
  4. The wet/dry brush is like a little doggie massage, perfect for keeping fidgety pooches happy.
    The wet/dry brush is like a little doggie massage, perfect for keeping fidgety pooches happy.
    Speaking of handheld showers, I recently tried the Pet Shower Bundle from Kleen Freak, and I’ll never go back to just using any old shower to bathe Molly again. After easily installing the handheld shower, Molly’s regular baths are a snap. She sheds a lot, and the plastic drain guard and wet/dry brush have helped me cut down on the amount of stray fur floating through my house. The pause button on the showerhead means I can easily stop the water flow when I’m brushing, shampooing, or feeding her lots of treats to keep her happy in the tub, saving water and energy.
     
  5. Of course, there’s also the messes your pet regularly makes outside (but hopefully not too regularly inside) the house. I’ve already written about how I use baking soda and vinegar to clean up accidents inside, but I also like to be earth friendly when we’re out and about on our walks. It’s important to pick up after your pet, but if your dog is anything like Molly, that can mean using a ton of plastic bags. I always recycle my plastic grocery bags, and I hated throwing away so many poop bags every week. I shopped around and found several biodegradable options, some even scented, alleviating the guilt of throwing away all that plastic.

Do you Clean Geeks have any tips of your own? How do you clean up after your dogs or cats?