From keeping your couch clean to getting rid of pesky odors, learning these eight awesome cleaning hacks makes for an easier time as a pet owner.

By Kait Hanson
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It's no secret that pets bring unconditional love and joy into our lives. They also bring some clean-house conundrums that can leave even the most seasoned pet parents scratching their heads.

Learn from the experts, from pet owners to dog rescuers, how to keep things clean:

1. Sheets To The Rescue

Many pets pick a favorite spot in the house and it's typically not directly on the floor. Instead of constantly having to clean a couch or carpet, consider putting an old sheet down in your pet's go-to area that can easily be picked up and washed.

"I keep a plethora of old bed sheets," says Rhonda Pollard, a dog owner of three. "Two of our dogs sleep on our bed, so I use an old top sheet to cover our entire bed, and I use twin size sheets that I find for cheap at garage sales to cover the dog beds. I change them out every couple days."

2. Scratch-Free Doors

Anxious or excited animals may claw at the door or door frame, leaving the area looking dismal. Installing a piece of plexiglass on the lower half of a door can prevent this behavior altogether (some animals don't like the feeling on their paws), and spare your home in the process.

For doors and frames that are already scratched, consider mixing ¾ cup olive oil and ¼ cup vinegar and gently rubbing it into the scratches for a quick repair.

3. So Fresh & So Clean

Baking soda is known to quickly squash odors, so keeping a box (or two) on hand is a smart move for pet owners. Not only does it neutralize most odors, it can be used directly on affected areas to eliminate sunk-in smells.

Kristie Liggin Wilder, executive director of Georgia-based dog rescue, iWag, has seen her fair share of messes. She suggests two professional cleaning hacks that eliminate major messes:

"Line a commercial dustpan that has a handle with a kitchen trash bag. Using a poop scoop scraper, [you can] collect and bag waste easily and everything stays clean," says Wilder. "Additionally, if there are hardened fecal remnants on a surface, make a steaming hot, still wet, towel and lay it over the mess. Walk away and come back 5-10 minutes later and wipe it away."

4. Remove Hair Quickly

Looking to remove the hair from an upholstered couch, chair, or car seat quickly? Pop on a pair of rubber gloves, run your hands briefly under water to dampen the gloves, then swipe across the upholstery. The wet gloves attract the hair, causing it to stick, and hair-covered gloves can easily be rinsed in the sink as needed.

5. Prevent Ants In Food

Many pet owners complain of ants in dog food when the summer months roll around. Prevent an ant-infiltration by putting your pet's food in a baking sheet of water. The water will eliminate ants marching through Fido's food and the water is a harmless barrier for your pet. Just make sure to change it daily!

6. Toy Joy

Don't forget that pet toys need a good bath every once in awhile, too. Wash hard, plastic toys on the top shelf of a dishwasher for an easy cleanse and sanitize plush toys in a standard washing machine.

7. No More Stinky Litter Trays

Detest cleaning out the kitty litter box? Line the tray with a plastic bag before adding in fresh litter. Doing this prevents the tray from getting sticky and makes for easy litter changes.

8. Homemade Cleaners

Not all store-bought cleaners are pet-safe (avoid products with ammonia, bleach, and phenol), so make sure what you use to sanitize is not only safe, but effective. Natural cleaning ingredients like baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon juice have been proven effective.

"I wash with Charlie's Soap laundry powder and a scoop of Borax, which can naturally kill any potential adult fleas, flea larvae, and most importantly — the flea eggs, by absorbing the moisture from the body," says Pollard. "I [also] splurged and bought a Bissell steam mop to steam clean the wood floors, kitchen, and bathroom floors. No harsh chemicals needed and it's safe for me and the pups!"

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