10 Low Cost Ways to Clean Up After Your Dog

by Heather Marcoux

Part of living with a dog is learning to accept that along with walks, games of fetch, and cuddles, comes cleaning. A lot of cleaning. More cleaning than your pre-dog self could possibly imagine. Let’s take a look at ten common dog messes we humans need to know how to deal with.

1. Unleashed Urine

It’s likely the first canine-created mess any new dog owner encounters, and if it’s not cleaned correctly, the stain (and the stink) of puppy pee on carpet may outlive your dog. Soak up as much urine as possible — as quickly as possible. That’s the first step to making sure an early accident doesn’t live on long after your dog is housetrained. After a spot test on an inconspicuous area, spray the stain with a fifty-fifty mixture of water and white vinegar, then scrub with a mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and plain old dish soap.

2. Pungent Poops

When a dog’s bowels betray him indoors, it seems to always happen on the rug — even if an easy-to-clean tile floor is mere feet away. To get that smell out of your carpet, use the same cleaning solution outlined above, but with a bit of extra elbow grease.

3. Nose Marks on the Windows

Whether they’re protecting us from the mailman or just enjoying the view, many dogs love to spend an afternoon looking out the window, leaving smudges and smears all over the glass. Luckily, the dish soap used to clean up the carpet can also be used to keep glass clear. Just add a couple of drops of dish soap to a spray bottle containing a fifty-fifty mix of water and white vinegar. Then add one squirt of dishwasher rinse aid (such as Jet Dry) to the bottle before washing your window. The spray won’t stop your dog from poking his nose in the mailman’s business, but it will stop nose prints from sticking.

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4. Muddy Paw Prints

Dirty paw prints on the kitchen floor can be wiped away in seconds, but getting them off the couch takes some patience. The trick to dealing with muddy upholstery is letting dirt dry completely before attempting any cleaning.  This way most of the mess can simply be sucked up with a vacuum.

5. A Post-Dog Bathtub

To prevent muddy paw prints entirely, a bath may be in order, but that means you won’t just be cleaning the dog, but the bathtub as well. Sanitizing a tub full of dog dirt takes something a little stronger than dish soap  — you’ll need bleach. Make sure your freshly bathed pooch is out of the room (and away from the fumes) before filling the tub with the hottest possible water and adding a cup of bleach. Wait for the water to cool before draining your (now sanitized) tub. Your bathroom will smell like a pool for a while, but at least it won’t smell like wet dog.

6. Dirty Dishes 

Bleach is also useful for sanitizing your dog’s water and food bowls, which can harbor all sorts of bacteria if not cleaned regularly. After washing with soap and water, fill the bowls with water and add a teaspoon of bleach. Remember to rinse well before serving up supper.

7. Garbage Spills

Imagine you walk into the kitchen to find coffee grinds and last night’s take-out all over the floor. Step one to tackling this disgusting display of dog disobedience is getting all the large pieces of trash back into the bag. Step two is filling a bucket with hot water and (you guessed it) dish soap to wipe up all the splatters of hot sauce and various garbage juices. Step three is buying a pet-proof garbage can.

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8. Tossed Cookies

If a garbage can buffet leads to an upset dog stomach, grab some club soda and a plastic spoon. Scoop up any solids before you clean the spot thoroughly using the same recipe recommended for messes from the other end.  Then rinse the area with a generous dose of club soda — and then water. If you don’t find the vomit when it’s fresh, a commercial carpet stain remover may be required.

9.  Doggy Drool

Fans of Mastiffs, Basset Hounds, and Bulldogs are used to seeing drool on the car door, the couch cushions, the walls — even on the duvet cover. Thankfully, a mixture of warm water and white vinegar will clear canine saliva from hard surfaces. The same mixture will also remove odor from fabrics and upholstery as a pre-treatment or a spray.

10. Hair, Everywhere

Invest in a good vacuum and plenty of lint rollers. Accept that this one is a losing battle.