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What Pet Owners Need to Clean and Protect Their Furnishings, According to Experts

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If you’ve ever had a cat who likes to turn your couch into a scratching post, or a puppy who pees on the floor (or your expensive shag rug) anytime they get excited, you know that keeping your home clean when you share it with animals is an ongoing struggle. And for those who are working from home, shedding and other pet messes are much harder to put off dealing with. But that doesn’t mean you need to gate off your living room to keep it tidy.

The first step to maintaining a well-kept home when you share it with a pet is to keep your actual pet clean, according to the experts we spoke with. Regular brushing reduces shedding, and wiping down dogs as soon as they return from a walk prevents them from dragging dirt inside. The second step is choosing vacuums, tools, and cleaning products specifically designed to tackle pet messes. You may also want to cover certain upholstery with machine-washable blankets. Below, we’ve listed the best equipment and cleaners for dog and cat owners, according to our experts — all of whom also stress that proper training will go a long way toward preventing pets’ destructive behaviors. To help you find the products you need, we separated the recommendations into the sections listed below. If you know the type of product you’re looking for, you can click on a link to jump to that section.

Products for cleaning pets post-walk | Brushes to reduce shedding | Products to prevent scratching | Products to prevent chewing | Protective coverings for furniture | Tools for removing hair from furniture | Pet-friendly furniture cleaning products | Vacuum cleaners

Best products for cleaning pets post-walk

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All dogs need exercise, and whether it’s raining or sunny outside, they can return dragging dirt, mud, or other outdoor grime indoors. (Ditto for any cats allowed out of the house.) That filth can quickly soil your carpet, furniture, or car, which is why Samantha Schwab, a pet expert with Chewy, advises putting a mat outside your door, where you can a pooch off before it sets foot in the house. For even less mess, she recommends a machine-washable and “ultra-absorbent, shammy dog mat.” This one comes in six sizes and doubles as a towel so you can wipe down your pet no matter how big it is.

Nicole Ellis, a dog-training and product expert with Rover, uses these wipes to give dogs an even deeper scrub after they return from walks. “They are very safe for your pet’s feet, as well as their muzzle, ears, and other body parts.” The wipes are also antimicrobial, so your pup won’t bring in any germs.

Schwab also likes using disposable wipes to clean dogs after an outdoor adventure. “Cleaning your pet’s paws with wipes allows you to get into the nooks and crannies,” she says. These plant-based wipes have vitamin E and aloe vera, which will help condition skin.