It’s no secret that pets bring a parade of perks into our lives. Whether you’re a dog or a cat owner, unconditional love and constant companionship are among the top benefits of pet ownership. That said, messy floors and hairballs are just a couple of the less-than-stellar byproducts that come with having a furry friend.
According to cleaning and organization expert Jill Koch of Jill Comes Clean, keeping your house tidy can be essential for you and your pet in more ways than one. “Too much clutter could create hidden dangers for pets in terms of things they get into or eat, and the clutter may keep us from noticing pet messes that need attention, such as if an animal has an accident or gets sick,” Koch tells Mental Floss. Not only that, but common pet messes—including shedding, dirty paw prints on floors, and spilled food or litter—can make our homes look and feel dirtier than they are.
It’s all the more reason to factor pets into this year’s spring cleaning routine. With that in mind, here are the best pet-safe cleaning products that experts say are great for tackling everything from shedding to set-in stains and more.
Best Pet Grooming Products
1. Best Brush for Long-Haired Pets: Chris Christensen Big K Dog Slicker Brush; $76
Dogs can shed their fur the same way that humans shed hair, but how much depends on multiple factors, including their breed. Certain breeds, like Siberian huskies, are prone to shedding because they have such thick undercoats, while others (like pugs) don’t have much fur to begin with, so there’s not as much to lose.
“There is no good way to prevent shedding, given it is related to the dog’s genetics,” Nicole Savageau, a veterinarian with The Vets, a mobile veterinary service, tells Mental Floss. But according to Savageau, you can manage it better by ”brushing your dog every day, especially dog breeds that have a thick undercoat, like huskies and collies.”
Robyn Smith, owner of Shaggy Chic Mobile Dog Grooming, a Massachusetts- and New Hampshire-based mobile grooming service, recommends Chris Christensen’s slicker brushes for deshedding long-haired dogs. “They are very expensive but worth it,” she says, noting that these premium brushes get through tangles and “pull the undercoat” without causing damage to a canine’s outer coat.
Buy it: Amazon
2. Best Brush for Pets with Medium-Length Coats: JASWELL 2-Sided Undercoat Rake Grooming Tool; From $7
When it comes to shedding, the time of year also plays a part. “Dogs usually shed more often in the spring and summer as seasons change and they grow their winter or summer coats,” Savageau says. While she notes that some pooches may lose fur all year round “just like humans shed hair all year long,” some breeds are more sensitive to extreme heat fluctuations than others, which means they’ll likely shed more during that time.
If you have a dog with a medium-length coat, such as an Australian shepherd or an Akita, then you may need to be on the lookout during the spring and summer seasons for excess shedding. According to Smith, a razor rake like this one from JASWELL works great on medium-length coats, as it “[pulls] the undercoat with minimum damage to the outer coat.” Plus, this two-sided comb is designed to get through matted fur and can even be good on cats with medium-length hair.
Buy it: Amazon
3. Best Brush for Smooth-Coated Pets: FURminator deShedding Tool; From $23
Thanks to their fur’s short length and flat texture, smooth-coated dogs (including beagles and Boston terriers) are generally seen as low maintenance compared to those with long- or medium-length coats. Even though their fur is less likely to get matted or tangled, smooth-coated pups do still need to be brushed regularly, as they shed often.
“For smooth-coated dogs, [the] FURminator is the best,” Smith says. “It pulls the fur off nicely and is easy to use.” Available in a range of sizes for short- and long-haired pets, this popular deshedding brush has a stainless steel edge that the brand claims helps remove loose hair from the undercoat, as well as a built-in button that helps release loose hair from the gadget for easier cleanups. Smith does have a word of caution, however: “Be sure not to overuse [it, otherwise] it will cut the dog’s coat,” she advises.
Buy it: Amazon
4. and 5. Best Pet Products for Baths: Bloom Towels Microfiber Towel; $40 and Aquapaw Pro 2-in-1 Sprayer and Scrubber Tool; $45
Brushing your pet regularly is one way to get a handle on shedding. According to Savageau, bathing dogs is another good tactic, as it helps remove loose fur. But before you plan your four-legged pal’s next dip in the tub, you may want to grab a few essentials. Koch claims that these microfiber towels are a must-have because they’re made with a tight weave, which helps make them “super-absorbent,” plus they’re oversized (so they work with dogs of all sizes) and feature cute, double-sided patterns.
While she hasn’t used one personally, Koch also recommends a sprayer and scrubber tool like this one from Aquapaw. You can use it to massage your pet and give them a good scrub, which should help get rid of some loose fur. Additionally, this silicone gadget allows you to control the flow of the water coming at your pet so you can help them feel more at ease, and it comes with adapters so you can use it in your shower or with a garden hose while you’re outside.
Best Vacuums and Hair Remover Tools for Pet Owners
6. Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Owners: Bissell 2254 CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum; $134
Regularly brushing and bathing your fluffy companion can help prevent their shedding hair from taking over the house, but sometimes their fur (and their dander) can still end up getting all over the place. Because nobody wants to spend their time picking dog or cat hair off their sofa (and ipso facto, their clothing), it helps to have a reliable vacuum around, especially one designed with pets in mind.
Tammy Messina, who works at the New England-based pet shop Paws Pet Boutique, swears by Bissell vacuums. “I have five dogs, including a 120-pound Great Pyrenees. You wouldn’t know that I have any dogs,” Messina says, and it’s all thanks to her Bissell. This bagless model in particular works on carpets and hard floors and has a built-in, triple-action brush roll that helps target pet hair. It also comes with specialized accessories like a corner tool (for hitting tough-to-reach areas) and a turbo eraser tool (which could be great for upholstered spots), and has a retractable cord. Best of all, Messina says she loves that each purchase goes to benefit the BISSELL Pet Foundation, which helps save homeless pets.
Buy it: Amazon
7. Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Owners: Shark AV2501S AI Ultra Robot Vacuum; $543
While upright vacuums like the Bissell one mentioned above are probably your best bet if you’re looking for a floor cleaner that can really deal with pet hair, robot vacuums can also be worth checking out. Although robot vacuums don’t typically provide the same deep cleaning, they can be ideal for maintaining floors in between more thorough cleaning sessions.
“I have and love the Shark AV2501S [AI] robot vacuum,” Koch says. “It has great suction and can cover the whole home or clean designated areas. It also has a true HEPA filter to help with pet allergens and has worked well for pet hair in our home.”
Beyond its suction power and true HEPA filter, the Shark AV2501S AI offers voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and using the brand’s app, you can easily schedule cleaning sessions even when you aren’t at home. Also, it comes with a bagless, self-emptying base that can hold up to about roughly 30 days worth of dirt and pet dander.
Buy it: Amazon
8. and 9. Best Brooms for Pet Owners: FURemover Pet Hair Remover Carpet Rake; From $17 and TreeLen Broom and Dustpan Set; $20
Don’t feel like busting out the vacuum? According to Koch, rubber brooms like the popular FURemover can also be a good alternative for plucking pet hair out of carpets and area rugs. “The rubber bristles act like a magnet to grab hair and help ball it up so it’s easy to clean up after sweeping,” she adds.
For regular sweeping on hard floors, she loves this broom and dustpan combo from TreeLen because it’s easy to store and “the dustpan has teeth to clean off the broom as you sweep into the dustpan.” Not only that, but “the built-in scraper and comb makes getting and removing pet hair a cinch.”
10. Best Pet Hair Remover for Furniture and Upholstery: ChomChom Roller Pet Hair Remover; $30
Looking for something that will easily remove pet hair from seat cushions and other upholstered areas where a vacuum might not do the trick? Both Koch and Jen Robin, founder and CEO of Life in Jeneral, an organizational design company, think the ChomChom roller is an excellent gadget for pet owners.
“You just move it back and forth by hand and it gathers hair in the chamber,” Koch says. Additionally, the reusable roller requires no batteries and has no cords, and its hair-collecting compartment can be easily emptied, making it a breeze to clean and maintain.
Buy it: Amazon
Best Pet-Safe Cleaning Solutions
11. and 12. Best Hard Floor Cleaners for Pet Owners: Bona Pet System Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner Spray; From $9 and Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash Concentrate; $14
When it comes to cleaning hardwood floors, Koch says it’s important to make sure the product is safe for pets, as they often lick their paws after walking on floors. “Typically a [teaspoon] of dish soap in a gallon of hot water is all you need for hardwoods,” she adds. “Just be sure not to oversaturate and to only make the floors damp.”
But if you’d prefer a pre-made solution, she claims that this multi-surface floor cleaner spray from Bona is well worth the investment. Formulated for either cats or dogs, the enzymatic spray penetrates tough messes and breaks down pet accidents organically—the cat solution even helps lift away stains and set-in grime for up to five days, according to the brand.
Koch notes that another good option is this vinegar wash concentrate from Aunt Fannie’s. It’s A-rated from the Environmental Working Group (meaning it meets their standards for safety and effectiveness) and works on all types of sealed floors including hardwood, tile, concrete, linoleum, and laminate. This all-natural floor cleaner also gives off a light lemon scent as it breaks down tough stains from grease, grime, and dirt.
13. Best Pet Stain Remover: Skout’s Honor Severe Mess Solution; $19
Regardless of your pet’s breed or age, accidents can happen from time to time. Depending on how recent a particular slip-up is, you might need to take certain steps to fully remove it and eliminate unwanted odors like urine from your home.
JoAnn Goldsmith, owner of the New England-based pet shop Paws Pet Boutique, thinks that Skout’s Honor has “the best cleaning products on the market“ for tackling such pet messes. On top of being a brand that is environmentally and socially conscious, Goldsmith notes that Skout’s Honor products are “safe for carpets, upholstery, and furniture.” This particular solution is specially formulated with cats and dogs in mind to dissolve and lift set-in stains, and also destroys odor molecules, so you’re less likely to smell urine or other noxious aromas wafting from your pet’s recent mishap. Dogs and cats are also less likely to soil the same spot again.
Buy it: Chewy
14. Best Pet-Safe Disinfectant: Lysol Pet Solutions Disinfecting Cleaner; $6
Accidents and pet hair aren’t the only things you need to clean up when you’re a cat or dog owner. According to Robin, your pet’s toys deserve attention, too. Over time, toys—and particularly, dog toys—can end up covered in dirt, slobber, bacteria, and even mold. In fact, they’re so dirty that they’re even among the top 10 “germiest” home items, based on a 2011 study from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).
“[You should] use a pet-safe disinfectant to clean hard toys and surfaces where pet toys are kept,” Robin says. This Lysol solution is safe for animals and formulated with hydrogen peroxide to get rid of up to 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses (like salmonella) that may be lurking on pet toys and other areas frequented by furry companions. It also neutralizes odors from urine, feces, and vomit and is lightly scented to discourage pets from re-marking certain areas.
Buy it: Walmart
15. Best Pet-Safe Laundry Booster: Nature’s Miracle Laundry Boost In-Wash Dog Stain and Odor Remover; $11
Slipping soft toys in the washing machine regularly can help remove dirt, bacteria, and pet hair, which Robin says is important for their overall upkeep. Doing so every couple of weeks could also be a great way to rotate new stuff in, which she says can “keep your pet interested and engaged with their toys.”
Nature’s Miracle offers a special additive laundry booster that’s safe for pets and will work in conjunction with your laundry detergent to break down and destroy stubborn pet odors and stains. It’s also safe to use in all types of washing machines.
Buy it: Chewy