This article was previously published June 26, 2014, and was updated on June 8, 2023
Can you really have both pets and a clean home?
Life doesn’t get much better than being greeted at the door by a four-legged friend who’s always delighted to see you. But if your home is going to the dogs (and cats) in the form of clawed-up upholstery and dander-masked furnishings, life with Fido or Fluffy can seem less than ideal. There’s no need to live a fur-covered life. The latest home decor options can provide you with (nearly) dander-free digs without endless cleaning and vacuuming.
Despite your best efforts, sofas and couches tend to get the most wear and tear, especially with the help of our feline and canine counterparts. Couch corners and sofa cushions often fall victim to a cat’s claws, while fabrics capture hair and dander from our sweet little pets. Choose your living room furnishings wisely to keep a clean home. Select microfiber or heavy-duty leather sofas that outlast nails and don’t trap dust, dirt and fur. If you have an existing sofa you’d like to hold on to, opt for a chic couch cover, like a waterproof couch cover (simply remove it when you’re expecting guests).
Ornate draperies and flowing fabrics are a pet’s playground. Cats are drawn to long cords and loopy fabrics that create a climbing haven, and potty-challenged puppies tend to use long curtains as puppy pads. Even if your pets steer clear of window coverings (lucky you!), certain fabrics act as dust and dander magnets. Roller blinds are a better option here, because they can be kept up high and don’t boast enticing loose fabrics. Stick to cordless blinds that can be found and customized from specialty stores like The Shade Store.
For carefree pet co-habitating, bare tile, wood or laminate flooring are the best options. But if you’re set on complementing your home decor with a chic area rug, for a clean home stick to low-pile fabrics like nylon. These don’t store as much dirt and fur and won’t easily get caught on your pet’s nails—and flat rugs are easier to clean and more cost-effective than cozy high-pile rugs. Check out a carpet system like Flor, which offers carpet squares you assemble yourself to create runners, area rugs or whatever arrangement you want. Made of renewable and recyclable content instead of wool, this option is great for your pets and the environment.
Reducing clutter and providing designated storage for all household items is essential to keeping a clean home and pet-friendly quarters. Create a home for all your pets’ belongings. Leashes should be stowed, store pet food in an air-tight container and select stylish bowls and beds that match your decor. If you have the space, set aside a “pet corner” complete with your pet’s food and water dishes, bed, toys and any other belongings. This should be a safe haven for your pet, where all things pet-related can be found without interfering with the flow of your household.
Pet Hair or Pet Dander
Once you have chosen furnishings, flooring and window treatments that are pet friendly, there is still another step you could take to significantly reduce the amount of dust and pet dander in your home. There are a number of great options for pet air purifiers in a range of different prices, but regardless of your budget, you want to make sure you select a purifier that has a true HEPA filter. If you want an air purifier that will not just remove the allergy causing dander, but also to reduce and remove pet odors look for a unit that has a carbon filter in addition to the HEPA filter. Many air purifying units have multiple filters so you should not have a problem finding one that has both kinds of filters.
If you are looking for an economical option, the GermGuardian has both a HEPA filter and a carbon activated filter. This unit doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but if what you are looking for is filtering out the allergens and odors this unit will do the trick. This unit covers about 155 square feet, so it might not be ideal for larger areas.