25 Cheap and Easy Hacks to Reclaim Your House From Messy Pets

Hacks to Clean Pet Messes


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Hacks to Clean Pet Messes

Fresh as Fido

We love 'em, but pets sure keep us on our toes — especially when it comes to keeping the house clean. The good news is that you don't have to spend a ton on special products to stay on top of messes. Whether you're dealing with fur everywhere, hard-to-banish smells, scratched-up floors or more, here are 25 cheap and easy ways to help keep chaos at bay. 

Related: Cute Dog Breeds That Make Terrible Pets

Pick Up Hair with Rubber Gloves

1. Pick Up Pet Hair With a Rubber Glove

Instead of wrestling with the vacuum or fussing with sticky lint rolls, slap on some rubber gloves. Give your furniture or rugs a once-over and the pet hair will come right off, sticking to the glove instead. 

Related: 36 Popular Dog Breeds That Don't Shed

Contain Food and Water with a Boot Tray

2. Contain Food and Water With a Boot Tray

Tired of finding pet food or water all over the floor after your cat or dog pushes their bowl around? Buy a cheap rubber boot tray and put the bowls on top of it. The rubber helps keep the bowls in place, while the raised edge keeps messes contained. 

Related: Easy, Cheap Dog Treats You Can Make at Home

Tame Litter Box Odors with Baking Soda

3. Tame Litter-Box Odors With Baking Soda and Tea Leaves

Even the most-perfumed cat litter can't always contain the smell of your feline friend's litter box. Sprinkling baking soda or tea leaves along the bottom of the box can help absorb and mask odors.

For more great pet tips,
please sign up for our free newsletters.

Deter Digging with Hardwood Cloth
Home Depot

4. Deter Digging in Potted Plants With Hardwood Cloth

Indoor plants look lovely, but they can be a magnet for curious pets. Try cutting a disk of mesh-like hardware cloth to fit inside the pot. Your pet won't be able to dig past the wires, keeping the soil in the pot and off your floors.

Conceal a Litter Box Under a Small Table

5. Conceal a Litter Box Under a Small Table

If you live in a small space, you may not have an out-of-the-way corner ideal for an unsightly litter box. Instead, try concealing one by using a spring rod to hang a small curtain under an end table or other occasional table.

Organize Grooming Supplies with a Shower Caddy

6. Organize Grooming Supplies With a Shower Caddy

If it's time to groom or bathe the dog, don't waste your time scrambling for supplies. Store them in a shower caddy with several small compartments perfect for wrangling brushes, nail clippers, dog shampoo, flea medications and other small necessities.

Re-purpose an Old Rake to Hang Leashes

7. Repurpose an Old Rake Head to Hang Leashes

Got an old rake rusting in the garage? Show the rake head a little TLC, then hang it by the door — and voila, you have a great, handy place to hang collars and leashes. (No rake? Stick-on hooks will work, too.)

Sprinkle Baking Soda on Not Fresh Upholstery

8. Sprinkle Baking Soda on Not-So-Fresh Upholstery

Once your pet has claimed a particular spot on the couch, chances are the upholstery will start to smell a little ripe over time. Freshen things up by sprinkling baking soda on the cushions, letting it sit for several minutes, then vacuuming it up.

Use a Black Light to Find Urine Stains

9. Shine a Blacklight to Find Urine Stains

Your eyes might not see it, but your nose knows whether Fido or Fifi had an accident. Shining a black light on your carpet can show you any favored spots that need a good scrubbing.

Rub a Walnut on Scratched-Up Surfaces

10. Rub a Walnut on Scratched-Up Furniture or Floors

Pets' claws can do a number and wood floors or furniture. But all it may take to erase the damage to natural wood is a handful of walnuts — rub them over the scratches and they fill in the marks as they break down.

Create a DIY Scratching Post

11. Create a DIY Scratching Post With Sisal Rope

No room for a big scratching post? Wrap sisal rope around a piece of wood and hang it from a door knob to provide a tempting place for kitties to scratch, saving your furniture. Another option? Wrap it around desk or table legs.

Protect Cords with Plastic Tubing

12. Protect Cords With Plastic Tubing

Got a pet who loves to snack on all of your power cords and phone chargers? Try using some cheap plastic split-loom tubing to cover them up and spoil your dog or cat's fun while protecting your cords.

Keep Ants Away from Pet Food with Petroleum Jelly

13. Keep Ants Away From Pet Food With Petroleum Jelly

As if picking up stray kibble isn't enough, sometimes pet food attracts ants who want an easy meal. A thin layer of petroleum jelly around the bottom of the bowl creates an invisible bug barrier.

Contain Stray Litter with a Bath Mat

14. Contain Stray Litter With a Bath Mat

It would be wonderful if cat litter would just stay in the litter box, but no such luck. One cheap way to help it stay put: Use an easy-to-wash bath mat that can catch most of the litter right outside the box.

Catch Doggie Drool with a Bandana

15. Catch Doggie Drool With a Bandana

You might find your panting pup's drool adorable — until it starts staining your clothes or upholstery. One way to cut down on the drool-fest is by letting dogs sport a stylish bandana. Bonus: You can make one the right size for your pup without sewing.

Hang Bells to Keep Doors Pristine

16. Keep Your Doors Pristine With Bells

Tired of listening to your dog scratch the inside of your door when nature calls? Hang a bell from the doorknob instead. With a little positive reinforcement, your pup can learn to ring it instead of clawing at the wood.

Keep Pet Hair Out of Drains with Baby Wipes

17. Keep Pet Hair Out of the Drain With a Baby Wipe

Washing your dog is hassle enough, so keep your pipes from getting clogged with a baby wipe. Lay it over the drain and then push in the stopper like normal. Then, when you pull the stopper out, pull the wipe flat to collect hair while water drains.

Use a Squeegee to Pull Pet Hair Out of Carpet

18. Use a Squeegee to Pull Pet Hair From Carpets

If your vacuum just doesn't cut it, a bathroom squeegee is the perfect tool for grabbing pet hair that's matted into carpet fibers or stuck to upholstery. (Just make sure it's clean before you run it along your couch or rug.) 

Related: Is the ChomChom Roller the Last Pet Hair Remover You'll Ever Buy?

Foil Curious Pets with a DIY Gate

19. Foil Curious Pets With a DIY Gate

Sometimes it's just too much work to pet-proof everywhere. In that case, try blocking off the stairs. And while you can buy a pricey pet gate, you may want to try your hand at making one. A PVC pipe frame covered with fabric could be enough of a deterrent for small dogs or older ones.

Use a Box Lid to Distract Desk-Hogging Cat

20. Use a Box Lid to Contain a Desk-Hogging Cat

It's a tale as old as time: Your cat loves to lie on your desk, or even worse, across your keyboard. Flip over the lid from a board game box and place it to the side. Cats love curling up in boxes, and you'll love having elbow room again.

Keep Pets Off Furniture with Chair Mats

21. Keep Pets Off the Furniture With Chair Mats

If you'd prefer Fido stick to his own bed instead of drooling all over your upholstery, find a thick plastic chair mat that has carpet-gripping studs on one side. Cut it to fit your couch or chair and flip it so that the plastic spikes are facing up. Suddenly, the couch isn't so inviting.

Use Bricks to Keep Dogs from Tipping Trash Cans

22. Use Bricks to Keep Dogs From Tipping Over the Trash Can

Got a dog who loves to tip over your trash can and paw through the results? Try weighing down the bottom with bricks or something else heavy to keep it in place. If the dog can still get in the lid, consider adding a childproof lock.

Bury Citrus Peels to Save Your Garden

23. Bury Citrus Peels to Save Your Garden

Interestingly, many dogs hate the smell of citrus fruit, whether that's oranges, lemons or grapefruit. If yours is among them, try burying citrus peels in your garden to help ward off digging. A noseful may be enough to persuade Fido to go on his merry way.

Use Double-Sided Tape to Keep Cats from Scratching Furniture

24. Use Double-Sided Tape to Stop Cats From Scratching Furniture

If your cat is ignoring that shiny new scratching post, it's time to make your furniture a less desirable target. Put some removable, double-sided tape in prime scratch zones to keep those claws away — cats dislike the sticky feeling.

Tackle Smelly Stains with DIY Cleaner

25. Tackle Smelly Stains With a DIY Cleaner

Every pet owner knows that accidents happen, but you may not need a pricey bottle of stain remover from the pet store. Vinegar, water, baking soda and your trusty vacuum can make quick work of that fresh pee puddle. 

Related: Money-Saving Tips for Dog Owners