The Best, Most Effective Cleaning Products for Pets (and Pet Owners)

Pet owners usually have a big arsenal of various cleaning supplies. We swap cleaning tips and tricks with other pet owners, in a (seemingly) never-ending quest to find the products and techniques that work the best. For those of us with senior, ill, or special-needs pets, this can add an extra challenge! I happen to be one of those people who have had a stream of senior pets, including a few special-needs pets - and I've tried countless cleaning products and supplies! Here's my personal list of the .

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Best Carpet Cleaners for a Household with Pets

I'd love to have nice, shiny, wood floors. But they're way too slippery for my old pets, so I live with carpet. That means I've spent, oh, several thousands of hours (at least it feels that way) cleaning up after pets when have accidents. A good carpet cleaning machine is essential for any pet owner who has carpeted floors.

My top two choices are the Hoover SmartWash Automatic Carpet Cleaner and the Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet Carpet Cleaner. These are the two that I've kept because they work very well, and there are pros and cons to each.





Does a great job. I'd give the Hoover the edge here, just because you can use it on a "Dry Only" setting so that more water gets sucked up. The carpet seems to dry faster when I make another quick pass with this setting on. The one negative is that you cannot dispense more water or solution; the machine does it all automatically.


Also does an amazing job, and does a good job sucking up water. The Bissell has a button you press to dispense water / cleaning solution, so you can dispense extra if you think it's necessary.



Unfortunately, the Hoover has a small dirty water tank. It makes it feel as if I have to dump it out every few minutes. Because the clean tank empties at a different rate than the dirty tank fills, it seems like I'm constantly either filling or emptying something! It gets annoying when cleaning large areas.


The Bissell is the winner here. The dirty water tank is large enough that you don't have to keep dumping it. I usually find that I can go through two clean water tanks for before needing to empty the dirty tank.



The Hoover has a separate container for the solution. The solution is automatically dispensed as you clean. I like this; it means that any solution that doesn't get used this time, can be used next time. No waste.


With the Bissell, you put the cleaning solution into the clean water tank and fill the tank with water. That means if you don't use it all up - and you don't want to keep the water until next time - the solution is wasted.



The Hoover doesn't require you to press a button to dispense water or cleaning solution. You just go back and forth over the carpet, just like if you were vacuuming.


With the Bissell, you press (and hold) a button to dispense the water / cleaning solution. This gives you more control over how much you want to dispense, but it could end up causing your finger muscles to get sore if you use it a lot. It could also be more of a challenge for people with arthritis in their hands.



The Hoover has some attachments to use for the stairs. Basically, you plug a hose into the main cleaner and then use a separate cleaning head to clean the stairs. It works okay. You need to make sure the hose is properly connected to the cleaner or else there won't be any suction. If you have a long set of stairs, it is a bit of a pain to maneuver the carpet cleaner up or down.


The Bissell is the winner for stairs. The "lift-off" portion of the carpet cleaner comes right off in a handy little self-contained unit that is easy to move up and down the stairs. It comes with a stair tool, but we bought a separate one which we like much better, called the turbo brush.



The Hoover is the clear winner when it comes to maintenance. You can easily pop out the brushes (no tools needed!) and clean them off. It's simple and quick. The only downside is that sometimes fur gets stuck inside the plastic cover for the brushes, and you have to dig it out (I just jam a screwdriver in there and pull out all the fur - gross, but it works).


No way around it, the Bissell is just plain horrible to clean. It involves unscrewing a bunch of stuff before you can get at the brushes (which also have to be unscrewed, if you want to be able to clean them properly). As a result, I clean it less frequently than I probably should.




What cleaning solution should you use with your machine? Honestly, I haven't found much difference between the brands. I choose any of the "pet" cleaning solutions to help neutralize any odors and they all seem to work pretty well.

Best Carpet Spot Removers for Pet Stains

I've tried at least a couple dozen spot cleaning products, including many specifically meant for cleaning up pet accidents. I've spent way too much time reading reviews online, or talking to staff at pet stores or stores that sell carpet cleaners, all who swear that some product is totally awesome and will remove pet stains. I've had mixed results.

Now, I only use two pet stain removal solutions: Folex, my old standby, and Dr. Beckmann Carpet Stainer Remover, something I discovered more recently and is much more difficult to find (I get it from Amazon Canada).

Folex works on most stains, even some of the older ones. What I like about it is that it's so simple: just apply, agitate slightly, leave it for a few minutes, then blot it up with an absorbent cloth. You can actually see the stain disappear! On tougher stains, I sometimes apply and leave for about 20 minutes or so (don't let it dry) before blotting.

Dr. Beckmann's stain remover is pretty amazing; I find it actually works better than Folex on tough stains. You lightly squeeze the solution onto the stain and brush the solution into the carpet (brush is included). Leave for a few minutes, then blot and rinse. Repeat as necessary for extra tough stains. I've been able to remove old urine and vomit stains that other cleaners were not able to get out all the way. So far, the only stain it has not removed completely is a turmeric stain (turmeric is notoriously difficult to remove!).

Best Vaccuum Cleaners for Pet Hair

All of my dogs have been double-coated breeds. Most of them "blew" their coats twice a year, too. Plus my cats have been medium-haired, sometimes dropping tufts of fur they groomed off themselves. You can imagine how much fur there is to clean up! I've gone through many vacuum cleaners. Some died a painful death, suffocated by vast amounts of fur. Others have been too weak to suck up fur and I've given the vacuums away. The combination that has worked best for my household is:

  • A Dyson canister animal vacuum cleaner: powerful, great suction, easy to clean. This is my "go-to" vacuum when I'm cleaning big areas or when I want to do a "proper" cleaning.

  • When I only need a quick clean-up, I use a cordless stick vacuum cleaner. My favourite one is my Rowenta cordless stick vacuum; unfortunately, I don't think it's sold anymore (... but maybe you can find one used). I like it so much I have two of them, one each at our front and back doors! I also have a Dyson cordless stick vacuum. Also works great, but the downside is that the charge doesn't last very long. In my house, it typically lasts 10-15 minutes before it needs re-charging.

  • A robot vacuum is useful for hard surfaces. I know some people use them for carpets, but I haven't had good results with this - maybe because my furry beasts simply shed too much hair. I keep a eufy BoostIQ RoboVac in my kitchen and adjoining room, which have wood floors. It runs by itself, happily sucking up crumbs and fur, so that I can go do something else. While I consider a roboVac a luxury, it does cut down on the time I spend vacuuming / cleaning, which makes it worth the cost all on its own.

Best Kitty Litter and Litter Mat

Two things I hate about kitty litter are 1) the dust, and 2) litter tracking all over the house. I've tried using regular mats to contain litter from being tracked around - you know, the type you can get at any grocery store or home supply store. Eventually, I caved and bought a cat litter mat. I have to say that they actually do make a difference!

My senior kitty is a messy boy. It took a while for me to figure out how to . A great litter mat is essential. I use the Piev mat. The reason I like this one is because it comes in two layers - the first layer allows litter to fall through to the second layer. To clean up, you just pick up the mat and all the litter on the second layer can be slid right back into the litter box (or into the garbage). The second layer is also waterproof which is a good thing for when my senior boy's aim is a little off. And finally, the mat is a good size, not too small. It makes cleanup much less hassle and thus, less stress too.

As for the kitty litter itself, I use The World's Best Cat Litter (clumping formula). It controls odors well, clumps well, and doesn't track much (it's not perfect, but it's better than most other litters we've tried).



Well, there you go ... one pet owner's list of the best cleaning products and supplies for dealing with the inevitable accidents, as well as lots of fur. I hope that some of these recommendations help to make clean-up easier!