By Cheryl S. Grant
Product: Get Serious Pet Stain Odor and Pheromone Extractor
Why It Works: Urine stains and odor can be problematic because the smell causes your pet to mark the area again and again. Get Serious stops this by drawing out the pheromones—natural body chemicals produced by the animal—as it removes stains. Add a cup to your laundry to tackle residual pet odors on clothes or bedding.
Problem: Dirt and hair balls
Product: Panasonic vacuum model MCUL915
Why It Works: Removing pet hair from the couch, floor, and carpet can be frustrating. But thanks to the super-suction of this vacuum, which comes with a pet brush, the job just got easier. And if you're in doubt as to whether all the grime is gone, check out the dirt sensor; the light pops on if there's more cleaning to do.
Product: PawSafe Multi-Surface Cleaner
Why It Works: Spray this on glass, tile, sealed wood, and other water-safe surfaces to remove Fido's spittle. And since it's free of harmful chemicals, have no worries if your pup is prone to pressing his face to the window.
Problem: Dirt and grime
Product: Haan Slim & Light
Why It Works: This 5-pound wonder releases a 212 degrees Fahrenheit steam that lifts ground-in muck and bacteria from floors and carpets. Plus, it uses plain water so it's 100 percent natural.
Product: Bissell Pet Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
Why It Works: The brush and foaming action lift vomit from most surfaces, including shaggy carpets and sofas.
Homemade Pet-Safe Cleaners
Go the DIY route with two of Julia Szabo's favorite recipes.
—Combine 1 quart of white vinegar with 1 tablespoon of whole cloves. Let sit overnight. Use as often as needed for cleaning hard surfaces—cloves act as a natural antibacterial.
—Mix 1 cup white vinegar, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of chemical-free dishwashing liquid (such as Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid). This very foamy concoction is great for washing out a litter box, as well as a tub and tile surfaces. Plus, its bleaching qualities whiten gross grout.
Originally published in the May 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.