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Keeping a clean house with large dogs is not easy, but it is possible! Save your sanity with these 9 proven tips for maintaining a clean home with messy dogs.
As a Mastiff owner for over 20 years, I know firsthand what a challenge it is to keep a clean house with large dogs.
Take a look around your room.
How long does it take you to observe dog hair, dog slobber, dog toys, dog beds, or anything else that, if you didn’t share your home with a large dog, wouldn’t be there?
Let’s face it. Tumbling tumbleweeds of shedding dog hair on the floor and petrified slobber on freshly painted walls are perhaps the least enjoyable aspect of life with large dogs.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my Mastiffs. I adore them!
But just like my teenage daughter’s motivational challenges and my son’s selective listening, I don’t have to love EVERYTHING about them.
And for me, it’s the constant shedding of dog hair and dog drool that seep into every nook and cranny of our home.
Before you lose hope or, God forbid, resort to a cat, keep reading…
I am here to tell you that it IS possible to have a large dog AND a clean house at the same time.
If you will read this post in its entirety, you will learn:
- How to effectively remove dog slobber without destroying your paint
- The top essential cleaning products every large dog home should have
- Why I recommend daily cleaning if you have a large dog
- Proven strategies to minimize dog messes and prevent them from taking over your beautiful home
The following 9 tips are not in any particular order. ALL 9 of them are essential and work synergistically to prevent your home from “going to the dogs,” literally.
How to Keep House Clean With Dogs – 9 Sanity-Saving Tips
1. Feed and Water Outside
If you have a wet-mouth large or giant breed dog such as a Mastiff, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Great Dane, or any other drooly molosser breed dog, I highly recommend you move all feeding and water bowls outside.
Yes, this will make more work for you, potentially.
You will have to fill the food bowls inside, then walk them out. Then bring the dirty bowls in, sanitize them, and take them back out with fresh water.
And if your big dogs are anything like Junior and Sulley, that fresh water after meals only lasts three milliseconds before it’s as viscous as honey with dog slobber, requiring yet another rinse and refill.
But here’s the deal. What you expend in calories walking the bowls in and out during feeding time, you will gain in cleanliness inside your home.
I feed my Mastiffs outside all year round and always have. They ate outside during the summer in the Arizona desert before we moved and they eat outside now during the cold Michigan winter. They are fine and my house stays relatively clean.
But if that is not enough to convince you to feed your large dogs outside, here are a few other tips for keeping your house clean during mealtimes if you are brave enough to keep them indoors.
Only use deep stainless steel bowls, like these. Put another way… a big head in a shallow bowl equals one ginormous mess.
A deep stainless steel dog bowl will contain your dog’s jowls from drooping over the edge and will be easier to sanitize and keep clean without harboring bacteria that can make your dog sick.
2. Carpet Cleaning With Pets
Carpet cleaning in a home with dogs includes not only pet stain removal but also wise carpet selection.
Let’s start with that last one first – wise carpet selection.
For the love of all things holy, If you are in the process of selecting carpet for your home, do NOT choose white or anything remotely close to white.
The constant dog mess on white carpet will turn even the most beautiful space into a dumpster of dirt, damage, and dried drool. Sadly, I am living in this nightmare right now.
But whether you have white carpet or not, you will want to keep up with stains on a regular basis. They are inevitable in a home with large dogs.
I have tried many different pet stain removers in the market but always go back to Nature’s Miracle. It really is the best I have found for the small areas of your carpet where your dog has soiled with poop, pee, vomit, drool, dirt, etc.
We also purchased a Rug Doctor carpet steamer many years ago and, while I like it, I’m not sure I would recommend it for most large dog homes.
From my experience, the degree of cleanliness compared to the effort it takes to operate the Rug Doctor is just so-so. And beyond that, I worry about it destroying the integrity of the carpet over time.
My recommendation is to incorporate carpet cleaning of pet stains into your daily and weekly cleaning routine to prevent needing a professional carpet cleaning service in the future.
In the video linked below, I bring you along on a fun and uber-entertaining afternoon of cleaning at Big Dog Mom HQ. My frustration with the white carpet is real and raw!
3. Dog Smell Eliminator
I know what you are thinking, “My dog doesn’t smell!”
That’s what I thought, too, until we were preparing to move out of our home in Arizona two years ago.
We listed our home for sale and immediately had several people book appointments to come tour it. Before the first appointment, I cleaned and sanitized our home from top to bottom.
You could have eaten a meal on the floors they were so clean! Or so I thought…
The candid feedback from the first couple that walked through the front door was, “Ooooh, it smells dog in here!”
I was stunned, shocked, and, to put it mildly, totally annoyed.
But after investigating this mystery “dog smell” that I was evidently desensitized to, I figured out that it was the entry rug by the front door that DID have an odor of big dogs when you put your nose next to it.
Sulley lay on that rug every day of his life, so, yeah, I wasn’t surprised that it smelled like him.
Needless to say, I chucked Sulley’s smelly rug in the garbage and went to work deodorizing other carpeted areas where the dogs frequently lay. I used a product called Odoban and it worked perfectly!
OdoBan Odor Eliminator
Cleans, disinfects, freshens, and eliminates unpleasant odors, and can be used on many household surfaces, including upholstery, carpets, bedding, showers, walls, and floors.
No more dog smell and we accepted an offer on our house the next day!
So, whether you think your house smells or not, if you have big dogs, it does. Trust me.
I recommend keeping Odoban on hand and lightly spraying any areas where your dog frequently lays as a part of your cleaning routine.
Consider getting Ruggable rugs for your entry and walkways. They are completely machine washable and easy to keep clean and free of that dreaded dog smell.
4. Keep Dogs Off Furnture
I can just hear some of you now… “But I love my dog. What’s mine is his.”
Is your coffee cup his? Is your toothbrush his? What about your hairbrush? What’s yours is his, right?
We just spent several minutes discussing pet stains and dog odor and you want to excuse your lack of enforcement of the No Dogs on the Couch Rule?
I’m not buying it.
Those who glorify couch cuddling as their way of expressing love for their pet are doing nothing more than virtue signaling.
Allowing my Mastiffs to destroy every piece of furniture in my home is not showing love.
My recommendation is to keep your dogs off of your furniture. All furniture. Beds, couches, chairs, ottomans, loveseats, lazyboys, and any other item in your home where a human body will be sitting or lying down.
Keeping your dog off furniture is not only good for you and your dog but respectful for guests who come into your home and want to sit down on a reasonably dog-hair-free surface.
You may also be interested in my review of the PetSafe Scat Mat, which I absolutely love. I love these mats so much that I purchased two more for our new chair and ottoman.
The Scat Mat is a clear plastic mat that you place on your couch and set to either make a sound or make a sound and release a static charge if your dog gets up on it.
Ours has only been activated once, the very first day we had it. Sulley jumped up there, heard the sound, and hopped off. He hasn’t been back on since.
Over the years we have used aluminum foil, pots, pans, and gentle shaming to keep Sulley off our couch, none of which were that effective. The ScatMat, on the other hand, has cured him of his furniturephilia disease.
Finally, I recommend that since your dog will no longer have the freedom to destroy your expensive sofa, make sure you provide plenty of comfortable and therapeutic alternatives for him.
I am a broken record when it comes to Big Barker Premium Dog Beds. They are truly the BEST dog beds on the market for large and giant breed dogs and the ONLY ones I would spend my money on. They are an investment, but they last forever.
Here are a few posts I wrote about our dog beds that you may want to check out if you are unconvinced. Also, check out this video where I take the covers off and put the beds to the giant dog test.
- Big Barker Dog Bed Review: Overpriced or an Investment?
- Best Car Travel Bed For Dogs: Big Barker SUV Dog Bed Review
- How Long Does a Big Barker Dog Bed Last? My Review After 9 Years of Daily Use
And this brings me to my next tip, sanity-saver tip #5…
5. Buy Washable Covers and Extras
Let’s face it. Anywhere your big dog lays is going to get smelly and dirty. As such, it will need to be cleaned. Frequently.
This applies to both dog beds, carpeted areas, and rugs.
Let’s take these one at a time…
One of the best qualities of the Big Barker Dog Bed is how well made their covers are and how easy they are to zip on and off and throw in the washing machine.
Once laundered, they look like new. Several of my Big Barkers are over 6-7 years old and even those look brand new when I clean them up. If you can afford it, an extra cover would be a blessing as well. Just unzip the slobber and hair-covered one and zip on the clean one.
Wala. Clean Dog Beds is checked off the list for the day!
Carpets and rugs are a little tougher to keep clean and don’t generally come with backup options.
That said, Ruggable is a company that makes machine-washable rugs perfect for homes with large dogs.
While we don’t own one yet, I WANT one for our entryway.
6. Dog Slobber Removal
Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a dry-mouth big dog. If so, feel free to skip over this tip and move on to tip #7.
For the rest of us knee-deep in Drool City, here are a few of my top tips as it relates to dog slobber.
First and foremost, I have found baby wipes to be the most effective and gentle way to remove slobber off of walls, shelves, cabinets, and other surfaces.
Grab an economy bulk pack from Costco or Sam’s Club – I have only ever used the Kirkland brand or Member’s Mark and they work perfectly. No need to spend more on brand-name baby wipes. We aren’t wiping baby bottoms here people!
Ideally, you will catch slingers before they become petrified. However, if you miss this short window of opportunity, I have found baby wipes are up to the task of de-slobbering your walls, floors, baseboards, and yes, even ceilings.
And if you are in the process of repainting a space or buying a new home and choosing new paint, I recommend choosing semi-gloss paint if possible.
Semi-gloss paint will be much easier to keep clean and less prone to permanent damage from constant wiping.
In addition to your walls, windows are of equal importance if you have a lot of them as we do.
If you would like to achieve slobber and streak-free windows, I highly recommend getting Sprayway Glass Cleaner.
I used to use Windex and some recommend using vinegar and water, but neither of those comes close to the cleanliness of windows I achieve with the Sprayway brand.
Hands down the BEST window cleaner on the market! No more dried-on slobber, jowl streaks, or hand prints! Just perfectly clean, streak-free windows!
I’m going to link to this on Amazon so you can see it, however, the price on Amazon is ridiculously expensive. For a pack of 19 oz cans they were charging over $20, but at Sam’s Club, I purchased a pack of 4 19oz. cans for $8.50! Definitely buy these at Sam’s Club if you can!
7. Dog Hair Removal
I always laugh when people recommend short-haired dogs to people who aren’t fond of shedding dog hair everywhere.
What a joke!
We’ve had Great Danes, Labrador retrievers, and Mastiffs and ALL shed. All have thrown enough hair to fill a giant-size pillow at least twice a year, if not more.
With a few exceptions such as the Standard Poodle, Giant Schnauzer, Bouvier des Flandres, and Afghan Hound, large dogs shed a lot. And big dog owners need to be prepared for how to maintain a clean, relatively dog-hair-free home.
In this video, I put the top dog hair remover tools to the big dog test. In the end, a few products rose to the top and are those that I rely on today to help me keep my car and furniture clean with dogs.
Dog hair removal isn’t just for your furniture and clothes. It’s for your dog, too.
Brushing your large dog (outside) regularly will dramatically cut down on how much dog hair ends up in your home.
The type of brush or comb you use will depend on your dog’s coat – hair length and texture. However, for most big dogs, especially those with short hair, the Furminator Undercoat DeShedding Tool will do a fantastic job.
At this point, you may be asking, “What is the best way to clean the shedding dog hair that is currently all over my house?”
Let’s move on to tip #8 and I will tell you.
8. Floor Cleaning with Large Dogs
I will be honest. It has taken me many years to perfect the art of clean floors in a big dog home. And they are still far from perfect.
That said, I do have a few hacks for maintaining clean floors with pets.
One of the best methods for manually cleaning hardwood, laminate, or tile floors is to use a giant dust mop.
My husband purchased ours over 20 years ago and I love it. No more back-breaking broom and dustpan. With the extra wide dust mop, you can cover a large area with each gentle swipe, reducing the time and energy you spend sweeping up dog hair each day.
Yes, you may feel like a janitor but it will be worth it, I promise!
If you are like me and don’t always have the time each day to sweep your dirty floors, I highly recommend you invest in a iRobot Roomba.
The iRobot Roomba is a programmable robot that sweeps your floors for you! With a mobile app that is extremely easy to use, you can set the times each day you want your robot to clean, how well you need it cleaned, which rooms you want swept, and much more.
When the robot gets full of dog hair he will go back to his base to empty it. When his battery runs low, he will head back for a recharge. He knows right where he left off and will continue his programmed job until your floors are once again dog-hair-free.
Once swept, you will want to follow up with some method of actually cleaning your floors.
I use a Swiffer every 5-7 days right after I sweep. With a little muscle, Swiffering [new verb…Ha!] is a manual, but very effective way to clean your floors of dog mess.
If you would like a way to mop your floors, consider adding a companion for your iRobot that specializes in mopping. The iRobot Braava Jet m6 does it all when it comes to automatic mopping with similar functions as our Roomba.
And if you don’t already have an iRobot vacuum, but have both carpet and hard surface flooring that needs to be cleaned, consider one of the iRobot + Braava Jet bundle packages.
9. A Clean House with Pets is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Keeping a house clean with dogs is a marathon, not a sprint. Your goal should be consistency, not speed or volume.
No matter how well you clean, your dog will continue to shed, drool, and bring in dirt on his giant paws. Clean floors don’t stay clean for long unless you implement tip #9.
Develop a cleaning routine. Little tasks you will do each day and rotate until all areas of your home have been cleaned over the course of a month.
I use a combination of zone cleaning and the Passionate Penny Pincher method to keep my house clean with two Mastiffs.
As I illustrate in the video below, each day you get a new checklist to work through. Super simple things like exercise, make bed, and tidying main living area are listed every day. With the exception of my workouts, these tasks usually take me all of 10 minutes total at most to complete each morning.
The second set of tasks on each checklist are rotated throughout the month so that by the end you will have reached every area of your home at least once. These tasks are things like organize pantry, clean out the fridge, dust fans, etc.
The beauty of these checklists is that there are blank lines on each page where I add my dog cleaning items. So one day I will add, “wipe slobber on main.” Another line on the same day might say, “Run M-O on Main.” The next day I will write, “wipe walls downstairs” and “launder drool cloths.” Saturday’s list always includes, “pick up dog poop,” and “wash Big Barkers.”
I purchased both of my kids the Passionate Penny Pincher Academic Planner which uses a similar method of breaking down daily tasks. Both of my children also add dog-related items to their checklists such as, “wipe walls [in their bedroom],” “run M-O,” and “wash Big Barker.” Their chores are usually isolated to just the upstairs where Junior and Sulley, our Mastiffs, often sleep.
You may be asking, “How much time does it take to clean your home with dogs?”
With this system and routine, my list of big dog-related tasks takes at most 10 minutes each day. And most days significantly less than that.
Over the course of a week, I am able to clean up after my dogs in an organized and super manageable way.
Before I started using this system I would avoid having friends come over because that meant I had to spend the entire stressful day in a frenzy cleaning – wiping walls, vacuuming, cleaning dog beds, picking up toys, de-odorizing, etc. Wall wiping and floor cleaning were the most time-consuming and back-breaking, often taking many sweaty hours to complete.
Alternatively, with my new cleaning routine, Big Dog Mom HQ stays reasonably free of dog hair and slobber all of the time. My goal isn’t to have my home sanitized of all things DOG, but rather to prevent it from literally “going to the dogs.”
The key is consistency. Having a routine and sticking to it. Doing one or two quick and easy tasks each day results in saving your sanity and having a lot more friends!
If you are interested in learning more about my cleaning routine, the checklists I use, and how I implement the tips I’ve shared in this post, watch this video.
VIDEO: How To Have Large Dogs AND a Clean House | CLEAN WITH ME & Learn My Top Sanity-Saving Tips
The latest on Youtube:
How Do You Keep Your House Clean With Dogs?
I would love to know if you have used any of these tips to keep your house clean with large dogs.
Do you have any other tips or hacks you would add to this list that have helped you maintain your sanity with the dog mess in your home? Share with us in the comments below.
And if you have a friend who needs to be gently freed from the bondage of a dog hair and slobber-filled home, please share this with them.
With a little effort and a few great products, you can have a large dog AND a clean home at the same time.