Every pet is special and unique, but every pet parent has one thing in common: They love their pets, but they hate their pet’s messes.
Pet messes are an unfortunate fact of pet parenthood, but good planning, like having the right thing on hand when you need it, will take the pain out of pet cleanup. We asked pet experts — groomers, vets, celebrity pet experts and the pet parents on our staff — what they cannot live without when it comes to cleaning up after Fluffy or Fido. Ahead, we rounded up 20 of the very best products to address just about every mess your pet could make.
“This is my favorite enzymatic pet cleaner for a couple of reasons,” Dr. Zay Satchu, the co-founder and chief veterinary officer of Bond Vet, says. “It is naturally scented so there are no harsh chemicals, and the company donates one day worth of food to a pet shelter for every bottle sold.” Regardless of what brand of pet cleaner you choose, Satchu recommends using an enzymatic cleaner to ensure even the tiniest of particles in the mess are broken down.
Satchu swears by this extra-large sticky roller for cleaning pet hair from furniture and textiles like her couch and duvet cover. “I use mine every morning when I make my bed,” she says.
With five dogs at home, Julie Keck deals with pet messes on a regular basis. The human behind the super-popular Jackson The Dalmatian Instagram account, she says that Nature’s Miracle is one of the top three products she can’t live without. “For pet messes, this stuff is the best,” Keck says. “One point of caution, you do have to be careful as it can’t be used on specialty fabrics like leather or silk.”
Keck says of her cordless Dyson vacuum cleaner, “I use ours at least once a day, every day! Dalmatians shed a lot, and this vacuum easily picks up dog hair.” Keck praises the Animal’s ease of use. “I love that it doesn’t have a cord so it is easy to grab and use as needed. We have gone through several vacuums in our house and this one by far has been the best!”
Keck relies on Quick Shine’s floor cleaning solution to keep five dogs’ worth of dirt and grime at bay. “We have mostly hardwood floors in our house,” she says, “so we have to mop pretty regularly. We use Quick Shine products because they have no harsh chemicals and are safer for pets.”
Hayley Saltzman, our head of social media, reaches for Rocco & Roxie’s pet stain eliminator when her senior dog has an unfortunate senior moment. “My 16-year-old dog now seems to think that my entire apartment is a bathroom,” Saltzman says, “so this product has been a life-saver. It has consistently removed even the most disgusting stains and odors.”
To put it bluntly: This is The Stuff for cat pee. If you have a cat, you know that cat will, at some point in its little feline life, pee all over your things to express displeasure in a choice you have made. Bac-Out is The Stuff (capital T, capital S) that will save whatever Kitty has sprayed.
When a liquid accident occurs, the first step is to blot up as much liquid as possible. A highly absorbent towel is ideal for the job, but paper towels, dish cloths, bath towels, etc. work too. Blot until no more liquid is absorbed, then address any staining or odors.
When a deeper clean is called for, or to address stubborn, set-in stains, a carpet and upholstery cleaner machine is the right tool for the job. These machines work by forcing cleaning solution into fibers then extracting it back out, removing foreign matter and eliminating odors and allergens. Rosanne Salvatore, our deputy editor, says of the Spot Clean Pro, which handles the messiest of messes with ease, “This Bissell has saved my dog mama’s life.”
Senior dogs, their people and the planet can benefit from these washable pee pads. If your pet needs to use wee pads regularly, disposable pads, no matter how convenient, can become expensive and wasteful, making the switch to a set of washable underpads a good solution.
Emmy Favilla, our former deputy editor, swears by this plant-based carpet powder for keeping her dog’s odor from taking over entire rooms.
Stephanie Griffin, our senior digital content strategist, has a cavapoo named Teddy who she says “loves the beach and anything that has to do with grass or mud,” making regular baths a must. She uses the Aquapaw Dog Bath Brush to bathe Teddy after a messy romp.
While Teddy doesn’t shed, Griffin says that she struggles to maintain his “super curly, long-ish hair that is prone to getting tangled and smelly.” She uses these grooming wipes in between baths to keep Teddy’s fur from becoming a gross mess.
Teddy also “digs his claws into literally everything” (relatable!), prompting Griffin to invest in the Pawpawer paw cleaning system.
Dr. Bronner’s has many uses, but one that often goes unsung is how unbelievably good it is at removing stubborn odors. Use it instead of regular laundry detergent when washing pet bedding — or human clothing that has been on the receiving end of an unfortunate accident — to eliminate all traces of your pet.
Chelsea Stone, our deals editor, raves about Pretty Litter. After her small bathroom, which is home to her cat Phoebe’s box, took on a distinct cat pee smell, a skeptical Stone splurged on the trendy litter — and now she’ll never go back to the old stuff. “I am a stan,” she says. “It completely solved the problem. Seriously, no smell whatsoever. Also, it doesn’t clump; it just absorbs the pee, and you can just flush the poop down the toilet.” She says the ease of cleanup and odor-eliminating power of Pretty Litter makes it well worth the extra cost.
When it comes to removing pet hair from laundry, Jorge Bendersky, a celebrity dog groomer and author of “DIY Dog Grooming: From Puppy Cuts to Best in Show,” recommends addressing pet hair before it goes in the wash. “It is easier to remove the hair with a lint roller before you put the clothes in the washing machine,” he says, “but if that is not an option, things like the FurZapper work pretty well.”
“I love the Bissell Crosswave because it’s a vacuum and a mop in one,” Jess Rona, a celebrity dog groomer and judge on HBO Max’s “Haute Dog,” says. A hybrid vacuum-mop tool is a great choice for pet owners because of its versatility. They’re more cumbersome than traditional upright and handheld vacuums, but they also offer more cleaning power.
Kai Burkhardt, our associate editor, loves the ChomChom reusable pet hair remover. “There’s a million clones of this on Amazon,” he says, “but this is the one I’ve used and love!”
If you’re the parent of a pet who sheds, regularly grooming your animal is a crucial part of keeping all that hair from getting on everything you own. When it comes to at-home grooming, Burkhardt says, “we love this glove brush for baths.”