For millions of dog and cat owners, Fido and Fluffy aren’t just pets – they’re part of the family. But as much as we love our four-legged friends, they sure can make a mess of things: shedding fur, tracking mud and dirt into the house, and occasionally having an accident on that freshly-cleaned carpet. That’s why we’ve put together some simple tips to help make your pet clean-up easier and more effective. Prevention While it’s impossible to stop some pets from shedding, there are a few tricks you can use to keep pet hair from rolling freely across your home like tumbleweeds in a Western movie. Brushing your cat or dog regularly will help to minimize shedding, which makes your job easier. You can also limit the areas where your pets travel, by keeping closet doors closed. This will greatly reduce the time you spend cleaning up after your pet. Hairy Business Regular vacuuming will help the minimize the spread of pet hair and pet odor. For best results, use a vacuum with HEPA filters and motorized brushes on your carpet. You can also use your vacuum hose to clean furniture and pet beds. If pet smells have seeped into your carpet, sprinkle some baking soda on the carpet and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes before vacuuming. Don’t forget a pet owner’s best friend: the lint roller! Keep one of these handy to quickly clean up pet hair on clothes and furniture. Oops, I did it again! Speed is your friend when it comes to cleaning up after your pet’s accidents. Start by blotting the affected area with a dry towel (never scrub a wet stain; this will only push the stain deeper into the carpet). Keep changing towels and continue soaking up the stain until the area is dry. For more stubborn stains, mix up a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the stain and let it sit for five minutes, then blot the area dry the area with some clean towels. Finally, cover the area in baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes. The baking soda will soak up any leftover moisture, and will also help neutralize the smell. Vacuum up the baking soda once you’re done. If you have hardwood flooring, linoleum or tile, cleaning up accidents can be a little easier. Just make sure to use an antibacterial product, which will help disinfect the area and neutralize potential odors.