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Five Cleaning Products That Cat Owners Should Always Keep Stocked

Graphic: Shep McAllister
5 Neat Things5 Neat ThingsJolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast “Ask a Clean Person.” Each week, she’ll round up five essential cleaning products, tools and organizational systems to help you live your tidiest lives.

I get SO many questions about cat messes. Dogs too! Less so iguanas, which is sad for me because I’d like to learn more about iguana care. Because I get so many questions about cat messes, I know that they fall into some pretty clearly identifiable categories — pee, fur — and I also have an arsenal of products that I know I can recommend when I’m presented with a cat mess problem. Here are some of them!

Biokleen Bac-Out

Biokleen Bac-Out is hands-down the best cleaning solution for cleaning and deodorizing cat urine.
Graphic: Shep McAllister

In this week’s Squalor, I answered a question from a reader whose cats were peeing everywhere except in their litter boxes. Cats! You love them, and they love to capitalize on that love by peeing on your things. Tricky little beasts! But you, you’re trickier than your cats, and you read The Inventory so you know that Biokleen Bac-Out is The Thing for nuking cat pee smells and stains. Seriously, get this stuff if you have cats. Or dogs. Or toddlers. Or, hmm sure? College students. Look, pee happens. Bac-Out is here to help.

Mothers Upholstery Brush

If your cat pees on something you can’t just throw in the wash, this upholstery brush can work your cleaning solution deep into the fabric.
Photo: Amazon

This inexpensive upholstery brush is a good thing to know about, even if you don’t have cats (what are you, the not-cat parent, doing reading this though?) Upholstery brushes allow you to better clean carpet, upholstery, and other non-launderable fabric covered items like car floor mats and seats, when used in concert with a product like Bac-Out, by working the solution into the fibers. Agitation helps to lift dirt and grime, and can also allow you to work the cleaning solution deeper into cushions or carpet padding, allowing it to nuke odor-causing bacteria that surface cleaning can’t reach.

Bissell Pet Stain Eraser

When a handheld brush fails, the Bissell Pet Stain eraser is an electric device that can help you get the most stubborn pet stains out of fabrics.
Graphic: Shep McAllister

We’ve established that you love your kitties, and that your kitties WILL pee on your things. They will pee in your suitcase, they will pee on your bed. While your suitcase can be wiped clean with Biokleen Bac-Out, possibly in concert with that upholstery brush I suggested above… well, you can’t just chuck that in the washing machine. Enter the carpet and upholstery cleaning machine! There are different models (upright, corded portable, cordless) each with pros and cons, but this handheld number is reasonably priced and is super easy to use—because it’s cordless, you do lose some power and, of course, you’ll have to remember to charge it between uses, but it gives you more flexibility to use in, say, the car than do corded options.

Mr. Clean Latex-Free Gloves

Mr. Clean Latex-Free Gloves can help you get fur out of fabrics, no other materials required. Just rub your gloved hand across the fabric to ball up the hair.
Graphic: Shep McAllister

Rubber household gloves serve a great many purposes: They’re essential for chores that involve caustic products, like oven cleaning (provided you’re using oven cleaner and not elbow grease-ing it up with baking soda and a scrub sponge, that is), ideal for people with sensitive hands when it comes to dish-doing, and, weirdly enough, a perfect tool for removing cat hair from fabric. I know! Weird but true. Just don a rubber household glove, run your be-gloved hand across a furry couch, or duvet cover, or pair of dungarees, and the rubber will cause the hair to clump up into a tidy ball you can pluck up and toss in the trash.

Litter Genie

From the folks who brought you Diaper Genie, Litter Genie locks away litter odors without forcing you to take out the trash every day.
Graphic: Shep McAllister

This product recommendation comes to us from a reader! Thank you, readers! The Litter Genie is, essentially, a Diaper Genie for kitty litter ... actually, it’s literally a Diaper Genie for kitty litter—it’s made by the same company as the Diaper Genie. The idea is that you scoop used litter into the Litter Genie and it does its Litter Genie thing such that you don’t have to take the litter-y trash out to avoid having your home smell, well, litter-y. Here’s what automaticdoor had to say of the Litter Genie, the last time we huddled up in this space to talk about your cats: “I’ve become an evangelist for this product. It means I don’t have to take out the trash every night—it truly seals in smells.”

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About the author

Jolie Kerr

Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert, advice columnist and the host of the podcast Ask a Clean Person