If you are moving into a house that previously had cats or dogs, I highly suggest that you take a few extra steps when cleaning to ensure your new home is properly cleaned and devoid of pet allergens that may have been left behind.
In this article I am going to teach you how to clean a house that had cats previously.
You might be faced with damaged carpets from a feline friend urinating on them or walls stained with cat spray. These home areas will be easy to miss during an initial walkthrough, especially since they can be covered up temporarily.
Always check in with the prior owner to see what pets have lived in your soon-to-be new house. Hopefully, they are the kind of people who will disclose the proper information to you, and you can find out if there are possibilities of pet messes to clean in the future.
Cat dander, for instance, is an allergen for many people.
You don’t want to live with any pet odors on a permanent basis!. So, it is especially important to properly and thoroughly clean a house that had cats if you have any allergies to pets, specifically cat hair.
Your allergies may not flare up right away. But over time, your allergies will start to surface since you live in a home contaminated with hidden cat hair and cat dander.
How to Clean a House That Had Cats:
- Ventilate the space well – Open all the windows and let the fresh air in to help clean out any lingering smells.
- Dust thoroughly and completely. Dust all surfaces starting from the top down, including door frames, window sills, kitchen countertops.
- Clean all surfaces. Wipe down every single surface in your home with warm soapy water.
- Clean ventilation and replace filters. Make sure to clean your air vents really well, a hepa vacuum is great for doing this.
- Attack any urine stains. It’s preferable to get rid of any carpets that may have urine stains, but if you can’t, you should use a steam cleaner to take care of the problem.
So knowing how to clean a house that had cats will make all the difference for you moving into your new place.
*This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
#1 Open all Windows to Air Out Your House
It will be much more difficult to properly clean your new house if you have to move the couch around and shift all your furniture to get into those hard-to-reach spots.
So to get your new house clean, I would highly encourage you to clean it BEFORE moving in.
Before you move into a home that previously had pets living inside of it, you should open up all of the windows and let the fresh air inside the house. This is great to do even if it is the dead of winter because the cold will come inside and freeze some of the dust mites that might cause you allergies in the future.
Letting sunshine inside the home can also be helpful because the sun has natural properties and can help disinfect the house.
It’s still a good idea to do a deeper clean later, but opening the windows and letting in the sunshine and fresh air is an excellent start to getting rid of dust mites, which feed on cat dander. It also helps to rid the house of any kitty litter smell you might be getting.
I would also recommend walking through your house to make sure any leftover cat litter has been removed, as well as the cat’s litter box. Check every room and closet for signs of kitty litter, doing this will help to remove lingering pet odors.
#2 Start Dusting
Start at the top of your house and dust everything. You want to make sure you are dusting the top of your door frames, window sills, ceiling fans. baseboards. Dust every single surface really well.
The best thing to use is a hepa vacuum if you have one. They are really good at capturing all of the cat dander and pet odors left behind.
As you start dusting, cat dander can cause allergic symptoms , you may want to look at getting a disposable filter mask to protect yourself.
Certain areas will need to be dusted more frequently after a cat leaves its mark on a home. The first area is the windows. Cats love to sit in sunny spots and watch the world go by, leaving behind a layer of fur on the window sill.
So give the window sills a really good dust, this will make a huge difference when it comes to cat dander and pet allergens in the air.
Think of areas where the cat ate or drank, and give those areas a deep clean.
By deep dusting these key areas, you can help keep your house clean and fur-free after the feline friend has moved out.
I know it sounds like a lot, but if you follow these tips, it really will help you to get your home clean, and keep your house clean once we get the cat smells out!
The goal here is to remove as much dust as possible from all surfaces in your home.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are small organisms that flourish in warm, humid environments. These unsavory pests are often found in mattresses, pillows, and upholstered furniture and survive on dead skin cells, like pet dander.
Dust mites are not dangerous, but can cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms of a dust mite allergy include,
- runny nose
- itchy eyes
- difficulty breathing
If you suspect that you may have an allergy to dust mites, there are a few things you can do. First, wash bedding and upholstered furniture in hot water regularly. You can also vacuum periodically, I love using the robot vacuum to pick up any loose hair on the floor.
You should also use a damp cloth to dust surfaces. Finally, consider investing in an air purifier to remove dust mites and pet dander from the air, this will help with your cat allergies tremendously. By taking these steps, you can help to reduce your exposure to these tiny creatures and relieve your allergy symptoms.
#3 Clean all Surfaces in the House
Now that you have dusted the entire house, it’s time to clean all surfaces to help rid your house of all the cat hair and cat dander.
Cat dander, fur, and pet odors can easily stick to your walls, floors, and drapes. Be sure to mop your floors and wipe down all walls (paying particular attention to baseboards) with a solution of water and soap.
Cat owners tend to allow their furry friends to get up on kitchen counters, so make sure to wipe every single surface down.
Again, a hepa vacuum is great for cleaning any window treatments you have.
#4 Clean & Replace the Filters & Vents
Now that you’ve finished dusting the house, it’s important to keep your HVAC system clean.
Replacing the furnace filters in your new home should already be standard practice. But if it is not, and you are moving into a home that previously had pets, then getting a new filter should be a priority.
A clean filter ensures that your home isn’t circulating dander and allergens around the house and will do a lot to decrease allergic reactions.
It would help if you always replaced the A/C or furnace filters when moving into a new house, but it is really important when you are moving into a home that previously occupied pets.
Vacuuming and sweeping can help to reduce the amount of loose hair in your home. Still, they will never be able to eliminate it completely. One way to help reduce the amount of pet hair in your home is to invest in high-quality air filters for your HVAC system.
These filters can capture a large amount of hair, dander, and other allergens, helping to create a healthier environment for you and your family. In addition, regular maintenance of your HVAC system will ensure that it is operating at peak efficiency, helping to improve the quality of your indoor air further.
I recommend waiting about 24hrs after dusting, to replace your air filters. This gives them time to capture any cat dander and allergens floating around.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to clean the vents yourself. Just make sure to turn off the power to the unit first, then use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove any debris. Again, a hepa vacuum is great for this job.
You can also use a mild detergent and warm water to scrub any stubborn buildup. Just be sure to rinse the vents thoroughly afterward.
If you can afford to hire professional cleaning services for this job – I highly recommend you do it, particularly if you are prone to asmtha.
Did you know that some pets can poop and urinate inside of these vents, and the cleaning crew won’t look in there or clean inside for you.
If you’re moving into the house in the summer, you may not notice any smells coming from the vents until wintertime.
Ugh, how gross would that be!
This is pretty gross, and many pet owners don’t know that their pets have done this in the past, so there has been no reason to clean there. When the smell gets pretty potent, is when it’s too late, so give this area a good clean.
Filter The Air with a Hepa Air Purifier
Did you know that cats are one of the most common sources of allergic reactions, and their dander and hair can trigger sneezing, congestion, and respiratory difficulties big time. HEPA air purifiers such as this one, can be a helpful way to reduce the number of allergens in the home.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and these filters are designed to capture tiny particles from the air, and remove contaminants. Using an air purifier, will significantly improve your air quality.
While not all machines on the market are genuine HEPA filters, many air purifiers contain similar technology that can still help reduce allergens. When looking for an air filter to minimize pet allergies, check for the HEPA certification.
#5 Get Rid Of Old Carpeting
If your new home has carpets and you have the chance to get rid of the carpets, do so right away. Homes that have had pets living inside will most likely have damaged carpeting, which can be a health hazard for you and your family members.
There may be food contaminants or pet filth left in those carpets so they have to go.
When removing old carpeting in a house that previously had cats, odors and smells can be a significant issue.
While the carpet may not have been the source of the odors, it can absorb the smell over time. As a result, removing the carpeting as soon as possible is essential to prevent odors from becoming embedded in the fabric.
So, if you can, treat yourself to some new carpeting, it will make all the difference.
In addition, it is also important to clean and disinfect all surfaces that come into contact with the old carpet. This will help to prevent the spread of odors and bacteria.
Once a carpet has been removed, it is important to clean the area thoroughly to remove any odors or smells that might be lingering.
First, start by vacuuming the area to remove any dust or debris. Then, deep clean the floor using a powerful cleaner and hot water.
Be sure to rinse the area well afterward. If the odors persist, you may need to treat the floor with an enzymatic cleaner to break down the odors at their source. With some elbow grease and the right products, you should be able to get rid of any lingering odors from your carpet removal.
#6 Deep Cleaning Carpets
If you cannot afford to get rid of the carpets in your home, I highly suggest doing a deep clean of the carpets using a steam cleaner and professional-grade carpet cleaning solution. You can rent steam cleaning machines, if you do not have easy access to one at home. Do a thorough vacuuming first to remove dander and hair.
Cat urine and other odors can penetrate deep into carpet fibers, making them difficult to remove with conventional cleaning methods. Deep cleaning involves using powerful cleansing agents and hot water to remove odors from the carpet padding and backing.
Professional carpet cleaners often use this method, and it can be very effective at removing stubborn odors. If you have light-colored carpets, a deep cleaning may help restore their original color.
This is important. If you can’t simply get rid of the carpets or replace them, giving them a deep clean is the next best thing. This is my favorite steam cleaner and carpet cleaning solution for cleaning carpets.
Always remember to spray a tiny bit in an area where it won’t be noticed. We do this to make sure the cleaning solution won’t ruin the carpet.
If you have cats living with you at home and you are looking for ways to get your house clean, keep reading.
How to Get Rid of Pet Odor in Hardwood Floors
Let’s look at the most effective methods for removing pet smell from hardwood flooring.
Because hardwood floors are an expensive luxury, it’s critical to preserve them in good shape.
Use gloves for all these procedures to protect yourself from.
Gloves are an important part of protecting yourself when working with pet urine. They help to keep your hands clean and prevent the spread of bacteria. In addition, gloves provide a barrier between your skin and the urine, which can contain harmful chemicals.
Using Baking Soda
This one is ideal for dealing with messes caused by pets. Any pet owner knows that accidents happen. Whether your cat misses the litter box or hates the litter box, dealing with urine stains and smells can be a challenge.
However, baking soda is an easy and inexpensive way to clean up even the worst mess.
Baking soda acts as a natural deodorizer that can neutralize both the smell and the urine stain. Spread baking soda on the affected area and let it sit for several hours. Once the baking soda has had time to work, vacuum it up or blot it dry with a clean cloth.
You may need to repeat this process a few times to remove the stain.
Eventually, you will be glad to hear that the baking soda will lift the urine and leave your surfaces smelling fresh and clean.
- Using paper towels, soak up as much cat pee as possible.
- Using a moist towel, wipe the area clean.
- Using a towel, dry the area.
- Apply a substantial amount of baking soda to the area where your pet peed.
- Allow at least eight hours for the baking soda to dissolve. Baking soda absorbs moisture and eliminates smells.
- Carefully vacuum it up.
Use a hardwood-safe disinfectant to clean the flooring. To kill germs from the urine, wash the towel at a high temperature and dry it in the tumble dryer.
Using Special Pet Odor Remover
This procedure is excellent for hardwood floors that have been sealed. Simply ensure that the product you purchase is suitable for use on hardwood floors.
- Using paper towels, soak up any extra pee.
- Using a moist cloth or sponge, clean the area.
- Using a towel, thoroughly dry the area.
- Spray the affected area with the odor-removing product.
- Allow it to sit for the specified amount of time on the package.
- Using a clean moist cloth or sponge
- Fresh water should be used to rinse the area.
- Using a clean towel, thoroughly dry the area.
To kill germs, wash the cleaning products you used — sponges, rags, and towels — in a hot wash.
Vinegar Baking Soda Mix
Don’t have a pet odor eliminator?
This is a wonderful way to eliminate old pet stains and odors from any type of wood floor.
Baking soda and vinegar are two everyday household products you can use to clean up a cat smell and stains. Baking soda works by neutralizing the acid in the urine, which helps to reduce the smell.
Vinegar also helps to break down the urine proteins, making it easier to remove the smell and the stain.
Together, these two ingredients can effectively clean up and remove smells left by cats.
- In a cup, combine 13 cups of distilled white vinegar, 14 cups of baking soda, and a drop of dish soap.
- Fill a spray bottle with it and soak the affected area.
- Allow for 15 minutes of resting time.
- Using a clean cloth, wipe it down.
- Overnight, sprinkle baking soda over the affected region.
- Vacuum first thing in the morning.
- If the odor persists, repeat the procedure.
To ensure that your flooring is not damaged, always test in an inconspicuous location first.
Will Hydrogen Peroxide Damage Hardwood Floors?
Hydrogen peroxide is not harmful to hardwood flooring. I haven’t recommended it because it’s more for stains than scents. Even if you’ve removed the odor but still have a stain, this is a smart option to consider.
Surfaces are left clean and debris-free after the cleaning solution breaks down dirt and grime. Further, hydrogen peroxide kills any harmful bacteria that may be present on the floor through its disinfectant properties.
- Fill a spray bottle with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and apply it on the stain.
- Allow for some time to pass before wiping with a microfiber towel.
- For tough stains, you’ll need to put in some elbow grease.
- Rinse the area well.
- Thoroughly dry the area.
To ensure the hydrogen peroxide won’t stain your floors, test it in an inconspicuous area first.
Cleaning A House That Previously Had Pets
If you have allergies to pets and are moving into a place that did house indoor pets, then you might want to take these things very seriously and learn how to clean a house that had cats, to help ensure a clean house before you move in.
If you are particularly allergic to cat dander, dander loves to hide in carpets, so I would personally consider living in a home that had more laminate or hardwood flooring instead of carpets.
Laminate flooring is also much easier to clean.
I recommend vacuuming your laminate flooring daily because it’s so easy to see cat hair, as well as cat litter droppings all over your floor. Even a robot vacuum is good as long as it has a good filter.
Regardless of the type of animal that might have lived in your home before you moved in, there is still a chance this microscopic dander ends up all over the house, even if you cannot see it. This is why a proper and thorough cleaning needs to be done prior to moving in, so you will actually move into a clean house!.
I hope I have provided you with all the information you need to feel comfortable moving into a house that had pets.
How Do You Keep Your (Cat) House Smelling Fresh?
Maybe you have cats yourself and you are just looking for information on how to keep a house clean with cats? Keep reading for some of my favorite tips for keeping a clean home with cats!
Litter Box Maintenance
Litter box maintenance is vital for the health of your cat. A cat’s litter box should be scooped at least once a day and more often if possible. This can be a great chore for a little one.
You should change the kitty litter completely every week or two and wash the kitty litter box with soap and water every month.
It’s also important to keep the kitty litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area of your home. If you have multiple cats, it’s best to provide a kitty litter box for each cat.
Enzymatic Cleaners On Pet Stains
When it comes to cleaning up after our furry friends, enzymatic cleaners are often the best choice. These products utilize enzymes to break down the proteins that cause pet stains, leaving your carpets and furniture looking as good as new.
Enzymatic cleaners are safe to use around pets and children, and they are often more effective than traditional cleaners.
However, it is important to read labels carefully before using any cleaner on carpet or upholstery, as some enzymes can damage delicate fabrics.
With some care, enzymatic cleaners can help keep your home looking its best.
Clean Your Pet Bedding Often
Your pet’s bedding should be kept clean to keep your home fresh. Not only will this prevent pet odors and smells, but it will also help to keep your pet free from parasites and other pests.
Pet owners should clean bedding regularly to remove all the cat hair, and soiled areas should be spot-cleaned as soon as possible.
Use a mild detergent and warm water when washing your pet’s bedding. Be sure to rinse the bedding thoroughly to remove all traces of soap. Once the bedding is dry, you can give it back to your dog or cat.
Run an Air Filter
A good HEPA air purifier can make a huge difference in your home if you have pets. These filters will clear much of the allergens from your air, making it smell fresh. I highly recommend one for a cat owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does Pet Dander Stay in a House?
Pet dander can stay in a home for up to six months after the pet has been removed unless extra precautions are taken. Follow my steps above to get rid of pet dander in your home.
Dander allergens are sticky, and dander in soft materials such as carpets, mattresses, upholstered furniture, and clothes can linger for extended periods of time.
Brush your cat regularly and vacuum right after to help reduce dander in the house going forward.
How Do You Remove Cat Dander From the Previous Owner?
Dander can persist for months; therefore, regular cleaning is essential for permanently eliminating it. HEPA air cleaners are another technique to eliminate environmental allergens and reduce exposure while cleaning the house.
Can Cat Hair Go Into Your Lungs?
When pet hair and dander are breathed, the small hairs and other hazardous particles can go down into the lung and become lodged there. This can eventually inflame the lung lining and damage the airways, leading to persistent lung disease. This is frequently referred to as ‘Groomers Lung.’
As long as you follow my steps above all about cleaning a house with cats, you will be able to easily rid your home of cat dander and cat hair.
Get your house clean today!
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