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Removing Pet Stains and Allergens: Preparing Homes For New Owners

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Removing Pet Stains and Allergens: Preparing Homes For New Owners

Why It’s Important to Remove Pet Dander and Stains

As a homeowner preparing to sell my house, I know it’s critical to thoroughly clean up any evidence of pets before putting the property on the market. Potential buyers may have allergies or simply prefer a pet-free home. Failing to eliminate pet dander, hair, and stains can turn off prospective buyers and even lower my home’s value.

In this article, I’ll share the methods I’m using to rid my home of pet allergens and stubborn stains before listing it for sale. My goal is to help other sellers facing this common scenario. A deep clean removes traces of pets and leaves spaces fresh for incoming residents.

Locating Problem Areas Caused by Pets

The first step is identifying where pets have left the biggest impact in my home. I make a list of places to tackle:

  • Carpets and rugs: Years of pet footsteps and accidents lead to stains, odors, and ground-in hair and dander. Flooring needs a deep shampoo or steam clean.

  • Upholstered furniture: Fur sticks to couches, chairs, pillows, and beds. I’ll thoroughly vacuum and spot clean.

  • Air ducts and vents: Pet dander and hair circulate through HVAC systems. Air duct cleaning removes allergens.

  • Drapes and blinds: Pets brush up against window treatments, leaving hair behind. It’s important to vacuum and wipe them down.

  • Cars and garages: Don’t forget vehicles! I’ll shampoo seats and floors to remove odors.

Making a list helps me organize and prioritize problem areas. This ensures I don’t miss any spots in my pet allergen removal process.

Eliminating Pet Odors and Stains

Pet urine is one of the toughest stains and odors to conquer. Where pets have had accidents, it’s crucial to completely deodorize and disinfect.

Here are products and techniques I use to attack pet odor sources:

  • Enzyme-based cleaners: Enzyme cleaners work to break down the compounds in urine that cause odor. I spray affected areas thoroughly before drying.

  • White vinegar: For heavy stains, I mix equal parts white vinegar and water and blot up as much liquid as possible. Then I apply baking soda and vacuum up after it dries.

  • Hydrogen peroxide: Diluted hydrogen peroxide is another effective odor neutralizer. Just test first for color safety.

  • Blacklights: A blacklight helps identify all areas pets have urinated since it causes stains to fluoresce. This way, I don’t miss any spots in my cleanup process.

  • Odor sealing primers: For heavily soaked areas like pet beds and carpeting, I may apply an odor sealing primer before new flooring is installed.

Eliminating stains and smells requires patience and persistence. But it’s a critical step before putting my home on the market.

Removing Pet Hair and Dander from Surfaces

In addition to stains and odor, excessive pet hair and dander can be a turn off for buyers. Here are some ways I thoroughly remove all traces from my home:

  • Vacuum. I vacuum all carpets, hard floors, drapes, furniture, shelves and more. I empty vacuum containers after each use so hair isn’t recirculated.

  • Lint rollers and masking tape. For upholstery, fabrics, and carpets, I use lint rollers or masking tape to lift up pet hair. This tackles hair that vacuuming misses.

  • Air filter replacements. I replace furnace filters and clean the vents so no pet dander recirculates after cleaning.

  • Wet wiping. For surfaces like walls, cabinets, and baseboards, I use microfiber cloths and warm water to grab onto pet hair. Dryer sheets also work well for wiping.

  • Rubber brooms. I use a rubber broom on textured floors and tiles to sweep up pet hair from grout. The rubber bristles work better than vacuums.

  • Steam clean. Finally, I use a steam cleaner on any remaining stubborn surfaces where pet hair lingers like upholstery or small crevices.

Being diligent now removes the traces of my beloved pets and leaves the home fresh and allergen-free. This small amount of effort pays off big when buyers walk through their dream home.

Preparing Home Ventilation Systems

In addition to cleaning surfaces, I also tackle the air ducts and ventilation systems. Pet dander and allergens get pulled through HVAC systems, then recirculated throughout the home.

Here are tips to refresh home ventilation:

  • Hire an HVAC professional to clean air ducts. They use powerful suction to remove contaminants.

  • Replace central air filters with high efficiency pleated filters to catch more allergens.

  • Have an energy auditor perform a blower door test to identify any areas where allergens could enter through leaks. Seal up gaps.

  • Install high quality air purifiers and change filters regularly to remove allergens from the air.

Addressing ducts, filters and ventilation ensures my deep clean isn’t undone by recirculating allergens. This keeps the home’s air fresh.

Mistakes to Avoid When Removing Pet Allergens

In my journey to remove pet allergens for selling my home, I’ve made some mistakes as well. Here are pitfalls to avoid:

  • DIY duct cleaning – Don’t attempt to duct clean yourself. Leave it to HVAC professionals with powerful vacuum tools.

  • Masking odors – Don’t try to mask odors with products like air fresheners or scented candles. Eliminate the source completely.

  • Skipping hard to reach areas – Don’t forget to meticulously clean under and behind furniture and appliances where hair accumulates.

  • Rushing the process – Don’t try to do it all in one day. Set aside enough time for a thorough, methodical removal process.

  • Neglecting ceilings and walls – Look up! Pet dander floats and settles on surfaces like ceiling fan blades and walls. Clean thoroughly.

Pet owners preparing their home for sale face an uphill battle. But with elbow grease and the right cleaning methods, I’m confident I can get my house shining for buyers. Removing all traces of pets and allergens takes work, but pays dividends in the sale.

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