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How I Clean Pet Laundry

I mentioned waay back in July (and I'm sure other times as well) that Mr. Kitsune suffers from flea allergy dermatitis.  When I say suffers, he really suffers.  A single flea bite is enough to send him into a frenzy where he'll scratch and bite at himself until he bleeds.  He sometimes looses spots of fur, and his skin gets dry and crusty.  Yeah, it's not pretty.

When the weather is warmer, aka flea season, we double up on Kit's protection.  I bathe him with FleaHex natural flea shampoo but also, as of late, use a topical preventative from the vet too.  This two prong approach has worked well for us during the height of flea season.  In the fall/spring, when contact with fleas is possible, but not as likely as in the warmer months, we switch over to using only the flea shampoo.  A big part of keeping fleas and other pests at bay is making sure that our house is cleaned often.  Plus hey, who doesn't like a nice clean house?

Besides vacuuming often (usually daily) I do my best to keep up with the laundry - the pet laundry especially.  We don't have laundry machines of our own where we are currently living, unfortunately, so we make use of the local laundromat.  I'll admit that because of this I sometimes get a bit behind when it comes to the laundry.  I can only carry so much to the laundromat at a time, and I usually only go once a week.

I personally like to keep pet laundry separate from the human laundry, stuff like our clothing and bedding.  It's not that the pets or their laundry grosses me out, but the dogs' stuff (especially Fen's stuff) will often have quite a bit of fur on it and I like to avoid transferring this to our clothing if at all possible.  This was an especially big deal when we still had Barnaby, as his blankets would usually be covered in fur and bits of hay.  I use a plastic hamper to hold pet laundry until laundry day.  It's not the prettiest method of storing dirty laundry, but it gets the job done.  I especially like that it's easy to clean out and disinfect as needed.

Before taking my pets' laundry to the laundromat I remove as much fur from it as possible.  For items like blankets or plush toys I'll shake them out a bit before packing them up in my laundry bag.  Larger items like pet beds can be vacuumed with a vacuum hose.  I don't personally pretreat any of my pet items so I can't offer much advice there.  I don't usually have issues with major stains on pet items and if I did, my dogs wouldn't care.

This might sound weird, but for pet as well as human laundry I use homemade detergent and fabric softener.  If you purchase laundry products look for detergents that are hypoallergenic and free from perfumes and dyes.  Pets can have sensitive skin and dogs in particular are sensitive to strong odors.  For this reason as well, fabric softener isn't usually recommended when washing pet laundry.

I dry most of my pets' laundry in the drier.  I've noticed that doing so helps to remove any remaining stuck on fur.  Be careful if you're drying things like dog sweaters or fuzzy plush toys.  Pet clothing, like human clothing, will often have a tag with care instructions that will tell you if it's safe to be machine dried or not.  Plush toys that have fuzzy fur can be destroyed in the drier, so it's best to air dry them.

Washing and drying plush toys with squeakers has been hit or miss for me.  Sometimes they'll come out unscathed, but other times their squeakers will be ruined.  If I'm washing a toy that my dogs are rather impartial too I'll often take the risk and wash them in the machines at the laundromat.  If it's something they especially like I'll err on the side of caution and opt to hand wash.

The types of things I'll usually wash in machines include blankets, some plush toys, pet beds, and rarely dog clothing (rarely only because I don't often put clothing on my dogs).  Things like collars, leashes, and the dogs' harnesses I usually just hand wash.  That way I don't have to worry about them getting tangled up in the machines, plus they are easy to hand wash and dry pretty quickly.

Did I forget anything?  Interested in my recipes for homemade laundry products?  Comment below!  Let us know if you have any tips for keeping pet laundry fresh and clean or just share what you do with your pets' laundry.

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