Erasing Paw Prints: How to Get a Pet’s Mark Out of a Home Going on the Market

Kate Niestrom

By Kate Niestrom

A lot of work goes into finding a family the perfect home. As a real estate agent, you know that each family is different, and each member has a different wish list of things that transform the houses you show them into their potential dream home. Combining everything together can be sort of like putting together a puzzle, and one puzzle piece that you don’t want to forget is the family pet.

While most families love that their home reflects the love they have for their pets, families do not want to see traces of a previous owners’ furry family members in the air, furniture or floors.

There are a few options you can offer a family trying to erase accidents and paw prints from their home as they get ready to put their house on the market.

Vacuuming everyday will certainly help keep some fur from being visible, but many times the issues go deeper than just the surface. Enlist the help of a cleaning company that specializes in pet treatments for carpet and flooring. Carpet is the biggest air filter in the home, so it is especially important to properly remedy any issues to ensure optimal indoor air quality and appearance.

When trying to get out biological matter such as pet stains or odors, it is important to understand a standard cleaning won’t do the job. Piling on soap and shampoo will just push it further into the fibers, and the heat from the tools may even make the smell stronger or cause stains to set-in.

If the biological matter has gone beyond the surface of the carpet and into the pad and backing, you’ll need a company that has a deep saturation and extraction process. We all know that once our pets find their “special spot,” they love to go back and use it as their personal relief area again and again. It is spots like these that need special attention. If left untreated, these spots and odor might just go past the point of no return and turn into a stain. Once this happens, the only thing that can be done is complete carpet replacement.

Regardless of the severity, what you’re not going to want to do is reach for chemical-based products like Spot Shot or Resolve. These will only mask the odor, bleach the carpet and cause discoloration, while also adding substances to the home that may be unsafe for future residents’ pets and children. These products also may cause adverse reactions for people more prone to allergy sensitivities.

The same goes for all other surfaces in your home. A thorough cleaning of your furniture, area rugs, even the walls as oils and dirt are easily transferred from Fido to your home. Hiring professional cleaners with a service guarantee that use pet and kid friendly products will undoubtedly improve the appearance and air quality of your home.

It may seem that once you have the floors, furniture and surfaces cleaned and sanitized, all traces of the pets will be erased, but you’d be surprised how much pet hair and dust get blown around in a house’s ventilation system. Making sure the furnace air filter has been recently changed is an easy quick fix as buyers and home inspectors will be checking the condition of the furnace in great detail.

Another important consideration is the air duct system. Indoor air quality can be two to five, sometimes 100 times more polluted than outdoor air according to the EPA. As close as we want to be to our pets, breathing in their dead skin cells is probably not what most people have in mind. In the case of air quality, having prospective homebuyers not notice it is the goal.

Getting the entire ventilation system cleaned out and installing a high-quality air filter will make sure that no one leaves an otherwise-perfect house turning up their nose and sneezing because of Fido’s odor and dander.

A few other quick tips before any showing:

• Have a plan to relocate your pet for showings and open houses.

• Keep cat litter boxes and dog pads clean and out of sight at all times.

• Put away food and water bowls.

• Pick up pet toys, stands and carriers so they are out of sight.

• Vacuum and dust religiously.

• Call the professionals to help with last minute cleaning or staging needs.

Ultimately, pets increase the value of every family, but not always the value of every home. Removing signs that you have a pet is simply smart practice. Why turn off a buyer at the get-go? It’s those first impressions that are crucial to sell a home and get top dollar.

Kate Niestrom is a marketing professional at Zerorez. Zerorez cleans and sanitizes with patented Empowered Water eliminating the need for harsh soaps, shampoos and etergents. Zerorez cleans carpet, tile and grout, upholstery, area rugs, and air ducts to service both residential and commercial clients. When nothing but new will do, Zerorez now offers custom flooring replacement and installation too! You can contact Kate with questions or comments at or (651) 779-8888 ext. 132.