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Nothing takes a toll on a home’s interior like those repeated doggy cleanups, and the combination of piddles and pawprints will continue to wear away your décor if you don’t take steps to repel dirt and resist bacteria — and follow up by using helper products to keep things cleaner longer. Taken together, these measures work so well they could make a house seem as if it’s cleaning itself.

1. Low-maintenance floors and rugs

Ceramic or porcelain tile is a no-brainer for a floor that feels and looks fresh after just a quick soapy mop-up. But you don’t have to give up rugs if you use the outdoor type indoors. Thom Filicia for Safavieh has designer looks you can hose clean and drip dry. Or use FLOR modular carpet tiles and buy extras to swap in if a couple of them get soiled.

2. Impervious upholstery

Borrow a trick from the hotel industry and buy only pretreated upholstered furniture. Most fabrics can be treated to repel water, resist stains, and block out bacteria that cause odor. Furnishings that have already been protected often wear labels from DuPont or Crypton.

Another super-fast helper? Sofa and chair slipcovers. They come in many colors or patterns, and some are lined with protective rubber undersides. They don’t look like the ones grandma used.

3. Germ-free countertops

Bacteria-resistant surfaces include recycled glass, quartz, stainless steel, and solid surfacing made from plastic polymers (the best-known is Corian). If you’re like many owners who devote parts of their counters to dog food prep and grooming, you need one of these nonporous, antimicrobial materials, which require only a soapy wipe to stay clean. Soft, porous counters of marble, wood, or some granite may look great, but they require constant resealing to stay hygienic — and that means more work for dog owners.

4. Filtered air

Just like a HEPA filter for a vacuum, there’s a filter for the whole house. Install a powerful filter on your furnace to clean indoor air of particles smaller than the thickness of a strand of hair. You can add an electrostatic filter, which doesn’t need replacing for fifteen years, and removes 94% of particles — including pet dander, dust mites, and synthetic fibers.

5. Vaccuum power

Wherever there’s pet hair, there will be vacuuming. But if you combine these features in one machine, you’ll get it done in fewer passes:

  • Upright canister for carpeting.
  • HEPA filter — and replace it often.
  • Strong suction, regardless of claims of horsepower, watts, or amps, which are measures of electrical current, not pickup.
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