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Here's the truth about having pets: They shed their hair everywhere, while muddy paws stain your carpets, and the litter box may spread that nasty cat pee smell all over your home.
Does this look too familiar?
Would you rather see this?
There's no denying, keeping a pet home clean and smelling fresh is a challenge! But it can be done, and it's actually a no-sweat job. The catch? You have to know exactly what to do (and in what order).
The thing is that if you're serious about keeping your home clean, you need to be very systematic. This is actually where most people fall short - they're probably familiar with most of the "ingredients" but not with the "recipe."
Today I'm going to show you the Triangle Approach - the "secret recipe," including ALL the ingredients. Yes, it takes some work, but I guarantee it's not complicated.
So if you want a home that looks like you never even had a furry, smelly and messy roomie, this post is for you.
Let's get started!
- 1 Why are pet homes challenging to keep clean?
- 2 The Triangle Approach
- 3 Final thoughts
Why are pet homes challenging to keep clean?
The answer is actually very simple: one of your family members provides an endless supply of pet hair, dander and drool, and a random mix of urinary accidents, muddy paw prints, smelly cat litter and other nasty stuff that makes it more challenging for you to keep your home clean.
Some pets shed more than others, while some pets may keep you busy by marking their territory.
In short: Most pets add to the mess in your home in some way.
And, as pets can't clean up after themselves, the task is left to the owner. Although it may feel like the neverending battle against pet hair is something you can not win, there are many things you can do to keep your house clean, fresh, and pet hair-free.
If you or your family members have allergies or asthma, it's even more important to keep your home clean. Pet dander is one of the most common allergy triggers, and although there are hypoallergenic breeds of cats and dogs, they all still produce dander and may cause allergic reactions. Keeping your home clean will reduce allergens and relieve symptoms.
Now that we've covered the question of why there is a problem in the first place let's dive into the details and see how you can keep your home spick-and-span - even with pets.
The Triangle Approach
Now here's the thing: If you want to keep your home spotless, the key is to approach the problem from three angles. Only by doing so, you'll be able to keep your home clean with as little effort and time spent on cleaning as possible.
Let me explain what happens if you skip one of these angles:
- Skip grooming
- Results: Constant supply of more pet hair, mud, and dander everywhere = very hard to keep your home clean
- Workload: more work and time spent on cleaning
- Skip having the right equipment for the job
- Results: Not being able to clean all areas thoroughly, and not being able to keep your home clean
- Workload: More work and time spent on cleaning
- Skip having a cleaning routine
- Results: Mess builds up, not being able to keep your home clean
- Workload: More work and time spent on cleaning
The good news? By following the Triangle Approach, you'll able to keep your home clean and fresh - every single day.
1. Minimize pet hair, dander, and smells
by grooming your pet properly.
2. Have the right equipment
to tackle your cleaning chores in different areas of your home.
3. Stick to a cleaning routine
and take care of upkeep cleaning.
It may seem like a burdensome process, but once you get used to keeping up the cleanliness one small step at a time, you will wonder why you didn’t do it before. With just a few minutes here and there, your home will always be spotless.
And next, I'm going to tell you exactly how this can be done:
Minimize pet hair, dander,
Keeping your pet home clean should not only focus on cleaning and how it should be done.
In fact, to win the battle, you have to go to the source.
To minimize the cleaning that has to be done, you need to start with your pet.
And in this chapter, I’ll cover everything you need to know.
Regularly brushing your pet will keep the shedding to the minimum and drastically reduce how much pet hair is going around.
Cats may shed several hundred thousand hairs every day – EVERY day! No wonder everything seems to be covered in that stuff.
To keep the pet hair from invading your home, you need to catch it when it's loose, but it has not yet been wafted into the air. And brushing is definitely the best solution for doing this.
You need to brush your pet regularly. And with regularly we mean every day. Yes, every day. Again, it may seem like this huge chore, but it doesn't have to be. This is how it's done:
- First of all, you need the right equipment.
Some owners prefer slicker brushes or combs while others love pin brushes or grooming gloves. You need to buy a brush that is suitable for your pet's coat, and that you both are comfortable using. You can find tips for finding the perfect brush here.
- It will take just a few minutes every day.
You can do it while you're watching your favorite series or if you prefer to brush your pet outside, you can think of it as a nice bonding moment in the fresh air.
Just pick up that brush and use a couple of minutes to brush through your pet's fur. You will see a huge difference in your home. All the time spend brushing your pet is less time spent cleaning. And spending time close to your pet will even help with your stress - unlike the growing mess!
Not all pets need grooming, but many do!
Even if it's just a little trim, it will help you keep your pet clean – which will also keep your home neat.
- First of all, giving your pet the hair cut they need will reduce pet hair that is being shed.
- Secondly, a shorter coat is easier to keep clean, and it will also be less smelly.
If you don't want to spend all that money on a visit to the professional groomer, a few Youtube videos and a good pair of clippers may save you quite a few bucks. If it's just a little trim, you can easily do it yourself!
Brushing is something that most furry pets will benefit from; it will keep their coat glossy and remove loose hair that tends to matt.
Animals with double coats have two layers of fur: one short, soft, and woolly, which is called an undercoat, and another layer of longer hairs called the top coat. A majority of the pet hair you see floating around your home is hair that has been shed from the undercoat.
A de-shedding tool can reach through the topcoat and remove loose undercoat hair before it is wafted into the air reducing the amount of pet hair that needs to be cleaned up.
It will help you keep your home free of pet hair, but more importantly, it will prevent your pet's fur from matting.
For tips on choosing a de-shedding tool for your pet, see here.
Most pets really only need to be bathed when they get dirty. Animals will have a natural animal smell, and your dog or cat is not supposed to smell like roses.
That said, sometimes, your pet just needs to be bathed. If their fur becomes dirty and smelly, it's time for a thorough cleanup!
Most importantly, keeping your pet clean will help them stay healthy, but bathing can also reduce shedding since a good scrub will help remove loose hair.
Since it will also make your pet smell nicer, many pet owners are eager to get out the bathtub.
Just remember that using the wrong shampoo will do more harm than good, and you should always brush your pet before getting them wet. These articles will give you more tips on how to bath your cat or dog.
Pet food is not something that comes into your mind when you think about pets and cleaning. However, the diet can have a significant impact when it comes to keeping your home clean.
When fed with high-quality food that offers the right nutritional balance, your pet will have a beautiful glossy coat.
And since a healthy coat prevents excessive shedding, it will also have an impact on how much pet hair you see floating around your house.
Training your pet is also one of the most effective ways to keep your home clean. When they cause less mess, there is less for you to clean up.
Dogs can easily be trained to use their own bed for sleeping. Get your pooch a comfortable dog bed that has a machine washable cover and teach them to use the bed for napping instead of the couch. Doing this will save you a lot of work because your furniture won't be covered in pet hair.
Another great tip is to buy a doormat and teach your dog to sit on it until you have wiped his paws. If possible, you could also place a container of water outside your door and teach your dog to wait until you have dipped his paws in the water and dried them up.
Housetraining, of course, is an essential part of training your pet as well. Doing their business outside makes sure you won't have a nasty smell of urine lingering in your home.
However, sometimes dogs have accidents and some more than others. If you have a pup, a senior dog, or a dog that has incontinence, you should at least train them to use a puppy pad. Being highly absorbent, they keep in the urine as well as the smell.
Cats are usually not that easy to train, but there are some things you can do in this area too. Find your cat a cat bed they find comfortable to minimize the cat hair that is shed on the couch. Also, make sure they learn to use the litter box to avoid that cat pee smell.
- Brush, groom and bathe your pet to minimize shedding
- Offer a balanced diet for your pet to prevent excess shedding
- Train your pet to use a pet bed to reduce the need to clean
Keep your home clean
with the right equipment
Ok, so once you've minimized the need to clean up in the first place, you need to focus on keeping your home clean.
The trick? To have the right equipment that makes cleaning quick and easy. With functional cleaning equipment that works for those pet-related messes, you will save not only time, but you will make your life easier.
Struggling with inefficient appliances will just make you give up cleaning and guarantee a pet hair-infested and stinky house.
Also, different areas of your home need to be cleaned with different equipment. And that’s what this chapter is all about.
Floors, carpets and area rugs
With pets in the house, floors, carpets, and rugs are some of the most critical areas that need to be kept clean.
- Often shed pet hair, and dander is wafted into the air landing on the floor. If not vacuumed, it will give your home a dirty look and add to that unpleasant pet odor.
- Also, dirty paws and urine accidents may be a big problem if you have carpets. If not cleaned up properly, they will cause your carpeting to become stained and smelly.
This is what you need to do to keep these areas clean:
Use vacuum cleaners
to clean dust, dirt, and pet hair-free
No matter what type of vacuum you are looking for, make sure to focus on these features to find a product that is capable of dealing with pet hair:
- Strong suction: The vacuum needs to have strong suction to be able to pick up persistent pet hair.
- Sturdy brush roll: The vacuum should have a brush bar with high-quality bristles to lift up pet hair from hard-to-clean surfaces like carpets.
- Large dirt cup: A good-sized dirt cup will be able to take in all that pet hair if your pet sheds a lot. A large dirt cup will prevent loss of suction that can happen when the container gets too full.
- Attachments: Ideally, the vacuum should come with a good selection of attachments included. A motorized brush roll tool is the one you should be looking for since it is the best solution for removing pet hair from furniture, carpeted stairs, and car seats.
- Versatility: An adaptable vacuum will allow you to clean all kinds of areas and surfaces in your home. And since pet hair gets everywhere, so should your vacuum.
- Ease of use: The vacuum needs to be not only efficient but easy to use as well. It should make cleaning easier, not more difficult.
You can find the best vacuums for pet hair and detailed buying guides to help you make a perfect choice here.
You have a few options to choose from depending on your home and how much you hate vacuuming.
- Uprights are the traditional heavy-duty vacuum for big homes that need a powerful machine for cleaning.
- They often have a sturdy brush roll and a strong suction, which are key when removing pet hair from carpets.
- We recommend upright vacuums for large homes with carpeting. This type of vacuum will easily keep those carpets and area rugs pet hair-free by digging deep into the surface to remove dust, hair, and dirt.
- Just make sure the vacuum has a hose and attachments that add versatility and enable you to use it on the above-floor areas as well.
- Read more about upright vacuums in pet homes here.
- Stick vacuums are a new trend. Because they are cordless and lightweight, they are incredibly convenient and easy to use.
- The brush roll and strong suction clean floors, carpets, and area rugs, but you can also use most stick vacuums as a handheld vacuum to dust and clean above-floor surfaces and furniture. Talk about versatility!
- We recommend a stick vacuum for all households with pets. It enables you to easily do a quick daily cleanup on those critical areas like the kitchen, hallway, and furniture in the living room. This is by far the most versatile appliance you will definitely benefit from owning if you have furry pets.
- Read more about stick vacuums in pet homes.
- Robotic vacuums are the number one choice for pet owners that hate vacuuming.
- The robot can be scheduled to do daily cleaning cycles, which drastically decreases the amount of pet hair on your floors. And because a huge portion of that shed pet hair gets picked up by the robot vacuum, there is very little left for you to clean up.
- Robotic vacuums are an excellent choice for pet homes for two main reasons: they stick to the schedule you wouldn't, and they clean under furniture and appliances – which you might find too tedious to do.
- Robot vacuums used to be pricey and inefficient, but in the last few years, prices have come down while there have been huge advancements in the technology. Today, you can get a highly advanced robotic vacuum at a reasonable price.
- We recommend robotic vacuums for anyone too lazy to vacuum every day. It's a great way to keep your home clean while minimizing the effort needed to achieve that pet hair-free home.
- You can read more about robot vacuums in pet homes here.
- If you have a robot vacuum, you should schedule cleaning cycles 4-7 times a week. Running a cycle daily (or at least several times a week) will significantly reduce pet hair, dust, and dander, minimizing your need to clean.
- If you have a stick vacuum, keep it juiced up and within arms reach to clean small messes quickly throughout the day.
- Use your stick vacuum to vacuum high traffic areas every day. These include areas like your kitchen, hallway, and living room – places where dirt and pet hair tends to collect.
- If you don't have a robotic vacuum for upkeep vacuuming, use your upright vacuum (or stick vacuum) to thoroughly vacuum your home once a week.
- Always make sure to vacuum under furniture and appliances. Pet hair lurks in hard-to-reach places and is carried out into the open with the draft if it is not cleaned up.
Use a carpet cleaner
to keep your carpets spotless
If you're a pet owner and you have a house with carpeted floors, you probably know that pets and carpets and be a tough combination.
Especially dogs often drag dirt inside, which causes staining, and of course, there are those random accidents with poo, pee, and vomit. Yuck!
Many pet owners just spray on some carpet cleaning solution and hope the carpet doesn't start to smell before it's time for the next professional carpet cleaning. But we actually recommend a different approach.
Having your own carpet cleaner has two big benefits:
- It will allow you to thoroughly clean the messes right when they occur. The stains won't have time time to set, and they will be easier to remove.
- And in the long run, it's less expensive than paying for professional cleaning or renting out a machine and lugging it back home.
Having a carpet cleaner at home will enable you to keep your carpets cleaner because you can tend to any messes right there and then. Especially pet urine needs to be thoroughly removed, or it will only encourage your pet to mark the same spot again.
Feces and vomit, on the other hand, tend to leave stains that are very difficult to remove later on if they are not meticulously cleaned straight away.
- Sturdy brush roll will dig deep into the carpet, lifting up all the dirt that has been embedded deep into the surface. It will also carry the cleaning solution deeper into the carpet, offering a deeper clean.
- Strong suction makes sure all that dirt loosened by the brush roll is sucked right up. It will also help dry the carpet quicker by removing all excess moisture.
- Heated water or steam will remove stains more efficiently while also drying up the carpet more quickly.
- Maneuverability allows you to use the machine easily. Because of the water tank, many carpet cleaners are heavy, which is why maneuverability and ease of use are important features.
- A large water tank makes sure you can clean more extensive areas with one fill.
- Attachments add to the versatility of the machine, enabling you to clean areas such as upholstered furniture, carpeted stairs, and car seats.
- Use the carpet cleaner for spot cleaning when the stains are fresh. If the mess is left to settle, it might be difficult to remove later on.
- In pet homes, you should clean the entire carpet every 12 months and high traffic areas more often depending on how quickly they get stained.
- Use a cleaning solution designed for homes with pets. They are safe for animals and remove nasty smells. This type of stain removers also doesn't encourage your pet to mark again.
Use a mop
to keep your floors sparkling
Mopping your floors will pick up all remaining dust and hair, remove stains and give you home a clean and pleasant smell.
- In a home with pets, floors should be mopped once a week.
- We recommend microfiber mop pads, which suck in the dirt instead of just pushing it around. String mops, twist mops, and spins mops are not as easy to use, and they don't provide the same level of clean.
Related reading: Best Mops For Dog Hair
The key is not to have the mop pad only slightly damp and to go around in a figure-eight motion. This way, you will pick up all the dirt and debris with you instead of pushing it towards the corners. You can see the correct technique in this video:
- Have a cordless 2-in-1 stick vacuum juiced up and at hand to quickly deal with small messes like scattered cat litter, spilled pet food, dirt in the hallway, or pet hair on the furniture.
- Vacuum high-traffic areas every day to keep them clean
- Vacuum the entire house once a week (if you don't have a robotic vacuum)
- Prevent pawprints on your carpet by training your dog to wait on the doormat until you've wiped its paws
- Use puppy pads to prevent urine stains on your carpet if your dog is not fully house trained
- Clean messes on your carpets asap to keep them spotless
Many furry friends like to nap on the couch or recliner, leaving behind a thick layer of pet hair.
What makes matters worse is that you (or your guests) then sit on that couch and end up covered in pet hair as well.
Use a handheld vacuum
to keep upholstered furniture clean
A handheld vacuum is the most efficient solution for removing pet hair from upholstered furniture.
A highly functional and versatile handheld vacuum is a must-have in pet homes.
Pets cause small messes all the time, and there is always pet hair to vacuum. With a lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner, you can easily take care of these quick cleanups.
- Long runtime will make sure the battery doesn't run out while you're using the vacuum
- Powerful suction ensures excellent cleaning performance
- Brush roll attachments thoroughly clean carpeted stairs, upholstery and car seats
- Large dirt cup will prevent the suction from being blocked due to pet hair that gets packed inside
- Lightweight appliances are easier to maneuver and use
- Attachments offer versatility and make sure you get the most out of your vacuum
See here for a more detailed buying guide and product recommendations.
- Use the handheld vacuum to clean high-traffic areas and critical furniture every day. It will only take a few minutes, but there will be significantly less pet hair in your home and pet hair will not build up on your furniture
- Use the motorized brush roll tool to easily remove pet hair from upholstered surfaces
Use pet blankets and furniture covers
to protect your furniture
Pet blankets and furniture covers are an excellent way to protect your furniture.
Instead of having to vacuum your recliner and couch every day, you can cover your furniture and throw the cover into the wash once a week.
If you have a dog, you can even train them only to use the corner of the couch that has been covered when they want to take a nap.
A cover is a perfect way to protect your furniture from not only pet hair but drool, urine, and dirt, as well.
- Machine washable in high temperatures – a cover will be easier to clean if it can be thrown in with the laundry. High temperatures ensure it is cleaned thoroughly and kept smelling nice.
- Machine dryable – throwing the cover into the dryer after it has been washed will remove all the remaining pet hair
- Waterproof material – if your pet has accidents inside, it might be a good idea to buy a cover that is waterproof. It will protect your furniture from urine stains.
- If your pet always uses the same spot for resting, you can cover up just that area. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to cover a larger area or to train your pet to use just one place for their nap.
- Choose a cover that fits your style and decor. You won't mind using the cover if it's not an eyesore.
- Buying two covers allows you to change them easily – when one is in the laundry you can use the other one.
- It's simple, really. Depending on how much you pet sheds, just wash the blanket or cover when needed.
- If your pet sleeps in your bed, pet hair resistant bedding makes it easier for you to keep your bed clean and hygienic.
- Train your pet to use a pet bed instead of sleeping in your bed or on the furniture. A comfortable bed will keep your pet happy while your furniture stays clean and free of pet hair.
Above floor areas and small messes
Above-floor surfaces can easily collect pet hair, dander, and dust. It builds up quickly, which is why you need to have a convenient way to clean these areas.
The easiest way to keep shelves, tables, vents, fans, door frames, baseboards, and other such areas clean is to have a handheld vacuum. An old-fashioned duster will mostly waft dust and hair into the air, but a handheld vacuum quickly sucks it right up, keeping your home cleaner.
Another option is to use a microfiber cloth to wipe these surfaces. It will draw the dust towards itself instead of just pushing it around.
A handheld vacuum is a great choice for other small messes as well. Pets may tip over their food bowl spilling kibble all over the floor, and cats often track cat litter while dogs track in dirt. A powerful handheld vacuum at hand lets you deal with these kinds of messes quickly and easily.
For many pet owners, the car is a part of what needs to be cleaned. If your pet rides in the car, there may be a lot to clean up. In addition to the all-invading pet hair, there may also be vomit and pee stains that need to be removed.
If you don't have leather seats in your car, you probably know the problem that car seats and furry pets create when put together. The upholstery on car seats and a shedding pet rubbing against it is the recipe for a pet hair disaster. Often you find that it just takes one ride for pet hair to invade your vehicle fully.
- Again, a handheld vacuum with a motorized brush roll is the ideal solution. Keep a handheld vacuum nearby and quickly clean up your car when needed. If your seats or trunk is covered in hair, this is the easiest way to remove all that persistent pet hair.
- Seat covers will help you protect your car in the first place. Especially if your pet is prone to car sickness or you think they may have an accident in the car, then a waterproof seat cover is the way to go. You can find many types of covers from ones that only cover up one seat to massive protection for the whole back seat.
- Pick your style and make sure the cover is easily cleaned: often, you can just shake the pet hair off and wipe the surface clean, but sometimes the cover may need a more thorough cleanup. A machine-washable cover is the best choice because you can just pop it in the wash when needed.
- Using a seat belt is necessary for safety, but it also protects your car from pet hair. When your pet is restricted to one area, so is the hair he sheds. You will find it way easier to vacuum your car if the pet hair invasion is limited to a certain area only.
- Using a crate for your pet is not only safe, but it is also another great way to keep your car pet hair-free. When your pet doesn't dash around the back seat, he won't be shedding all over the upholstery, either.
- Stash a lint roller in the glove compartment for quick cleanups on the move.
- You can find more useful tips on how to get dog hair out of a car here.
Pet's toys, food bowls, and bed
Pets' food bowls can be one of the germiest items in your home. And not just bowls but toys, collars and other pet stuff as well. To keep your pet healthy and your home clean, you need to wash them often enough.
- You should wash your pet's food and water bowls or dispensers every day to keep the water fresh and clean.
- You should also wash the collar and toys every one or two weeks to keep up the hygiene.
A pet bed is a great way to protect your home from a pet hair outbreak. When your pet uses its own bed for sleeping and napping, it won't be shedding all over your sofa set and bed. But since all that pet hair cumulates on the pet bed, it should be regularly cleaned.
- The pet bed should be washed at least once a month, but if the cover is easy to take off and machine washable, we recommend cleaning it even once a week.
- Hair, dander, drool, and other bodily liquids gather into nasty gunk that makes the bed smell. Keeping it clean will also help keep your home smelling wonderful. Here you can find more information about how to wash a dog bed.
- Buy pet products that are machine washable and dryable for easy cleaning
- Cleaning the food and water bowl in the dishwasher keeps them germ-free
- Use mild soap when washing your pet's gear and always rinse well
Pets not only have a negative impact on your home's cleanliness but the dander they shed also affects the indoor air quality in a bad way. These small pieces of skin are light enough to float around in the air adding to the particles that reduce air quality.
If you have allergies, this is even a bigger issue. Animal dander is one of the most common causes of allergy symptoms. And, although their dander makes our noses run and eyes itch, we certainly would never want to give up our beloved pets because of our allergies.
An air purifier can help with the problem because it filters out pet hair, dander, dust, and other allergens from the indoor air. And not only that. An air purifier with a carbon filter can also filter out smells, which means you can say goodbye to that musty pet smell or the smell of a litter box.
Step 3. Create a routine
Now you know what you need to do to keep your pet home clean, what equipment to use, and how to use it.
Lastly, you need to create a routine you can follow.
The secret to having a clean home when you have a pet or pets is to do a little every day.
Since the supply of pet hair, dander, drool, and other pet-related dirt is constant and neverending. A routine for upkeep cleaning allows you to stay on top of the situation and ensures you don't feel like you're drowning under all that stress of needing to do a massive cleanup.
This is what we'll cover in the final chapter of this article.
If you follow a routine and clean a little every day, you will
- Save time since there is no need to spend the weekend cleaning
- Have less stress because your home is always clean and you're up to speed with your chores
- Be able to enjoy a clean home every day
Otherwise, pet hair, for example, quickly accumulates, resulting in a home that is covered in pet hair and has that nasty pet smell. And come Saturday, you will find yourself spending hours on just cleaning and trying to dig out that couch from under that pile of pet hair.
So, the key is to use a few minutes every day and concentrate on the critical jobs: brush your pet, scoop the litter box, tidy up and vacuum high-traffic areas with the most dirt and pet hair. It won't take more than a few minutes, and you can enjoy a tidy home for the rest of the day.
This is the routine we recommend you follow to keep your beautiful pet home spotless:
- Brush your pet
- Brush your pet's teeth
- Wash the water and food bowls
- Scoop the litter box
- Put your clothes away, clear the clutter, and tidy up
- Use 5-10 minutes to vacuum the critical areas of your home
- Run a lint roller over upholstered furniture and pet beds
- Wash the pet beds and blankets - use the dryer if possible
- Disinfect water and food bowls in the dishwasher
- Wash the litter box
- Vacuum all floor surfaces
- Wipe or vacuum above-floor surfaces
- Wash sheets
- Mop the floor
- Vacuum the car
TWICE A YEAR
- Check your pet's pantry for expired pet food products
- Restock your pets first aid kit
- Wash comforters and pillows
- Wash curtains and drapes
- Shampoo carpets
- Rinse drains
- Dust air vents
- Dust ceiling fans
- Dust blinds
With our busy lives, we don't want to spend time cleaning, and the mess that keeps building up causes us stress to the point where we just want to give up.
But you shouldn't wave the white flag and be buried in pet hair just yet! With keeping the Triangle Approach as your starting point, you can easily keep your home clean – even if there is a shedding pet or two running around.
That's how I keep my home spotless every single day.
It all boils down to:
- Using the right cleaning equipment, and most importantly,
- Spending a few minutes doing upkeep cleaning every day.
Hard? No. Time-consuming? No. Effective? Most definitely.
I urge you to try this approach because, with some determination, you will soon see what a huge impact this has not only on your home - but also on your peace of mind.