TOP PET MESSES
Hair. Urine. Vomit.
For some owners, these common messes caused by pets are a big problem, staining their carpets and ruining furniture. So to find out how the pros handle these cleaning challenges, we spoke with two of the country's top domestic divas to learn their secrets. Here what the cleaning mavens had to say:
Brushing your dog or cat weekly helps reduce tumbleweeds of hair from floating across your floors. But even the most vigilant brushers still find pet hair in their homes. Luckily, the solution is simple, says Linda Cobb (a.k.a Queen of Clean), a former owner of one of the largest cleaning companies in Michigan.
On fabric, wipe a damp sponge over the surface. "I usually wipe from the back to the front and the sponge just rolls the hair up," she says, emphasizing that vacuuming alone won’t get rid of all the hair.
Another trick is using inexpensive netting (yup, netting) purchased from your local fabric store. "You just ball it up, and wipe it over the furniture and that picks up hair like crazy," says Cobb, the author of four books, including How the Queen Cleans Everything (2002, Atria).
On floors, try the Swiffer Sweeper, a two–in–one system designed to both sweep and mop by using two types of cloths. Swiffer Sweeper dry cloths pick up 50 percent more hair, dust and dirt than a regular broom.
Immediately blot-up as much of the urine as you possibly can. "Standing on a big wad of paper towels is a good way to draw things out of the carpet," explains Cobb. Next, pour club soda on the spot. She says the carbonation in the club soda lifts the urine to the surface, while the salt helps prevent staining. Lastly, dry the area with a clean towel.
To keep pets from re-soiling your carpet, she recommends OdorZout, an all natural granule that when sprinkled on previously soiled areas removes the smell of urine. That odor is what often attracts pets back to a particular area to potty.
Schar Ward, who owned a professional maid service for 35 years in Saint Paul, Minnesota, takes a different approach to bathroom accidents. Using a mixture of one cup white vinegar and four cups of water, she sprays the soiled area, waits a few minutes, then rubs the spot with a damp cloth.
Next she sprinkles the area (even if it’s still wet) with a mixture of one cup baking soda and two drops of bergamot oil (a pleasant smelling essential oil sold in health food stores.) "You might see it start to bubble but that’s OK," says Ward. "That means it’s just starting to work." Simply let the mixture dry before vacuuming.
Kitty Hair Balls.
Don’t immediately clean hair balls or vomit from your carpet. Instead, Cobb recommends sprinkling a heavy coat of baking soda on the accident and walking away. That’s right, walk away. The baking soda does all the hard work for you by lifting moisture out of the carpet from food and stomach acids. After the baking soda dries, pick–up heavier pieces with a paper towel and use your vacuum’s attachment to suction away whatever is left.
Stinky Litter Boxes.
Keep icky odors at bay by emptying the pan at least once a week and washing it with straight vinegar, says Ward, author of Coming Clean: Dirty Little Secrets From a Professional Housecleaner (2002, Book Peddlers.). Next, rinse the pan with water and thoroughly dry. Then pour a thin layer of baking soda on the bottom before filling it with your favorite litter.
To prevent small paws from tracking litter through your home, place a mat where your cat exits the box. Or, forgo litter all together by using Yesterday’s News. These moisture locking pellets, made from recycled newspaper, are frequently used in animal hospitals and humane societies instead of dusty litter.
Litter box covers help keep down the mess and odor.
So there you have it! Armed with the right techniques and supplies you can now quickly clean pet messes in your home just like the pros.
We can’t imagine life without pets, but keeping up with pet messes can be a challenge. From trapping and locking pet hair to managing muddy paws and more, Swiffer gives pet cleaning a whole new meaning.