Archive for the ‘cleaning’ Category

Clean-up: Doggy style

In cleaner, cleaning, dog, home, home economics, pet on April 27, 2016 at 2:46 pm

That’s Dora, our adorable boxer-mix from the good folks at Fulton County Animal Services. To prepare myself for a dog, I read a few books including a good one by the Monks of New Skete. Dora came to us fairly potty-trained; she did not chew our shoes; she never peed on our furniture; she did not dig up the yard. But, she is a dog and, therefore, has no thumbs and, therefore, cannot clean up after herself.

Robert and I both had dogs as children, but I have never had a dog that lived indoors. I was not prepared for the inevitable potty accidents, the occasional throw-up, and hair everywhere (even though Dora’s coat is fairly short). AND, I definitely was not prepared for the very doggish smell she so adorably carries with her.

Bottom line: we are entrepreneurs who work from our home office. We can’t afford expensive cleaning supplies; we can’t possibly spend 30 minutes cleaning up every accident; we can’t afford to have a living/working space that is chaotic and filthy.

We also quickly discovered that Dora will, in fact, eat/lick/drink anything that is on the floor. The challenge then is to find cost-effective, quick, easy, deodorizing, and low toxin cleaners. I cannot claim these ideas as my own, but here are my go-to clean-up products (with a few handy-dandy links included):

Buy a ton of spray bottles from the Dollar Tree.

All of the spray bottles in the above photo came from Dollar Tree, and they have lasted several months. I covered my spray bottles in contact paper and/or duct tape–both of these are also available at the Dollar Tree–so that I can properly lable everything.

Rags in a box

Papertowels are too expensive and not substantial enough to soak up the…ahem….liquid. Shop towels (like the blue ones mechanics use) are substantial, but still too expensive. Puppy training pads will work to soak up everything, but are still too expensive. Rags in a box have the consistency of a shop towel and they come in a huge box at your membership club. Bonus: you can wrap two or three of these around a Swiffer (R) sweeper if you don’t feel like scrubbing Cinderella-style.

Listerine (R) Original Antiseptic Mouthwash and orange peels

I read several somewheres that the famed mouthwash was originally intended as a floor cleaner. After frantically trying to keep Dora away from areas where I had used disinfectant, I realized that I needed to find something less nerve-wracking for all of us. I poured some into a spray bottle and added orange peels for extra measure (since many of the cleaners available on the market use citrus scent). Listerine, which can be bought in large bottles, works surprisingly well on the floor and leaves a nice shine on tile and hardwood. It seems that the smell of the mouthwash and oranges alone was enough to keep Dora away until it dried (even though I do not find the smell unpleasant), and we have not had many problems with her returning to the scene to commit another accident. This is meant for tile and hardwood. Sometimes, I may have to use it on the carpet, but only a light misting. The mouthwash does have a yellow tint that might stain textiles.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is AMAZING for getting urine (and so forth) out of carpets and rugs. Keep some in a spray bottle (covered with plenty of duct tape to keep light out) and in the original squeeze bottle. To get urine and other liquids out of the carpet, get a handful of rags-in-a-box and spread them over the area. Do not rub. Do not wipe. Place a piece of plywood over the area. Stand on the plywood for a a couple of minutes. Remove the plywood and dispose of the damp rags. Spray generously with hydrogen peroxide and repeat the rags and plywood step. Repeat until the damp rags are no longer yellow.

White Vinegar

After I get the liquid out of the carpet, I mist the area lightly with white vinegar–purchased by the vat from our local membership warehouse–in a spray bottle. I put a couple of drops of Isopropyl alcohol in the spray bottle as well. The smell of vinegar seems to be enough to keep Dora away from the area until it dries.

Brooms and brushes

I had to find a way to keep the shed hair from taking over. I started out low-tech with this very awesome broom for less than $11 that has a squeegee edge and really does get even the shortest and finest of hair out of a carpet and this $5 brush to remove the hair from furniture. I steer clear of push mops for accidents because they look grody to me. Sorry, but they just do.

Steam Mop

Since we don’t have a fenced in yard, that means walking the dog for potty breaks and that means, aside from accidents, there was a lot more dirt and dust from outdoors entering our home. I saw the Dirt Devil Versa Steam Mop in Amazon’s Daily Deals for less than $40, and it was a good investment. The steam is (of course) hot, but that means that the dampness evaporates quickly. It also comes with an attachment for hardwood floors, and the cleaning pad is removable and machine-washable (no grody!).

Stick Vacuum

I also picked up the Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik Bagless Corded Stick Vac from Amazon Daily Deals because it was less than $20. I had my doubts, but this little stick vac is very powerful, and much easier to wield than our larger vacuum cleaner. It’s perfect for getting hair off of furniture, tile, and hardwood. It comes with an attachment for getting into corners, and you can remove the attachments and the handle to use it as a traditional handheld vacuum. The rolling attachment has a little bit of a rubber squeegee edge that does pull hair from low-pile carpets and rugs. The dust compartment is easy to empty, and I like the fact that I don’t have to remember to charge up a battery.

What recommendations do you have? I’m always on the lookout for something better, cheaper, easier, faster!