Keep Your Home Pet-Odor Free

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Household Tips

While my sense of smell isn’t anything like a dog’s, it is perhaps more keen than many other people’s — and that’s both good and bad. On the bad side, I can’t abide strong, offensive odors (including those that come from sharing my life with pets). On the good side, my nose helps me with my work, since identifying smells is one of a veterinarian’s best diagnostic tools.
I don’t own my own veterinary practice anymore, but I still love to work as a veterinarian when I’m not being one in the media. The two practices where I work when I can (North Idaho Animal Hospital and Lakewood Animal Hospital) are as dedicated as I am to what I call a “smell neutral” environment: fresh, clean hospitals that smell neither like pet odors nor like cleaning products.
Make Your Home “Smell Neutral”
It probably won’t surprise you that my wife and I work hard to make sure our home is also “smell neutral.” Over the years, I’ve picked up a lot of tricks and cleaned up a lot of messes, and since I know pet mess in general is the top complaint of pet lovers, I want to share the secrets of a smell-conscious veterinarian. While products may vary — I am always on the lookout for better, more effective and faster ways to “keep it clean” — the steps to an odor-free home when you live with pets remain the same.
How many times have you looked at an open house or vacant apartment and knew that pet lovers lived there before you dropped in? Even though the place may be empty, the carpets carefully vacuumed and free of pet hair, the smell lingers — and nothing you can spray in the air will override it for long. But I’ve also been in homes where you can’t tell pets were in the family. The difference in many cases is time. When a pet makes a mess, time is not on your side. Don’t neglect the daily duties: When your cat uses the box or your dog goes in the yard, scoop and toss right away.
Simple Tips to Keep It Clean
Assemble your supplies. You’ll always want to have an enzymatic cleaner on hand. Buy a large bottle if you have a very young pet — or an old one — because accidents happen. The enzymes in these cleaners attack the components of pet waste, neutralizing odors along the way (but be sure to follow the instructions to avoid any damage to rugs or carpets). You’ll also want bleach (dilute one half cup of bleach to a gallon of water; it’s a fantastic disinfectant) to clean up wet messes, and baby wipes to wipe down your pet. Since pet odors start with pets themselves, make sure you have pet shampoo, both regular and no-water varieties (your veterinarian can recommend a good one). Save battered towels for pet duty, and have other regular cleaning tools on hand. I like those designed with pet mess in mind, such as Swiffer-type floor cleaners, and vacuums and spot-scrubbers, such as those made by Bissell.
Get into a clean routine. Regular cleaning, especially of areas where your pet likes to spend most of his time, will keep smells from building up and digging in. Wash pet bedding often (weekly is ideal), and sweep, Swiffer or vacuum a couple of times a week or more. Bathing your dog weekly — yes, I said weekly — with a shampoo formulated for pets will not only keep him cleaner and better smelling but it may also help with some skin problems. Keeping long-haired pets cut short will lessen the volume of shed fur and provide less refuge for odors. For in-between clean, swipe your pet with a baby wipe. (Bonus: This may help your own allergies too.) And don’t forget to make time for a regular deep cleaning. Hire someone or rent power equipment, but get in there deep and get it truly clean.
Don’t wait for mess to dig in. The longer a pet mess sits, the more difficult it will be to completely eradicate the smell. Get on it immediately: Pick up what you can, blot off the liquid elements, then get the enzymatic cleaner working. If you can’t clean right away, spray water to keep the problem area moist. Since you want the enzymatic cleaner to have its best chance, apply as directed (always, always read directions!), and then keep the area moist longer by covering carpet with plastic wrap and putting a heavy book over the spot. Make a schedule for routine, preventive cleaning to help prevent the buildup of mess and odors.
Getting Past the Smell of Cleaners
With the right tools and the right cleaning products, the pet smells you’re waging war on will soon be waving the white flag of surrender (until next time, that is). Now, how to get rid of the smell of cleaners? Rinse, rinse and rinse some more. Water takes everything away, both the remains of the mess and the products that vanquished it. Run your rags through the washer and toss one-use products, such as electrostatic wipes, in the trash. What’s that smell? Nothing!
In our family, we wouldn’t trade our pets for a clean home no matter how much you gave us. But fortunately, using the tricks of the veterinary trade, we don’t have to. And you don’t either.

From: http://www.vetstreet.com/dr-marty-becker/keep-your-home-pet-odor-free?WT.mc_id=cc_yahoo

4 Best Household Items that Remove Carpet Pet Stains

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Household Tips

He may be a member of the family, but sometimes your dog sure doesn’t smell like one.
Rolling around in the dirt. Getting into things he shouldn’t. Accidents that happen more often than you’d like. All of these things can leave your pet – not to mention your rugs – smelling like the furthest thing from roses.
And even after you give him (and your carpet) a good scrubbing, pet odors can still linger. So we asked the team at brightnest.com to test four pet-safe common household products, like club soda, that can eliminate those funky ground-level stains and scents.
“While my wife and I were out of the country, our dog sitter let my two Golden Retrievers explore the tomato garden,” says BrightNest CEO Justin Anthony. “If you don’t know what happens when dogs dine on tomatos, let me share – a very messy carpet. So I asked our team to explore the best techniques for turning my living room back into a space where you’d want to live.”
1. White Vinegar
If you have a urine spot on your carpet that’s still wet, opt for eco-friendly white vinegar, which neutralizes odors due to its high acidity – and works well even if the stain or smell has been there for a while. Start by blotting the area, rather than rubbing it, which will only push the stain further into the carpeting fibers. Then mix equal parts white vinegar and cold water, and pour the mixture generously over the soiled section. Blot well, and then let it dry. (A fan can speed up the process.) Once dry, run a vacuum over the area.
2. Baking Soda
For a urine spot that has already dried, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the soiled section, and then let it sit for a couple hours before vacuuming.
Dr. Tina Wismer, DVM, DABVT, DABT, medical director of the ASPCA Poison Control Center, just advises owners to use a baby gate or an overturned laundry basket to keep pets away from the area while the baking soda sets. Although this cleaning method is safe to use in homes with critters, “if ingested, baking soda can cause stomach upset and electrolyte imbalances,” says Dr. Wismer.
3. Club Soda
When it comes to pre-treating a soiled carpet, club soda works great for nearly any type of pet stain. Since it’s only effective while the soda is effervescing, the treatment may need to be applied several times. Start by blotting the section before pouring the club soda over it. Once the solution has stopped fizzing, immediately blot the spot again, repeating as necessary. If the stain isn’t fresh, you’ll likely need to follow up with the above baking soda treatment.
4. Bleach
To tackle caked-in stains and odor on a light-colored carpet, you can also try diluted bleach, using 10 parts water to one part bleach. Spray the solution on the stain, and then let it sit for 15 seconds before thoroughly rinsing the area with warm water. If you can still see the stain, repeat the process until the spot is gone.
And if you’re unsure of whether your carpet could be discolored by bleach, test a few drops of the diluted solution on an unseen area. Let the bleach sit for one minute, and then rinse it away with water. If it doesn’t leave a discoloration, the mixture is safe to use on other areas of your carpet.
For Dr. Wismer, considering these natural cleaners is a no-brainer: “Not only are they easy to use, but they’re readily available and safe for pets when used correctly. Keeping your house clean and smelling fresh for pennies is an added bonus.”

From: http://shine.yahoo.com/pets/4-best-household-items-remove-carpet-pet-stains-175000573.html

25 ways to clean with vinegar

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Household Tips

The cleaning aisle at just about any grocery store is stocked with a dizzying array of options—and when it comes down to it, there are a lot of expensive, toxic, superfluous products crowding the market. Chances are, you already have one of the best, all-purpose cleaning agents in your pantry: white vinegar. As noted earlier, vinegar actually works as a great laundry booster, stripping away the chemical build-up that detergent leaves behind (and gets rid of clingy odors in the process). And beyond that, there are tons of other applications for the stuff around your home. Here, from vinegartips.com and frugalfun.com, 25 ideas for making the most of vinegar:
1. Deodorize the sink: Pour 1 cup baking soda, followed by 1 cup hot vinegar, down the drain. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, then rinse with hot water.
2. Deodorize the garbage disposal: Make ice cubes out of vinegar. Run the disposal with a few vinegar ice cubes and cold water.
3. Clean countertops: Wipe down surfaces with a rag dipped in vinegar.
4. Clean the fridge: Use a mixture of half water, half vinegar to wipe down the interior shelves and walls.
5. Remove soap build-up and odors from the dishwasher: Once a month, pour 1 cup of vinegar into an empty dishwasher and run the machine through its entire cycle.
6. Bust oven grease: If you’ve got grease spots on the oven door, pour some vinegar directly on the stains, let it sit for 15 minutes, and wipe away with a sponge.
7. To make old glassware sparkle: To get rid of the cloudy effect, wrap a vinegar-soaked towel around the glass and let it sit. Remove and rinse with hot water.
8. Get rid of lime deposits on your tea kettle: Fill the kettle with vinegar and let it boil. Allow it to cool, and rinse with water.
9. Remove stains in coffee cups: Create a paste using of equal parts vinegar and salt (or in lieu of salt, baking soda) and scrub gently before rinsing.
10. Treat Tupperware stains (and stinkiness): Wipe the containers with a vinegar-saturated cloth.
11. Remove stains on aluminum pots: Boil 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water.
12. Deter ant infestations: Spray outside doorways and windowsills, and anywhere you see a trail of critters.
13. Clean can openers: Scrub the wheel of your can opener with vinegar using an old toothbrush.
14. Remove stickers or labels: Cover the sticker with a vinegar-soaked cloth. Let it sit overnight—it should slide right off by morning.
15. Shine porcelain sinks: A bit of vinegar and a good scrub should leave them sparkling.
16. Clean grout: Pour on some vinegar, let it hang out for a few minutes, and buff with an old toothbrush.
17. Clean the shower door: Spray them down with vinegar pre-shower, or post (after you’ve squeegeed the glass) to remove hard water deposits.
18. Clean a grimy showerhead: To get rid of scum, fill a Ziploc with ½ a cup of baking soda and 1 cup vinegar and tie it around the showerhead. Let it sit for an hour, until the bubbling has stopped. Remove the bag and run the shower.
19. Make a toilet sparkle: Pour in a cup or two of vinegar and let it sit there overnight before scrubbing with a toilet brush.
20. Polish linoleum floors: Add 1 cup of vinegar for every gallon of water you use to wash the floor.
21. Clean paintbrushes: Soak paintbrushes for an hour before simmering them on the stove to remove hardened paint. Drain and rinse.
22. Clean grills: Spray vinegar on a ball of tin foil, then use it to give the grate a firm scrub.
23. Disinfect wood cutting boards: Wipe down wood boards with a wash of vinegar.
24. Clean the microwave: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with 2 cups water and ½ cup vinegar. Heat it on full power for 3-4 minutes until it comes to a boil. Keep the door closed for a few minutes longer to let the steam fill the microwave, loosening the grime. Remove the bowl (carefully!) and wipe down interior walls with a sponge.
25. Polish patent leather accessories: Give them a rub with a vinegar-soaked cloth. Buff with a dry cloth.
(via: http://shine.yahoo.com/event/haven/25-ways-to-clean-with-vinegar-1371277/)

Eliminate Kitchen Odors

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Household Tips

The kitchen can be home to many sweet-smelling feasts, but when those aromas are overpowered by a reeking appliance or accessory, the family would probably prefer to stay hungry. If you’re battling offensive odors from your garbage disposal, refrigerator, trash can, dishwasher or stove top, read on for easy solutions to keep things clean and fresh-scented year round.
The Stink: Garbage Disposal
The Solution: Pour a cup of boiling water through the disposal, which will clean off the blades. Then grind up citrus peels like lemon or orange rind.
The Stink: Refrigerator
The Solution: Soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract, then put it in a little bowl on the lowest open shelf. Remove in a few days when dry. (If you prefer the smell of coffee, try a bowl of used coffee grounds instead.)
The Stink: Garbage Can
The Solution: Try SimpleHuman Charcoal Filters. These ingenious strips of charcoal stick to the inside of the lid, and can be recharged by placing in sunlight. ($3.99 for two at SimpleHuman.com)
Learn how to solve your toughest household cleaning problems.
The Stink: Dishwasher
The Solution: A half-full dishwasher can stink up a kitchen in no time, so run the light rinse, with no soap. The steam will remove most of the food. If odors persist, get in the empty machine with a sponge and nailbrush, and clean out all the filters and parts on the bottom—something is likely stuck.
The Stink: Stove
The Solution: Before you turn on the burner, turn on the range hood—every single time. Why? Some of the particles and gases that come off the stovetop while you’re cooking have been connected to respiratory health problems, particularly in children. And regularly clean your range hood filter (you can usually access it by snapping off the tabs near the vent).

15 Brilliant Uses for Toothpaste

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Household Tips

Toothpaste: it whitens, brightens, deodorizes, removes stains, and restores and protects enamel. But toothpaste’s cleaning capabilities work wonders on many things besides our teeth. The same ingredients that help polish our pearly whites can also soothe some common ailments, make household items sparkle, and even get rid of stains and pungent smells. Try out these fifteen tricks with a white, non-gel toothpaste (unless otherwise noted), and watch that cavity-fighting, breath-freshening tube of wonder work its magic.
1. Relieve irritation from bug bites, sores, and blisters. These skin irritations all tend to weep and, in the case of bug bites, often itch. Apply a drop of toothpaste to a bug bite or insect sting to stop the itching and decrease any swelling. When applied to sores or blisters, it dries them up, thus allowing the wound to heal faster. It’s best when used overnight.
2. Soothe a stinging burn. For minor burns that don’t involve an open wound, toothpaste can deliver temporary cooling relief. Apply it delicately to the affected area immediately after a burn develops; it temporarily relieves the sting and prevents the wound from weeping or opening.
3. Decrease the size of a facial blemish. Want to speed up the healing of a zit? Apply a tiny dot of toothpaste to the affected area at night before bed. Wash it off in the morning.
4. Clean up your fingernails. Our teeth are made of enamel, and toothpaste is good for them, so it stands to reason that toothpaste would also be good for our fingernails. For cleaner, shinier, and stronger nails, simply scrub the underneath and tops of fingernails with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
5. Keep hair in place. Gel toothpastes contain the same water-soluble polymers that many hair gels are made of. If you’re looking to style and hold an extreme hair creation, try gel toothpaste as your go-to product if you’re out of regular hair gel. (This is also a great trick for making baby barrettes stay in place.)
6. Scrub away stinky smells. Garlic, fish, onion, and other pungent foods can permeate the skin cells on our hands. Scrubbing hands and fingertips briefly with toothpaste removes all traces of smelly odors
7. Remove stains. Toothpaste can make tough stains on both clothing and carpets disappear. For clothes, apply toothpaste directly to the stain and rub briskly until the spot is gone, then wash as usual. (Note that using a whitening toothpaste on colors can sometimes bleach the fabric.) For carpet stains, apply toothpaste to the stain and scrub it with an abrasive brush, then rinse immediately.
8. Spruce up dirty shoes. This tactic works great on running shoes or scuffed-up leather shoes. As with carpet stains, apply toothpaste directly to the dirty or scuffed area, then scrub with a brush and wipe clean.
9. Remove crayon stains on painted walls. Rub a damp cloth with toothpaste gently on the marked-up wall and watch the Crayola marks disappear.
10. Make silver jewelry and other silver pieces sparkle. Rub toothpaste onto jewelry and leave overnight. Wipe clean with a soft cloth in the morning. Make diamonds shine by giving them a gentle scrub using a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a little water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of toothpaste. Do not use this method on pearls, as it will damage their finish.
11. Remove scratches on DVDs and CDs. This remedy has been used with mixed success rates, but it seems to work fairly well on shallow scratches and smudges. Apply a thin coating of toothpaste to the disc and rub gently, then rinse clean.
12. Tidy up piano keys before tickling them. Piano keys retain oil from the skin, which then attracts dust and dirt. Clean away grime gently with a damp, lint-free cloth and toothpaste; after rubbing in the toothpaste, wipe the keys clean with a second lint-free cloth.
13. Deodorize baby bottles. If baby bottles develop a sour-milk smell, a good cleaning with some toothpaste and a bottle scrubber will clean away residue and deodorize. Always make sure to rinse well.
14. Remove the burned crust on irons. For those of you who still use an iron, you may find that after time, the plate of the iron develops a burned crust. The silica in toothpaste gently grinds away this rusty-looking layer.
15. Defog goggles. Scuba divers, swimmers, and triathletes may already know about this handy little trick: Rub a small spot of toothpaste into each lens of your goggles, then rinse thoroughly, and voila! There’ll be no need to ever buy expensive defogger gels again. Avoid rubbing too vigorously, though, as the abrasive ingredients in toothpaste could scratch the lenses.
I can see how using toothpaste could save me time and money over the course of a year, not to mention help me reduce my shopping time and cleaning-supply collection. I’d like to see my toothpaste work harder anyway. After all, if I’ve got to suffer through itchy bug bites, they might as well smell fresh.

23 Ingenious Uses for White Vinegar

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Household Tips

About 10,000 years ago, ancient people discovered a product that would change lives forever. Wine had been around for a while, but after some was allowed to oxidize, vinegar was born. It became an immediate hit. The Babylonians used vinegar as a preservative, as did Ancient Greeks and Romans. Some peoples, including the Chinese, believed that vinegar was a tonic that would give them strength and vitality, as well as bestow healing properties. Legend has it that Hannibal only succeeded in crossing the Alps because his armies heated mountain boulders and doused them with vinegar, causing the rocks to crumble and clear the path.
Vinegar’s magic ingredient is acetic acid, which comprises about 5 percent of the finished product. Vinegar has been produced commercially for about 2,500 years, making it one of the oldest products in use by humans. There are many different types of vinegar out there, all produced by the oxidization of alcohol into acetic acid, but white vinegar is the most useful and the most versatile by far.
White vinegar has dozens of household applications, and the best part is that it’s green. It’s enjoying a newfound popularity as many people try to avoid toxic or harsh cleaning chemicals around their pets and children, as well as save money by making their own cleansers. Not to mention that vinegar is cheap, it’s versatile, and it doesn’t irritate allergies like some fragranced cleansers. Chances are, whenever you run into a household funk, vinegar is your answer.
Kitchen Remedies: Besides adding zest to salad dressings, white vinegar is handy for many cooking tasks.
1. Adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water when poaching eggs helps the whites stay formed. Add a few tablespoons to the water when boiling eggs, and if any shells crack, the whites won’t leak out.
2. If your leafy veggies are wilted, soaking them in cold water with a little vinegar can perk them right up.
3. After chopping an onion, you can eliminate the odor from your hands by rubbing them with a bit of white vinegar.
4. When cooking any vegetables from the cabbage family (like broccoli or cauliflower), adding a little vinegar to the water will perk up the taste and reduce the gassiness they can induce. This also works when cooking beans, making Mexican food a far more attractive option.
Cleaning House: Vinegar can help with a variety of cleaning tasks, since the acid acts as a disinfectant and an odor neutralizer.
5. Clean and deodorize the garbage disposal by mixing equal parts vinegar and baking soda and putting it down the drain. After letting this fizzing mixture sit for a few minutes, flush out the drain with warm water for a clean and stink-free sink.
6. The steam from a boiling a bowl of vinegar and water can loosen caked-on food and get rid of odors in the microwave, too.
7. One of my favorite vinegar remedies and my personal weapon against fruit flies is to set out a small dish of white vinegar and some smashed fruit, covered with plastic wrap with some holes in it–the flies crawl into the trap, but can’t get out.
8. If your stemware is cloudy from the dishwasher, wrap the glasses in paper towels soaked in vinegar, let them sit, and the cloudy deposits will rinse right off.
9. There’s no need to use bleach on tile grouting when you can let vinegar soak on it and then scrub with a toothbrush.
10. Bring lightly scuffed or dirty DVDs back to life by wiping them down with some vinegar on a soft cloth.
11. If you have water condensation marks on your wood, just rub the piece of furniture with equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil to remove them. Make sure to rub with the grain, and then invest in a set of coasters.
Cleaning Clothes: Vinegar works magic on upholstery and fabric, too.
12. If a child has an “accident” on a mattress, clean it with a solution of vinegar and water. Afterwards, pour some baking soda onto the mattress, and brush or vacuum the residue once it’s dry.
13. Spraying vinegar onto deodorant-stained shirts before the wash can remove the discoloration. It’s also great for fighting mustard, tomato sauce, or ketchup stains.
14. Adding a cupful of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine can freshen up bright colors and give you cleaner laundry. Acetic acid won’t harm fabrics, but it dissolves the soap residue that can dull dark clothing. It also acts as a fabric softener, a static reducer, and a mildew-inhibitor.
15. Vinegar will also loosen chewing gum stuck to car upholstery, rugs, and carpeting.
Outdoor Solutions: Tough enough even for the outdoors, vinegar can function as a car cleaner and an organic pest remover.
16. If your car still sports a bumper sticker from two elections ago, remove it by spraying the decal with white vinegar to saturate the area, and the sticker will peel off in a few hours. (You might need to spray it a few times.)
17. Wiping down your car windows and windshield with a three-to-one vinegar-water mixture can keep them frost-free in the wintertime.
18. Kill weeds and crabgrass growing in sidewalks and driveways by pouring vinegar onto them. A half-and-half solution of vinegar and water can even kill garden slugs if it’s sprayed directly onto them.
19. To extend the life of cut flowers, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the water in their vase, along with a teaspoon of sugar.
Pet Protection: There’s no need to use chemicals near pets when vinegar can handle most cleaning and bathing tasks.
20. Wipe out itchy ears with undiluted vinegar to keep dogs and cats from scratching at them.
21. Cats avoid vinegar, so to keep them from scratching furniture or sitting on certain areas, spray a vinegar solution onto the spot.
22. For outdoor areas, soak a sponge in vinegar and place it in the forbidden area to keep cats away. If kitty likes to mark his territory, spraying the area with vinegar can help eliminate the smell and deter recurrences.
23. Vinegar also gets rid of skunk odor. Soak the animal with a half-and-half vinegar and water solution, and then rinse with fresh water.
Vinegar can disinfect, deodorize, and de-gunkify just about everything. From shower curtains to sofa cushions, there’s not much that it can’t do. As an alternative to expensive and harsh cleaning chemicals, vinegar is something you can feel good about keeping in your cupboards. White vinegar and baking soda can even remove product buildup from hair and leave it soft and manageable. A product that can clean you, the dog, your car, and your house is what I’d call a good, green buy.

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