Major Cleaning Mistakes Pet Parents Make
Pro cleaners tell us which pet mess mistakes you didn't know you were making. I think I was about 8 years old when I had to clean up my first pile of dog poop in the house. That part was fairly simple compared to the subsequent task of cleaning up my own vomit seconds later. Not to be gross but, I still remember what I had for breakfast that day. I won't share, don't worry.
Since that fateful day I've added all sorts of pet messes to my cleaning repertoire, and perfected my technique. Or so I thought, before I conferred with the experts.
Mary Findley is a veteran green cleaning professional, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning, and owner of Mary Moppins cleaning supplies, gave me a hit list of top mistakes pet owners make.
1. The spouse/ kids/ cleaning service will do it later.
Findley says to clean up a mess "sooner than immediately. If you have a wet-or-dry-vac use it to vacuum up as much gunk as possible. Then put down several layers of towels and walk on them to absorb as much liquid as possible."
She also advises using enzymatic cleaners, which "eat" bacteria to get rid of stains and odors." Any chemical cleaner will kill the enzymes, making it ineffective against removing the bacteria and odor," she warns.
2. If a little bit of cleaner does a good job, then soaking the carpet til' it's soppy must be better.
Findley cautions that oversaturating the carpet harms the threads and isn't effective. "It is far better to apply the cleaner a couple of times than overkill with one application."
3. I've tried every cleaner imaginable and that spot just won't come out.
"When you pile cleaner after cleaner on any kind of stain, the first cleaner will 'surround' the stain and not allow another cleaner to work," Findley says.
She advises rinsing the overcleaned area with 1/4 cup of food-grade distilled white vinegar per quart of water. "Vinegar will extract the cleaner from the carpet, help clean the stain and also help kill some of the odor," she explains. In general she advises starting with enzymatic cleaners and giving them time to work.
4. The smell keeps coming back no matter how much carpet deodorizer I use.
Ditch the deodorizers and air fresheners. "This stuff is toxic to your health, your pet's health and Mother Earth," Findley says. "The smell keeps coming back because you did not treat the entire area of the stain, especially if urine is involved. When liquid hits the padding, it spreads." Treat the entire area to get rid of the odor.
Taking this tip a little further, Corina Wilson, President of Mrs. Clean professional cleaning service in Seattle, Washington has her own pet pee peeve. "The most common mistake people make when removing a pet stain on carpet is to use detergent to clean it up," she says.
"Soap leaves a residue and is just about impossible to completely remove from carpeting. This residue will attract any dirt it comes in contact with in the future, which is why the stain will keep coming back."