Purrfectly Clean: How to Tidy Up After Your Kitty
Does it seem like your list of cleaning chores never ends? We feel you.
It's time to work smarter, not harder. There are some surprisingly simple ways to make your efforts more effective when it comes to cleaning up after your kitty.
Today, let's tackle cat parents' top two tidy-up tasks: dealing with carpet accidents and removing hair from furniture and clothing.
First Things First
Step one: Consider stocking your cleaning kit with a blacklight flashlight.
These special lights are invaluable for identifying where mystery odors are coming from and locating stains you can't spot with the naked eye. The stains will instantly become apparent when the light beam hits them. But don't stop at the floor; run the light over all the surfaces in the room, including the walls. (Male cats may continue spraying once they are neutered, and some female cats also have this habit.)
Blacklight flashlights are available at many pet stores and online retailers.
Dealing with Urine Stains on Carpet
The first thing to know about dealing with urine stains is that regular carpet cleaners not explicitly made for removing cat urine won't withdraw its odor-causing elements. Enzymatic cleaners, on the other hand, are a great tool to have in your cleaning toolbox because they break down urine while destroying the root cause of odors. Note that it's crucial never to combine any other products with this type of cleaner, as doing so can reduce its effectiveness. Enzymatic cleaners are available at a wide range of prices, so do your research to find out which one is worth your hard-earned money.
Another option for cleaning urine spots is carbon dioxide-based cleaners, which come in pellet form. They are basically effortless yet still effective. (Just be sure to follow the manufacturer's usage instructions.) Typically you just mix the pellet with warm water and apply it to spots, leaving the mixture on the stain for about 10 to 15 minutes and blotting with a clean cloth. Allow the spot to air dry, and you will never know it was there.
Try the natural approach
You can use a common kitchen staple to make your own cleaner instead of buying a special product: Simply combine a half-cup of white vinegar with one-and-a-half cups of warm water and apply it to urine stains. (Tip: Test the mixture on a small, concealed section of the carpet before you get started; if there is no discoloration, it's okay to proceed.) Pour the liquid over the stain and let it sit for about five minutes. Then, blot it up with a clean cloth. Once dry, sprinkle some baking soda over the area to absorb the odor. The next day, vacuum it up, and your work is done. Bonus tip: Baking soda can be sprinkled over your entire carpet before you vacuum as a way to reduce overall odors. You can find more ideas for making carpet cleaners here.
Not the DIY type
Prefer not to make your own cleaning concoction? Many affordable and effective non-toxic, scent-free, and plant-based cleaning products are available for cleaning carpets and virtually everything else in your home. A Google search for pet-safe cleaning products will yield many results, so be sure to read reviews and judge which products are right for you and your cat.
A note on steam cleaning
The truth about steam cleaning is it won't help remove urine stains and may actually cause the odor and stains to spread further in the carpet and become permanently set in, making matters worse. If you want to steam your carpets, use a urine-specific cleaner and odor remover on spots first and allow sufficient time for them to dry before steaming.
Some critical advice on ammonia
Cat parents should not use ammonia to clean anything in their homes, whether it be carpets, work surfaces, or windows. Ammonia can irritate cats' mucous membranes and cause side effects that make a kitty miserable.
Plus, have you ever noticed how much cat urine smells like ammonia? It's pretty unmistakable. There's a simple explanation for that: Cat urine actually contains ammonia. This point brings us to a rather shocking reason that ammonia should not be used on cat parents' carpets:
If you use pure ammonia or ammonia-containing products to clean up carpet stains, you'll be sending the signal that another kitty has left its... er... mark on your carpet, and your kitty will make a liquid deposit of their own there in order to claim their territory. Talk about accidentally purr-petuating a problem!
Conquering Cat Hair
A layer of cat hair covering pretty much everything, including clothing, is the main housekeeping peeve in many a cat parent's home. Fortunately, there are some surprisingly simple ways to minimize this problem.
The Quest for Fur-free Furniture
You can buy a special cat hair remover glove at many pet stores that is great for cleaning hair from bedding and upholstery. They're perfect for doing a quick tidy-up when guests are about to arrive. If you don't want to buy a special glove, standard latex gloves or the rubber gloves you use to wash dishes will fit the bill. A damp washcloth or a clean sponge will also remove fur from furniture. Just rub it back and forth across the upholstery, and you'll see the fur gathering in little tufts that you can simply pull off of the fabric.
The Lowdown on Laundry
Now let's talk laundry: Before putting your clothes in the washing machine, run them through the dryer on the no-heat cycle as a pre-treating measure. The tumbling motion will loosen the hair from the clothes, and it will get caught in the machine's lint filter. (Just be sure to clean the filter regularly before you do this, as clogged lint filters pose a fire hazard.)
Quick Ways to Cleaner Carpet
To return to carpets for a meowment, if you have low-pile carpets, such as Berber, a carpet rake or broom made out of rubber can be extremely helpful to remove any cat hair that the vacuum leaves behind. You can also make a mega-sized lint roller in mere seconds - just attach duct tape around the spool of a paint roller (sticky-side out, of course), and you can rapidly roll up hair with little effort. This DIY roller can also be used to remove hair from upholstery.
Even though our kitties create a little extra work for us, they are worth every second. By using these tips, you can take care of your to-do list and have more time to spend with your bestie!
Home is Where the Heart Is
Here at Meowtel, we know that your home is your sanctuary. Our sitters will treat your house with respect while taking pawesome care of your kitty. They can even complete light house duties such as bringing in the mail or watering a few plants if you ask them to. Find your purrfect sitter match here.
Photo by K. Shea on Unsplash