The Dreaded Litter Box

Cute tabby cat using a red, closed litter box.

It’s part of the home that you try to hide. It’s one that you hope no one stumbles across and, of course, hope no one sniffs and notices it is there.

If you have cats, you know exactly what we are talking about. If you have cats, you either train them to go outside (unlikely) or use the toilet (as seen on YouTube) — but most resort to the standard litter box for their feline friends to do their “business.”

As much as you would like anyone else but you to take care of cleaning and maintaining the litter box, if you are the owner of the cat, it’s probably your job to do.

Here are some simple tips to do it faster — and better — and keep things a little more sanitary as well.

Keep it contained

One thing most hate is when the cat (or cats) leave the litter box and bring those tiny litter particles with them, tracking them all over the home.

Placing a cat litter mat under the cat box and some type of carpet remnant where the cats step out on helps reduce the amount of litter tracked through the home.

Protect yourself

Litter boxes are festering tubs of bacteria and other contaminants that need to stay right there in the box. But a cleaning must happen, usually every day, to keep the clumps from taking over and becoming difficult to scoop.

Wear a proper pair of gloves, and even a dust mask, to keep yourself healthy and safe when doing the scoopin’.

Fresh is best

Besides daily scooping, adding some litter every few days is smart. When the litter gets low, add a little more to keep the litter box sufficiently full so your cats can easily cover over their “deposits”. You don’t want to give them any excuse to skip the litter box for a more convenient area to use, if you know what we mean. And each month, empty and completely wash the pan, and add fresh litter.

The inevitable

One thing that cats may do from time to time is “miss” the litter box, creating nasty odors, especially in carpet. That’s when you need some real help, from your favorite cleaning service. Do the right thing. Give them a call today. After all, it pays to call a pro!

Why Baking Soda is an Amazing Homemade Pet Stain Remover

cleaning carpets with baking soda, cleaning floors, carpet stains
Baking soda (not to be confused with baking powder) is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3). You can easily buy it in any grocery store.

This article is probably not the first time you’ve heard someone singing praises for baking soda. It’s not a miracle, in the strictest sense, but it sure can seem like it when used as a homemade pet stain remover.

This inexpensive white powder can help neutralize acidic substances, remove odors, and absorb wet messes. It’s not dangerous to your carpets or your pets when used on floors. It’s simultaneously more affordable and safer to use than many store-bought cleaners, yet highly effective.

Things Baking Soda Won’t Do:

  • deteriorate the color of your carpet
  • create moisture damage to your floors
  • cause any harm to your pets unless ingested in large amounts
  • cost you a lot of money

How to Use Baking Soda to Clean Up Urine

When you find a wet mess in your carpet, grab a box of baking soda and sprinkle it onto the wetness thickly. If your can, rake/spread the baking soda into the carpet fiber as opposed to saturating it. Allow the soda time to absorb moisture and wick the urine or moisture from the carpet fibers. There should be enough soda to absorb the mess fully. Do leave it until it’s dry. This may take 24 hours.

While the baking soda sits there, it’s both absorbing moisture and having a chemical reaction that uses its base Ph to neutralize the acidic urine. This is why the smell goes away. The acidic Ph of urine can also discolor or damage the color of your carpet or rug, but quick action with baking soda can prevent or minimize this affect.

Once the baking soda has dried, use a flat tool to scrape off the chunks of dried soda. This can be a spatula, putty knife/scraper, spoon, or similar item. Try to get all the large pieces off and leave only crumbly soda. Do not scrub or become overly aggressive with the tool.

The last step is vacuuming up the last bits of baking soda. If the baking soda is fully dry, this should work easily and look great. If you have a wet/dry shop vacuum, use this first. Then use a regular carpet vacuum with or without a beater bar.

If you find yourself with spots or marks on your carpeting that your homemade pet stain remover or other efforts don’t resolve, then give us a call. We’re always happy to serve as your full service carpet, rug, upholstery, tile and hardwood floor cleaner!

Candles and Scents: Candle Soot Damage

candle soot damage, scented candles, holiday candles

Many people love the warm fall and winter fragrances from scented candles. There are hundreds of scents available, from favorites such as vanilla, citrus, lavender, and more. Some scents smell just like cookies or cakes in the oven. Of course, you don’t get the benefit of eating them!

Yet, as inviting as those scents may be, there are some concerns you should consider as you burn them.

Pollution issues

It’s been noted by various environmental groups and indoor air quality specialists that burning candles can produce pollutants such as acetone, toluene, benzene and others. These are some of the components found in soot, considered a hazard all on its own.

More and more people — perhaps just like yourself — love the smell of these scented candles. Yet put off smoke, even invisible smoke, that can be leaving an unhealthy residue in your home. Remember, soot is the product of material that didn’t totally go through the combustion process of burning. If the flame of your candle isn’t totally blue, no doubt there is soot being produced, and candle soot damage is imminent.

What can you do to avoid candle soot damage?

Choose your scented candles wisely. Opt for natural wax materials, such as beeswax or soy candles, both of which are better choices than wax made from petroleum products. Natural materials may cost more, but are a better, safer and healthier choice.

Make sure your wick is burning adequately. The wick should burn evenly with the melting wax, and curl as it burns. Ensuring the wick is less than ½ inch long when you light it will help.

Burn your candles where there is limited or no draft. Air movement can cause the flame to burn erratically and possibly create more soot pollution.

Don’t burn your candles all the time. Make it a treat. Burn them when you are in the mood for a nice scent in the home.

And when you do have issues with your candles, such as a residue on surfaces in your home, call your upholstery and flooring restoration professional. They can help determine if your candle burning habits are safe!

Clean It- Don’t Cover It

clean it, don't cover it! odor clean up, smell removal

 

Odors. They are everywhere. When pleasant, we might call them “scents.” When not-so-pleasant, we might call them malodors.

Odors are caused by a variety of sources. Some odors are pleasant, welcoming, such as from a fresh-cut batch of flowers or a nice, home-cooked meal. Others are not pleasant, “malodorous,” such as from an unattended cat litter box or rotting garbage left too long in a trash bin.

And when something is malodorous, you must do something about it. Sometimes, the urge is to just cover it up. That can be a very bad idea as odors just keep getting worse and worse and you eventually have a difficult situation to deal with.

You want your home to be neat, clean, and odor-free, except for odors (scents) that you introduce because they are pleasant and welcoming, such as air fresheners, perfumes, scented candles, etc. A rule of thumb is this: When it is clean and dry, there should be no odor.

Your carpet, furniture and other absorbent materials in your home, over time, become soiled and often collect odors. Normal “dusty” odors are part of life between cleaning, and routine chores keep them manageable. Yet odors from urine, feces, body perspiration, and other sources are offensive and must be removed.

There are three principles to follow when it comes to keeping your home clean and odor-free.

Remove the Source

When something is deposited, spilled, or has come into contact with a surface, the first step is to remove contamination. This means scraping, rinsing or otherwise removing any odor-causing sources. The sooner you do this, the easier the job will be. An example would be blotting and removing a fresh pet “accident”, as odors will quickly become worse over time.

Clean Affected Areas

Once the source is removed, there is still some contamination on the surface. A thorough cleaning is important to remove any residual matter that can cause odors. Using hot water is best, if the surface can handle higher temperatures. Some furniture fabrics are heat sensitive, for example.

Deodorize and Disinfect

Now it’s time to use odor-removing products, such as an approved deodorizer and/or disinfectant. This should be the final step in odor removal. Follow manufacturer directions exactly, as using too little or too much product can be counter-productive.

And never forget, Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration know how to clean and tackle tough odors. Let us do the dirty work. It pays to call a pro!

Odor Control in the Home