By Kim Bromley

Washable area rugs are expensive and worth it!

As I contemplate Claude’s latest throw up at 2:35am my mind catches on the practice of gratitude. This is lofty business in the middle of the night and challenging to engage with after the sound of a retching poodle has sent me hurtling out of bed in the middle of a dream about flying over the Azores. But we’ve all been there, am I right? That sound that penetrates your deepest sleep despite any mitigating Ambien, gummies or Scotch before bed. The sound so gentle you can’t imagine how you could even grok it under such circumstances. You cat people in particular are on board, I can feel it. And why hurtle out of bed if the hurl is inevitable? Because, of course, you want to direct the impending mess to the easiest spot to clean, Ruggables or no. In my case, I want Claude to hit the hardwood floor not the rug, even if it is the fancy, washable kind. Or better yet, puke on the bathroom tile like mommy used to in college.

Hard surface target achieved, I can now focus on the task at hand: wiping it up ASAP (bile is a destroyer of varnish and a stainer of grout). And THIS is where the gratitude comes in. I realize that decades of hair balls (I still miss you, cats!), throw up, shedded hair, muddy paws, bloody stools and more have taught me about the best and easiest cleaning products. Knowledge is power. Thanks, pets!

When it dawned on me to make this a blog I remembered a newspaper column from my youth: Hints from Heloise (which now has a reboot). So, I engaged social media for good instead of evil and solicited from my tribe (many of you, I’m sure) their favorite cleaning products, techniques and preventives. Herewith what the hive mind has to say on the matter. Many thanks to all those who contributed!

“Hire a housecleaner.” This is possibly my favorite for a good chuckle because I do indulge in a hired hand around the house twice a month, but she certainly isn’t standing by at 2:35am. Still, she does dig into the nooks and crannies I sometimes miss. Recently, she found a beloved earring I thought I had lost forever in the wilds of Mill Valley.

“Lower your standards – having a dog is more valuable than having a clean house.”

I love this for obvious reasons.

Cleaner and rag on standby

“Nothing can wake you up faster than the sound of a dog (or cat) vomiting in the middle of the night. Keep a supply of old towels & Nature’s Miracle (or equivalent) close by.” Which I do! So as soon as Claude lets it go, I dab it with a little toilet paper, flush that and then wipe the spot with Anti-Icky Poo (a Nature’s Miracle equivalent). Since Claude started having “old man gut” last fall I always have a cloth rag nearby to wipe up the cleaning fluids. Zip, zap I’m back flying over the Azores (or equivalent).

I loved this meme: “Cleaning with dogs in your house is like brushing your teeth while you’re eating Oreos.” It’s funny because it’s true.

More truth (from the same source as the meme): “There aren’t enough cleaning products in the world to get dog pee out of the carpet.” Times ten for cat pee. Why cat pee is not classified as a weapon of mass destruction is beyond my understanding of nuclear warfare.

“Aunt Fannie’s Carpet Refresher powder in Bright Lemon is the only thing I’ve ever found that can neutralize the smell of cat urine.” But does it, Heather?

At the risk of offending our male readers, who are not cliches, I swear: “Make sure your husband wipes the muddy paws before entering the house. Be prepared to do it again yourself.”

“Resign yourself to vacuuming every day.” I have a one-word response to this: robovac.

Two more terrific memes: “Cat hair: it’s both a condiment and a fashion accessory.” And, “It’s not cat hair, it’s kitty glitter.” Fortunately, the subject of glitter falls outside the purview of this blog. Fortunately for you, dear reader, as I can rant about glitter all day. Christmas is a nightmare for me. ‘Nuf said.

From fellow blogger Susie Harper: “I have the VERY BEST advice. I discovered My Pet Peed which is a stain/pee/barf/remover – My Pet Peed – Pet Urine Remover. It works on pee like a charm, and even disappeared a coffee stain on my mattress. It’s a miracle product, works better than anything I’ve ever used – and I’ve used a LOT of stuff.” This is what is known in journalism as burying the lede. My bad.

Fashion Don’t

“When buying a car, coordinate the interior color to your dog’s fur. When buying a rug/carpet, coordinate the color to your pet’s fur, and if you own a cat — select one that they can scratch without much notice. Have clean-up stuff for vomit readily available. Keep a lint roller at the doorway when needing to exit Pet-Hair-Free. And lastly, know that any mess/damage/inconvenience is well worth their loving presence in your life.” Love this. When Maybelline (a 10lb dog who shed copious amounts of short white hair) was alive we had lint rollers in every room and near the front door. We offered to “roll” our guests just prior to their departure.

Angry Orange is another much beloved cleaning product. Also this: “Mrs Meyer’s Lemon Verbena Everyday Cleaner removes the odor, and doesn’t smell like a chemical.”

“Well, this is a great opportunity to let people know about how sensitive BIRDS are to toxins and fumes! Products like Febreze, air “fresheners” like plug-ins or sticks, etc. All types of aerosols, can kill birds because they have a unique respiratory systems where they absorb way more oxygen into their entire body than mammals do. The “canary in the coal mine” is no “old wives tale.” So I use things like water and white vinegar mixed together in a spray bottle.” Thank you for this important reminder, Maggie!

Living on the edge with beige wall to wall carpet

From fellow blogger Neil Lurssen: “We installed white carpets while renovating before we realized the place needed a couple of dogs. Baking soda is our savior. First pat the fresh stain with an old towel, dump half a box of baking soda on it and cover with the towel. Vacuum when its dry. Then – very important – spray with Bissell’s Pet Pro Oxy Stain Destroyer to get rid of any odor that remains. If you don’t, your phantom pisser will be back thinking – Hey! This is a cool place to pee. (Good & Gather baking soda from Target works best for us because we have found that other brands are lumpy.)” Baking soda – also non-toxic!

From MH trainer and behavior consultant Marissa Walker: “As with training, management is crucial to cleaning. No wall to wall carpet, ever. Nothing on the floor that can’t be removed and cleaned on both sides. Proactive brushing and vacuuming to prevent multi-species messes, eg my dogs bring grass and plant bits in on their coats, drop them, the cats eat them, then the cats vomit them up on the rug. Multiple vacuums (I have three) to handle quick messes (cordless Dyson), deep messes (corded canister vac), and horrible messes (shop vac). And low expectations. Oh, and my partner has poor eyesight, so he can’t see all the messes.” My take-away: fall in love with someone who either doesn’t see very well or who doesn’t care too much.

On the cautionary tale/tail front: “Around 1960 my parents installed one of those very modern vacuum cleaners that is in the garage but the hose connects to a small port in the wall. We were the only family that had one. The salesman told us that it was so silent that you could clean your pets with it. I brushed Mittens and held the hose nozzle on her fur and I told my sister to push the button. Mittens moved like a bolt of lightening and she was gone for more than a day. She moved fast when she saw that hose come out of the closet.”

“Invest in throw blankets and dog beds. They are easier to clean than the couch.” I see you, Amy McPherson. And you see me.

“Hardened pee crusts on cat pans can be scrubbed with a thick paste of A&H Super Washing Soda and (soapy) water. Rinse well and dry in direct sun, if possible. Flea control needs daily vacuuming, HEPA filtered machine recommended.” Again, with the WOMD. #hardenedpee

On the prevention side: “I now have an incontinent senior dog, my vote is for doggie diapers!”

My tribe is so practical. I love them. “Fabric shaver for the scratches on furniture from kitties.”

Ruh roh

“Hey sh** happens. The funny thing about this photo is that I suspect her brother did the damage. Sweep, vacuum, disinfect. And roll your eyes but don’t get angry.”

How much do I love this?

From our product consultant: Pet Hair Remover Set, Large and Mini Carpet Scraper Rake for Couch, Lint Shaver for Furniture, Lint Brush, Fabric Pilling Remover, Stainless Steel Telescopic Pole for Dogs and Cats.

From a former colleague in the movie business.”Gaffer’s tape. It was the only thing that would pick up our Snowshoe Siamese’s hair.” Film people, I swear.

Washable, rubber lined mats make litter pan over-shoots manageable.

I’m so proud to be in sync with my peeps: “LOL on FB at 4:30am reading your post cause I couldn’t sleep after my dog jumped off the bed and ran into the living room to the only area rug we own to vomit on it. Why do they do that??? Vinegar, baking soda, dish soap & water mixture works great!”

So there you have it, dear readers. No doubt you have your own ideas, products, memes, techniques and preventions. From all of us at Marin Humane, we hope you found this helpful and amusing and that it made you grateful for your tribe/people/peeps/hive and the pets you love who continue to teach patience, humility and unconditional love, all of which are far superior to clean white carpets. Right Neil?  ; )