Cleaning Up the Pet's Messes

It's inevitable. Even the best pets make messes sometimes. Here's how to clean them up, as painlessly as possible.

Pet Piddle

If your cat misses the litter box or your dog has an accident on the rug, you do not have to live with the pungent reminders of accidents past. Pet accident on carpet and upholstery can be removed, especially if you attack them while they're still fresh.

Start by soaking up excess liquid with a white rag or paper towels. Blot on a solution of one-quarter teaspoon of mild liquid laundry detergent and one cup of warm water. Repeat until there is no more stain transfering to your towel or rag. If needed, follow the detergent application with a solution of one cup white vinegar to two cups water. Blot dry.

Finally, cover the area with several layers of paper towels weighed down with a heavy, nonfading object. Continue changing the paper towels until the carpet is dry.

Pet Poop

Gently scoop up excess with a spoon or spatula. Deposit into a bag that you can immediately take outside.

Blot with the vinegar ammonia solution as described above. Allow the area to soak for several minutes. Blot and repeat until the stain is removed. Rinse with cold water. Blot dry.

To remove lingering carpet odors, sprinkle baking soda on the spot. Let it sit overnight, and then vacuum. If you can not remove either stain, however, consider recovering the furniture item or replacing the carpet. This might also be a great time to consider the benefits of a good dog trainer.

Litter Boxes

It's a messy task but someone has to do it. It's handy to keep all of your litter-box-cleaning tools together near the litter box: liners (great to cut down on weekly cleanings), scooper, gloves, and bags.

Each day, scoop the lumps out of your litter box as many times a day as you have cats. (Using a clumping litter helps tremendously with this task.) For example, we have two cats so my daughter scoops once in the morning and once before bed, wearing gloves and disposing of the scoopables outside, of course.

Each week, take the litter box outside for a thorough cleaning.

First empty the contents into the garbage. Then, using a scraper, dislodge any lumps of wet litter remaining. Fill the empty box with hot water, and then add a half-cup of bleach. Allow this mixture to sit and disinfect for at least 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, allow to dry in the sun outdoors, or use clean rags to dry.

Add fresh litter.