Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Christmas Clean-Up

As we slog through that often near-comatose period that exists between Christmas and the New Year, it’s a bit of a chore to concentrate on the job at hand. Luckily, my holidays (which went very well, thank you for asking) included at least one incident that made me think of home solutions and common things that homeowners find themselves dealing with even when they are attempting to be festive and care-free.

The harbinger of this solution was Guinness (formerly known as Gus), the pint-size French bulldog that became my mother’s ward earlier this year. I am thoroughly convinced that Guinness has some goblin DNA in him but those who have seen French bulldogs will no doubt attest to the impossibilities of not playing with them and showering them with attention. So it was, while my girlfriend was teasing poor Guinness with a rope toy as my father and me were preparing a salad, the little quasi-goblin canine decided to relieve himself quickly on the carpet, for seemingly little more reason than over-excitement.

When I was growing up in my mother’s home, my dog (Bishop, a golden Labrador) was prone to these accidents as well and as such, my grandmother taught both my mother and me the ins and outs of avoiding bacteria buildup and that inevitable, unbearable smell that comes along with it. The tools needed were, and still are, quite common: paper towels, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, rubber gloves, a scrubbing brush, dish detergent and baking soda. Some current websites also call for a black light but I have done without, so I’m certain you can too.

Use the paper towels to do an initial soak-up of all the urine; depending on how you handle bodily fluids, the rubber gloves may be useful here.  When most of the urine has been soaked up, empty half a bottle of white vinegar into a bucket and match that amount with room-temperature water. Use a scrubbing brush to get this solution down into the fibers and get rid of any collected bacteria. Then, use the paper towels (or a wet-dry vacuum, if it’s available) to dry up the area once again and once dry, sprinkle some baking powder on top of the area. Pour a mixture of one cup of hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of dish detergent (Palmolive works best) over the baking soda and use the scrubbing brush once more to work the mixture into the fibers.

After you dry the last bit, the bacteria should be gone for good and your carpet should be in the clear until the next time your pup can’t keep him/herself in check. To be completely honest, this isn’t a family secret: most professional maids know this technique inside out. Nevertheless, it’s a nice process to have in your back pocket, especially if you’re a pet owner and have extensive carpeting in your house. It might very well save your next Christmas from smelling like the inside of a busy kennel.