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Old 10-23-2008, 02:39 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Safety : Clean Green for a Cat-Safe Home

extracted from Cat.About.Com


Clean Green for a Cat-Safe Home

How to Keep a Clean House Without Sacrificing Your Cat's Health

By Franny Syufy, About.com



We all agree that a clean house is not only desirable, but essential to the health of both humans and the cats who share our homes. Ironically though, our homes are full of household cleaning supplies which can be harmful to our cats, things like chemical cleaners, disinfectants, and insect repellants. In an effort to protect our cats from exposure to toxic substances, while keeping our homes free from dirt and germs, the About Cats Forum members have brainstormed and came up with a list of helpful "clean green" tips and ideas. We have discovered that there are a number of safe products we already have on hand that can be diverted toward safe cleaning.Vinegar


Vinegar has a multitude of uses both inside and outside the home. Here are just a few:
  • Windows: Mix 1/8 cup vinegar with a pint of water for a great window and glass cleaner. Use in a spray bottle and use newspapers to wipe and polish. For a particularly dirty window, add a tablespoon of dish detergent to the mix.
  • Floors:Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water. Use to damp mop vinyl, ceramic tile, or laminate floors.
  • Cat Urine Odor in Carpet: If necessary, use a black light to locate the stain. Use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water. Soak stain well, then blot with (recycled) paper towels or an old towel until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat if necessary.
  • Stains on Clothing: Gently rub the stain with full-strength vinegar. Allow to site for a few minutes, then launder as usual. Helpful with fruit, jelly, mustard, coffee or tea stains.
  • Clogged Kitchen and Bathroom Drains: Pour 1/2 to 1 cup baking soda into the drain, followed by one cup of hot vinegar. Let sit for several hours, then follow with very hot water. This tip is also useful as a monthly preventive maintenance, using 1/2 cup baking soda.
  • Wood Cutting Boards: Spray or wipe with full-strength vinegar. (It also will remove any lingering onion odors.)
  • Ant Control: Spray straight vinegar (or a 1:1 vinegar-water solution) around baseboards and other areas where ants enter the house.
  • Weed Control: Spray full-strength on resistant weeds. This is particularly helpful if you have indoor-outdoor cats who venture outside occasionally to much on grass. Also use to kill grass and weeds in cracks in your driveway or sidewalk.
Baking Soda


It seems to be a toss-up between baking soda and vinegar as the most valuable common household product with a multitude of uses. You will see that they are often used together for double-whammy cleaning green.
  • Soap Scum in Bathroom: Sprinkle baking soda in sink, tub, or shower, then scrub with a sponge or a nylon scrubber. (Nylon netting, which is very inexpensive in fabric stores, makes an excellent scrubber for kitchen and bathroom sinks and tubs. Cut a strip 2 yards long and six inches wide and gather in the middle, using a large needle and strong thread. Pull the gathers tight, wrap the thread around the center of the "rose" and tie off tightly. Or, just cut a piece eighteen inches square and use to scrub surfaces. Food and other yucky particles can be easily rinsed out, and it's so inexpensive that it can be thrown out with a clear conscience when it wears out.
    (Thanks to Tallysmom of the About Cats Forum for this tip!)

    "Double your whammy" by pouring a cup of vinegar down the drain before rinsing the soda, a great way to keep your drains clean, fresh-smelling, and running free.
  • Shower Curtains: Clean and deodorize by scrubbing with a paste of baking soda and water. (From the Arm & Hammer folks.)
  • Microwave Cleaning: Sprinkle baking soda on spills and gently rub with your nylon scrubber. Pour a little baking soda on a sponge to clean food splatters on the sides and ceiling. Wipe clean with damp sponge.
  • General Surface Cleaning: Sprinkle baking soda on a sponge and wipe surfaces down; rinse and dry. Works on counter tops, stove tops, inside refrigerator, sinks, and laundry appliances. (You can soak the used sponge in a little more backing soda and warm water to keep it smelling fresh.)
  • Cockroaches: Mix baking soda and powdered sugar in a 1:1 ratio. Spread in areas where cockroaches are likely to hide (under sink and in cabinets, drawers, and along baseboards.
Bleach (Non-Chlorine)
Household bleach, diluted with warm water in a 1:20 ration is a splendid disinfectant. It is often used in shelters and vet clinics, and can be used at home to clean almost every washable surface, including countertops, floors, as well as litter boxes and plastic automatic water servers and food dishes. Rinse the latter two well with water, and let other surfaces dry before cats walk on them.
Lemons


Lemons add a fresh, clean scent wherever they are used. Here are just a few ideas for using lemons in a less traditional way than lemonade:
  • Make a furniture polish of lemon juice and olive oil in a 1:2 ratio. Use a soft cloth to apply, and then polish to a sheen with a clean soft cloth.
  • Recycle squeezed lemons by grinding them up in the garbage disposal.
  • Lemon peels are a good deterrent to keep cats out of your potted plants, as they generally do not like the smell. Or, use them to keep stray cats out of your garden.

Bleach Revisited


  • Diluted bleach is one of the best cleaners to use in bathrooms, kitchens, and litterboxes, as it kills many germs, including the FIP virus and FeLV. It is not toxic to cats if one doesn't let them walk on the surface while it is wet. Even if they do, it doesn't cause harm to their pawpads and the amount they might lick off their paws will not cause a toxic problem. One assumes the floor would have been mopped normally, without puddles being left behind, and that the bleach was correctly diluted.Some vet sites recommend a 1:32 dilution, which is 4 oz. bleach in a gallon of water. Others say 1 part bleach to 20 parts water. Apparently a little goes a long way. Since I do take in cats from the streets from time-to-time, and start them out in the bathroom until I can access their status, I really do want to make sure I clean with something that can kill FIP and FeLV since the health status of the "newbies" is unknown. Plus it kills people germs too. It kills giardia too, which can affect both cats and people.
    I also read that it gets rid of ant scent trails, so folks with ant invasions might want to clean their kitchen with diluted bleach.
    - GalensGranny
  • Good old bleach is pretty much what is used, even in hospitals, to disinfect stuff--of course, they have to give it a fancy name, "Dakin's Solution", but it's still basically bleach water. I dissolve a tablespoon of it in a quart of water, and keep a spray bottle loaded with it in my bathroom and another in my kitchen. Don't forget about neutralizing the odor with a vinegar-water rinse (bleach and vinegar seem to do a pretty good job of canceling each other out).
    - Susannah
Removing Chewing Gum and Gunky Spills


  • Oh, yes--removing chewing gum from fabrics, hair, or rugs: rub in ordinary (creamy) peanut butter, until you get all the gum out, then use the same treatment you would to remove oil or grease, to take out the peanut butter. I learned the peanut butter treatment the time my daughter got it stuck in her hair, and it works very well--and is, of course, completely safe for humans and pets. As for removing greasy stains from fabric and carpets, you can take ordinary brown paper bags, and place them over the stain, and then weight them down with something heavy, like a brick covered with aluminum foil.
    - Susannah
  • ...If it is on carpet or fabric, I put ice in a baggy or use one of those blue ice gel things on top of it. Leave it for a while. Once the gum freezes, you can just pop it right off in one piece.
    - Sandra (MARSAN)
More Clean Green Tips


  • Scrubbers:
    As for scrubbers, I'll go you all one better--and this one doesn't even cost anything! You know the bags in which you buy onions? Cut off the paper tag and you have a great scrubber--it's especially nice when you make bread dough. You take that piece of onion bag and it cleans the bowl beautifully, and then the dough rinses right out of the mesh of the onion bag.
    - Susannah
  • Pest Control (Outdoors)
    For pest control, I use dish liquid and water. I only spray outside, along the foundation and around windows. I usually get invaded by European earwigs in the fall of the year and this method really cuts down on the numbers.
    - kelliandtaz
  • Eucalyptus oil will remove sticky anythings from most surfaces. It's brilliant for getting adhesives from bandaids etc off skin, chewie/bubblegum out of hair, oily stuff (including most inks) out of suede or leather, tar off car duco etc. If there is any residue, just wash with detergent or soap.
    - HOSTBAR
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Safety : Clean Green for a Cat-Safe Home

oh boy looks like i should invest in a giant tub of vinegar.. thanks for the tips!! always wondered if i might be harming my pets with all my cleaning and disinfectants.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:27 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: Safety : Clean Green for a Cat-Safe Home

do you know that this will tie in with our thread on how we should be consistent in our stand against cruelty to animals and avoid buying from companies that do not ban testing product testing on animals - it was in one of thread on vegetarian or something.

i have read somewhere else that vinegar is good to kill weeds, i'm thinking of buying the white vinegar (cuka tiruan) as it is much cheaper! :-) the black vinegar which we use as food is way too much "expensive" and "precioius" to be used to kill weeds and for cleaning the toilet!

however if we use bleach, we must make sure that the cats are not harmed by being allwoed to ingest any leftover of the cleanup, etc.

let's discuss more on this here- hopefully lots of people will participate
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oh boy looks like i should invest in a giant tub of vinegar.. thanks for the tips!! always wondered if i might be harming my pets with all my cleaning and disinfectants.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:42 PM
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Default Re: Safety : Clean Green for a Cat-Safe Home

actually your timing on posting this article is absolutely perfect!! i have a massive weed problem in my yard. it looks like a jungle and i'm not exaggerating. i've got lalang growing that's almost as tall as i am. it seems like the weeds grow so fast and we can't get them cut fast enough! some of the strange weeds are even beginning to grow into full-fledged trees. now don't get me wrong, i love nature and plants and i am always buying all kinds of plants, but weeds are totally different. they choke the grass and make it difficult for my dogs to play in the garden. last night spike and i were hanging out outside when he saw a cicak on the garden wall opposite. naturally he went charging straight through the weeds and lalang at top speed...i couldn't even see him. just weeds and leaves swinging around and the sound of him crashing through everything... that's how bad my weed problem is.. i'm glad i don't have to resort potentially harmful solutions. thanks for the vinegar idea. will buy a load tonight and spray the lalang this weekend.
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:23 PM
ashleywong ashleywong is offline
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Default Re: Safety : Clean Green for a Cat-Safe Home

hi lynie

you must have lots of fertilizer in your garden! that sounds like a mini-jungle you have from your description! i don't remember seeing all those weeds when i was last at your place! :-)

but i also remember reading somewhere that vinegar as a weed-killer is not specific - it will not just stop at weeds - it doens't recognise whether a plant is weed or not - so if you have other plans you want in your garden, make sure you

a) apply on the weeds, around the roots
b) do it when it's not raining - otherwise it's as good as not doing

i think the current spell where it is hot in the day and rainy at night is encouraging lots of weeds to grow.

yeah, i know what it's like the my simple little backyard a mere 3 ft by maybe 15ft square is like a mini jungle there - i dare not venture in there - i let the stray cats roam there and do their business there - so my neighbours have one less reason to harm the stray cats

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynielime View Post
actually your timing on posting this article is absolutely perfect!! i have a massive weed problem in my yard. it looks like a jungle and i'm not exaggerating. i've got lalang growing that's almost as tall as i am. it seems like the weeds grow so fast and we can't get them cut fast enough! some of the strange weeds are even beginning to grow into full-fledged trees. now don't get me wrong, i love nature and plants and i am always buying all kinds of plants, but weeds are totally different. they choke the grass and make it difficult for my dogs to play in the garden. last night spike and i were hanging out outside when he saw a cicak on the garden wall opposite. naturally he went charging straight through the weeds and lalang at top speed...i couldn't even see him. just weeds and leaves swinging around and the sound of him crashing through everything... that's how bad my weed problem is.. i'm glad i don't have to resort potentially harmful solutions. thanks for the vinegar idea. will buy a load tonight and spray the lalang this weekend.
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