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Remedies for pet odors: from homemade to hi-tech

Joan Fieldstone

July 30, 2014

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Interior Home Improvement

Several years ago I worked at a marketing company that was courting a pet product manufacturer. Someone in the company wanted some quick and dirty statistics on just how popular pet ownership was, so they took a survey of the employees: among 25 of us, we had a total of 56 pets. A few people had no pets and some had only one -- many of us were renters and were forbidden to have pets or had strict limits as to how many. That means among those who owned pets, many had multiples. So with pets seemingly more popular than ever today -- at least judging by social media -- that's a lot of pet odor per house to contend with.

How to eliminate pet odors

Some of us are not fortunate enough to afford cleaning services on a regular basis, and some of us just have pets that are not completely civilized humans yet, in spite of their cute Halloween and Christmas outfits. While it may seem to the discerning nose of a casual visitor that we pet owners are remiss in our care of the little fur babies, we really do not like pet odors any more than the rest of you.

In a previous blog post, I pondered where to hide kitty litter boxes to keep the mess (and the odor) as far as I could from the bedrooms, dining and food prep areas in my open plan house. I found a nifty foyer bench with two compartments underneath that fit two litter boxes. Though not ideal, the cats were doing fine with this arrangement. I was, however, cleaning after every cat toileting episode. Three kittens equaled six to nine times a day to keep up with the odor control. And then the dog decided to make an editorial comment by peeing on the entire set up.

The Problem: This proved to be two-fold. I needed something to neutralize the smell of the discovered-too-late dog urine on the seat pad of the bench. And the litter boxes, only one of which the cats actually use at a time until it's completely dirty, produced enough smell each time they used it that I had to drop whatever I was doing to clean the box. This usually happened just as I was going to bed upstairs, or sitting down to eat a meal in the dining area, which is only a few feet from the boxes in the foyer for lack of a less-used location. Open windows, aromatherapy, and exhaust fans did little to help.

The Solution:

  • For the dog urine. While there are dozens of (expensive) odor neutralizers made from enzymes and organics at the pet store, I opted to try a homemade pet odor solution I found published online that uses white distilled vinegar, lukewarm water and baking soda. I sprayed that on the smelly areas of the bench cushion and left it in the open garage to dry. All of the odor from one spot is gone, and most is gone from the other. Since the bench is particle board with vinyl cladding, the spot the dog aimed at swelled and buckled, so the bench's days are probably numbered.
  • For the cat waste. As I will probably remove the bench sooner rather than later, I opted to replace the two-litter box arrangement with one gigantic, hooded litter box -- but not just any litter box. This one removes odors with state-of-the-art photocatalytic nanotechnology. It comes with a three-month, money-back guarantee.

You can't get much more basic than vinegar and baking soda, nor more hi-tech than nanotech. I just hope the dog doesn't get jealous that the cats are more technologically advanced. If so, I might have to rig up a special bathroom with nano coatings and UV lights for his exclusive use when he can't be bothered to wait for one of his three-plus, 20-minute walks a day. As for the cats, I hope they are not intimidated by the hi-tech litter box and decide instead to poop in the bed.

I had not planned on remodeling for pets quite this long. So much for window treatments and backyard landscaping this season. I might need to make a killing in nanotech stocks first.

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