Protecting Your Home…From Your Pets

By John Voket

Since February is Responsible Pet Owner’s Month, I will continue our series on taking the best care of your pet, while keeping your home free of all the damage, stains, smells and noises that pets may provide, along with all that wonderful companionship!

An Austin, Texas agency recently posted great advice from Laura Foster-Bobroff – throwing consumers a few bones about taking better care of their homes while exhibiting responsible pet ownership at the same time.

She observed that window sills are favorite spot for cats to sit and watch the world. They like to lean against them, and don’t those screens or window frames make irresistible scratching posts?

According to Foster-Bobroff, cats can scratch away the better part of a three-quarter inch thick board — with most of the damage concealed behind a drape or curtain. She advises homeowners to regularly check screens for holes and frames for scratches.

Provide your cat an approved place to scratch – cat condos, scratching posts, etc. – and if necessary, have your vet dull the ends of claws by trimming and filing.

Puppies can do damage by using corners of doors as teethers, gnawing away as long as they’re allowed. Foster-Bobroff, says you can discourage chewing by purchasing products with a bitter taste, available at most pet supply centers.

From the day they arrive home, train dogs not to claw when they need to go out; otherwise, you are inviting gouged-out doors. For stubborn dogs, install a protective metal plate during training.

Finally, did you know that animal hair is a major contributor to reduced energy efficiency?

According to Foster-Bobroff, hairballs clog up fans that cool refrigerator coils. Air movement draws hair up and in, causing a strain on compressors, and shortening the life of appliances.

Animal owners should move refrigerators out every few months to thoroughly vacuum behind and underneath. And vacuums should be well maintained as well, since hair will jam up rug-beater attachments.

She says simply empty the system or change bags often to minimize risk of blockages, and remove hair from around wheels to keep them moving freely.

Natural Ways to Freshen Up Your Home

sorry about the odor...
(Photo credit: jwotis)

With all that goes on inside the home, it can be hard to keep it smelling fresh. Last night’s dinner, the kid’s dirty soccer jersey sitting in the laundry, and Fluffy’s litter box—well, they all can create lingering odors.

When it comes to ensuring the home looks, feels and smells clean, 64 percent of homeowners have even gone to extreme measures to rid their homes of pungent odors, such as replacing a rug or carpet (34 percent), purchasing a new trash can (26 percent) or replacing a couch or another piece of furniture (17 percent), according to a survey commissioned by Filtrete Filters from 3M.

But if you’ve become accustomed to the scents of your own home, how can you really know if it’s odor free? Healthy living expert, Building Biologist and author Lisa Beres shares these simple solutions to naturally create and maintain a fresh home:

Kitchen refrigerator: Remove foul odors and stains from leftovers in the fridge by cleaning the drawers and shelves with a homemade cleaning solution. Simply add a few drops of natural dish soap to a bowl of baking soda and stir until it creates a thick paste. Also, store an open box of baking soda inside the fridge to help eliminate odors before they start. Replace it with a fresh box at least every three months.

Candles and air fresheners: Store-bought air fresheners can contain synthetic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, which can irritate eyes, skin and throats, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Instead, create your own air freshener by combining 10 drops of an essential oil — such as lavender or eucalyptus — with two cups of water.

Pests and repellants: Pesky ants and other insects can make their way into your kitchen pantry when they’re on a mission to find food, but dousing them and your kitchen’s surfaces in toxic repellent isn’t a healthy solution for the home or the family. Instead, set a line of coffee grounds, lemon juice, cinnamon or cayenne pepper around doors and windows to create an effective barrier they won’t cross.

Damp towels: Wet towels from a shower, a trip to the gym or a day at the pool can be a breeding ground for mildew to develop if they sit too long without drying. To rid towels of the mildew smell, first wash them once in hot water with a cup or two of white vinegar. Then wash them again with a natural or eco-friendly laundry detergent. Finally, dry the towels in the dryer on high heat. To avoid mildew and associated smells in the future, hang towels up right away to ensure they dry thoroughly.

Source: www.Filtrete.com.