This post continues where we left off after Part I.
Part II - Bedding & Other Washables
BioKleen Free & Clear Laundry Detergent ($14.33). There are even a few products formulated especially for pet laundry, like Petastic Deodorizing Pet Laundry Detergent ($8.29), which can be used as a pre-treat or as your sole detergent [I use it!], or Nature's Miracle Laundry Boost Stain & Odor Additive ($8.99), which can be used in addition to your regular detergent. If you are an urbanite like us and cannot immediately launder the soiled item because you don't own a washing machine, spray the area with Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover ($6) or pre-treat with one of the above detergents as a stop-gap measure until you can make the trek to the laundromat ($4.50).
In addition to soiled items, regularly wash anything washable that your pets use. This includes pet bedding, pet clothes, plush toys, leashes and harnesses, pillows, pillowcases, cushion covers, blankets, throws, etc. If your apartment is squeaky clean but your stinky dog has been lounging on your throws, your apartment will smell like a stinky dog. Wash your throws. [Wash your dog, too -- we'll cover that in Part V.] We recently dropped off $85 worth of laundry at our cleaners for wash-and-fold service because it was time to wash every pet bed, pet toy, throw rug, throw pillow, blanket, and towel we own after the kittens left town. It was epic. My apartment smells awesome.
Part III - The Air
Deodorizing the air itself is key. Once the offending stink has been removed from your furnishings, floors, and fabrics, it can still linger in the air. We're talking about "wet dog", "I rolled in a dead worm," lingering poop smell, litter box stink, etc. [Part IV is devoted to the litter box, but we will address ambient litter box stink here.]
- Pet Odor Exterminator Candle ($9 for 70 hours of burn time). Another enzyme-based product, which attacks the odor particles instead of just masking them with smelly candle smell. I have used the Lavender with Chamomile, Cherry Pomegranate, and Luscious Creamsicle scents. I buy them at Unleash Brooklyn, but you can also buy them online -- there are seasonal scents and this company also makes a smoke-odor line of products, which appear to be the same as the pet odor candles with a different label. These candles are AWESOME. Super effective with a subtle fragrance. I keep one in every room, and it is the only candle that can truly counteract kitten stink. How can something so small and cute make such an awful smell? I loooooove these candles. Seriously, it's like this. [I read the testimonials and can't stop laughing about this litany of animals: "2 dogs, a Bearded Dragon, 2 tortoises, and a corn snake."]
- Bad Air Sponge ($12). I keep one in the bathroom (in between the human toilet and the cat box), one in the fermentation closet (yeup, we brew beer here), and one in my closet with my clothes. And this product was invaluable when we had the kittens living in the office. The Bad Air Sponge neutralizes odor molecules in the air (see also: poop particles!) and also neutralizes odors from porous materials (e.g., furniture, carpets, drapes, walls, upholstery). It is non-toxic, natural, biodegradable, and safe to use around children and pets (i.e, my dog can eat it and not die, unlike the other blue stuff she ate and almost died). It works for 30-150 days in rooms up to 400 sq. ft. -- that's entire apartments in Brooklyn! I'm thinking about getting one for the car, too.
Note: I've also tried the Fresh 'N Clean Solid Pet Odor Deodorizer, which is a similar product, but the Bad Air Sponge is leaps and bounds more effective and longer lasting. I may also try the Earth Care Odor Removing Bag ($19.99) when my Bad Air Sponge expires -- it is mineral-based, non-toxic, biodegradable and safe for pets and children. It has great reviews, and I like that it hangs rather than taking up precious floor or table top space.
- Air Purifiers. Air purifiers are a MUST if you live with animals, and I would go so far as to say they're a MUST if you live in an urban area (and probably on a farm, too). We own the Austin Air Healthmate Jr. Plus Air Purifier ($380), but there are air purifiers at every price point, so do your homework before you buy. I bought our Austin Air Healthmate Jr. Plus in May 2010 when we had two humans and three animals (including a not-completely housebroken puppy and a sick old long-haired cat) packed in a tiny railroad apartment. The filter on the Austin Air Healthmate Jr. Plus model only needs to be replaced once every five years, and it cleans a "room area" of up to 700 sq. ft. -- yes, a "room area" larger than our last apartment. It's not the most quiet model, but I prefer white noise to silence, so that's a pro for me. This is a key part of our de-stinking strategic plan and also a key part of my boyfriend's de-allergizing strategic plan -- along with allergy shots and nasal sprays. We also have a number of air-purifying houseplants, which cost significantly less than an electronic air purifier, and which are awesome to have around for tons of other reasons.
- Other. We've used "room sprays," wall plug-ins, and other kinds of scented candles, but these aren't really necessary. I like our apartment to smell like nothing (or food), so I stay away from a lot of the fragrant products, other than the above candles, which are effective and neutralize odors with just a subtle lingering fragrance. And eww to Febreze or anything "clean linen" scented. Just clean it for real, please.