Friday, August 30, 2013

Cleaning: Controlling Dog Odor

**I'm so excited to announce that I've started a youtube channel discussing everything home making. My channel name is Surviving As Mom.  Check it out!!

I have a large dog that I love dearly, but he drives me nuts!  One thing I've always hated and was terrified of having in my own home is DOG ODOR.  I often feel like I'm fighting a never ending battle trying to keep my home smelling as fresh as possible.

My dog is a 5 1/2 year old German Rottweiler named Osiris that is the sweetest monster you could imagine.  We bought him from a breeder in California after tracing his bloodline to a dog that my husband grew up with as a kid.

Osiris looks scary, but he is a big mush.  He is also  a fantastic big brother.  My 3 boys climb on him, beat him up, steal toys from him, and just annoy him and he has always been so patient with them.  He loves to play outside with them and chase them around when they drive their power wheels in circles.  He is very smart and easily trained.  He knows most of the necessary commands visually as well as audibly.  We even taught him a few cute tricks, like holding a treat on his nose, or rolling over for a belly rub.

He is incredibly loyal.  No matter where I am in my house, he is always laying at my feet.  It's actually kind of annoying sometimes, but still cute.  He is very protective of our property and family.  I never have to worry about our safety in our home or yard when he is around.  I take great comfort in his company when I am alone in the house without my husband, especially at night.  It's not often that my husband isn't around, but it does happen from time to time.

Back to the topic...

Having such a large dog is definitely a lot of work.  Besides disciplining him regularly, as you need to do with such a large dog, there is the cleaning.  Sometimes I feel like I can't keep up when he sheds twice a year (for a few weeks each), when he tracks mud into the house, or when he lays in my bed after getting dirty and leaving a big brown spot where he laid.

Dog care:
I try my best to bath my dog at least once a month using an odor controlling shampoo.  Keeping the dog clean is the first major step in the battle of odor control.  When I slip and miss a month, you can definitely smell the difference!

Like any animal with fur, my dog sheds.  He actually doesn't shed as much as some other dogs, which is nice, but there is always some hair that he loses, especially when he sheds twice a year.  Normally, I can get away with vacuuming my house 2 times a week.  I almost never sweep.  I hate it!  Especially when you have a dog and 3 small kids that think the dirt pile is a good place to dance around in.  So, I vacuum my entire house.  Carpet, hardwood floors, ceramic tile, EVERYTHING!  I have a Dyson upright and I love it!  It has incredible suction and doesn't get clogged.  When he is in his shedding weeks, I have to vacuum daily or I will have huge hairballs in every corner of the house.  I guess this can be a good thing because it keeps me on track.

I have hardwood floors throughout most of my house and ceramic tile in my playroom/den and bathrooms.  In each of the main rooms, I have an area rug.  No full carpets.

The oil in his hair is naturally going to leave a residue on everything, and this is where the odor comes from.  To combat this on the rugs, I use a few different things in addition to vacuuming.
-Every so often, as needed, I sprinkle baking soda on my rugs and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes before I vacuum.
-After vacuuming, I spray the rugs and all fabric surfaces with Febreeze (my best friend!).  I usually use the Allergen Reducing formula, but I recently found out there is a specific "carpet" formula.  I will have to try that at some point.  I usually use the Febreeze for a quick fix, especially if I am expecting company.
-I wash the hard floors about once a week with Pinesol, using my Libman Freedom mop.

Couches: I have leather couches, which I feel is necessary with small kids and a dog.  However, you need to carefully clean in between the cushions since crumbs, hair and odor can get trapped there.  I have a few things that I do...
-First I use a pointed (or narrow) nozzle attachment on the hose of my vacuum, use one hand and foot to spread the cushions and vacuum the creases, spaces and seams.  Make sure to get in between the cushions, behind the seat cushions (under back cushions), and under the arm rests.  If there is a strong odor, you can sprinkle some baking soda in the spaces first and let it sit about 15 minutes before vacuuming.
-After vacuuming, I take a fresh dryer sheet and wedge it and my hand into all the space and rub it around to spread the scent around.  Sometimes after I rub the dryer sheet around I'll leave it in the space between the seat cushion and back cushion until I clean them again.
-Then I wipe the whole  leather surface with a wet washcloth and a mild cleaning solution (pinesol or dish soap).

Bed: No matter how much we fight him, my dog loves to sleep in my bed, even though he has a beautiful bed of his own right next to ours.  This is a major problem for me because it causes a strong odor in my room and in my bedding.  He has also stained ever set of sheets and blanket we've owned.  So, besides changing my sheets weekly, I have to wash my bedding (blankets) and mattress liner monthly.  Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that you can't wash most comforters this often without destroying them.  That being said, I just bought a new down comforter with a throw (blanket) over it.  The goal is to keep the nice down comforter nice and clean by keeping it covered with the throw.  This way we can just wash the throw as needed.  I'm not sure how long this will last since it is quite warm to sleep with this arrangement.  I'm pretty sure that at some point soon, we'll have to use a duvet cover instead of a throw to protect the comforter.  I also give my bare mattress a light spritz of Febreeze before I replace the sheets.

The same cleaning routine is also done in each of the other bedrooms- sheets weekly and blankets every other month (since the dog doesn't sleep in their rooms).

Other stuff: 
In addition to the rugs and beds, I also wash all throw blankets (in living room) monthly and curtains every few months.  I dust most surfaces weekly using Pledge.  Keeping dog hair and dust under control is an important step in the process of odor (and allergy) control.  It is also good to open the windows (if the weather permits) and air out the house.  Fresh air is always good.  I have central AC, so my windows are usually closed.  In the spring and fall, I will often open my windows for the day to allow the cool breeze through my house.

I'll admit, I don't ALWAYS stick to this plan, but I try my best.  There are also days that no matter what I do, there is still an odor.  This is usually on very humid days.  On those days, I just suck it up and don't allow any visitors over :-)