I will be making a more inclusive list of things I really like, and why--and posting them to my "new owners" page, coming soon!

 Today, though, I just wanted to recommend some clean-up products after my last entry. 

For cleaning up stains in carpet and upholstery, I cannot say enough about Bissell Eww! It is an enzyme based cleaner, so it actually eats what is causing the stain, and nothing else.  This means you can use it on most surfaces without damaging them, and the WHOLE stain goes away--rather than just lightening it and/or making it smell less.  You can usually buy it at Petsmart/Petco/Target.  There are other enzymatic cleaners on the market--Nil-Odor (a professional janitorial chem maker) Digester is one I used to like a lot, until I found Eww, which I prefer hands down.  The other enzymatic cleaners will definitely help, and do more than probably just about anything else you can try--but Eww reigns champion, imho. 

Eww has a very nice, fairly subtle, clean smell it imparts while it is working.  It is pleasant to my nose, and the cats don't seem all that interested in being around it while it is working--although it doesn't seem to upset them, either. (Digester had a strong, sort of minty smell that could get overpowering if you had a big mess to clean up, and didn't do as well at disguising the pee smell while it worked, and the cats would come over to investigate what was going on.  Nature's Miracle, another enzymatic cleaner, didn't do much to mask the smell (smelled like cat pee and their fragrance while it worked), and I did not get satisfactory removal results with it.  I don't know if it is weak, or uses the wrong strains of enzymes, or what.  It is supposed to be great for pets, but the two types I tried, both of which were designed to treat cat urine, did NOT work--even with repeated applications, 3 days keeping the stain saturated, etc.  So don't waste your money there. 

To clean up new stains (pee, poop, vomit) clean up as much of the stain as you can with paper towels.  Grab any solids, then gently blot liquids (try not to force the material into the carpet pad or upholstery foam). Applying the cleaner requires a little care.  Think about the stains you are treating.  I have 2 ways I apply the cleaner.  I have a condiment bottle like you would find in diner--squeeze bottle with a narrow tip that I bought as Walmart for about $1, and I also have a pressurized, handheld mini pump sprayer I also bought at Walmart in the garden section for about $6.  If the stain is small and deep (a pee spot or two) then I use the bottle, and if I have a lot of stains to treat, or it was poop that is mainly in the upper carpet fibers, I use the sprayer.  The sprayer is pretty slick, because you pump it up and then there is no pulling the trigger.  It has an adjustable nozzle, so I can make a fine or coarse spray, or I can make a stream.  The stream or very narrow, coarse spray is what I use most--works great for pee spots. 

When you apply the cleaner, go around and saturate the outside perimeter of the stain first!  I go just outside of what I can see with my cats--dogs I used to go a ways around to saturate where I figured the stain had spread in the carpet padding.  Cats have concentrated urine, so that isn't generally much of a problem, unless you have several cats marking and remarking the same spot in short succession.  Go around the spot and make sure it is wet clear in to the padding.  This is putting up a barrier, so when you wet the stain itself it won't bleed in to clean areas, it will just push in to the cleaning liquid.  Then saturate the stain itself with the cleaner.  If it is a pee stain you are working on, make sure you get the padding good and saturated.  If it is poop, and was solid, just getting the top fibers should remove any smell/stain. 

Keep the stain wet for several hours.  When the cleaner dries, the enzymes/bacteria die and it won't work anymore.  With cat pee, especially if I feel it may be a marking issue, I try and keep it wet about 12hrs, 24 is better.  (If you have a lot of problems, 48 would be even better, but I have rarely had to do that--and I have had really, really troubled rescue kitties to deal with.)  Wet towels/facecloths/hand-towels do this very well--I just get them wet and put them over the treated stains, and make sure they stay wet.  I also use wet paper towels sometimes, especially if I have a lot of spots to treat--a bowl of warm water and a roll of papers towels is easy to get everything covered.  I make the covering a few sheets thick, wet them in the bowl, and move on.  They dry out faster, so check them every several hours and rewet as need be. You can also just keep rewetting the spots with water or more cleaner, but I always get sidetracked, so putting towels on works best for me so they don't dry out until I am ready. 

If you are treating dry stains, the technique is basically the same, but I STRONGLY recommend a UV light to help you find the exact locations of the stains.  In fact, I STRONGLY recommend a UV light anyway, because it will help you determine when your stains are really cleaned up anyway--especially important with behavior training.  It works REALLY well--make the room dark or wait for night time--then run around with your UV light and slowly scan.  Messes will fluoresce green--paler if they have been incompletely cleaned before.  Wet messes will sometimes not show up (but you can spot those with your eyes), and stains you are working on are hard to see--get the light close, and make sure it's very dark.  After you're pretty sure the treated area is clean (sniff test), let it dry and then apply the UV light to make sure it is all gone. If it glows, retreat.  The Eww does a good job of negating the smell, even cat pee. 

Good handheld UV lights can be had at most home improvement stores like Lowes and Home depot for under $15.  I really like the mini flashlight style ones with the LED lights.  It was about $12 at Home Depot.  The packaging suggested it was good to find scorpions, and certain types of leaks.  It is very bright and does a good job of illuminating trouble spots.  Black-light tubes work sometimes, but I have not had very good luck with that.  And they're bigger and more temperamental--plus the cost is about the same.