Cheryl G. In San Antonio adopted Melania, a four-month-old, five-pound half Piebald and half Chihuahua from a Rescue Group.
Grandma W. Sent a picture of Soupy, short for Marsupial. She’d raised him from a baby after the veterinarian advised Soupy couldn’t survive on his own.
Meet Cooper, Karen’s Maltese, fresh from the groomer. He looks quite handsome with his new tie. Five months old, and he RULES the house. That’s the way it is for the “only child” pet in her family!
Cleaning up to-do list
After a flood, your family must be cautious of any and all items the floodwaters swept over. You will want to begin to clean up immediately, but your safety comes first. The experts at www.floodsmart.gov recommend that you wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect.
Wet items need to be cleaned with a disinfectant and allowed to dry out. Look for mold or mildew. Sometimes vinegar will clean items and kill mildew. It just depends on how damaged the item is.
You want to remove as much moisture in your home as you can to prevent mold. All items that got soaked and are still damp, such as carpets, bedding, and furniture must be removed and taken outside to dry out, if possible. Pull up the carpet, the padding and put it outside. All surfaces, such as walls, floors, doors, etc., must be dried and disinfected.
If there is mold on a large area of the carpet, you are better off tossing it. If it’s a small area, less then 10-feet square, you can spray it with vinegar, let dry to see if that takes care of the problem. If you still notice mold or smell it, it must be cleaned and disinfected.
Check your home owner’s policy to find out if renting or buying dehumidifiers is covered. If your electricity is up and running, turn the air conditioning (not the heat) to pull humidity from the air and help speed up the drying time. Also, portable box fans will help circulate the air and turn on any overhead fans.
If the walls are damaged, depending on how high the water came into your home, remove the baseboards if you can, and poke some holes into the wall (I’ve used a screw driver) at the bottom to help get fresh air in there. For more information on after flood care and cleanup, visit: www.ready.gov/floods. Stay informed and stay safe.
PRODUCTS TO HELP CLEAN UP AFTER A FLOOD
Here is a list of must-have products to help you clean up. Keep this mind also, if you have a water leak in your house. There are good all-around cleaning agents to use. If you are trying to clean up yourself, do yourself a favor and buy the largest size or get two of each to have on hand.
(Sodium hypochlorite) – Also disinfects. Be sure to follow label directions. More or a stronger solution is not better! According to the EPA, do NOT use chlorine bleach to remove mold as a general guideline.
(Sodium perborate/Sodium percarbonate) – May sometimes be combined with bleach. Use this to wash colored clothing or linens that have come in contact with floodwaters. Or use your regular detergent and add oxygen bleach.
A colorless liquid that has strong oxidizing properties. It can be diluted and added to bleaches and other disinfectants. It kills many molds and mildew. For example, it will kill mildew on grout and cement steps.
SUDSY AMMONIA VERSUS NON-SUDSY AMMONIA
The major difference between the clear (non-sudsy) and sudsy ammonia is simply the added detergent. While both are suitable for the same cleaning tasks, one might be recommended over the other.
WHITE DISTILLED VINEGAR
Made from the fermentation of diluted, distilled alcohol.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Created from apples.
In the U.S., this is typically diluted to 5% acidity, but vinegars with higher acidity levels (9%) can sometimes be found. The higher the acidity level, the stronger the vinegar. I use the 9%, also called pickling vinegar, for dealing with musty smelling drains, killing mildew on the driveway (pour it on full strength and scrub with a broom) and even soaking plastic hair brushes and combs to get them clean.
A must-have for every household. Use to scrub surfaces without scratching, deodorize carpets, furniture and beds. Sprinkle on, let sit for 30 minutes or so, and just vacuum up. Pour ½ cup down a stinky drain, add 1 cup cheap vinegar and watch it foam up! Let set or 10-15 minutes then run about 30 seconds of hot water to flush it through the pipes.
CLEANING SOLUTIONS YOU CAN MAKE: HOW TO MIX
Combine the solutions in a clean jug or bottle with a pump nozzle for easy spritzing and spraying (MUST label the bottle clearly). For larger solutions, mix in a clean bucket.
WHAT NOT TO MIX
Always check the ingredients before combining them. NEVER MIX PRODUCTS CONTAINING AMMONIA WITH THOSE CONTAINING BLEACH. THE RESULT COULD BE DEADLY. Remember, even mild ingredients when combined together can be toxic, so follow these formulas exactly and that includes ALWAYS checking the label before combining ingredients!
Combine ½ cup of non-sudsing ammonia, ½ cup rubbing alcohol and 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid with enough water to make 1 gallon of cleaner.
Put hydrogen peroxide (3%) in an opaque spray bottle. Spray on areas with mold. If there’s mold or mildew on the floor of the shower or tub, pour mixture directly from the bottle, let it dry. See note below about storage*
Mix the juice from ½ lemon, 1 tablespoon household bleach and a cup of water. Carefully pour it into a spray bottle and spray the solution on the mildewed area. Let solution stand until dry.
Hydrogen peroxide and chlorine bleach are HEAT and LIGHT sensitive. Formulas made with these ingredients should be used within a day. Both formulas should be stored in clearly marked, opaque containers.
SIMPLE SANITIZING SPRAY
Some of the sanitizing sprays you buy are basically a little bleach and water. Use the following formula to make: Mix 1 tablespoon of household bleach with 1 quart of water (.01 bleach to 99.9% water). NOTE: This mixture isn’t shelf stable, meaning it’ll lose its cleaning power when exposed to light or heat for too long, so mix just enough to use for the cleaning tasks at hand each day or so.
Sponges (and cleaning towels) can harbor all sorts of yucky stuff, so wash them well each time you use them. Sanitize sponges by soaking them in a gallon of hot water and ¾ bleach for about 5 minutes. Remember, sponges are cheap! Replace them every few months or more often.
If you have special items (books, paper work, etc.) that have gotten wet, try this hint that I have used many times. Put the item in a large plastic bag (leave open), and place in the freezer. This will STOP mold and mildew from growing any more and will dry the paper out. It may take a week or longer, but it’s sure worth trying.
Try these hints for using them around the house.
To help make cleaning easier, manufacturers have introduced wonderful new cleaning products and equipment. I love microfiber cloths because they are so handy and do a great cleaning job. Try these hints for using them around the house:
Keep several microfiber cloths underneath the front seat of your vehicle. Use them to dust off the dashboard, radio and steering wheel.
BATHROOM & KITCHEN
Store a couple of microfiber cloths in these locations because they will clean and shine the chrome, spiff up mirrors and are great for wiping off the sink. When the cloths become dirty, toss them into the washing machine.
Freshen up your dog by lightly dampening a microfiber cloth with water and wiping over its fur. If your cat or dog needs to get the gunk out of its eyes, a microfiber cloth will do the job nicely. And if your pet, like Cabbie, my miniature schnauzer, gets a dirty beard after eating, the cloth will remove that food crud.
To take the dust off live or artificial leaves, lightly dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe over the leaves. This will also add a bit of moisture to the real plants too.
Pet hair, dust, ashes from smoking can migrate into your computer and clog the open holes. Use the hose attachment of your vacuum to remove pet hair and dust from the back of your computer. Clean the monitor case with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Be sure to also dust the power cords, floor, and the area around the computer, printer and fax machine too.
Wipe the handset surface with a dampened microfiber cloth to eliminate fingerprints and dust. But if it’s still sticky, mix one cup of water with one drop of mild detergent to wipe off and then rinse area (not the screen) with a clean dampened cloth. Don’t spray anything into the handset or keys.
To remove dust, grime and fingerprints, wipe the outside with a microfiber cloth and then carefully swipe over the lens. For a thorough cleaning, take to a professional or use commercial wipes.
Wipe the outside with a slightly damp microfiber cloth to clean, but don’t let moisture seep into openings. Do not use alcohol or solvents on this equipment.
First, unplug the power cord. Lift off fingerprints or dust by wiping the screen with a microfiber cloth. Use it to clean the remote control too. NEVER apply any solvent on the screen. Lightly vacuum the vents on the rear panel occasionally.
Kathleen B. in North Port, FL. sent a picture of her two bonded black cats, both with white feet, snuggling on the chair.
Meet Pamela F. In Grenada Hills CA’s Daisy. Daisy’s a nine-year-old inky Pomeranian and Chihuahua mix. Pamela takes Daisy everywhere, and Daisy’s loved by all who meet her.
A restaurant patron in Syracuse, Indiana snapped this picture of a curious turtle scurrying back into one of the many lakes in the area.
Meet Sammy. Sammy is the love of Donna’s life. He is eight years old and is a Coca-Poo. We’re guessing a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle? Soulful eyes, regardless.
Marianne M. sent a picture of her gorgeous green-eyed tabby, Daisy May, catching some rays, under the family rocking chair!