We all want our home to be healthy and natural. However, no matter how hard we try, people are going to get sick and throw up (whether this is courtesy of a bug brought home from school/work or courtesy of too much home-brewed cider, we won’t enquire). And if we try to create a household containing more than one species, the inevitable will happen while we try to teach our cats and dogs the appropriate places to dispose of body waste.
Now – how do you deal with this naturally without resorting to all those artificial disinfectants and deodorants? Most of us will, let’s be realistic, abandon our back-to-nature principles when confronted with a pile of poop, pee or puke, but it is possible to deal with these naturally.
Step one is to remove the offending substance. Don your rubber gloves and hold your breath. Use a towel to scoop up larger piles of ick (e.g. vomit) and use loo paper or a paper towel to scoop up smaller bits (poop). For pee, pop a very absorbent towel over it and let the towel soak it up. Then flush the solid ick down the lavatory – it’s biodegradable and will break down without any bother. Clean up any remainder with loo paper.
Don’t use a good towel for this process. Use an older one or sacrifice one. Once you’ve cleaned up the mess, the best way of dealing with lingering germs is pouring boiling water over it. This will kill the germs. After that (and after all the visible grot is off the towel), then wash as normal. The towel may end up a little stained, but it will be safe to use.
The second step is to remove any visible mess or stain on the carpet or floor. This is easy on a hard surface such as linoleum, but a bit harder on carpet. The easiest way is to use a stout scrubbing brush and some soapy water. Make sure the soapy water is not hot – blood heat at the warmest – as hot water can set a stain into the carpet, especially in the case of vomit, which may very well contain protein. Scrub like heck and then blot up the remainder with another towel.
Next, you’ll have to kill any germs and deal with any lingering smell. Getting rid of the lingering smell is especially important in the case of animal pee – if the place still smells of pee (to a dog or cat’s nose, not yours) then the pet in question will conclude that this spot is OK to use as a toilet.
Killing germs is best done with one of the disinfectant essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus or tea tree oil. Add a few drops to some dilute vinegar and spray on. If you can haul the dirtied item out into full sunshine, this will also work wonders. Hard linoleum can also be sterilised with boiling water. And remember that the soap will have done a lot of work. Germs won’t survive if they don’t have food and water, so if the area is thoroughly cleaned and dried, you’ll be OK.
The final touch to rid soft surfaces of any lingering smell is to sprinkle baking soda onto the spot. This absorbs smells. Then vacuum it up.
Never, ever try to vacuum up vomit. Even if you’re blind drunk, try to remember this. The vacuum cleaner will stink of puke forever.