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April 20, 2009

Clean Freak Confessions
Posted by Teresa at 02:11 PM *

Clean Freak Confessions is one of those Federated Media “conversational marketing” things—which, for the record, I don’t mind a bit when they’re done well. Advertising and sponsorship we have with us always. Given a choice between a bunch of conventional ads for Hoover vacuum cleaners, and Hoover openly sponsoring an interesting temporary site, I’ll take the interesting temporary site every time.

In this case, what they’ve got are six bloggers—Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman, Heather Armstrong of Dooce, Amy Corbett Storch of Amalah, Rachel Hobson of Craftzine, Jim and Wood of Sweet Juniper, and Kristen Chase and Liz Gumbinner of CoolMomPicks—to collectively write “a celebration of personal cleaning experiences,” plus helpful tips.

I liked Liz Gumbinner’s tale of dropping a one-liter bottle of olive oil on her kitchen floor, and how kitty litter saved the day. One of her commenters said:

“Wow—cat litter used to clean? That is a great tip—I wonder what else it could clean?”
I succumbed to temptation, and posted:
I can tell you what else kitty litter is good for, if you’ll forgive my telling a somewhat gruesome story.

A friend of mine who lives alone had a bad attack of shellfish poisoning. He barely managed to stagger into his tiny, cramped first-floor bathroom before he collapsed on the floor, voiding convulsively from all orifices. “A little while later my vision went black and I figured I was dying,” he told me, “so after that I got a lot calmer.”

Some while later the attack passed and his vision returned, so he crawled into the shower. That took care of one cleanup problem, but the rest of that horrendous mess was still there, and his bathroom was a pretzel-puzzle at the best of times.

What he used to clean it up: a giant-size bag of clumping kitty litter, plus a shop-vac. Lacking a shop-vac, a shovel followed by a broom and dustpan would do. The bathroom surfaces still had to be scrubbed afterward, but that was relatively trivial.

Hey, you can’t deny that for those who need it, it’s a truly useful cleaning tip. (Slacktivist knows it too. Not for the faint-hearted.)

Addendum: Miconian’s take on it.

Comments on Clean Freak Confessions:
#1 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 02:38 PM:

Heh... It happens that as that thread showed up, my housekeeper was just leaving! She laughed at the name.... (I have her in monthly -- for just $65, it's a major help in keeping my apartment livable.)

#2 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 03:01 PM:

Here's mine:

Last week my dog woorfed up her breakfast a few minutes after returning from our morning walk. A steaming heap of swollen kibble in stomach-acid gravy.

I decide to scoop up the mess after taking my shower.

By the time I was toweling off, the pile was gone! Just a damp spot on the carpet. I hope it tasted as good the second time.

Seriously: Sprinkle damp area liberally with sodium bicarbonate. Work in with brush. Cover area with paper towels, then an old newspaper. Weight down with something waterproof and heavy.

After a day, throw away towels and newspapers. Let dry. Use a stiff brush to break up crust of sodium bicarbonate. Vacuum.

#3 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 03:12 PM:

I notice that my suggestions for cat litter use are already covered in the bit of Teresa's post that she didn't quote here, so I'll just direct people there instead.

Stefan Jones @ 2:

When I'm feeling particularly cynical, I suspect that the people who make kibble and the people who make carpet cleaner are in cahoots. There's absolutely no reason for kibble to have artificial colorings that stain the carpet when your pet inevitably throws up.

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Slacktivist's post, combined with the Particle on Sir Clement Freud and the "funniest joke ever" make an odd combination.

(Though that isn't the actual funniest joke ever, the funniest joke ever does deal with Freud. Sigmund Freud.

Q. What did Freud say comes between fear and sex?

A. Shras. )

(ROT-13, of course.)

#5 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 03:18 PM:

I've noticed that when the cats chose to upchuck in a more public location, the dogs are usually quite helpful, so it's not restricted to dog chow. Or to dog poop, really, but that's probably TMI.

Vomiting is one of those automatic trigger responses that really can't be stopped. Once you hit the cold sweat/salivation stage, you're done for. Before that, though, deep breathing techniques can help some.

This PSA brought to you by the virus that causes mononucleosis.

(Mono: not the only cause of malignant vomiting, but certainly a good one, as in "spent three days without stopping". Good times, good times.)

#6 ::: JanetM ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 03:29 PM:

Not using kitty litter for cleanup, but rather cleaning kitties: my parents once found on our doorstep a cat that had been drenched in used motor oil. (We don't know whether someone deliberately dumped oil on the poor thing, whether it was in the wrong place at the wrong time when someone was changing oil, or whether it got into a holding container.)

They called the vet, who said that if left alone, the cat would try to lick itself clean and probably die, and suggested:

1. Rub thoroughly with cornstarch.
2. Brush.
3. Repeat 1-2 until cat no longer felt oily to the touch.
4. Wash with baby shampoo.
5. Towel dry.
6. Repeat 1-5 if necessary.

Unstated was "dress all wounds," but the cat seemed to understand that, as miserable as it was, we were trying to help, and didn't claw or bite.

#7 ::: Torrilin ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 03:38 PM:

Once you hit the cold sweat/salivation stage, you're done for.

Depends. On this particular make and model of human body, all that means is that I am *quite* sick... but I'm unlikely to vomit just then. Cold sweats, salivation, appetite suppression and dizziness all go together to tell me "stay in bed you fool!"

I'll happily *drink* my meals in that state, but my body refuses to be hungry. Makes keeping electrolytes in me quite interesting.

#8 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 03:38 PM:

The most tedious spill I have ever had to clean up in my kitchen was concentrated dishwashing detergent. Once you've finished as much physical removal as possible, you're left with and endless cycle of wipe up, rinse cloth until no longer foamy, wipe up, rinse cloth .... This is the sort of detergent that boasts that a few drops will last through all your greasiest pots. And I spilled quite a few drops.

#9 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 03:57 PM:

Torrilin @ 7: there are other causes of sweat and/or salivation, but when it comes to vomiting, once the parasympathetic (salivation) and sympathetic (sweat) nervous systems -- both of which are part of the autonomic NS -- are activated, the vomiting trigger has already deployed.

The cold sweat might be missed (particularly if there's concurrent fever), but salivation is the last step before retroperistalsis. It's thought that this step protects the teeth (stomach acid is bad for enamel). The last steps are involuntary, although, as I said earlier, the first steps can be modified by self-control in some cases, not all.

#10 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 04:02 PM:

Sawdust liberally sprinkled on oil spilled on a concrete garage floor will soak up the oil in a few minutes, and you can then sweep and dispose of it easily. The fine-grained version of cat litter probably works well on oil too.

We had a Pyrex baking dish spontaneously explode into tiny shards when my wife was taking it out of its storage shelf. Fortunately it was still within the enclosed area so most of the glass didn't escape onto the floor, but it was still a hazardous mess. Wrapping my hand in duct tape, sticky side out, made removing the tiny little shards a lot easier than sweeping them up with a hand broom.

#11 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Cat litter, specifically crystal desiccant style cat litter, is ideal for drying out electronics that accidentally got in water. You can't prevent some water damage, but you may get it dried out before more damage is done.

I learned this trying to salvage an iPhone for a friend.

#12 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 04:21 PM:

Ginger, that's interesting, because when I was suffering from morning sickness, I found that a sour candy popped in my mouth at the salivation stage could head off the actual vomiting. I had my pockets FULL of Brach's sour balls.

#13 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 04:32 PM:

I use kitty litter for two household purposes: absorbing oil on the garage floor and next to an oil furnace when the tubing hadn't been tightened enough. And also I keep it on hand for freeing cars stuck in ice in the driveway: our it where you want the tires to get traction on ice.

(I buy cheap clay litter for these purposes, and buy expensive clumping litter for use with actual cats.)

#14 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 04:33 PM:

Damp, used coffee grounds make a great hand cleaner. They're wet, greasy, gritty, and adsorbent (not the same as absorbent) all in one.

Messy, but if you need to get something chemicalish off your hands fast, they're the deal.

Also, they moisturize your hands and leave them smelling like coffee.

#15 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 04:54 PM:

(Heloise mode)

Stefan, you're a doll! I tried it and it works!

(off Heloise)

actually, that does sound nicer -- and cheaper --the GoJo.

#16 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 04:54 PM:

THAN GoJo, of course.

#17 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 05:07 PM:

#12 Ginger, that's interesting, because when I was suffering from morning sickness, I found that a sour candy popped in my mouth at the salivation stage could head off the actual vomiting.

I wonder if what was going on in your case was you were heading down into hypoglycemia and the sourball took care of that.

#18 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 05:20 PM:

Jim, quite possibly; I struggle with hypoglycemia under the best of conditions. But does a drop in blood sugar correspond to episodes of vomiting during pregnancy? And it had to be a sour candy -- plain sweet candies didn't work.

#19 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 05:31 PM:

It sounds like a fun site... or at least a site I should probably read through ;)

(Yet) another thing that clay kitty litter is good for -- removing oil/grease from old wooden tools/objects (bury object in litter, warm -- can be done by leaving in sun, or by using the oven on low... repeat until wood is notably less oily, changing litter as required).

Anybody have a cure for cat fur and fleece?

#20 ::: Doug Faunt ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 05:40 PM:

That's one of the reasons why bars had sawdust and/or peanut shells on the floor, back when.

#21 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 05:48 PM:

xeger @ 19:

I have never tried this myself, but I have heard good things about using a rubber swimming cap as a mitten and rubbing it over the fleece. It's supposed to work for getting cat fur off your sofa, too.

#22 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Doug Faunt @ #20, for values of back when as recent as the early 1970s, at least in several bars around Tucson.

#23 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 05:53 PM:

Kitty litter also gets used by a lot of automotive shops as a clean-up material for spilled oil/antifreeze/what-have-you. It's similar enough to Speedi-Dri, but cheaper. (And -- full circle -- it looks like the makers of Speedi-Dri recommend it for deodorizing cat boxes!)

Other cleaning hacks:

If your shower is made out of a flat, non-scratching substance, you may be able to clean built-up soap scum more effectively by scraping the shower with an old plastic card (think Frequent Burrito Eater card or the like). Hold the card at a 15 degree angle and scrape. You'll still need to scrub to get rid of all the soap scum, but it really cuts down on the time. They also make razor products that can do this, but they're expensive and more likely to injure your shower. (Note: test an unobtrusive section of the shower first to make sure the card won't scratch. Some stainless showers will.)

Hydrogen peroxide (the medical stuff) works as a nifty cleanser. Downside: it isn't usable on marble, for obvious reasons.

Treated yellow dusting rags (or regular rags sprayed with dusting stuff) really are better at removing dust than old T-shirts. So are microfiber cloths. For inexpensive microfiber cloths, check out the auto detailing section of your local big box retailer. They're the same cloths as in the dusting section, but much cheaper. (Also, they wash well.)

#24 ::: SylvieG ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 05:57 PM:

I once sealed up my books with kitty litter in plastic bags to get skunk smell out of the paper (long, bitter story). Worked like a charm.

#25 ::: Tom Recht ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 06:17 PM:

I would click on the site in Teresa's post, but if “a celebration of personal cleaning experiences” is a representative sample of the prose it contains, I should probably buy some kitty litter first.

#26 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 06:22 PM:

Jim, I think it's the sour and not the sugar. My wife gets somewhat hypoglycemic reactions and nausea from morning sickness, and it takes 1 or 2 glucose tablets quickly @ 15g sugar each to deal with the hypoglycemia, and one altoids sour slowly at 2/3g of sugar to do the nausea. It just doesn't seem like there's enough sugar in them to make that much of a difference.

But, They're pretty much coated with citric acid, so they're _sour_.

#27 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 06:24 PM:

I've always been under the impression that kitty litter was originally developed for cleaning up oil spills in garages, and was adapted from that for use with cats (which made it much more practical for apartment-dwellers to have cats, yay!), so the fact that garages find it useful for cleaning up oil spills shouldn't be surprising.

When I lived back east, it was convenient to have a bag of it in the trunk of my car - it can be helpful for getting unstuck from snow (a problem I no longer have.) It's also useful for saving the occasional midnight trip to the grocery store when you notice you're out of cat litter.

#28 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 06:27 PM:

xeger -- We have one couch cushion that's somehow more attractive to cat fur than all the others (and it's not just that it's his favorite or anything, it just must be a different bolt of fabric).

My parents would be horrified but the best thing that we've found to defuzz it is reasonably new clean sneakers. My asics take it right off, where several varieties of defuzzing brushes, vacuums, and tape don't even come close.

#29 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 06:56 PM:

Ginger @9, JMD @17: I've always had problems with motion sickness, so when salivation kicked in after a long bus ride (and 3 minutes from destination) I started feeling increasingly desperate. I managed to stave off the vomiting long enough to get off the bus and to my surprise, the urge disappeared completely after a couple of deep breaths. No sour candies, though I may have had a strong mint. Not hypoglycemia either, since I had a sandwich an hour before the end of the trip.

xeger @19, for cat fur, I use a generic version of this rubber brush with built-in squeegee, and it works better than anything else I've tried.

#30 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Cat fur: 3M has a new product called Fur Fighter. It works very well on upholstery and might be worth a try on fleece.

Cat litter: I'm with Bill - in the wintertime, I just buy an extra bag of the cat litter I normally use and leave it in the car, in case I need extra traction. It gets moved into the house come spring.

#31 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 07:19 PM:

My dog's fur is very coarse. More like hair than lint.

I bought what I thought of as a deck brush -- 3' handle, oblong brush head with very stiff nylon bristles -- as a carpet scraper. Before vacuuming I brush up the loose hair. If the carpet is relatively clean, I pull off the collected fur and put it in the future dog wool bag.

#32 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 07:27 PM:

I've got one of those squeegee brushes, and I've never been impressed. May be the cat hair (med-long hair), may be the couch.

#33 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 07:58 PM:

I hope I won't disgust anyone when I say that the very best method I've ever found of getting, say, oatmeal traces out of a bowl, or a burned-on layer of chili or spaghetti sauce out of the pot without scratching its nonstick layer is ...

... owning a dog. Canine prewash (of things I'm willing to let the dog eat, of course -- no chocolate, nothing too fatty, etc) is a GODSEND. One must, of course, adjust their kibble intake to adjust to the level of 'extras' they're getting, but usually they're trace amounts and it's not making them spherical.

Works on vomit-on-the-carpet as well, to an extent, but we try to avoid using that method. :->

#34 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 07:58 PM:

Stefan, #14: It's that last bit which makes your advice ineligible for me. Having my hands smelling of coffee would leave me in need of the kitty litter.

xeger, #19: I bought a "magic cat fur remover" at a cat show. It works amazingly well. It's a plain old rubber squeegee, of the sort you'd use for cleaning glass. Hold your fleece fabric taut and pull the squeegee over it, and just watch the fur come out and collect into removable clumps! Also works on furniture (including the carpeted cat tree) and drapes.

Doug, #20: Leading to the interesting phenomenon of an upscale steakhouse restaurant (Logan's Roadhouse) serving small buckets of shelled peanuts at each table and encouraging patrons to throw the shells on the floor because it's "authentically Western". I couldn't bring myself to eat there a second time because I felt so sorry for the closing staff.

#35 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 08:04 PM:

#33: There is a problem with canine pre-wash if you don't use a (mechanical) dishwasher. The coating of dog spit is rather hard to remove without lots of hot water or chemical help.

I keep a bottle of windex by the sink. A very small shpritz is sufficient to break the saliva's grip on the ceramic.

#20, #34: A trendy chicken wing joint in Pittsburgh (circa 1996) had the same gimmick. I don't remember if we were supposed to throw the bones on the floor.

#36 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 08:11 PM:

#35: I guess that varies by kind of dog; I've never noticed any real coating, but then, I don't own a drooler; mine are beagles.

#37 ::: flowerytops ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 09:39 PM:

Rikibeth @ 18: As an also pregnant person, I'm inclined to say that it's a bit of both. I hear very often that sour helps with the queasiness (although I find chocolate *flavoured* things, like milk or ice cream are surprisingly equally as good), but that low blood sugar, or over-hungriness will increase your likeliness to throw up.

#38 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 09:45 PM:

flowerytops, congratulations, and may everything go well for you! I'm working on vivid but old memories; the baby is 13.

My only strong suggestion is to avoid the bran muffin recipe in "What To Expect When You're Expecting," because I tried it, and for the rest of the pregnancy, even when most of the nausea had faded in the later trimesters, the WORDS "bran muffin" could give me the heaves.

#39 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 09:47 PM:

I once had the duty of "HazMat NCO", which meant (as the most Haz Material we had was motor oil) the job consisted of making sure we had 40 lbs of cat litter (per regulation) to deal with the worse single spill we were likely to have.

#40 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 09:48 PM:

xeger, #19, I recently rewarded myself with this Bissell 33A1 Pet Hair Eraser Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaner because James Nicoll had recommended it and he has eight cats. It really works well.

Lee, #34, I have friends who like to go there and when I go with them, I make the staff sweep them out of my way. I'm wobbly to start with, I'm not walking on peanut shells!

#41 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 09:50 PM:

If you decide to start manufacturing optical fiber, and buy a system to measure refractive index profile, preform diameter, concentricity and non-circularity, and mode field diameter, then you'll want to have some kitty litter on hand in case the index-matching oil leaks.

#42 ::: flowerytops ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 09:51 PM:

Rikibeth, thankyou. Hmmm....bran muffin. Do not want.

#43 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 09:57 PM:

Microfiber cloths are awesome. They are ridiculously expensive in fancy cookware stores, but can be found cheaper in automotive departments and grocery stores, as G. Jules helpfully noted above. They are absolute dust magnets, without leaving any residue. Any cloth rag will scrub noticeably better than a paper towel or sponge, but a microfiber cloth takes it up a level, and will often do the job with just plain water.

Of course, no discussion of obsessive cleaning is complete without mentioning old toothbrushes, and wooden toothpicks.

#44 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 10:59 PM:

Marilee @ 40 ...
xeger, #19, I recently rewarded myself with this Bissell 33A1 Pet Hair Eraser Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaner because James Nicoll had recommended it and he has eight cats. It really works well.

Egads! He has -eight- now?!? Hmm... if it'll render my stairs in technicolour rather than greyscale it'll be worth the cost...

#45 ::: Strata Chalup ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2009, 11:49 PM:

I almost had to make a Kitty Litter Dash, some of these 'tips' here on MkgLt should come with Adjectival Advisories: may trigger eruptive synaesthesia.

We use the Swheat litter, which seems to give my kitties less coat-junk and breathing issues than either the crystalline or the clay litters.

WRT the Sisyphean defurring, few things work so well as a damp, just wrung-out washcloth, especially on the top of a couch cushion or along the back of the comfy chair. I've even been known to pour a tablespoon or so of water into one hand, set down the glass, rub both hands together, and do the Human Catfur Remover on some surface as a drive-by.

#46 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 12:19 AM:

I find microfiber cloths great for drying off plates and cups.

#47 ::: J Austin ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 01:38 AM:

My dog sheds year round, and enough to knit another dog. Though he's short-haired black-and-tan, he has a tan undercoat, so there is nothing I can wear where it won't show. Lots of duct-tape rolled around the hand, or fashioned into a large sheet to lay down and pull up over the sofa cushions. As for the dog himself, we bought a shedding tool, but nothing works quite as well as a low-tack lint roller.

#48 ::: m.k. ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 02:33 AM:

The natural foods co-ops I worked for used a 50/50 mix of oat bran and wheat bran, both of which were readily available in the bulk bins of the co-ops (important because the oil spills tend to happen by the bulk containers of oils) and much, much cheaper than kitty litter. I think it's the oat bran that clumps and the wheat bran that absorbs. Followed up with a quick wash with a dishwashing liquid solution, the linoleum would be safe for customers again.

#49 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 06:13 AM:

Terry Karney @ #39: 40 lbs of cat litter (per regulation) to deal with the worse single spill we were likely to have.

We occasionally have vehicles blow a hydraulic hose at work. On one memorable occasion, the foreman came with a couple of 20 kg (I think) sacks of "Absol" (an absorbent that's indistinguishable from kitty litter). Sacks emptied onto spill, he disappeared, then came back on a forklift with a pallet of said absorbent.

#50 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 06:19 AM:

Not all kitty litters are created equal. I avoid the clumping clay variety -- I live in a top floor apartment -- in favor of this stuff. Reason: "World's Best" cat litter is made from dessicated corn husks rather than clay. It has a smell of its own that is somewhat more pleasant to deal with than cat poop, and -- more importantly -- it's flushable and biodegradable. You can dump it on a compost heap (if you've got a garden) or down the toilet (if, like me, you don't want to bag your cat's effluent and carry it down three flights of stairs for one of the local urban foxes to tear open and scatter on the pavement).

Because of the size of the pellets it's probably not as much use for mopping up oil stands, but for the original design purpose, it lives up to the name.

(This wasn't meant to turn into an infomercial for a cat's arse sanitizer, but what can I say? Colour me a satisfied customer.)

#51 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 07:59 AM:

Eric @32: Over here it works best when I work in small circles for a couple of minutes to build up a static charge; it picks everything up after that.

#52 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 11:50 AM:

I concur with Charlie Stross about the World's Best kitty litter stuff. In addition to the virtues he describes, it also seems to track a lot less all over the house than the bentonite-based clumping sorts.

#53 ::: Jeremy Preacher ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 11:53 AM:

Agreed about World's Best, but it is also World's Priciest - Swheat Scoop is an economical second choice, in my experience.

#54 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 11:54 AM:

Does it work well to clean up tasty hot nourishing soup, too?

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 12:06 PM:

Let me join the chorus of praise for microfiber cloths. I once cleaned my entire bathroom with plain water and microfiber cloths, and it was as clean as it ever has been.

(Sometimes I need to do a slosh-and-sponge on the floor, which was tiled with POROUS GROUT (idiots), and they're not so good for that. And when I feel the need to kill germs I use chemicals. But this time was just stuff like dried toothpaste and so on.)

#56 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 03:03 PM:

Re flushing cat litter: I don't know about the local fauna in your various parts of the world, but the California Sea Otter is suffering from toxoplasmosis infections as a result of people flushing cat waste.

#57 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 03:24 PM:

#56: That's bizarre. Don't your waste treatment facilities handle parasites?

Seems more likely it's getting into the ocean via the stormwater system somehow, since most of the west coast doesn't treat their storm sewer runoff at all.

#58 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 04:06 PM:

Xopher, I have heard good things about grout sealant reducing the required clean-up time for porous grout. (Second-hand advice, take it for what it's worth.)

#59 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 08:49 PM:

xeger, #44, he had nine, but one died of renal failure recently.

Strata Chalup, #45, I use ShweatScoop, too, because it's flushable. I live in a condo and don't walk well, so I'd have to drive used litter to the trash every day. Ick.

Terry, #56, like Elliott said, don't you have water treatment plants? When I flush, it goes down gradually bigger pipes into the water treatment plant, cleaned and into our reserve lake, and then pulled back into the water treatment plant to be cleaned and down the clean water pipes when it's needed.

#60 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 09:06 PM:

Re: Toxo -- it is thought to be coastal runoff that's creating problems in the California Sea Otter population.

(Sorry, that's only an abstract; I'm at home and don't have full access.)

#61 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 09:53 PM:

Some years ago, I had brought home 18 large bagels. My not THAT large heeler-x-aussie got up on the table and ate the bagels.

I kicked her outside where she promptly returned the bagels, though they were somewhat the worse for wear.

While I was looking for a shovel, of course, the other dog consumed the bagels, all eighteen of them.

And then urped them back up five minutes later.

Off I went for the shovel again ... and returned to find no bagels, and some chickens kicking around in the moist spot in the dirt.

And that, folks, is recycling, redneck style.

#62 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2009, 11:12 PM:

Leva@61: ...thus explaining the origin of the phrase, "nobody here but us chickens"?

#63 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2009, 03:32 PM:

And today's Two Lumps has an opinion on cat litter in water, too.

#64 ::: Liz Gumbinner ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2009, 09:39 PM:

Your readers are brilliant Teresa! I am not only getting fantastic cleaning ideas, I'm getting a whole vomitorium worth of gross-out stories for parties.

(And I am so glad you have "occurrence" for reference because I spell it wrong every damn time.)

#65 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2009, 10:39 PM:

If you should ever feel the need to deploy a Gross-out of Mass Destruction (GMD), you can research a stark, clinical description of hgrevar rirefvba. That beats choyvp erfgebbz hevany cake recipes by a considerable margin.

However, you should be aware that doing so may be considered a treaty violation of the International Killing Joke Accords.

#66 ::: LLA ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2009, 01:08 AM:

I'm not a clean freak by any stretch of the imagination, but my cat's obsession with emptying the litter box of kitty "arse sanitizer" so that he can pee "outside the box," combined with the fact that I receive massive collections of advertising fliers with every day's mail has led me to a unique form of "recycling."

It started as an alternative to shredding sensitive documents -- I realized that I could put paper at the bottom of the box and it would give my precious boy something to scratch at that would, as it absorbed moisture and "deposits" of well, unmentionable digestates, actually made it easier to remove the stubborn clumps that wanted to stick to the bottom of the box.

Little by little, I added more and more paper. First it was just stuff that would have gone in the round paper file because I wrote it and hated it. Then I realized the wonder of those previously unwanted ads -- the fact that they come in thick, absorbent litter-box sized folds.

On top, I sprinkle a little litter to give kitty the pleasure of covering "the evidence," but I've cut my consumption of clumping litter immeasurably -- and kitty loves having something to really dig his claws into!

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