Unfuck Your Habitat

You're better than your mess.

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Posts tagged "pets"
There's motivation to clean and arrange a messy room, but then there's the issue of motivation to clean up messes created by your pets. My dog, for example, shits all around the house whenever she's mad at me/my family. How do I get up the motivation to clean up after her?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

First things first, dogs don’t go to the bathroom out of spite or anger. You can’t assign human emotional responses to pets like that. Dogs generally go in the house for one of the following reasons: anxiety, boredom, submission to appease angry humans, lack of access to the outdoors when they need it, illness, or lack of proper house training. So maybe figuring out which of those things is contributing to the mess should be your first course of action.

As far as motivation to clean up after your pets? Dog shit smells and is unsanitary in living quarters, so you really want to deal with that ASAP. Also, a dog who is not surrounded by their own filth (and who can’t smell it to re-mark the spot) is a dog much more likely to use the outdoors as we humans would like them to.

Grab a bottle of an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle, clean up any soiled spots, throw your pet’s bedding in the wash, and give a good vacuum because having pets means constant diligence in dealing with hair or fur.

Our pets are not capable of cleaning up after themselves. When we bring them into our homes and our lives, that’s one of the responsibilities we’re taking on, along with keeping them fed and healthy and happy.

ETA: Everyone, let’s be kind, please. The asker sent me a very lovely note thanking me for the answer because they’re an inexperienced dog owner. The way to help people learn things is not by being a dick, it’s by taking into consideration that someone genuinely may not know the information and by using your own knowledge and experience to help them out. A little benefit of the doubt goes a long way.

Asker veritasrose Asks:
I will be house sitting at a notoriously dirty house next week. (LOTS of indoor pets!) do you have any tips on how to Unfuck without being nosy or too intrusive?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Unless the person you’re housesitting for asked you to, don’t. Clean up after yourself and maybe do the dishes and give the bathroom a good once-over for your sanity, but limit your cleaning to pet-related stuff (vacuuming up hair, etc.) since you’re petsitting. Otherwise, it’s someone else’s house and their stuff, and cleaning up for them without their permission or consent may not be welcome or appreciated.

Asker withersuns Asks:
The cat litterbox. How often should I give the thing a good washing? With what do I clean it? Where's the best place to clean the bloody thing? I can wash it outside during the warmer months, but then I'm putting chemicals in the yard. I have access to a utility sink, but I'm worried the residue from the litter could clog the drains. I usually use bleach to clean it, but I'm worried about the toxicity and my cats' exposure to it. Thank you for considering my question(s).
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

No bleach! Bleach, aside from toxicity issues on its own, shouldn’t be mixed with ammonia (the main component of cat pee) because it will result in things that shouldn’t be inhaled, like chloramine gas, hydrazine, or nitrogen trichloride (depending on the amounts of ammonia and bleach).

Vinegar is a cat-safe alternative to bleach, and you can use it outside, although keep in mind that vinegar will kill plant life, so dump it over weeds or in an area with no vegetation. Litter dust and residue can clog your sink, so after dumping the litter, give the box a good wipedown before cleaning it in a sink.

Another option that can save you time and aggravation are litter box liners, as long as your cats don’t notice and/or hate the texture and refuse to use the box.

Asker amy-vic Asks:
Our dog (mostly American bulldog, so it's shortish straight hairs) sheds like a BEAST. The Furminator was a waste of $70, sticky lint brushes do nothing, the pet-hair-specific vacuum leaves most of the fur still on the couch, and I forget what it's like to have non hair-covered clothing. Aside from a rubber broom (which I'll be picking up once I find one) or just shaving the dog, are there any other tricks for getting dog hair off fabric/clothing? He's a cute dog and I love him but Oh. My. God.
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Amazon has a good selection of rubber brooms. What’s also indispensable when dealing with pet hair are rubber gloves. Just the regular yellow ones you can find anywhere. They’ll take hair and fur off way better and faster than a lint brush. Also, it may be worth talking to your vet and seeing if something in your dog’s diet may be contributing to the shedding, possibly seeing if a professional grooming helps, and obviously frequent brushing. Not everyone has luck with the Furminator, but frequent brushing of any kind allows you to control when and where large amounts of hair are removed.

Asker elrehaan Asks:
Hello, thak you for such a wonderul blog. Any advice on getting animal hair out of a washing machine? I keep guinea pigs indoors on fleece and towels which obviously need regular washing. I use wash bags for everything to minimise what gets out into the machine but there's usually a noticeable amount of hair left in there. I usually just wipe out as much as I can with a damp cloth but is there a better way to do it?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Damp cloth is good (remember to get filters and rubber seals and gaskets, too). Electrostatic cloths (like a dry Swiffer cloth) work, too. If the machine is dry, you can vacuum the hair out. You can also vacuum the items before you wash them, which can minimize the amount of hair going into the washer in the first place.

Carpet cleaning question. We just found out our dog has hookworm, and that we need to make sure we clean our carpet super well pretty soon. I was looking into renting a steam cleaner, but the Rug Doctor or whatever ones seem really big, and the carpeted part of our apartment is relatively small (but too big to scrub by hand) - are there smaller carpet cleaners to rent? Also, will steam cleaning disinfect/kill the parasites? Can I add a little bleach without hurting the color of the carpet?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Ooh, timely! I just adopted a new dog, and we found out that, like many dogs who had been living in close quarters with many other dogs and poor sanitation (she had been surrendered to the rescue by an animal hoarder), she came with some uninvited intestinal guests. So I have just been through all of this.

First thing: Talk to your vet. If your dog has another type of infection like giardia, your cleaning options will be different, as giardia is way more hardy than most types of worms. Your vet may also give you specific cleaning/disinfecting instructions.

Second: Pick up after your pet! Since worms are transmitted primarily through feces, you greatly decrease the risk of re-infection if you pick up after your dog and dispose of everything outside of the house. If the dog hasn’t gone to the bathroom in the house, the risk of hookworm eggs being present is greatly decreased, although not non-existent.

Third: Yes, smaller Rug Doctors exist. However, the contract you sign, I believe, specifically tells you not to use bleach in the machine. As Rug Doctors do not actually produce steam, use the hottest water possible and an EPA-approved cleaner.

Bleach will discolor most carpets, and unless you own your own carpet cleaner/steamer, you shouldn’t use bleach in carpet cleaning machines, for reasons not least of which include the fact that the next person to use it may inadvertently bleach out their carpets, and you’ll be on record as the last person to have used that machine. I own a vacuum-style carpet cleaner (with dogs, it comes in handy a lot), and I have used bleach in it, but my carpets are off-white (not my selection).

If you own a steam mop or hand-held steamer, you can steam the carpet. It won’t lift out dirt, but with constant steam exposure of several minutes, you can sanitize one small area at a time of your carpet. Important here is actual steam, and prolonged constant steaming of one area.

Fortunately, with good household hygiene and a thorough cleaning, your home should be hookworm-free when your dog is.

I have two cats and my comforter is COVERED in cat fur. Using a sticky roller to get rid of the hair is wasteful/takes forever and to use the vacuum attachment I have I need to pin down sections taut. Anything I should try?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

A brush with rubber bristles (like this, or there are tons of other styles) works way better than lint rollers and with no waste. Some people swear by using an anti-static spray like Static Guard, but the smell of it makes me sneeze, so I can’t vouch for that.

Make sure you’re brushing your cats, too. The more loose fur/hair you can get off of them under your conditions, the less will end up everywhere else. I swear by Furminator products.

Asker meghsaid Asks:
Sorry if this has been answered before, tumblr is frequently confusing to me. A cat I'm fostering has sprayed my couch, which is a lovely 90's fabric number, and I can't get rid of the smell. I've got a carpet cleaner (for people with pets) that doesn't seem to be doing the trick, and I'm not sure what will. Tips?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

You need an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle, Simple Solution, or Anti-Icky-Poo. Cat pee is notoriously difficult to eradicate, so you need to pull out the big guns. I’m tagging this “team cat pee” so you can browse back through the archives.

Asker dollhhouse Asks:
HELP ME! We have a cat and a dog that are out of control on peeing everywhere. It's been like this for a while & we clean it up as best as we can when it happens but we can't always find where they've peed & as a result, our entire home smells of pet urine. Really bad. No amount of steam cleaning the carpet will make the overall smell go away. I don't know who else to turn to! I'm ashamed to have people over and I just can't take it anymore! I will do anything to fix it! I just don't know how!
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

You need an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle, Simple Solution, or Anti-Icky-Poo. The enzymes in the cleaners will break down the organic matter causing the stink. Steam cleaners won’t actually remove the cause of the odor. I believe NM makes a cleaner that’s meant to go in a carpet steamer, but I’ve always had better luck just saturating the area and letting it air dry. This will also help prevent re-marking.

To find where they’ve peed, invest in a hand-held black light (I got one on Amazon for $6, I think), and in the dark, the areas they’ve peed will fluoresce yellow. Resist the urge to black light your entire home because that never leads anywhere good. (Interesting fact, laundry detergent fluoresces bright white under a black light. So if you black light your laundry room, the various drips and spatters will look like someone committed a Tide homicide in there.)

Also, this may be obvious, but make sure your pets have ample opportunity to go outside (or, in your cat’s case, a clean, accessible litterbox or two that he or she will use regularly).

Asker brbmomo Asks:
Unf*cking was going really well when I got ready for my puppy. I cleaned up the areas where I knew he would be, got my cat maintenance schedule under control, and was generally following the UfYH commandments. And then the puppy got here. He has some stomach bug, potty training is a learning experience for everyone, and between his walks, my work, and the endless puppy laundry I feel overwhelmed. I haven't even been cooking meals any more. Do you have any sage advice on getting back on track?
unfuckyourhabitat unfuckyourhabitat Said:

Oh, puppies. So cute. So much work. So destructive.

If you aren’t already, I might suggest getting him comfortable in a crate for short periods of time at first so you can get some stuff done without him underfoot.

Also possibly useful: meal plan. Try to have at least a rough idea what you want to eat for the week, and when you do have a spare few minutes, prep what you can. See if you can find 20 minutes a day where the puppy doesn’t need your constant attention (and hell, if he does, leash him to you so he can’t get into too much trouble), and tackle whatever the worst area is.

And keep in mind that puppies aren’t puppies for that long. He’ll chill out, he’ll get over the stomach bug, and when he settles down a little, so will your life.

Good luck!


One reason I love UFYH is that it’s explicitly intended to be accessible by people with different physical and mental health capabilities (THANK YOU FOR THAT, SO MANY TIMES OVER!), and while my house is by no means entirely unfucked, due to a nightmare move + major health issues this year, I have found a few ways to do household chores that had become more and more difficult as time went on/various injuries accumulated.

(I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective-tissue disorder, and the TL;DR version of what that means is that I get hurt easily, I heal slowly, my joints and spine are hypermobile, and I have a growing collection of permanent soft-tissue injuries, along with the bonus super-fun double-punch of trigeminal neuralgia and chronic migraines, common in EDSers. You could think of me as someone with a bad back, bad knees, bad shoulder — you get the idea.)

I’ve recently found a couple of tricks that are really helping me maintain, even when my back is fucked or when I’m having trouble getting up/down off the ground. The three tasks that I identified as most difficult AND most likely to cause injury (in this case, they had a high likelihood of throwing my back out) were scooping the catboxes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and loading and unloading the (floor-level, front-loading) washer and dryer. All of these required either sitting on the floor or bending way over and reaching forward, and they were hurting me all too often.

I bought an appropriately-sized Ikea tabletop from the options here(59”x29.5”, for my space, and I chose the “Vika Amon” style):


I then bought the *adjustable* (this part is crucial!) Vika Kaj style legs, which have a minimum height of about 2 feet off the ground.


And then I bought a Torbjörn adjustable office chair (I wouldn’t use this to sit in for long, but that’s not what it’s for — it’s crucially light, easy to move, has swiveling wheels, and *it adjusts down to about two feet off the ground.)


You may see where I’m going with this — the litterboxes went up on the assembled table (with a temporary intermediate step in between for my elderly chubby cat who doesn’t like to jump — will be looking for a more permanent cat-stairs arrangement in future), I can wheel the chair up to the table, level with the litterboxes, and scoop away to my heart’s content. (Okay — to the CATS’ hearts’ content, to be fair.)

The “scooty-chair,” as I have so dubbed it, is also immensely helpful in loading/unloading the dishwasher, and it even fits into my closet-sized laundry room in order to let me load and unload the washer without wrecking myself.

I’m really pleased, because it means that I have to rely on my (non-live-in) partner for fewer things, and it also means that I feel more independent and can unfuck these portions of my house without worrying that half the time I’ll wind up hurting myself in the process! :D

BTW, I can usually be found at http://ashbet.tumblr.com/ :)

Excellent ideas! Thanks for passing them along!

I have a two part question. We recently got new chairs and a table. The chairs are at least pretending to be leather, and my cat has claws. He has a whole dedicated covered-in-carpet cat thing to deal with his claws, but I’ve recently caught him taking scratches at our new chairs. Part I: Does anyone know how to talk a cat into not scratching a chair? Part II: Is there anything I can do to make remove the claw marks from the chairs? They’re only a small, few now, but I hate them. A lot. Thanks!

A leather conditioner or polish should help blend the scratches back into the material. As for keeping the cat away from the chair, the old pennies-in-the-can trick is a classic, as is a spray bottle of water (although I don’t know if that’s still a valid training tool).

Cat people, I know you have opinions about this. Have at it.


I didn’t get as much done as I had anticipated (that’s usually how it happens anyways), but the silence while the kids were at school and Hubby was at work was amazing.

I got all of the dishes done, and instead of finishing the laundry I cleaned the bathroom instead. I cleaned off the shelf unit and decided to keep it. I started decorating it which helped de-clutter other areas of the living room.

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  1. Sequester cats somewhere where you won’t be tempted to make snacks out of them.
  2. Open the windows. Turn on a fan if you have one.
  3. Glove up. If you don’t have rubber gloves, improvise with some plastic bags.
  4. Remove the solid waste into a specially designated trash bag, which you then take immediately out of the house.
  5. If it’s your bedding that was defiled, throw that in the washer with up to a cup of vinegar, along with the detergent. Make sure any stains are gone before you dry it; if not, re-treat the stain and wash again.
  6. If the mess was directly on the mattress, spray the area with an enzymatic cleaner (like Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution) and BLOT (not rub) the spot. If you don’t have an enzymatic cleaner, a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water should do it. Continue blotting up as much moisture and mess as you can, then repeat if the stain or smell lingers. Ironically, sprinkling some kitty litter on the wet spot will help get the moisture up faster.

Good luck.

Paging monasequeda and any other guinea pig owners! Advice?