Ask Hopeful Henry: What to do about cat hair, urine
April 15, 2014
Dear Hopeful Henry: I love my cats, but sometimes all the cat hair all over my clothes is so frustrating. Any quick fix suggestions for clean clothes that still have hair stuck to them? Thanks. — Amy
Dear Amy: I totally understand, even if you are a cat lover, you do not like all the hair that is left behind on your clothing. Fortunately most of the cat hair that remains on your clothes after they are washed will come out in the dryer and end up in the lint trap. Just make sure you clean the lint trap before every use. Also to help your washing machine do its job, make sure you don't over-load the machine. I only fill my machine half full (the equivalent of a medium load) then run the water level as a full load. This gives the clothes room to move around during the wash cycle making for cleaner less hairy clothes. If cat hair remains, there are additional steps you can take to remove hair from the clothing. First the "Dryer Method": Tie an old pair of clean pantyhose into a knot. This will prevent the pantyhose from wrapping around your clothing. Toss your clean, hairy clothes with the pantyhose into the clothes dryer. Clean out the dryer's lint trap and set the dryer to air fluff setting. Let the machine run for about five or 10 minutes. The cat hair will attach to the nylon pantyhose.
Or there is the "Tape Method": Lay the clothing out on a flat surface, such as a table. Tear off a length of wide tape — such as masking tape or shipping tape — making the length of the tape the width of the article of clothing you are cleaning, press the tape to the clothing, lift and repeat.
Help Hopeful Henry: How do I get cat urine odor out? There are so many cleaners that promise to work and just don't and they are always so expensive. There has to be a better way. Thanks. — Barb
Dear Barb: Cat urine is one of the most pungent odors on earth. When your cat has an accident, the problem is more complicated than simply cleaning it up. The smell has a tendency to linger and can be very difficult to remove without the right materials. I would avoid most all of the "Urine Remover" spray/cleaners on the market, most do not work and like you said can be very costly. As frustrating as it may seem, getting rid of the odor that urine left behind is easier than one may think. Here is a tried and true fix to the problem.
Soak a clean cloth in hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to use the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide you can purchase at the local grocery store and not the industrial type that hairdressers use. Wring out the cloth and place it directly on top of the affected area. Cover it in plastic wrap and set something on it to weigh it down, such as a phone book, to help speed the process along. Allow the cloth to sit on the area for at least half an hour. This will help to draw out any urine that is within the wood or carpet. Remove the cloth as it begins to change colors and replace it with a new one, checking it every 30 minutes to an hour. Continue to do this until no more urine comes out and the cloth stays clean. Dry the area with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel and sprinkle the area liberally with baking soda. Make sure that the entire area is completely covered. Allow the baking soda to sit on the area for at least an hour to absorb any lingering odors before wiping, sweeping or vacuuming it away.
If you are cleaning wood wipe the area with a clean cloth dipped in Murphy's Oil Soap to help further clean the wood and help restore the shine.
Submit your questions or letters via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. Visit the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA. You can also become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at http://www.facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry