Disinfect your Pet Carrier

Disinfect your Pet Carrier

Recently, I received an information request from a customer who carried a sick puppy to the vet and discovered that her poor little new puppy had canine parvovirus – Horrors! Canine Parvo is a really nasty, hard-to-kill virus that is highly contagious and is spread by direct contact with feces. Since diarrhea is a hallmark for this sickness, it can spread easily and is difficult to eradicate. The question was how to disinfect the pet carrier she used to take the pup to the vet. SNiPER is lab tested to kill canine parvovirus and can be used to safely and thoroughly disinfect your pet carrier – and other surfaces too.

First, remove any cushion, towel or blanket from the carrier. If you see feces on the cushion, take it to the sink and carefully rinse that stuff away. Clean the sink as soon as you can using an abrasive scrubbing compound such as Barkeeps friend or Comet or the like. Try to avoid splashing.

Find yourself a washtub just big enough to hold that cushion. Add around a half-gallon of cool water and then a pint of SNiPER disinfectant. You are aiming for a 4 water to 1 SNiPER dilution ratio. Immerse the cushion and hold it under, forcing it to become fully wet all the way through. This step is essential because direct contact with the virus is essential. If it floats too much, put something heavy on top to hold it down under the SNiPER solution. Allow it to soak for an hour. If you can’t keep it all underwater, come back and flip it over every 10 – 15 minutes. When the hour is up, hang it up to dry.

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As for the carrier itself, spray it down thoroughly with SNiPER inside and out, top and bottom. It needs to remain wet with SNiPER for 10 minutes, so you are likely to need to come back before it dries and spray again to get to the full 10 minutes.

That should do it for you. It is really the cushion that is the challenging bit because it’s not so easy to get the disinfectant to penetrate deeply into that cushion. Even heavily diluted, SNiPER can still kill the virus, it just needs more time to accomplish it, therefore, the long soak time.

Other Reading

For information on how to disinfect other things that might be contaminated by parvo, see https://www.nokout.com/Canine-Parvovirus.html. Also see a previous blog article here: http://blog.nokout.com/canine-parvovirus/

How to Improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality  (IAQ)

How to Improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

June is National Healthy Homes Month

One of the important things you can do to maintain a healthy home, is to maintain and improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). The EPA regularly tells us that your indoor air can be up to 400% MORE polluted than outdoor air. Since we spend so much time indoors, it is important for the health of your family that the indoor air not be polluted and instead, be a healthy place to relax, work, sleep, play and to enjoy. Here are some strategies to help you improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality.

Wait – why is indoor air so much worse than outside air?

The main reason is that homes are built to seal tightly, keeping inside air in, and outside air out. This has the benefit of keeping our energy bills as low as possible. On the other hand, anything toxic that gets into your home, can’t get out, so those toxins accumulate.

Solutions and Strategies

Source control

Find pollution sources in your home and reduce those emissions. If you have a gas stove, it can be adjusted to decrease the amount of pollutants it releases. Other sources can be sealed or enclosed. New items may need time to ‘offgas’ before bringing them into your home. New mattresses are a good example. Paint that bookshelf outside where any VOC’s released are not inside. Allow it to sit a day or two if possible to further reduce the volatiles otherwise released inside. Not allowing pollution sources inside your home is the best kind of prevention. It’s the easiest and cheapest.

Do not smoke inside your home. You already know this. It’s solid thinking.

Avoid using bleach as a cleaning agent! There is no good reason to ever use bleach as a cleaning agent inside your home. You have alternatives that are nowhere near as toxic. Avoiding bleach inside your home is an easy way to improve your home’s indoor air quality.

Increased Ventilation

An easy way to improve IAQ is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming in. This is most often useful during mild weather because you can just open the windows. Running the exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room will also increase outside air coming in. Increasing outside ventilation dilutes the pollution that would otherwise accumulate. Modern home construction seals homes tightly to reduce the infiltration of outside air. This results in lower energy bills, but the unintended side effect is that pollutants can’t get out. Ventilation reverses this effectively, resulting in improved home Indoor Air Quality.

The EPA says, “The most economical and effective way to address indoor air pollution is usually to reduce or eliminate avoidable sources of pollutants and then to exhaust to the outdoors the unavoidable particles, gases, and excessive water vapor that come from normal indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, and showering.”

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Filters and Air Cleaners

In the hottest and coldest months of the year, it may not be easy to ventilate your way out of indoor air pollution. This is when filtration can help. Your HVAC system has an air filter for this reason. When replacing the filter, choose the one with the highest filtration standard (it filters out the smallest particles). This can go a long way towards improving your IAQ.

Particulate air filtration only removes particles and does nothing to remove chemicals and VOC’s from your air. There are specialty filters for this, but they are expensive. It is smarter and more appealing to use houseplants to remove VOC’s and other contaminants.

Some pollutants are not particulates and wont’ be trapped in a particulate filter. A good example of this is the volatile organic compounds that are released from newly manufactured goods, from paints, glues and so on. One of the best ways to filter out these pollutants is – houseplants. Studies by NASA show that many of your favorite plants will filter VOC’s from your indoor atmosphere. Plants improve your home’s indoor air quality and make your home a better place to live.

Use “Green’ cleaning products

Green cleaning products leave no toxic residues and do not form toxic by-products as you are cleaning. Nok-Out and SNiPER both are definitely ‘green’ all-purpose cleaners in addition to their specialties of odor eliminating and disinfection. Most disinfectants are poisons – not SNiPER! At a ph of 8.5, both SNiPER and Nok-Out are ‘green’ and you can use them throughout your home for everyday cleaning that will not accumulate poisons in your indoor environment.

Related Reading

http://blog.nokout.com/allergy-season-and-indoor-air-quality/
http://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-part-1/
http://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-sick-building-syndrome-part-2/
http://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-the-green-solution/

Spring Cleaning For your Mattress

Spring Cleaning For your Mattress

One Spring Cleaning Chore that often goes overlooked is cleaning your mattress. Since that mattress is where you spend about a third of your life, it makes sense to give it a good cleaning periodically. Especially, if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Regular cleaning of sheets and linens is the first line of defense, but periodically, your mattress will need an especially thorough round of cleaning and maintenance. Spring cleaning for your mattress is a good idea and can help you breathe easier at night! Here’s how to use Nok-Out and /or SNiPER to do a good job of cleaning it, and help you sleep easier.

A Breeding Ground

Your mattress is likely to come in contact with sweat, blood and other body fluids, and because you are lying in it, it is a warm moist place. That warm moist place is inhabited by bacteria, living and dead dust mites, the feces of those mites (which can cause allergic reactions), dead skin cells, fleas from pets and their feces, and so on. There is a regular ecology of critters living in your bed. Being warm and moist, with all those ‘food’ sources, it is indeed a breeding ground. A good Spring Cleaning of your mattress will reduce that population of critters to a healthier level.

What to do?

Daily: Leave the covers pulled back and allow the sheets to air out and dry. Run the AC in summer to keep indoor humidity levels low.

Weekly

Check the washing instruction on your sheets and if permitted, wash your sheets in the hottest water available. Don’t overload the washer! Triple rinse. While the sheets are in the wash, vacuum the mattress. Despite sheets separating you from the mattress, there will still be lots of dead skin cells and vacuuming them up removes a food source for many tiny critters, including dust mites. Pay special attention to the seams and vacuum them carefully. This is where many mites like to hide. If you are allergic to dust mites, this is an important step!

Spring Cleaning for Your Mattress:

Vacuum the mattress thoroughly using some kind of ‘beater brush’ attachment. Inspect the seams carefully, looking for living bugs or eggs. It may be that you can use your carpet floor vacuum for this. The beater brush will shake and scrape loose stuff that has attached to the fibers of the mattress cover. When done, spray the mattress thoroughly with SNiPER and allow it to dry thoroughly before putting sheets back on.

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If you do find bedbugs, call a specialized pest control company that has expertise with these pests to help you deal with this problem. Or, the EPA has good guidelines here: https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/do-it-yourself-bed-bug-control

Urine

Nok-Out can help with any odors in your mattress, including urine odors. Locate the source of the odor to find where to spray (remembering that Nok-Out and SNiPER both, need to be in direct contact with the odor source to be able to do their jobs) and spray directly on the source – allow to air dry. If the urine has soaked deep into the mattress, Nok-Out also needs to go that deep in order to get to all of the urine, so it may be a good idea to dilute some Nok-Out with 4 parts water and spray heavily. If this is the case, put fans on it to speed drying.

Bacterial Contamination

If your concern is for bacterial contamination, use SNiPER. Friendly to pets and people, SNiPER is lethal to microorganisms and can disinfect your mattress without leaving behind any toxic residues. Vacuum the entire bed thoroughly. Spray the entire bed until it is uniformly damp. Allow it to air dry.

Something Smells Fishy: How to Troubleshoot Odors in your Home

Something Smells Fishy: How to Troubleshoot Odors in your Home

The last thing you want to hear when someone walks into your home is, “What’s that smell?” It’s even worse when you don’t know how to answer the question because you have been wondering the same thing.

If you’ve found yourself in this predicament, it’s time to follow your nose and get to the bottom of “that smell” once and for all. Let’s look at a path to freshness that you can follow in order to identify the source of odors, treat and eliminate them, and prevent them from returning in the future.

Locate the source

“Articulating” with your nose is the best way to begin when attempting to identify the source of an unwanted odor. For instance, if you can describe the smell as smelling musty or like dirty socks, it is likely that you have a mold problem or built-up bacteria in your home.

To find the source of this kind of odor, look in the most likely sources: leaky plumbing, areas with poor ventilation such as the bathroom, and window frames that may have accumulated moisture from the elements.

You might also experience a burning smell. This could be from appliances overheating, a dirty HVAC filter, plastic melting in the ductwork, or exposed electrical wiring throughout the house that’s actually melting the insulation around it.

Perhaps the most dangerous odors are chemical or sulfuric in nature. Hopefully, a rotten egg smell is coming from a running faucet. If it’s not, it could be a gas leak.

There is another common odor, the “old food” smell. To find the source more specifically, take a good whiff from above your garbage disposal and pop your head in the dishwasher. These are the most likely sources for smelly food odors.

Finally, your carpet soaks up more and more odors as time passes, including pet odors and smells left behind from the many feet that traverse it.

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Treat odors accordingly

Once you have honmed in on the sources of odors in your home, you can take action to eliminate these unwelcome smells.

  • Mold—If you have discovered that you are dealing with mold, you first need to repair leaks in your plumbing. Seal your windows and doors as well to keep more moisture from accumulating. Once sources of moisture have been properly sealed, it is time to remove the mold and follow up with SNiPER Disinfectant and Odor Eliminator.
  • Electrical—You should never ignore a burning smell. If you believe it could be electrical, you can troubleshoot by sniffing out each room. Your nose might lead you to an overheated clothes dryer in the laundry room or a very concentrated area along a wall. If it’s either of those, you might file a home warranty claim and have an electrician take a look. If the smell seems to be in every room, it’s likely coming from your HVAC and being pushed through all the vents in your home. Inspect your air filter.
  • Gas—If an egg- or chemical-like smell is coming from your sink or shower, you likely just have hard water. It might be time to flush the water heater or service the water softener. If it’s not the water, it’s in the air, which could mean you have a gas leak. You should address this immediately. After all, carbon monoxide poisoning kills 400 people in the US each year.
  • Food—If the dishwasher or garbage disposal tested positive for “smelly food” odors, it’s again time to break out SNiPER Disinfectant. You can also refresh your dishwasher with vinegar. If you’re already deep cleaning your kitchen, it might be a good time to thoroughly clean and disinfect your refrigerator as well.
  • Carpet—To really be effective at eliminating odors from your carpet, it is important to use a solution specifically designed for not only the source of the odor but the type of carpet you have as well. If spot cleaning and vacuuming won’t do, you have the option of buying or renting a carpet steamer or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

Prevent odors from returning

Now that you have found where the odors in your home were coming from, you can make and execute a plan to prevent them from returning. One way of doing this is to keep up with routine maintenance of your home appliances and systems. Vacuum regularly, replace air filters and smoke detector batteries on a seasonal basis, ventilate rooms through open up windows, and use dehumidifiers or exhaust fans in windowless rooms, like the bathroom or basement.

Resources:

https://www.nokout.com/Odor-Eliminator

https://www.nokout.com/SNiPER-Disinfectant

https://housemethod.com/reviews/best-home-warranty

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/household-mold#1

https://www.hannabery.com/faq14.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning

Remove Urine Odor from Chairs and Cushions

Remove Urine Odor from Chairs and Cushions

Recently I spoke on the phone with a long-time customer of Nok-Out who told me a story from her workplace. They had a temporary worker – a volunteer – who had an untreated incontinence issue. She leaked a little bit of urine somewhat regularly as she moved around in the office area, sitting in different chairs to do different jobs. The cushioning in the chairs was absorbing the urine and once bacteria get a hold of that urine as a food source, the chairs start to stink. The caller was purchasing some Nok-Out to eliminate urine odor from those chairs. It got me to thinking about the difficulty in treating foam cushioning. Here is how to treat smelly cushions for odor – including urine odors.

Problem: Nok-Out works when it comes into direct contact with the odor source. In fact, it can ONLY work, when it is in direct contact with all of the odor source. If you miss a bit of the source, then that missed place will continue to stink. Cushions are thick and are not necessarily as absorbent as a sponge, so it can be a bit of a challenge if urine or other smelly stuff has penetrated deep into the cushioning. How do you get Nok-Out to work for you in this case?

Solution 1

If possible, remove the cushion from the covering. There may be a zipper in the back and if you are lucky, you can pull the foam cushion out and put it back later. You will need a largish tub. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as large as the cushion, but it should be big enough that you can ‘dunk’ large portions of the foam in it. Add water to this tub,and then add Nok-Out. A dilution ratio of 8 water to 1 Nok-Out will work here and will be efficient. Dunk a portion or all of the cushion in your mixture and palm flat, squeeze it down slowly, forcing the air out. Then slowly release the pressure, allowing the diluted Nok-Out mixture to be drawn into the cushion. Do this a couple of times. Treat the entire cushion in this way. This will both rinse away the dried urine and will leave a bit of Nok-Out behind to eliminate the urine odor. Allow it to dry and put the cushion back into its covering. This is the easy, most reliable method.Unfortunately, not all cushions can be removed from the covering. So another plan may be required.

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Solution 2

Even if you can’t get direct access to the foam, you still need to get Nok-Out to penetrate deeply into the cushion to achieve direct contact with any urine source deep in the cushions. But it is not efficient at all to just pour Nok-Out directly on the seat or sofa. We can, however, dilute Nok-Out at a dilution rate ranging from 4 to 1 to the same 8 to 1 in the ‘tub’ method. Put this diluted Nok-Out into a sprayer and go to town on that cushion! Spray heavily. Wait a few minutes for it to be absorbed – and spray again. And maybe again and again as needed, to get this dilute Nok-Out mixture to penetrate deeply. Much like ‘lather, rinse and repeat’, you may have to go through this process more than once to be successful.

Why not just spray the cushions directly with Nok-Out?

You can, but your success will depend on how deeply you can get Nok-Out to penetrate into the cushion material. However deep the urine went, Nok-Out needs to get there also.

Will this work for pet urine also?

Yes indeed. At some level, urine is urine, whether dog, cat, ferret, pot-bellied pig or people. Nok-Out will work as long as it comes into direct contact with the odor source. It will remove ALL the odor if you can get it to come into contact with all the smelly stuff.

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