Dealing with hairy situations

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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Not too long ago, I was going through the stage in life when all of my friends were getting engaged and married. Now, it seems as though most of them are moving on to the next step: having babies.

Two of our closest friends are expecting a baby girl, due this weekend. Having had some experience with friends who have joined the ranks of parenthood, I’ve learned that the best gift we can offer them is extra help. So, we offered to watch their dog Luna while they are at the hospital.

Having two dogs in the house is nothing new. We have babysat friends’ dogs before. However, this time around is a bit different. Luna is a yellow lab who is prone to shedding. Our dog Lilo and the dogs we’ve watched in the past have low or no-shed fur. But the good news is dealing with Luna’s fur or any dog that sheds can be relatively easy — with a little bit of preparation. If dog hair everywhere is not your thing, consider these ideas:

• Choose the right fabric. Opt for rugs and upholstery that is easy to clean, stain-resistant and durable. Leather, twill and machine-washable fabrics work well. Others, such as silk, velvet and chintz, attract animal hair and can be difficult to clean.

Keep in mind that smart fabric choices shouldn’t be limited to the places your pet is allowed. Shedding fur can easily travel from your pet to your bed or curtains. If you must have a not-so-pet-friendly fabric, try to keep the door to that room closed when the shedding pet is in the house.

• Create a mudroom for your pets.

There is a special spot we’ve designated for cleaning Lilo’s paws every time she enters the house. We have pet-friendly wipes for routine maintenance, but for tougher jobs we’ll use damp towels or give her a legs-and-below bath. Because Lilo doesn’t shed, this seems to do the trick. For a shedding pet, however, you’ll want to wipe down the entire body.

• Clean correctly. For upholstery, put on rubber gloves and dampen them slightly. Then, run your hands over the surface. You’ll attract any hair that’s there. Rinse the gloves and repeat as necessary. For wooden surfaces, try a soft cloth and anti-static dusting spray. On carpets, try gently running a pumice stone over the area. This will help to collect much of the pet hair before vacuuming. Then, vacuum twice, alternating directions as you go. On hard floors, a microfiber dry mop will collect more fur than vacuuming.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.