Freshen up your pet-loving home

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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I always have been a dog person. When I was little, my cousin and I would “borrow” our neighbor’s dogs. We would walk them around the neighborhood, give them treats and belly rubs, and bring them back to my house to play.

Now, I still welcome other dogs into my home. My husband and I will watch friends’ dogs when they are working late or out of town. When friends come over for a visit, their dogs are invited, too. Our own dog Lilo doesn’t shed, but many of our friends’ dogs do. To cut down on the pet hair, we vacuum immediately after these dogs come over for a visit.

The vacuuming is a small price to pay for a night of fun with these pups, and we don’t mind one bit. Lately, however, I have noticed that the vacuum has been retaining the dog smells. Even when I vacuum again days or weeks after doggy visits, the smell comes back as soon as the vacuum starts up.

Vacuums, especially those of the bagless variety, are notorious for retaining smells. Consider some of these tips for deodorizing:

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Inspect and clean the vacuum. Look for hair (both human and/or pet) that may be blocking the rolling mechanisms or other areas of the vacuum. Remove the hair, using scissors if necessary. Follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning the machine, and make sure it completely dries before powering it on again.

Change the bag.

This often will do the trick. If you have a bagless model, it will take a few extra steps. Remove the canister and the filters, and clean them in soapy water. Place the items outside in the sun to dry for at least 24 hours before replacing. Refer to manufacturer instructions for how to do this properly. The instructions also will help you to locate all of the filters.

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Add a clean smell.

Place a scented dryer sheet, orange peels and/or lemon peels inside the canister before powering on the vacuum. When you run the vacuum, the fragrance should release and help to deodorize the bad odors from before.

Clean up freshness.

Sprinkle carpet or a rug with a thin layer of baking soda, powder laundry detergent, or other fragrances such as ground potpourri or lavender. Make sure that it will not stain the rug before you sprinkle. Let sit for one hour, then vacuum them up.