The addition of the lovely little miss Cleopatra (our puppy) to our household has, in short, made a bit of a mess. For those few of you out in the internet who have not heard, dogs are dirty. You might even say filthy. At the Dog Park yesterday I watched with resignation as Cleo chased and fled through, rolled and wrestled in, and even ate (I know, gross) the mud. Luckily she loves jumping in the little stream near the parking lot after a good wrestling match, which makes it a little easier to towel off some of that caked on dirt, but the upholstery in my car is still basically ruined.
Cleo uses our tiny patch of back yard as a bathroom, and half the time when she returns she trails muddy paw prints through our kitchen (I like to think there is nothing in those paw prints but mud, please don't enlighten me if I am wrong). The result of all this is that keeping our floors clean has become a daily struggle. To make matters worse, most commercial cleaning products have either bleach or ammonia in them, or some other substance that is toxic to our pets. So Cleo makes the floors dirtier and makes it harder to clean them.
As a solution, I have started sprinkling baking soda on the floors before sweeping. The results are amazing. I got the idea when I remembered working in the scene shop at UCLA. When they swept the shop, they first sprinkled this stuff that looked like red dirt (I never found out what it actually was) which stuck to the dirt and sawdust and clumped up into easily sweepable clumps. I thought "well I don't have red dirt, but I have baking soda." After this technique, the floors are sparkling, as if I had just mopped with bleach.
The soda turns grey as it adheres to the dust, and I think it helps hold it down too, instead of flying up in the air and causing me to have an allergic fit. I sprinkle it in the corners and along the walls and sweep it towards the center of the room, and this also allows me to see quite clearly where I have swept and where I need to do more. Finally, and most awesomely, the baking soda disinfects as you sweep, and it is totally harmless to the pets. This is important, because as the title of this post suggests, Cleo eats off of the floor all the time.
Keeping our home healthy is part of going green, and since we purchase the baking soda in gigantic bulk bags and it replaces several individual bottles of specialty cleaner, it is reducing waste and consumption.
Just wanted to share that little tid bit with everyone, because it makes me happy every time I clean the kitchen now.