May 5, 2010

Cleaning Up After Pets

Spring Pet Cleaning
In celebration of National Pet Week, I want to share this post with you. In my (so far) child-free household, my dog Jeff and cat Bubba roughly equate to children, and like many dog and cat moms, I treat them that way. They have clothes. They eat well. In fact, their food is so expensive that I have to include it as a line item in my budget. And Jeff has had enough schooling to qualify for a doctorate. One would think that the lovely "gifts" they occasionally leave around the house would not bother me. In fact, I have a very high threshold for gross things. I even enjoy them to a certain extent: I love watching horror movies and televised surgical procedures. But for some reason there are a few things that really test my gag reflex, including fur balls and food related gunk. So what is it about these things that multiply my gross-out factor? It's the BUGS. And I don't mean roaches or flies, I mean microbes. Every time I find a "gift" on the floor I immediately start a list in my head of the microorganisms that could be growing: "E. coli, Salmonella,..." I guess this might sound a little obsessive compulsive, unless you learn that I've dedicated much of my career to figuring out how to kill germs. Why would anyone want to do that for a living, you ask? Well, many bugs wreak havoc on the public's health and, as an infectious disease epidemiologist, protecting public health is something I really care about. Plus, bugs are fascinating; they can even talk to each other! To be clear, I'm not a germaphobe in the traditional sense -- you won't find me disinfecting every surface, bathing in hand sanitizer, or using a tissue to open doors in public places. But, I do use hard surface disinfectants, wash my hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer when water isn't available. I work for Seventh Generation, and some of the products I like to use in my house are our new line of household Disinfecting Cleaners that kill over 99.99% of household germs* naturally on hard nonporous surfaces. (*Please see our label for full details). Seventh Generation's Disinfecting Cleaners are Powered By CleanWell™ patented technology based on thymol, a component of thyme oil which is derived from the herb thyme. Do you have pets in your household? What Seventh Generation products do you use to clean up after them? photo: dougww