In our house getting rid of cats in order to have white furniture is not an option, nor is waiting for them to go to kitty heaven. Considering that our cats are all rather young we will likely (and hopefully!) be the owners of four clawing, fur ball producing, shedding monsters for many years to come.
Bird vetoed my initial suggestion for a white slip covered couch when I moved in and vetoed his current living room furnishings (Big Lots sofa and wire metal racks). It seems he had already pegged me for a neurotic, obsessive woman that would spend more time than anyone should obsessing over the whiteness of her sofa. And so a compromise was made and we selected a black and white sofa cover for my cute Ikea Ektorp sofa.
“I think the print will hide some mess,” I said and Bird agreed. Foolishly we purchased this cover and brought it home. The new cover brought instant life to our rather dull living room – a splash of print amongst a sea of bland taupe walls. We were delighted. And so were the cats.
In about 2 minutes all four cats were on the new couch, sniffing, kneading and nesting into its fresh black and white awesomeness. And there the cats have stayed. I would venture a bet that during one 24 hour cycle the couch only spends about 15 minutes without at least one cat on it. During the other 23 hours and 45 minutes there are small furry bodies snuggled in the cushions and it is really starting to show.
For being such fastidious groomers, cats really are quite disgusting. Despite our weekly furniture vacuuming regime with this bad boy (an absolute must for pet owners) the couch was starting to look really dirty, especially in the cats’ favorite spots (arm rests and the cushion under the window – also known as “The Cushion of Contention” as many-a cat fight have started over that primo spot).
The first item on last weekend’s house-keeping agenda was to address the disgusting couch cover. The black and white nature of the cover presented a bleaching challenge so I opted for OxiClean, which currently holds third place on the list of Belle’s Favorite Obsessive Cleaning Supplies (the first being vinegar and baking soda). Cleaning the cover was done in two phases: first the couch cover and then the cushion covers.
1. Put four large scoops of OxiClean in the bathtub and fill it with warm to hot water (depending on what your cover will tolerate).
2. Soak the nasty cover for an hour, stopping by to stir it around every now and then.
3. After an hour rub the extra funky parts together, drain the tub, carry the cover to the washing machine and wash it on the most heavy-duty setting with an extra rinse.
4. Hang the cover up to dry and then repeat with the cushion covers.
I’m pleased to say that about 90% of the funk was removed from the cover using this method. 5% of the remaining funk are a few tiny dinner stains and the other 5% can be deemed “character.” I am certain that had I been a better Domestic Goddess during the last year and washed the cover on a regular basis using OxiClean it would probably still look new. Alas, we live and we learn!