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Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 11:40 AM   #1
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Help with cleaning house

You folks did such a bang-up job with the ants dilemma, I've come back to the well...

We just purchased a property, and the prior inhabitants appeared to be heavy smokers/* The place smells like cigarette smoke something terrible.* We already plan to replace all the flooring, but are wondering if any of you have advice for cleaning the walls/ceilings?* We want to do the best we can toward getting rid of the smell and overall funkiness.* Any advice for cleaners, organic/homemade/otherwise, would be greatly appreciated.

PS - Anyone who has advice for getting rid of cat odors, please chime in.* The feline smells are a bit overwhelming in the breezeway between the garage and house.

Thanks again.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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Re: Help with cleaning house

My husband the former landlord was always fighting odors.

Smoke and cats are tough.

For the smoke: Clean all the surfaces, maybe using* a product with ammonia. If you bought it with curtains, have them cleaned or tossed.* *

What kind of heating/cooling system do you have?* If forced air, the ducts are going to have smoke particles in them and should be cleaned.

If after you replace the flooring and clean all the surfaces, if it still smells, you might want to repaint.* Before you do so use a blocking primer like Kilz.* Smoke can leach through latex paint.* The kilz works wonders at not only blocking stains but blocking odors.

The cat odor in the breezeway:* Try an enzyme cleaner made to neutralize urine odors.* They work pretty good.* Clean the surfaces with that cleaner.* If paintable, use the blocking primer and then paint.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Thanks for the ideas Martha.

Enzyme cleaner? Never heard of it. Where can I get it?
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 01:29 PM   #4
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Petco and other stores like that have them for neutralizing pet odors. They work surprisingly well. Biozyme is one example. Here is another: http://www.urine-out.com/
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 03:05 PM   #5
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Re: Help with cleaning house

WARNING!!

If you go the Kilz route use a respirator or other breathing equipment (or pay somebody else to do it)

My sister moved into a new house with a cat smell problem. I painted the basement with Kilz and nearly passed out (I did get really high though) and lost my sense of taste for 2 days.

The enzyme cleaners also work well

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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 03:08 PM   #6
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Either Bin or Kilz makes a water base product that doesn't have quite the odor.* If Greg checks in here he might be able to comment.* I think BIN is shellac based.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 03:36 PM   #7
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Re: Help with cleaning house

For the smoke small, rent an ozone generator. Hotels use them all the time... they're like magic. Just make sure you leave the house while it's running
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 03:43 PM   #8
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
WARNING!!

If you go the Kilz route use a respirator or other breathing equipment (or pay somebody else to do it)

My sister moved into a new house with a cat smell problem.* I painted the basement with Kilz and nearly passed out (I did get really high though) and lost my sense of taste for 2 days.*
When we paint, we always stir a tablespoon of vanilla flavoring into each gallon of paint. For most brands, it kills the fumes without discoloring the paint. This might help with Kilz, too, FWIW.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 03:54 PM   #9
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Um, vanilla flavored paint! Sounds delicious
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 04:11 PM   #10
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Re: Help with cleaning house

One of my coworkers bought a house that had heavy smokers...he ended up priming and painting the whole thing over..
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 04:15 PM   #11
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Re: Help with cleaning house

bow-tie:

I once had an apartment with nicotine tar so thick you could wipe it off the livingroom walls with a towel--and the shade of paint on the wall changed. Fun stuff. You can get the water-based Kilz or Bin at any large hardware store. It's not as good as the shellac-based stuff. If you use the water-based stuff, make sure to clean extra carefully (I like TSP). It may bleed thru slightly if you don't. It'll bleed thru a week to a month after you finish everything if you aren't extremely careful. I know this for a fact. I prefer the shellac stuff because nothing gets thru--even lipstick or crayons--any oily wall residue. It's summer. Leave the windows open and go for it. Use a large fan in the window for the fumes. Take breaks and go outside to make sure you're alright--if you remember :. Brain cells, who needs 'em!

Did I tell you I hate renter's cats?
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 04:47 PM   #12
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Re: Help with cleaning house

A landlord once told me that the only way to get Eau Du Cat out of a house/apartment was to use Spirit of Spearmint as an additive to a cleaning solution. Don't ask me where to buy it though.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 04:53 PM   #13
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute & Fuzzy Apocalypse
Did I tell you I hate renter's cats?
I love renter's pets, especially with a little garlic sauce!
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 08:43 PM   #14
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Re: Help with cleaning house

that enzyme stuff is like magic -- highly recommended.

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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-22-2006, 10:29 PM   #15
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Th enzyme stuff is magical, but give it time to work. The longer you let it stand, the less odor you have. A friend of mine used it as a last-ditch measure where a dog had repeatedly peed on a carpet. The subflooring was saturated. She got rid of the carpet and soaked the subflooring with enzyme cleaner. Then she let it alone for a few weeks. It took time, but the odor was gone and she didn't have to rip out the subflooring.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-23-2006, 06:38 AM   #16
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawny Dangle
a dog had repeatedly peed on a carpet.
Dog going to be OK?

Dog repeatedly peeing on a carpet = oxymoron

Dog experiencing life altering experience after repeatedly peeing on a carpet = logical outcome.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-23-2006, 09:08 AM   #17
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Re: Help with cleaning house

Thanks for all of the replies everyone.

I'm thinking we'll have to try the TSP and maybe some Kilz, and some enzyme stuff for the cat smell. Crossing fingers.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-23-2006, 09:23 AM   #18
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Re: Help with cleaning house

I don't know if this would apply in bow-tie's case, but when I bought my condo it had a noticeable urine smell from the previous owner's dog. When the carpet guy came to measure for new carpet, he suggested that I "paint" the wood underlayment with plain old shellac to "seal" the odors in before they came to install the new pad and carpet. Worked like a charm! Cheap, too! I've been here 4 years now with nary a hint of doggy smell. He said it also works for concrete. Just a thought...
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-23-2006, 03:35 PM   #19
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Re: Help with cleaning house

enzyme: i've used a product called PDQ with some success
Killz is a very good product for covering/sealing
you can rent a heavy duty ionizer, but you'll need to keep the area closed off for a week or so ... had to go this route to "recover" a basement from a 250 gallon oil spill! ... it worked.
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Re: Help with cleaning house
Old 08-23-2006, 07:59 PM   #20
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Re: Help with cleaning house

- I'd try the ionizer. Do stay out of the room and ventilate it thoroughly before going back in--definitely a lung damage issue if you don't do this. Respirators won't help--stay out and ventilate.

- In addition to sealing out the odors, KILZ is also a fairly good vapor barrier, especially if applied in two coats before painting (yields a "perm" rating less than 1). Painting the ceiling and the inside surface of exterior walls is a cheap/easy way to reduce potential moisture/mold issues in attics and walls due to migration of water vapor onto cooler surfaces near the outside (during the winter).
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