It’s hard to believe, but the frugal life found its way into the Sunday Times this weekend. Eco-journalist Gordon Miller braved the wilds of Essex last week to interview me at home about winning the Energy Saving Trust’s Green Voice competition. When he isn’t writing, Gordon runs his own eco-homes website Whatgreenhome.com and is also launching a greening scheme in his local community. It was nice to meet somebody genuinely passionate about the environment and his local area – I know how easy it is to become cynical about things, especially when you’re a journalist.
But if you think I was basking in the glory and bathing in homebrew beer to celebrate, you’d be mistaken. Apologies to anybody with a delicate stomach, but I spent much of Sunday cleaning cat sick off the carpet in the spare room. Poor old Dougal, my cat, was terrified out of his wits by my neighbour’s fireworks display and massive bonfire on Saturday night. The party was still going on at 1am on Sunday morning. Doogs was so freaked out that, after we’d gone to bed, he ran around the house like a lunatic and ended up showing his appreciation by ‘redecorating’ the spare room.
Now, like most cat owners, I have long been an expert at cleanups, but acting quickly is key and it’s not that easy to find the evidence in the dark and when you’re half asleep. I borrowed DJ’s head-torch on Saturday night to avoid waking him up by switching all the lights on (must have looked particularly ridiculous wearing them while in my pyjamas) and thought I’d covered the bases, but the horrible stink the next day told us otherwise. DJ was particularly upset as he uses the room as his office. “Why couldn’t he do it in your office?” he moaned. Obviously Dougal knows who controls the tin opener…
I was a bit worried about how to get rid of the smell and clean the carpets effectively. A few years ago we had cheap cream carpets laid upstairs – something I wouldn’t do again in a hurry. It’s at times like these that the instinct to reach for harsh chemicals hits you but I was worried about leaving a mark and making the smell worse. That said – good old fashioned washing up liquid and water seems to have worked for most of the patches and opening the window/squirting lemon juice around the room has banished the stink (just as well with DJ’s mum coming to stay for Christmas in a matter of weeks…hope she isn’t reading this…).
But there are still a few brownish patches down the side of DJ’s desk. I had a leaf through my Friends of the Earth Save Cash & Save the Planet book but while it’s a great book, I couldn’t find anything useful on carpet stains. Some of the Moneysavingexpert.com forum users quoted in Martin Lewis’ Thrifty Ways for Modern Days recommend throwing bicarbonate of soda onto the carpet as a cheap ‘Shake and Vac’. I admit to using my Vanish pre-wash stain remover as one website recommended, but it doesn’t seem to have made much difference.
Help! Has anybody got any good frugal carpet cleaning tips?! Leave a message and I’ll try them out…Hope I haven’t grossed you all out too much…
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