Ask UfYH

Ask UfYH: Microfiber Couches, Coffee Cups, and Nasty Cabinets

Q: Is there a faster way to get cat hair off of a microfiber couch than running a tiny lint roller over it a thousand times?

A: While I’m sure, in other situations, that microfiber is a perfectly lovely and functional fabric, when you have pets, a microfiber couch is pretty much Satan’s lounger of choice. It is known. It  doesn’t vacuum well like regular fabric, and it doesn’t wipe down easily like leather. Instead, it grabs on to every piece of hair and fur and refuses to let go. Fortunately, there is a faster way: rubber gloves. I’m talking those yellow things you use to wash dishes. Put ’em on (clean ones, people), run your hands over the cushions, and the material will release the fur from the fabric, allowing you to make little piles that you can then go back and vacuum or pick up. A rubber brush will also work well, if you feel like spending the money, and it has the added bonus that you can use it on your actual pet, too, and cut down on the amount of fur left on your furniture.

Q: How can I make my dingy ass coffee cups look nice again? I have a bad habit of using the same cup for a week and rinsing it out every day instead of giving it a proper washing. It’s taken a toll. 

A: Denture tablets. I’m super lazy, so I chuck a denture tablet or two (use the cheapest ones you can find; you’re going to be washing the mug afterwards anyway) in with some water, let it sit overnight, and boom! No more stains. You can also use salt or baking soda or any other mildly abrasive substance to polish the stains off.

Q: The garbage disposal leaked under the sink, and that was a disaster, because I keep a lot of crap there. I cleaned all the crap, but the cabinet base soaked up a lot of water, and now that cabinet smells rank. I put a dish of baking soda in there, and forgot it for a while, and now it’s even worse. 

A: I’m going to guess that the inside of your under-sink cabinet is unfinished wood, as they often are. Unfinished wood is a pain in the ass, because you can’t just wash it down with Murphy’s Oil Soap and call it a day. So here we’re dealing with two issues: wet wood and stink. First things first, it’s going to get a little worse before it gets better, because you need to open that cabinet up and get some air flowing through it. Preferably with a fan. I’m also operating under the assumption that the original leak caused some water staining, and it’s an under-sink cabinet, so we’re not too worried about water stains, and are focusing more on destinkifying. What’s UfYH’s #1 solution to pretty much everything? That’s right, vinegar. Mix up a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water, and wipe down the surfaces of the cabinet. Point your fan at it and let it dry and try not to crave pickles.  Once it’s dry, if the smell is still lingering, stuff the cabinet with a bunch of newspaper, close it, and switch out the paper every other day. Something like DampRid will be helpful in reducing the overall humidity, and will keep the stink down. Baking soda will help a little, but try to find the boxes that have sides that open up as vents and remember to switch it out monthly. If you have cats, try kitty litter (also works to put in a gross garbage can) to absorb the moisture and smell. Other people swear by coffee grounds, charcoal, and any number of things, but I’ve never found them to be all that effective.

If the situation is really bad and you don’t mind doing a little extra work, you may want to consider finishing the wood, which will essentially seal the stink in, not allowing it to escape. Polyurethane is waterproof and a common wood finish, but that’s a pretty involved project.


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2 replies on “Ask UfYH: Microfiber Couches, Coffee Cups, and Nasty Cabinets”

A “fried” told me that microfiber was the best fabric to get as the owner of two cats. I no longer speak to this friend. I love my couch but damn. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the rubber glove trick. I wish I’d known about it when my cats were blowing a coat a week last month.

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