Happy Hausfrau: Make the Hair Go AWAY!

I had to have a dog.

Over four years ago, at 34 weeks pregnant with my third bundle of  joy, there was still something missing from my life.

A cold wet nose.  A wagging tail.  Heavy breathing.

Okay, well maybe a little too much heavy breathing had something to do with the fact that I was 34 weeks pregnant for the third time, but I’m a lady (sometimes) and would never talk about such things (*cough* liar *cough*).

After a surge of hormones that left me weeping in fear that my man-children would never know the joy of a loyal dog (though they had known the frustrations of disloyal ones), I went in search of the perfect dog.  For free.  On Craigslist.

Some higher power must have been looking out for me, because, really.  Do I need to repeat that?  FREE DOG.  ON CRAIGSLIST.  What could possibly go wrong?

But somehow we scored canine gold.

Ginger Suzanne, aka GinnySue

The day I met Ginger (aka, GinnySue), it was love at first sight – for me.

The day GinnySue met the Hubster, it was love at first sight – for her.

The day the Hubster met GinnySue he knew his days of living in a dog-hair-free home were over.

The Hubster and I. Awwww, aren’t we cute?

(By the way, this is a real testament to how much the Hubster loves me.  He’s not an animal person – not by any stretch.  He’d be completely content to never have a pet in the house, ever.  But I love animals – especially doggies and horses – and grew up with at least one dog in the house my whole childhood.  He puts up with my furry addiction purely out of love for me, which is so, so sweet.)

The first few years of GinnySue living with us were…rough.  And sometimes icky.  Her health was poor.  She’d not been seriously neglected by her previous family, but they hadn’t been great to her, either.  When she joined our family she had some problems that left much of her poor body furless, her ears would have eebed out even those with strong constitutions, and she enjoyed a steady diet of her own poo.  A really, really disgusting habit that has been hell to break.  Thankfully, she’s figured out that we’re more than happy to feed her on a regular basis and now only enjoys this rancid indulgence semi-regularly – like holidays (she celebrates Festivus), and the occasional casual Friday.

Now that she’s a normal healthy senior citizen, she’s got a gorgeous full body of hair (as opposed to previous years when her rump was so bare and pink she looked as if she were part baboon).  And now that we’re on the cusp of summer, that gorgeous full body of hair has found its way to our floor, and floorboards, and crevices in our stairs.

It’s EVERYWHERE.

It’s GROSS.

It’s got to go.

So, I’m trying a couple new things.

DUSTING WITH A DRYER SHEET.  The website I got this idea from promised that dryer sheets are a hair magnet – and guess what…

They totally are.

I especially loved using them in the creases of our carpeted stairs, and where the floorboards meet the wall.  We live in a quad and have SO MANY stairs.  Ginny’s hair really loves to accumulate in those places, where the vacuum has a hard time reaching.  This little trick pulled the hair out of the crevices easily, without just spreading the hair elsewhere.  Not to mention how fresh and happy it smells.  Love it!

The second thing I tried was BRUSHING THE CARPET BEFORE VACUUMING.  The same website suggested using a few drops of fabric softener to a spray bottle of water, spraying the carpet, and then brushing it with a stiff-bristled brush or broom (I used a clean shop brush attached to a broom handle).  We don’t use liquid fabric softener, so I made a little of my own using a variation of this recipe (link) – which, by the way, smelled so great (and was so flipping affordable) I’m going to seriously consider making my own in the future.

Once the softener was made, I put it in a spray bottle (two turkey baster’s worth), and filled the rest with water.  Then, spray, brush, brush, spray, brush, brush…

So here’s the deal about brushing the carpet this way:

IT.  IS.  AMAZING.

We vacuum around here about every other day…and it’s almost enough to keep up with GinnySue’s shedding.  But even with our frequent, thorough vacuuming, I was astounded by the amount of hair this concoction pulled up, even in places Ginny doesn’t frequent.  After a good brushing, followed by the vacuum, our carpets looked like new.  And I don’t mean that they looked pretty good.

I mean they looked like new.

I’m in love.  LOVE, I tell you.

And BONUS:

I’m pretty convinced that the concoction of homemade fabric softer and water is basically what Febreeze is.  Our house smells delicious, and in a moment of Happy Hausfrau bravery, I went ahead and misted our furniture and curtains with the stuff.  NO discoloration, NO sticky residue, FABULOUS smelling furnishings.

Screw love.  This is downright idolatry.  *glances upward, fearing lightning bolt*

So, my dear readers, this is one Happy Hausfrau experiment that went absolutely, beautifully, without-a-hitch PERFECTLY.  I really hope y’all give these tricks a try!

Happy cleaning,

Me 🙂

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36 thoughts on “Happy Hausfrau: Make the Hair Go AWAY!

  1. Reetta Raitanen says:

    Aww, it’s so lovely that your husband accepts pets because he loves you. And thank you so much for the brushing carpets before vacuuming tip. I want to try the homemade fabric softener too. I think that these will do wonders for our once white living room carpet. What was I thinking when I bought it 😛

  2. prudencemacleod says:

    hehehe I have four dogs and I go through a vacuum cleaner a year. Dog hair is everywhere.
    We have no carpet, nor do we want any. Carpet is just a way for grunge to collect in your home. Don’t believe me, pull one part way up and see what lies under there. ewweeee. Healthier for kids without carpet, healthier for adults, and easier to get up the dog hair, barf, and anything else they bring into the house when you’re not looking. No, wait, it’s the kids that do that. hehehe
    Great tips Myndi, I’m definitely going to use the dryer sheet thing to get into the hard spots.
    Oh yeah, every time you see that tail wag you know it is all worth it. 🙂

  3. EllieAnn says:

    I’m in love now too! I love ginger’s story, and you and hubs are adorable!
    I’m totally stealing this idea. But if anyone asks me about my like-new carpets I’ll send them to your blog!! =)

  4. Sherry Isaac says:

    Great tips, as always, but ahhhh, GinnySue! God bless her little fur-shedding heart. Good love and good diet brings forth a good coat of fur. I know you’d have her no other way.

  5. Shannon Esposito says:

    GinnySue is a beautiful girl and soooo lucky you guys adopted her into your family! I’ve got an eleven year old golden retriever, who is actually white (can’t get a white carpet to match the dog!) The best tool I’ve bought for her shedding is the Furminator. It strips out gobs of hair that other brushes just didn’t.

    I’m going to try that fabric softener in the carpets, though, the smell is a whole different issue 🙂

  6. Kecia Adams says:

    That is so cool, Myndi! Experimenting and finding what works. I admit I am with your husband in the never-really-wanted-a-dog camp, but our adoptee Rhys (boxer-pit bull mix) has been a revelation. He’s sitting under my desk right now, breathing calmly. He’s nearly always calm. Something we need around here. Anyway, I have hardwood and lots of area rugs so the brush-vacuum thing sounds right up my alley. You’re a treasure! 🙂

  7. Tameri Etherton says:

    Wow! I have two dogs and one cat that love to leave hair balls around for me to clean up. I am so going to try this. All of your hausfrau tips are amazing. Like Kecia, we’ve got hardwood and throw rugs downstairs that never seem to be free of fur. I can’t wait to give them a good brushing. Okay, I can wait. Until the weekend when the Hubs can help. My back is old and doesn’t like vacuuming much anymore. 😉

    Your Hubs is adorable for loving the pets because he loves you!

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      Yeah, if your backs touchy, DEF let the Hubster help. The stiff-brushing is not for the faint of heart. We have carpet through our ENTIRE house w/ the exception of the kitchen and entry-way (what kind of sadist carpets bathrooms? Seriously? Someday we won’t rent, and I won’t have carpeted bathrooms…), and I was PANTING by the end of it!

  8. jansenschmidt says:

    Okay – I’m off to clean. This is excellent stuff, Myndi!

    My husband and I are in the processing of (trying to) buying a new house and we’re going to be getting new carpets. We too have a loveable shedder. Going to try it out.

    Thanks for the tip.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  9. patriciasands says:

    I’m passing this on to my pet-owning kids (works for cats too I’m sure!). I’m giving you another endorsement for the Furminator. My kids swear by it! A big thank-you hug to GinnySue for being the reason for these good tips!

    • Myndi Shafer...one stray sock away from insanity. says:

      HA! When the boys and I were growing out our hair for Locks of Love we had SO MUCH HUMAN HAIR in our vaccum. It was nutso. Now the boys have super-short hair, but my hairs getting long again, and I’m finding it everywhere. Weirdest place lately: my toothbrush. Not sure how that happens, but it was weird and gross. 😀

  10. Anthony V. Toscano says:

    So let me see if I got this right. If I pet my fuzzy cat with a dryer sheet, my curtains will look brand new and she’ll never again poop on the carpet. Sounds easy enough. I’ll give it a try. And by the way, Mr. Hubster, you did real good by agreeing to let the pooch share your castle. Your wife’s one talented lady.

  11. susielindau says:

    Such a great story and I love your dog’s name! I will pass along your cleaning tips. Great post!
    I refollowed your blog because some blogs are not showing up in my reader and then I double-checked and there you were all along!

  12. Marcy Kennedy says:

    I love these segments. Thankfully Luna has short hair and she doesn’t shed much, but the cats are a different story. We have three in the house, which means that every surface, even the ones you wouldn’t expect, manage to get covered in fur.

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