Three years ago when my father was alive, my sister wrote via email to me in great consternation. She said that the woman who was looking after my Dad was not doing such a great job, and his flat in London smelled so bad that all the rest of the family except her refused to visit him. So I decided to visit and ship ahead a BlueAir air purifier with plenty of carbon, a LadyBug steam cleaner and took with me some 212 stain remover.
My sister was right, the smell knocked you back when you entered the flat, and I rushed to open the windows and gulp in some clean, fresh air. Airing out a place and getting fresh air in is a good practice anyway, but you have to search for the cause and figure out a prevention and maintenance program.
Well, the cause was not too hard to locate as it was the bedding, and the path to the bathroom and the odor in the bathroom was pretty pungent. Moreover, the odors just seemed to permeate throughout his whole flat. The first thing I did was throw away most of his bedding as I reckoned it was just past it, and bought him new stuff at Marks and Spencer as well as installing a SnugFleece mattress pad and a waterproof mattress pad which I had also brought with me. Sometimes it is just best to start over as I am sure we would have paid a hefty premium to have even tried dry cleaning, and I am far from certain that it would have been successful. But there was still stains on carpet that wreaked of bodily fluids, and a bathroom that made me want to vomit. Nothing for it, but to roll up my sleeves and crank up the LadyBug steam cleaner. I doused the area with 212 stain remover, let it soak in, and then used the triangle brush with a towel in the area of the carpet where my father used to totter to the bathroom. The problem when you do this is that you release the odors trapped and dried in the carpet, so it gets worse before it gets better and my eyes stung but I kept on going with the windows flung wide. Then onto the bathroom with the small brush attachments to clean grout and a toilet stained beyond belief. But I was gaining ground and then onto the living room and kitchen. I spent most of the day doing this as my father humbly sat by thanking me for my efforts. He said he missed my mother who had always kept him so clean and neat, and said that he tried hard but everything was such an effort- he was 85 years old at the time and could only move around with the help of a walker. It broke my heart to see him like this but at the same time, it was deeply satisfying to take care of another human that I loved so much and hear the gratitude in his voice. By the end of the day I showered and invited my sister over to inspect. She was truly amazed and said she was going to borrow the steam cleaner to go over some rough places in her own home.
The second time I used a steam cleaner to come to the rescue in a similar was with my own husband nearly 18 months ago as he was recovering from a brain operation [he has terminal brain cancer- the same as Senator Kennedy but is still alive]. At the time, he was on an array of medicines which disagreed with his stomach and he was very unsteady on his feet. We had a nurse 40 hours a week but the rest of the time, as indeed it is now, I do the caretaking. My husband has always been very private about his bathroom habits but one Sunday afternoon, I just thought he had been in the bathroom too long and knocked on the door gently asking if he was okay. He yelled that he was not okay and not to come in. Well I disobeyed that directive and opened the bathroom door to a sight that could only be called the result of a “rectal explosion”. My poor husband was frantic and clearly humiliated at what had happened. I gently passed towels and a big trash bag through the door to help him do a first pass clean up, which he insisted on doing, and put the contents immediately into a sanitizing wash and instructed him to shower. Then comes the steam cleaning bit; I fired up the LadyBug and entered the bathroom and quite frankly was truly taken aback as the evidence was every where the eye could see and the smell was even worse than my Dad’s. I confess that the thought entered my mind of-supposing the steam cleaner was not up to the task? Would I have to live with this odor permeating my home for months while he was dying? After recovering from the shock of seeing the bathroom that way and guiding my husband back to bed who was shouting at me due to his frustration, I stripped down to my underwear and began steaming using an assortment of brushes and toweled attachments. The good thing was that because I cleaned the mess up quickly, the odor did not have the time to settle into all the pores of the tiling. I was pouring with sweat and I confess that I hated every moment of it. After showering and calming my husband down, I went back into the bathroom,” Thank you LadyBug “was all I could think, no trace of it and no odor. Our beautiful master bathroom was back to normal.
My husband is in a steady state in his fight against cancer for the moment but the clock is ticking, and I know I will have to face similar incidents when he is in his last days. But at least I do not have to live with unmentionable odors now or rip out the bathroom when he is gone. The LadyBug steam cleaner is just genius and mine has TANCS which is a patented process which makes ordinary tap water into a EPA registered disinfectant. Knowing that just calms my mind .It is difficult enough going through this journey with him but at least we do not have to have the house smell like a cesspool.
So to all caretakers out there struggling with the same issues; steam cleaning can help you sanitize and disinfect and your home will have a “clean” smell that only comes with cleaning with steam, which is the most effective and non chemical way to clean. Good luck!