Zero waste cleaning for
cats and chickens 

Do you have pets? All pets require cleaning up after. I have cats and chickens that I clean up after every day. Instead of it being drudgery like it used to be, I have turned it into a mini workout routine, which gets me out of the house every day at dawn. I love being outside at dawn and now I have something that gets me doing something I love every day, even if it does involves poop.

Too many household cleaning tasks involve a lot of plastic garbage. One time use sponges and wipes, plastic bottles, paper towels, little box liners. The list goes on. 

This article takes the mundane pet poop cleaning tasks, and turns them into mini workout routines, using zero waste methods

Love your cats and chickens

Mornings are all about the cats and chickens, cleaning, cooking, and gardening. I take care of all of these things before I eat breakfast. You would think we were farmers instead of taking care of our home and pets, but I like this routine. It definitely clears my head and gets me ready to run the business for the rest of the day.

Chicken Coop Cleaning

Upper and lower nest boxes
Peridot, our blue rooster with blue eyes. He's 3 1/2 months old here

Every day, I clean up the chicken poop with Waterless Hand Soap. This way my chickens can lay eggs in a clean place.  I spray a generous amount of Waterless Hand Soap onto a damp sponge, and wipe down all of the surfaces, paying close attention to the corners and edges. This keeps away mites and flies, and all sort of other pathogens that can cause illness and disease in my flock.

Peridot, at 3 1/2 months old in front, is as tall as Archie, his "dad" in back. Archie is a full breed Gold Lacewing Wyandotte. Peridot came from Turquoise, who is an Easter Egger mutt. It looks like we will have a stunning blue rooster with blue eyes. We will see what happens to his feather coloring after the molt. 

Citrina
Goldie
Ruby

Since the chickens put themselves to bed in the coop each evening at dusk, and we make sure the cats are inside, everyone is ready to go out at first light. 

As the sun comes up, Andy brings the chickens fresh water, opens up their door (the coop also has a people door), and he plays with them over breakfast treats .  The roosters are usually out first so they can inspect the new day for predators before letting the girls out. It's invigorating and a terrific happiness trigger. Who knew that cleaning up poop first thing every day would make us all happy.

Cleaning up after your geriatric cats

We have a 16 year old cat, Bisou, pronounced beezoo. A bisou bisou is those French air kisses on each cheek, for those of you who do not speak French. So our Bisou is a light kiss and a little sweetheart. It's hard getting old and as our pets age, making their lives comfortable and clean is essential for their happiness and ours as pet caretakers.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, Bisou would miss the litter box, making a mess on the basement floor. No worries, though. I easily clean it up with our Liquid Soap Refill, that I diluted. (for diluting instructions, click here) It kills any bacteria and the smell instantly. I spray a pet odor neutralizing enzyme over the cleaned up area, as an extra precaution to keep things fresh and clean. You would think our house "smells like cats", but it most certainly does not. 

In case you don't have a definite routine for cleaning up after your cats and chickens, or are looking for a better way to deal, my detailed litter box cleaning method is below.

For zero waste hairball cleaning click here

Bisou

My litter box cleaning method

It seems kind of silly to write about how I clean my litter box, but it works so well using our liquid soap refill instead of toxic cleaning products. There's no plastic litter box liners, that create more one time use plastic bags filling up land fills. This is almost a zero waste method. My kitty litter made out of grass comes in a plastic bag. 


Apple (Spy and Pippin's mom)
Pippin in motion, rolling around in the dirt. It's his favorite thing to do. He must think he's a chicken
Wendy and Northern Spy going to pick apples

We have four cats: 

Bisou:  uses the litter box all year and has for most of her life. 

Apple: who has started occasionally using the litter box a few years ago 

Spy: who only used the litter box to pester Bisou in the past. Now that he's 11 years old, he uses it when the temperature is in the single digits F. This could turn into an aromatic issue, if I didn't clean it every day. 

Pippin, Spy's brother, who will likely never use the litter box. Whew. 



My cleaning methods evolve as everyone's habits change with age. I find a morning routine is best for the mind, body and practical interests. 

When winter temperatures are below 20 degrees F., chores are a challenge and invigorating. When Summer temperatures rise above 80 degrees F by 9:00am, and the sun rises at 5:00am, I'm out at dawn. The cleaning tasks are best done by 6:00am, to avoid too much coop dust. 

Did I forget to mention gear? I wear a full body coverall suit with the collar flipped up, stuff my hair up under a hat, rubber boots, gloves, and a face mask. After I'm finished, I shake out all of the dust from the clothes, and bathe.  

Dilute at home. Support a plastic free journey.
Refill your 8 oz. Waterless Hand Soap. Place 1/2 oz. Liquid Soap Refill noodles in empty bottle and fill with with water. Gently shake and wait 5 minutes and you have a zero waste refill with a reused bottle

Litter box cleaning technique

I use this routine as a mini workout. In the summers this cleaning routine is followed with watering the garden.

The indoor litter box is under a sink in the basement. The heated floor is a great tool. I keep specific tools for these cleaning tasks by the sink.

Rubber gloves, dust mask, bar soap, Waterless Hand Soap and Liquid Soap Refill. On the floor is a dust pan, whisk broom, sponge and the enzyme spray.

Every morning I wake before dawn, so I can let the cats and chickens out right around sunrise. I drink a quick cup of coffee and race down to the basement.

I put on my suit, the dust mask and rubber gloves. I pick up the 2 litter boxes and move them out of the area. I sweep up all of the litter that's been kicked out of the box. If there's a mess on the floor, I wet the sponge, squirt some liquid hand soap on it, and scrub up the urine.

The sink is stainless steel, so I rinse the sponge, wipe up all of the soap on the floor, rinse the sponge again, and then squirt new soap on it to scrub and clean the sponge. If there's any urine on the plastic dust pan or plastic whisk broom, I wash those too with soap and water. Then I use one more liquid soap squirt and wash the sink, including the drain. Then I put a little of the enzyme spray open the floor where I just cleaned, scoop into one of the litter boxes, and take the it outside to scoop it.

I scoop one litter box into the other and carry one down to the kitty litter compost. Our litter is cool stuff. It's made out of grass, is completely non toxic, clumps really well, and comes out of the box easily. The song birds and crows eagerly pick through the kitty litter cookies. Sometimes the fox and raccoons get some cookies too.

Once a week I empty each litter box and scrub it completely using, you guessed it, our liquid soap refill.

Cats and chickens go together 

If I had to scrub the floor, while I'm outside, it dries.

When I bring the cleaned litter box back in the basement, the floor is dry, and I put it back in its place. Then I wash my rubber gloved hands with the bar soap and water, hang the gloves to dry, and wash my actual hands with soap and water. 

Cleaning with our liquid soap refill is anti bacterial, so there's no need to microwave anything to kill germs. The soap does it for you.

Soap and water kill germs, while cleaning you

Good bar soap is an essential as a whole body soap wash. It's economical, luxurious, and effective. When selecting a bar of soap, look for simple ingredients with pleasing essential oil aromas and lots of sudsy lather. Sudsing all the way down to a sliver, over 3-4 months of daily use, is key in good bar soap. Try Ithaca Soap   

Hairballs - the subject nobody talks about

Cleaning up a hairball using the zero waste method.

I have a specific medium weight linen rag specifically for this task. It's rugged and does this job well. 

Tools: Rubber gloves, my handy linen rag, Waterless Hand Soap


Zero Waste hairball cleaning method:

  1. Put on your rubber gloves
  2. Wet the rag and squeeze out all excess water.
  3. Scoop up the hairball with the wet rag. Dump it in your toilet and flush.
  4. In your utility sink, rinse out the rag, and wash it with liquid soap and water. Rinse it well. Wash the sink with soap and water.
  5. Squirt some Waterless Hand soap on the rag and wash the floor, carpet, furniture, windowsill.
  6. You know how it is. Cats just throw up the hairball wherever they are and then go to a clean place, leaving it there for you.
  7. Rinse and wash the rag again using the same method as in step 4. Wash in your washing machine with other rags, etc.

A broody hen journey. click here

Instant Liquid Soap is the perfect stovetop cleaner. It's gentle on your hands while being tough on built up, caked on grease. 

  1. Tear open pouch at notch
  2. Fill pouch with water to top of label. Gently stir.
  3. Pour into a reused plastic bottle. Use.

The future starts now as you end single use plastic bottles. Click here

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Chicken coop drama here

No plastic 
Liquid Soap Refill


Purchase wholesale

Waterless Hand Soap here


How much soap money does a shower cost you?

Let's say you spend $3.00 on a bar of soap and it lasts for 7 days of showers. That's $.43 per shower. 

For your next bar of soap, you spend $8.50. That seems like a lot of money, except it lasts for 8 weeks or 56 showers. That's $.15 cents per shower. F.Y.I.: One bar lasts me and Andy 6 weeks of daily showers - 84 showers.

Good soap is cost effective. More

Farmers & Artisans Main St. Snyder, NY Great local food and LiXTiK Lip Balm at the checkout.

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THINK

How much soap money does a shower cost you?

Let's say you spend $3.00 on a bar of soap and it lasts for 7 days of showers. That's $.43 per shower. 

For your next bar of soap, you spend $8.50. That seems like a lot of money, except it lasts for 8 weeks or 56 showers. That's $.15 cents per shower. F.Y.I.: One bar lasts me and Andy 6 weeks of daily showers - 84 showers.

Good soap is cost effective. More

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