Product Review: Casabella Pet Bowl Cleaner Sponge

25 08 2010

I went to Bed Bath & Beyond last night after work for a little early birthday shopping.  I know, most girls would probably buy themselves a new outfit or a great handbag – don’t get me wrong, I’ve certainly done that before.  I chose BB&B because I’m treating myself to a new slipcover.  I’m so tired of our maroon, starting-to-tear sofa and the Shelley can’t decorate the family room because she’s paralyzed by the maroon-iness so I’m using my birthday as an excuse to purchase something to de-ugly the sofa.

While I went to Bed Bath & Beyond mainly for a slipcover, I generally like to peruse their wares (mostly in the Beyond section) to see if anything lights my fire.  Well tonight I found something so simple and fabulous that I had to run home and start writing a blog post on the qwerty keyboard on my phone.  It’s a sponge that’s shaped like a dog bone.  To be specific, it’s Casabella’s Pet Bowl Cleaner Sponge.  Please feel free to gasp in awe.

Bone Shaped Sponge

No more dog/human cross-contamination in my house!

It’s not just a novelty bone-shaped sponge: it’s shaped like a bone so you can easily remember which sponge is designated to clean all of your canine accouterments.  I want Hamlet to have a clean bowl but I don’t want dog food remnants and Ham slobber on the human dish brush, the dishes, or in the dishwasher.  I’m not a germaphobe but I have to draw the line somewhere.  (To review, the line is currently, “ok with Hamlet accidentally French kissing me but not ok with sharing my dish scrubbing brush or dishwasher with his dog bowl.”)

I showed Hamlet the sponge to see what he thought.  It has a traditional cellulose side as well as a scrubby fiber side for those tougher spots.  Hamlet gave it the full sniff-down.

Hamlet sniffing bone sponge 1

He bobbed...

Hamlet sniffing bone sponge 2

He weaved...

Hamlet sniffing bone sponge 3

He stuck his face in between the two sponges.

Hamlet sniffing bone sponge 4

He settled in for a good sniff.

Hamlet sniffing bone sponge 5

"Ok, I'm done sniffing. Seriously, go clean my bowl and stop taking pictures of me."

I gave the bone sponge a quick tour of the kitchen and then put her to work on Hamlet’s food bowl as the test.  I’m embarrassed to show you this picture and therefore have it forever present in the flotsam of the internet, but in the interest of a good before and after and a fair product review, this is the “before” picture of Hamlet’s food bowl.

Hamlet food bowl - before

Hamlet's food bowl before its date with the bone sponge.

I used hot water, dish soap, the bone sponge, and some elbow grease and this is what I turned out.

Hamlet food bowl - after

Hamlet's food bowl after getting gussied up.

You may notice that there’s still some scummy looking stuff on the bowl in the “after” picture.  A close-up shot will give a better idea of what we’re dealing with.

Hamlet's food bowl - after - close up

Not scum or residue, just some sort of tarnish-like situation.

The sponge did a great job of getting rid of all of the food bits, caked on Hamlet slobber (he sometimes sits in the kitchen and licks his bowl like we’ve never, ever fed him; does your dog do this or is mine the only one that thinks that dog licks turn into kibble?), and general nastiness.  However, there’s still something left behind.  It’s not scum, more like tarnish.  I know stainless steel doesn’t get tarnished but that’s the closest analogy I can muster.  It’s not any kind of food or dirt residue, just sort of a discoloration or something.  I scrubbed and scrubbed but I couldn’t get it off.  Now that the bowl is much, much, much cleaner (and therefore safe to mingle with the human dishes), I plan to give it a run through the dishwasher and see if that gets the last of the “tarnish” off.

The sponge definitely did what it was supposed to – clean the bowl.  I don’t blame the scum left behind on the Casabella sponge; I think I had simply let Hamlet’s bowl go too long without a good scrub down.  The sponge was $3.49 for a set of two sponges at Bed Bath & Beyond, which makes them about $1.75 apiece.  If you had a 20% off coupon to BB&B (which you should because they arrive weekly in the mail to every American household), yours would be about $2.79 for the two pack.  You can bet I had a 20% off coupon but I used it on my slipcover.  So it scores points for being affordable as well.  Plus I just think it’s so simple but so stinkin’ smart to have a bone shaped sponge to differentiate it from the human sponges.  Hamlet and I rate it four out of five scrubs.

Quick tangent to tell you why I say “scrubs” instead of something like “stars” or other traditional rating unit.  There used to be a local movie critic who always rated the movies he saw with a clever unit of measure, typically a reference to something from the movie itself.  For example, if you loved “Titanic” you might give it five out of five icebergs, or five sweaty handprints, or five hearts of the ocean (can you tell I like “Titanic”?).  Mike and I then picked up the habit of rating a movie after we saw it and coming up with a clever unit of measure, just like the movie critic did.  (Mike’s clever units are always better than mine, darn him!)  Therefore, for this sponge with its scrubbing power, I’m giving it four out of five scrubs.  Feel free to tell me in the comments if you come up with something better.

I’ll definitely keep using the sponge to clean Ham’s bowl once a week (after being so embarrassed by that dirty “before” picture).  That’s how we’re keeping the pet bowls clean around la casa de Ham.  What do you do to keep your animals’ dishes clean?  Do you have a phobia of mixing the pet bowl with the human dishes like I do?  Do you scour your pet bowls with steel wool or some other burly tool?  I welcome the advice so spill the kibble.

*Casabella did not request that I write this review nor compensate me or Hamlet in any way for it.  My review is a result of my own thoughts and opinions.  I simply happened upon this product while out shopping and thought it would be helpful for other dog lovers to know about.


Poop Happens

26 03 2010

Sorry for such a long delay between posts; I’ve really let my New Year’s resolution of blogging at least once per week get away from me.  You now have permission to scold me; just don’t take it out on the Ham, he’s very sensitive to what his readers think.

Anyway, I thought what better way to get back into the blogging swing than by sharing a story?  I will warn you – it is gross and if you are the faint of heart or don’t enjoy bathroom-type humor, then you should probably sit this post out.  Sorry, no pictures as I think it would potentially get me kicked off the internet / force the few readers I have to never come back to GE&H out of sheer disgust.

I’m just going to put it right out there – poop happens.  Dog owners and parents are the groups of people I know who have to deal most intimately in the world of poo.  I joke with the boy that we have become too familiar with Hamlet’s poop routine, evidenced by the fact that we are totally comfortable talking about it with one another.  We even go into details such as consistency, color, and frequency.  We sometimes even have these conversations in front of our friends (sorry, Melissa!).  Please don’t judge us.

I promise we’re not poo freaks.  It’s just that Hamlet used to be a twice a day pooper and in the last few months he has strayed from his regularity (no pun intended) and sometimes only poops once a day and occasionally skips a day altogether.  When the change in poop frequency started, we were worried he might be sick so the boy would fill me in on what happened on his daily walks with Ham.  We’ve decided that his frequency is less in the winter because he doesn’t like to be outside in the cold so he usually does a morning poo and forgoes the evening one.  However, we have maintained our poop conversations and have been known to celebrate when there are two poops in one day (recent text from me to the boy: Took Ham out in his boots and coat. He pooped and I think he even enjoyed the snow!).

Yesterday during one of our poo conversation, the boy mentioned that on their morning walk Ham had had a gross poop.

Me: What kind of  gross?  Like runny?

Mike: Yeah and weird.

Me: How weird?  Weird color?

The boy: Yeah just sick.  I had to wipe him because I was afraid that it would get on the carpet or something once we were back inside.

Me: Eeeew!  I hate that!  It’s so weird chasing after him and having to clean his butt off like a baby.

The boy: Yeah. Did you feed Ham anything weird yesterday?

Me: I gave him like five grains of my white rice from dinner.

The boy also remembered that we had given him one or two turkey pepperoni.  We dismissed it as a one-off gross poop and moved on.

Last night was a night like any other – the boy was working on his computer and I was watching Project Runway educational television with Ham and working on my laptop.  I was researching online for a hike we might do this weekend so I walked into the office to give the boy the details and Hamlet woke up from the couch and followed at my heels.  I was smack dab in the middle of this sentence, “A real jewel in the Open Space crown, Pine Valley Ranch offers scenic vistas and recreational opportunities for all” when I heard a loud fart behind me.  A squishing fart.  Now, Hamlet farts audibly from time to time but it’s like a little squeak – pbbfft.  This was just so farty, like a whoopee cushion – PPLLLLLBBBB!  I turned around and was saying, “Ham, that was the loudest fart I’ve ever heard from you” when I was cut off by the sight of poop all over the floor.  I’m sorry, I should say “all over the the cream-colored carpet.”

It was browny yellow and a soft consistency and spread into two or three groupings.  The boy said, “get him out of here!”  while I put down my laptop and yelled, “Ham, Hammy, come here, come!”  Of course he was terrified by the wild girl waving and yelling at him and seemed frozen by this fear because he was still in a squat position and I was therefore terrified that he was about to dump again.  I made my voice less shrill and called him again and Mike helped herd him out the front door.  Then Ham and I were alone in the crisp night air and he was high-tailing it down the stairs to get to the grass, turning his head over his shoulder to see how mad I was at him with a scared look on his face.  The saddest part was that I wasn’t angry at all.  I knew that he had an accident, truly an accident, and must have been sick or ate something bad; otherwise he wouldn’t have pooped in the house (he never had before).  No one poops like that on purpose.

While I was thinking all of this through and generally feeling sorry for Hamlet, that he probably felt embarrassed and generally sick to his stomach, he proceeded to walk in a squatting position all around the grass in front of our building.  He remained squatted the whole time, almost in a sit position but with his butt floating above the grass.  He would poop while he walked, like a horse on a trail ride.  Like hover-pooping.  He never stopped, just methodically squat-pooped in a 20 foot loop around the grass.  Finally he came back to where he started and looked pooped (pun intended).  I kept telling him it was ok, I know it was an accident.  No reason to punish a creature for something that was clearly out of their control.

We opened the door to the apartment and I realized how out of control the situation was, made clear to me by the horribly pungent smell.  The boy, being the wonderful man that he is, had already cleaned up the poop clumps and had them in a garbage bag.  He passed me in the doorway, on his way to the dumpster.  Hamlet seemed eager not to return to the scene of the crime (weren’t we all?) and clamored after Mike.  I tried to call him back but the boy said it was ok.  I dug out our trusted Urine Out stain removal kit and got to work.

The smell hadn’t hit me when Ham first pooped but now that I was back in the house it was like a mushroom cloud of dog poop smell.  The boy had removed the poop clumps but I had to dab at the wet spots with a paper towel, which was definitely the worst part of my job.  Getting down and dirty with wet poop spots is not how anyone wants to spend an evening.  I kept wishing that it was solid poop because it wouldn’t have left behind this wet brellow (brown+yellow) mess but the boy pointed out that if it was a regular solid poop that Hamlet would have done it outside when we let him out 30 minutes ago.  True, but it still would be easier to get off the carpet.   So I proceeded with the Urine Out kit while the boy made another trip to the dumpster with the poopy paper towels and Hamlet hid under the kitchen table.

The boy returned and of course there had to be a discussion of the recent fallout.  We couldn’t believe he pooped in the house; he never has before.  Well, obviously it must have been uncontrollable, otherwise he would have pooped outside when we took him out 30 minutes ago.  The smell is unbelievable; the stain remover helps but let’s open the sliding glass door.  And a window.  And don’t sit in the office because it’s worse in there.

We discussed putting Hamlet in his crate or sequestering him in the kitchen (tile floor) to sleep it off in case of further accidents.  Instead we kept him under observation for a few hours in which he seemed back to his old self.  So in the end he slept where he usually does – on a blanket at the foot of the bed.  After all, poop happens.

*Planet Urine, the makers of Urine Out, did not in any way compensate me for this post.  I am simply telling you that Urine Out is the product that we use for our household stains (it works on stuff other than pet stains) because we have had great results with the product.