image_print

Humidity—Not too High Not Too Low, But Just Right

Humidity is a popular topic among friends and neighbors here where I live in northern Colorado. It’s like we have none! Well, not exactly, but it averages in the low to mid 20 percent during the summer and fall months, and that’s dry! We have a humidifier in our home to keep the air moist and it runs 24/7 year round.

052416image

And then there’s the matter of high humidity—a troublesome condition for many—which came to mind when I heard from Will a few days ago.

DEAR MARY: I enjoy reading your daily emails, particularly ones on appliances. Do you have any recommendations for a quality dehumidifier for the home? Thanks in advance! Will

DEAR WILL: Apparently we make a great team, you and I, because I love testing, reviewing and recommending household appliances. I am confident and very happy to recommend two different high-quality machines (depending on the size of the space you have), both of which just happen to come from Frigidaire.

FRIGIDAIRE FAD504DWD Energy Star 50-pint Dehumidifier, about $189. This 50-pints-per-day machine will give you continuous operation in an area up to 1,500 sq. ft., as long as it is near a suitable drain. It will help to eliminate bacteria in the air, room odors, mold, mildew and other airborne particles. This machine is very quiet, and allows you to control the exact percentage of humidity in the room. For the money, I don’t think you can beat this option

Help! My Shark Vacuum is Acting Awkward and Stubborn

Did you hear about the shark incident in Florida? A young woman was bitten last Sunday and rushed to the hospital with the shark still attached to her arm!

Rescuers killed the shark before transporting the victim, but still it hung on. That was one stubborn shark and a lot creepier than the stubborn Shark one of my readers has been dealing with.

051816image

DEAR MARY: We purchased the Shark vacuum you so highly recommend. I do love the suction and cleaning prowess of the machine, but it seems awkward and difficult to push around on good quality plush carpeting. Marge

DEAR MARGE: Oh dear—something is not right! I can’t be sure which model Shark you have (the one I love, recommend and use nearly every day is Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional) but for sure your Shark should not be difficult to maneuver on carpet!

With the Brush-Roll turned on, you’ll discover the Shark Pro has a self-propelling feature that pushes it forward, similar to a power lawn mower. Something tells me that perhaps you are attempting to use your Shark on carpet without this feature engaged.

Assuming we have the same model, take a look at yours. You should see a Power button and also a button for the Brush-Roll. In Power mode, you’re ready to vacuum hard surfaces like wood and tile. When you move to carpet, you need to press the Brush-Roll so it lights up green. When the Brush-Roll is engaged and you step on the foot release, you can feel the self-propelling feature kick in. Shark will nearly vacuum that carpet on its own!

If the suction is still too much for your plush carpet, you can make another adjustment. Towards the top of the handle, there is a ring you can turn to adjust the level of suction.

Once you’re set, all you need to do is follow behind and steer the thing with minimal effort. I sure hope that helps. There is nothing about a Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional that should be awkward to push around.

If yours is a different model than mine, look for adjustments for suction and an indicator that the brush roll is engaged. And don’t forget to make sure that your Shark and filter is clean

Get Pesky Rabbits Out of the Garden

DEAR MARY: Love your column! Now that it is spring, it is time to put out beautiful young plants, hoping for flowers all summer long. My problem…rabbits!  They munch my plants right down to the ground. The vegetables I put in a fenced area are safe, but the bunnies make short work of my perennials and annuals that are out in the open. Any ideas? Connie

051016image

DEAR CONNIE: Short of fencing your entire property and then attaching chickenwire to the lower 18-inches all the way around, there are two labor-intensive tactics that seem to work pretty well: 1)Plant vegetables they hate in with the flowers to repel them: peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn and squash. Not very attractive so perhaps this will be more appealing to you and the rabbits: 2) Plant vegetables they love. Give them the beans, peas, parsley and rosemary they crave to draw them away. Just plant this rabbit bait far from the beautiful flowers.

DEAR MARY: I know you’re a big proponent of living with cash. I’ve tried it but I really like the convenience of a debit card and am able to better manage my spending with it. The problem is I’m not earning any interest on the money in my checking account—none! Do you know of any high-interest checking accounts that would work well for a person in my situation? Maxine

DEAR MAXINE: These days, “high” interest is a relative term. Thirty-years ago that would have meant 9.00% APY or more. These days? Compared to nothing, I suppose 2.00% APY could be considered “high.” 

Extremely Offensive Odors and How to Deal with Them

Many years ago, Nok-Out and I met completely by accident. We found one another in my desperate search for ways my readers could deal with extremely  offensive odors. I’ve used Nok-Out continuously in my home and business since then and have recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues.

050216image

DEAR MARY: Recently you gave the tip of diluting Nok-Out in a 1:4 ratio with water. I had always wondered if you could do that but didn’t want to waste the valuable product testing it only to find out it needs to be used full strength. I had some clothes that had a terrible odor no matter how many times I washed them. I was to the point of having to throw them away as they were not wearable in that smelly state. I diluted the Nok-Out as you said, soaked the clothes in this solution, wrung them out, and then washed as usual. It worked! Nok-Out saved my clothes. The odor is completely gone. This product is so worth the money. Loyal reader, Robyn

DEAR ROBYN: Great news! Nok-Out is so highly concentrated, diluted 1:4 it remains highly effective. There are times you can dilute it even more. And then there are rare times you really need to use it full strength. Read on ….

Can’t Remove the Carpet Stain? Cut it Out!

DEAR MARY: How can I fix carpet that has bleach spots on it? I tried using fabric pens about the same color as the tan carpet but the spots turned orange! Carol

042516image

DEAR CAROL: Bleach means done deal. There is no way you can “un-bleach” those spots. If you have a piece of spare carpet left over from when the carpet was installed, you can cut out the stained carpet and replace it with a patch from the new piece. If you don’t have that, cut the patch out of an inconspicuous area, like the back of a closet. Stick double-sided carpet tape onto the floor (or the pad if there is one) and press the patch into place. Because carpet has “nap,” done well the patch will be seamless and totally undetectable. If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, call a local carpet repair expert. It should not be costly if you have the carpet piece ready to go. Good luck!

DEAR MARY: I can’t afford to replace my 50-year old light oak cupboards. They are still in good condition but look dull. Can you recommend a product that will clean and/or revitalize them? I ordered the Cosmas hardware you recommended and love them. (Cosmas makes a great oil rubbed bronze cabinet round knob for as little a $1.15 per knob in a pack of 25 -mh.) Thanks for all the products and tips you share with us. Judy

DEAR JUDY: I think you will be thrilled to pieces with your classic cabinets once  you deep clean them with Howards Feed-N-Wax Orange Oil Polish and Conditioner (about $8 for 16 oz.). Even if you need two or three bottles of this product, your cabinets are going to shine like a new penny! Howards contains beeswax and orange oil that replenish the oils in finished and oiled wood. I’m predicting that Howards plus Cosmas equals a big “Wow!” in your kitchen.  

Solutions for Smelly Sponges, Grimy Cabinets and Warehouse Club Dilemma

DEAR MARY: I was wondering if you had a quick and easy way to keep the dish scrubbers (like the ones that have a sponge on one side attached to a pad for scrubbing pans on the other side) from smelling like mildew.

042016image

Ours do fine for a few days and then start smelling. I try to run them in the dishwasher, but don’t always remember. I sometimes spray them with bleach and let them sit for a minute or two before rinsing, and that seems to work, but I was wondering if there was a better way. I tried microwaving a wet sponge, and that just created a hot smelly sponge. Bronson

DEAR BRONSON: Putting kitchen sponges in the dishwasher daily, or as often as you run a load of dishes, is the best solution to this problem. The heat and detergent kill bacteria and mildew. I’m going to assume that you use one sponge at a time, and that may be the problem. Let me suggest you have at least two sponges going. This way, one will always be available to wipe the counter and so forth, while the other is getting sanitized in the dishwasher. Do this without fail for a couple of weeks and soon it’ll become a habit. Hope that helps!

How to Break the Acrylic Nail Habit and Help Your Nails Recover Beautifully

I just received an email message from one of my readers that stirred up some very poignant memories for me.

041916

For years I, like Carol, was on the fake acrylic nails bandwagon. From the first time I gave that manicure option a try, I loved it. Polish lasts longer on acrylic nails; my nails were always uniform—shaped perfectly and just the right length. All I had to do was go to the nail salon every three weeks to have them maintained.

The problem is it became addictive. I couldn’t do the maintenance myself. And if I didn’t go regularly to have them done, they looked horrible. I became a slave to my local nail salon and acrylic-applying nail technician. It was not cheap.

Anyone who’s ever had acrylic nails knows that they absolutely ravage your natural nails if removed incorrectly, or worn for years without taking a break. And no wonder. Part of the process is to sand down one’s natural nails to get the stuff to stick and not “lift” before the next appointment.

It was a difficult habit to break and I’m glad I did, not only for my nail health  (Google “acrylic dangers” if you dare) but even more so for my wealth. Here’s what Carol wrote: 

Got a Carpet Stain? Twist it Out!

DEAR MARY: Is there anything that will take Crystal Light fruit punch stain out of beige carpeting?  It has been on there a while and appears to have dyed the carpeting. Thanks.  Mary C.

041416image

DEAR MARY C.: This is going to be tough because of the red color—and the reason I never serve red beverages in my home, especially at a party. It’s the red dye that stains so easily. Even red wine can be problematic on carpet unless it is dealt with immediately.

I do not in any way suggest you should not try to get this stain out! I think there’s a very good chance you can at least lighten that stain, if not remove it completely. My best suggestion is to get a can of Spot Shot. Shake that can well, saturate the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then using a clean white cloth (you do not want to transfer any other colors to this stained area by way of a colored cloth) work that stain out as best you can.

My favorite method using Spot Shot is to spray the spot, then lay the cloth on top of it. Now make sure you’re wearing shoes and use your foot to dig into that cloth and stain just as you would if you were  doing “The Twist!” You’ll be blotting and scrubbing that stain at the same time. You’re in luck if you see any of that red color transferring to the cloth. You may have to repeat several times. Spot Shot is the best carpet spotter I know of. Every household with carpeting needs a can of Spot Shot available at all times.