If it’s Friday, it just might be Ask Me Anything day when I reach into the mailbag and pull out three recent questions from my loyal, loving readers—two of them with the same name!
My dog recently had a “scare” and piddled on my hardwood floor. I did not catch it right away. I now have a stain. Is there anything you would recommend to get rid of it without refinishing the floor? Thank you. Linda
Dear Linda: This is tough. It’s difficult to know if you have a stain sitting on top of the floor or if the floor’s stain has been penetrated and bleached by the heavy presence of ammonia in dog urine. Regardless, it’s surely worth a try to see if this can be reversed. Here is a recipe and instruction for removing dog urine from a hardwood floor:
Pour 1 cup distilled water into a clean spray bottle. Add 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar. Next, carefully add 1/4 cup baking soda. This will bubble up so do this over the sink. Next, add 1/4 cup Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Apply spray assembly then shake gently to mix. Find a test spot that is out of the way, like under a bed or area rug, or in the corner. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Scrub the area with a clean, damp cloth. If the wood has not discolored, repeat the process on that pet stain. Rinse well with clean, clear water.
(By the way, it is true that an acid like vinegar, combined with a base like baking soda, creates a kind of neutral situation. But in the process, it makes a super cleaner for some situations. Don’t make this solution ahead of time and assume it will work as well as when made fresh and used quickly.)
If the stain remains, consider a commercial pet urine stain remover that contains odor and stain-and-bacteria eating enzymes, like Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator.
Note: Vinegar or any kind of acid, used to clean a sealed surface (hardwood, granite, marble, etc.) will eventually penetrate and dull the sealant. It can be a matter of deciding which is worse—a slightly dull appearance or a stain.
How do I clean baseboards? I can’t get down on my knees due to health problems and I also deal with a bad back. What do you suggest? Thanks, Linda
Dear Linda: A simple mop handle attached to an old-fashioned mop head will do the trick. Or my preference because that adds one more thing to my utility closet, I use my vacuum.
Most vacuum cleaners come with accessories that include some kind of extension tube and dusting brush—the perfect combination for vacuuming baseboards while standing. A long crevice tool would work as well, with its ability to get into all of the crevices along baseboards and walls. If your vacuum doesn’t have these accessories, contact its manufacturer to see if those tools are available for your current machine.
If you have a Shark vacuum, you can get accessories for it online at SharkClean.com. Click on “Parts & Accessories.”
As I write, Shark Navigator Professional Lift-Away, which comes with a Dusting Brush, and Bonus 24-inch Crevice Tool, is bargain-priced on Amazon. Things change quickly so a word to the wise should be sufficient. 😉
My husband and I have talked about selling our home this year but are not sure. With that in mind does it make sense to set up bi-weekly payments on our mortgage? Debbie
Dear Debbie: I cannot think of any good reason to do this, but a couple of reasons not to. If your interest rate is relatively low and you were to make half of your monthly payment every two weeks (rather than the entire amount once each month), the difference over the near term could be counted in pennies, if at all.
Additionally, you run the risk of your bank or mortgage servicing company getting things all mixed up by your new self-imposed method—something that could take time to straighten out.
If you want to pay down your mortgage balance in a significant way prior to putting the property on the market, you can do that at any time by sending in an additional sum in the same way you make your regular payment. Just make it very clear that this is to be applied in its entirety to the principal balance as a “principal prepayment”—not set aside to prepay mortgage interest on future payments.
If despite your instruction that larger amount were to be applied to future interest due (I’ve seen it happen because, well, human error), that could significantly delay a transfer of ownership during the the sale process.
My best advice is to not do anything that could possibly muddy the waters at this time and create even the smallest hiccup should you decide to sell.
Hope that helps!
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