Crystal vase with fresh violet sweet peas

How to Get Sparkle in a Vase, Cheap into Pest Control and Piddle Out of Carpet

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that for every household problem, there are at least two possible ways to deal with it: One that involves calling out the professionals and another do-it-yourself option that’s cheaper, better and maybe even faster!

Crystal vase with fresh violet sweet peas

How to clean fine crystal

Dear Mary: I have a beautiful crystal vase that over the years has acquired a build-up of residue that I cannot remove. Do you have a suggestion on how to remove it? Pat

Dear Pat: That build-up is likely calcium, lime and other minerals from years of standing water. You may need to experiment a bit, but I’m sure you can return that vase to its sparkling beauty without damaging the vase. Here are three simple and completely harmless methods:

Method 1: Fill the vase with your hottest tap water. Pour in a few squirts of liquid automatic dishwashing detergent, or a single pod if that’s what you have, and allow it to sit for a few hours, or overnight. Empty the vase and use a sponge or bottle brush to remove any remaining film. Rinse, dry and look at that sparkle!

Method 2: Fill the vase with water and drop in one or two denture tablets, depending on the vase size. Allow to sit and work overnight. In the morning agitate the container gently to ensure all of the deposits and mineral build-up has come loose. Empty the vase and wash with mild soap and water. Rinse well and dry it completely.

Method 3: Start by filling the vase with white vinegar to cover past the murky area. If the vase is large, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water. Allow the vinegar to sit for a couple of hours. Swish the liquid around to see how much of the film has been loosened. If the film layer is thick and not coming loose, add a 1/4 cup of uncooked rice. Cover and shake the container. The rice may be able to “scrub” to loosen the tough layers. Use the bottle brush to remove any remaining film from the interior of the vase. Empty the vase and wash with mild soap. Dry completely.

DIY pest control

Dear Mary: In response to Do-It-Yourself Pest Control for Home and Garden, I wanted to let you know about another really cheap way to do your own pest control using Taurus SC with 9.1% Fipronil—which contains the same active ingredient in Frontline for dogs but way cheaper. You mix it up in a sprayer.

I agree that $55 is a lot of money, however a 20 oz. container when properly mixed with water makes 25 gallons of product that will kill fleas, ants, cockroaches, spiders, bedbugs, houseflies and everything else. It’s harmless to humans dogs, cats, and birds; has a stable shelf life of years when stored in the dark.

For ants, it will kill the whole nest for good, when sprayed around the nest, not directly in it.

I may sound like I am a salesman for Taurus SC, but I am not. I have just used it for years and know for certain just how effective and inexpensive it is to do my own pest control. Doug

Dear Doug: Thanks for this information. I need to make sure my readers understand that Taurus SC is not a substitute for Frontline for dogs, as it should not be sprayed on or ingested by animals or humans. It should be used outdoors as you describe, to treat the areas that pesky insects frequent.

My research says that the toxicity of Fipronil on humans has been tested in numerous studies, with no adverse effects. That being said, I recommend that readers should always conduct their own due diligence before proceeding with any kind of do-it-yourself pest control.

MORE: Quick and Easy Ways to Get Rid of Pesky Ants

Dog piddle and carpeting

Dear Mary: I have two dogs and depend on piddle pads, as they are home alone for about 12 hours at a stretch on the days I work. Sometimes they miss if you know what I  mean. This has made a mess of the carpeting in that room.

Just this week I planned to shampoo with my carpet cleaning machine but discovered that I didn’t have any carpet shampoo. I decided to use hot water and Nok-Out, instead. I realize the manufacturer probably wouldn’t recommend it, but I wanted you to know that Nok-Out got my carpet much cleaner than the regular shampoo does. I just wanted you to know how well it works as a carpet cleaner when paired with really hot water, and how much I love Nok-Out! Linda

Dear Linda: Great news. I’m happy you didn’t have to replace that carpet. Because Nok-Out and its companion SNiPER are primarily an odor elimination disinfectant system, I’ll bet your carpet now smells as good as it looks. I love that you’ve discovered that Nok-Out is also a great cleaner!

For others wanting to know how to use Nok-Out to remove odors from carpet and clean it at the same time, follow this protocol from Nok-Out:

Nok-Out has a pH of 8.5, and works best in an alkaline environment. If acidic cleaning products such as vinegar have been used previously, you must neutralize that acid by spraying club soda or a mild baking soda solution (1 teaspoon baking soda to 2 cups water) to the carpet using a spray bottle before applying Nok-Out to the area. Allow this solution to dry before continuing the odor removal procedures.

This step will neutralize any acids left behind by other cleaners on your carpet and allow Nok-Out to work most efficiently and effectively.

When using Nok-Out in a carpet-cleaning machine, add 1 to 2 cups to the reservoir, then add enough water to total one gallon (128 ounces).

Push the carpet shampooer forward while spraying, but do not vacuum up the cleaning fluid yet. Spray the entire carpet first, and wait for  10 to 20 minutes to allow Nok-Out to penetrate deeply and oxidize into the fibers of the carpet, as well as the matting, the pad, and floor substrate underneath.

After the waiting time has passed, begin the extracting process by pulling the carpet cleaning machine backward. This pulls all liquid back into the cleaning tank. Dry quickly by using overhead ceiling fans, floor fans, turning the ac/heating fan to “On” and or opening windows.

If a second application should be necessary, simply repeat this procedure. Again, allow the carpet to dry quickly.

RELATED: The Best Thing I Ever Bought – Best Inexpensive Steam Vac

Updated: 1-30-19

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5 replies
  1. Jan Schal says:

    We had a sick dog who vomited AND had diarrhea on our low pile carpet in family room. I cleaned it up and then sprinkled baking soda on spots. The baking soda bleached out or somehow stained the the spots, which now, even after professional shampooing, are now lighter and stiffer than the rest of the carpeting. Would Nok-Out help this situation?

    • Jeannie says:

      Unfortunately, no. Nok-Out only removes odors. Very interesting, though, that baking soda would slightly bleach carpet. I toss it into laundry but I do notice that sometimes dark items look like they’ve been exposed to bleach.

    • Bill Burk says:

      It’s an outdoor only use product. It’s never to be used indoors unless treating for termites inside a wall void. It’s all on the label. The label is the law! I’ve been doing pest control for 21 years. Termidor SC or generic Taurus SC are not made for indoor applications for general pest control.

  2. Jeannie says:

    Mary, how much Nok-Out would you recommend using with hot water in the Steam cleaner? (I have the machine you recommend and love it.) Regarding Frontline, I will never use that on my dogs again, wouldn’t spray it around my house, either. I hate bugs in my house, but I would find another way to get rid of them!


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