Now, Let’s Take a Few Questions from the Audience

Have I told you lately about my email inbox? It’s a mess. And today I’m ready to clean it up big time by answering 11 questions, each one of them representing dozens more with substantially the same request.


Q: What is the best inexpensive double stroller that you recommended in a recent column? I read it, copied the information but now cannot find it anywhere! Thanks.

A: My pick for the best inexpensive double stroller is Graco Roomfor2 Click Connect Stand and Ride Stroller (about $140). It accommodates an older child who can either sit or stand at the back, plus a baby/toddler in the front. For two babies I recommend the Delta Children City Street Side by Side Stroller (about $60).

Q: I’m dying here in Atlanta. The humidity has been unbearable. I really need that inexpensive dehumidifier you recommend. Can I get those details again?

A:  That column brought a huge response, but none more glowing than from Will who wrote with the question originally. He wrote back once his FRIGIDAIRE FFAD7033R1 Energy Star 70-pint Dehumidifier, about $218, was up and running. He was so happy with the result. Be sure to review the original post as I offered two options, depending on the size of your space. 

Q: What is the name of that great trash container for the car that you wrote about a while ago? 

A: My Car Trash Can by Freddie and Sebbie (about $27) continues to be one of the best things I ever bought. I’ve purchased several more for gifts, and everyone agrees—fabulous!  That’s the good news. The bad news is that as I write, it is unavailable with no clear indicatino for when it will be back. But not to worry. The High Road StableMate Large Car Trash Basket is quite similar in every way at about $18, along with many 5-star reviews. I like that it has side handles plus a mesh storage pocked on the side for wipes and sanitizer. You can’t go wrong with this substitute.

Q: Sure do love my Sonic Duo Floor Scrubber machine. But refills for the cleaning liquid are crazy expensive! Do you have a DIY recipe for hardwood floor cleaner that will work as beautifully and not harm the machine? 

A: I do and here it is: 1 part 91% rubbing alcohol to 4 parts distilled water plus a few drops blue Dawn. Mix together and use it straight in the Shark Sonic Duo Scrubber—no further dilution required. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is a fabulous cleaner plus it helps this cleaner to dry quickly with no rinsing required. Remember, never use vinegar on hardwood, laminate or granite. It’s an acid and over time will damage the finish (or sealer in the case of granite).

Q: Can you tell me the name of the fabulous heavy-duty cleaner you wrote about—something like Lexoil or Lesswork. I can’t remember.

A: It’s Lestoil as in “less toil!” And it is fabulous. Here are the 10 things to know about Lestoil. While not the easiest to find, Lestoil is readily available online (around $8 for 48 oz. concentrate) as well as some home improvement stores and supermarkets.

Q: I need a new vacuum and want to get your favorite Shark! But there are so many models to choose from. Help?

A: Model numbers can vary depending on the store or retailer where you are looking, so look for these words: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional. Most likely you’ll find the best price at Amazon (about $179 as I write). It is a wonderful machine.

Q: What is that product you recommend for cleaning icky, dirty, dull wood cabinets?

A: 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.).

Q: I want to start roasting my own coffee. Can you please tell me again where do you get your green coffee beans?

A: I have used several sources over the years. Currently I purchase in bulk from the La Minita Plantation in Costa Rica, with a minimum purchase requirement of 150 lbs. That’s a lot of coffee and probably not where you want to start. For small purchases you’ll find the best deals and variety at Amazon, where prices start at around $5 to $6 a pound.

Q: Can you repeat the recipe for hardwood and laminate flooring? 

A: Sure. 1 part 91% rubbing alcohol, 4 parts distilled water and a few drops (like 4 or 5) blue Dawn. Mix well and use in a spray bottle. Scrub small areas at a time, wiping dry as you go.

Q: Where can I get the small kitchen towels you love and buy by the dozen?

A: They’re called “bar mops” and available online: Utopia Towels Kitchen Bar Mop Cleaning Towels, about $17 per dozen. And you’re right. I have 6 dozen that I use with abandon, the way I used to use paper towels. I keep a small hamper in my kitchen where I can easily toss them. When it gets full, I launder my bar mops in hot water, detergent, bleach—and white vinegar in the final rinse. They come out brilliant white; soft and fluffy. And they last what seems like forever, despite all the laundering and bleach.

Q: I read about how to fumigate a space that reeks of tobacco smoke, but now I can’t find it! 

A: Here is a link to that recent post, Best Room Humidifier for DIY Fumigation.  You are going to need a Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier HCM-350 (best, inexpensive that meets the need for this operation) as well as a supply of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator (which can be purchased for 10% off with coupon code DPL).


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  • Greta Johnson

    And now a HUGE round of APPLAUSE for our gracious HOSTESS for her PATIENCE !! 🙂
    Once again, Mary, you have proven why we LOVE you so much!! Once is never enough for your recommendations ! Thank YOU for making our lives/homes so much better !

    • Mary Hunt

      Oh Greta! You sweet thing. Thank YOU for your kind comments. Truly I have the best gig going on here. I love what I do and now I love it even more knowing that wonderful people like you are as close as my screen and keyboard!

  • Cyndy

    I have a couple of “Shark” cleaners that were used about a year ago and had tap “well” water left in them and now they will not produce steam. I have tried to revive them by dumping out the left over water and using distilled water along with adding lime-away to this new water, hoping any mineral deposits would get broken up, letting them steam once again. After shaking both my head and the appliances they still don’t function properly and I’m very sad to think that with such a large investment that they will be just additional pieces for the landfill.

  • Elaine Burkhalter Ford

    Mary, you know those expensive oil warmers that plug in and make a room smell fantastic, like Fabreze for instance? Can you help us discover a DIY and less expensive way to reuse them? I tried filling the vials with lysol lemon all-purpose cleaner but it doesn’t work. Any ideas?