Once again, it’s time to reach into my virtual mailbag and answer a few questions from my dear readers.
What’s inside? Here are the questions I’m answering from my bulging reader mailbag. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. Or just scroll through to read all. Enjoy!
I have two large black dogs, both of them super shedders, and a houseful of carpet. I have a Shark vacuum that I use daily. It does pick up the loose pet hair from the carpet surface but I need to know how to completely remove the dog hair that’s become embedded. The carpet isn’t old or worn out. Getting rid of the dogs is out of the question. Help? Clarksyn
Dear Clarksyn: Even the highest quality vacuum, while excellent for removing fairly loose debris from carpet, is no match for the kind of problem you describe—matted hair both human and pet that has become embedded in carpeting, area rugs, and doormats.
What you need is a tool that will reach down into the depths of those carpet fibers, loosen, and then grab all that matted and embedded pet hair and bring it to the surface to be easily removed with your Shark. That tool is a rubber bristle broom.
Rubber attracts and grabs hair and fur like no other allowing you to pull it out of carpet, rugs, and mats in homes and vehicles. A good rubber broom works well to sweep and pick up pet hair from hard floor surfaces, too. It will not scratch or mar the surface.
The first time you use this broom on your carpet, you’ll need to “scrub” it, pulling that broom back and forth. Prepare to be amazed by what it brings to the surface. Using the broom for maintenance will require less effort.
The rubber broom I recommend (and use myself even though we have no pets), is the FURemover. It has a telescoping handle and a built-in squeegee, both of which make it useful to also clean up spills on tile, wood, and laminate surfaces.
While you might be able to use the FURemover broom inside your vehicle, the FURemover hand brush is far more practical for smaller, tight spaces.
I first learned of FURemover tools years ago from my reader Mitzi, who not only raved about the broom’s ability to pull embarrassingly large amounts of pet hair from carpet, but also for how she uses the rubber broom to sweep away snow from her car. It does work great for that task with no fear of damaging the paint surface.
I look forward to hearing how FURemovers work for you and your super shedders!
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I don’t know what’s happening with the laundry in my house, but all of our white things—towels, sheets, t-shirts, socks—have turned dingy gray, and trust me it’s not a hip and cool color. I’ve tried all kinds of detergents but nothing helps. I can’t imagine the cost to replace all of these things. What am I doing wrong? Melissa
Dear Melissa: Yours is a pervasive problem. And let me guess: All those uncool gray items are also stiff and scratchy. Especially the towels. The problem is all that detergent you’ve been using has not been thoroughly rinsed away.
The clothes and linens go into the dryer, where that detergent and any other laundry additives dry and get stuck between the fabric fibers. Now add new sweat, dirt, and debris and put those clothes through another detergent-laden washload, inefficient rinsing, and multiple trips through the dryer. The result is exactly what you describe. I have a solution.
Laundry stripping is a process that will remove all of that disgusting buildup of detergent, sweat, body oil, dirt and grime. You can do this yourself at home with simple products you probably have already.
I wrote a complete post on the process of laundry stripping, including a somewhat embarrassing photo journey of my experience. Dingy Gray Laundry is the Problem—This is the Solution!
I hope you’ll give this a try very soon. And let me know your results!
I made the Homemade Artisan Bread and it turned out great. But the glass window in my oven cracked!!! Could it have been the steam? Nothing bumped or touched the window. It is the inner pane of glass. Not ready to replace the oven. Hopefully I can still use my oven through the Holidays. Rebecca
Dear Rebecca: There are reasons that oven doors crack and or shatter, but I have not found incidents of this being caused by steam. My thought is that your oven door was already knocked, scratched, chipped, or otherwise compromised before you set out to make homemade bread. Then, coincidentally it decided to go all out with that crack while you were baking the bread.
Please be very careful using the oven in this condition. I’m so sorry this happened and hope you’re able to get the glass in that door replaced soon.
I have just completed my first batch of vanilla extract using my Instant Pot and have poured off the liquid into small bottles. Do I understand correctly that when refilling with vodka for additional batches, there is no need to go back into the Instant Pot? If a second heating is not necessary, is the 7-day/shake/dark storage time for the second batch the same as the first, before being ready to use? Thanks so much for all you do! And Happy Thanksgiving! Sylvia
The reason to use your Instant Pot to make homemade vanilla extract is to speed the extracting process from 3 to 6 months to just a week. If you will not be needing your second batch in the foreseeable future, I’d follow the more traditional method by refilling the jar with the beans in it with vodka, giving it a good shake once a week, and storing it in a dark cupboard.
The Instant Pot method is a great shortcut, but the long, slow method is, in my opinion, preferable when you have the time.