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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.

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Nok-Out and I met quite by accident. While searching for ways to deal with offensive odors—that musty smell of an old book or the stench of pet urine—we found each other online. Twenty years later I’m still convinced that there’s just nothing else like an amazing product called Nok-Out.

Smelly old books and pet odors

Nok-Out eliminates odors scientifically through a process known as oxidation. It is completely non-toxic, contains no chemicals or fragrance and no odor of its own. It is safe to use in the kitchen and around children because it is harmless to humans and animals.

I’ve used Nok-Out and now its companion SNiPER continuously in my home since then and have recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues. Thousands of people have reported back how Nok-Out has saved the day on more than a few occasions!

In the beginning, I hoarded my precious gallon of Nok-Out, somehow assuming that I  must save it for serious, super smelly situations.

After all, one just never knows when oh, let’s say a skunk might wander into the house, become startled and then do what skunks are known to do. Or the power goes out while you’re on vacation and the freezer turns into a big nasty garbage dump. Or pet odors, sick rooms, mold and mildew and any number of other smelly situations.

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Some of my fondest childhood memories have the name of my sixth-grade teacher written all over them. Mr. Migaki loved science and that made me love it too with his amazing experiments, formulas and scientific method. He made school so much fun.

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I kinda’ feel the same way about my friends Lou and Ted, owners of Nok-Out. Every time I call on them with yet another challenging odor problem, I learn more about the how and why of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator. It really does eliminate (not cover up) odors—even the most challenging.

Dear Mary: Help! I recently bought a pair of garden Bogs (waterproof footwear that feels like it’s made of rubber) at a rummage sale for a just few dollars. I was so excited to find them that I  purchased them without realizing they wreaked of chemical lawn fertilizer. Once I got them home, I realized my mistake. I tried to remove the odor using full strength Nok-Out, then with vinegar and even submerged them into a bucket of salty water.  Unfortunately, none of my attempts did anything to eliminate the odor. Any suggestion that would help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Jill

Dear Jill: This is a tough one, so I sent your dilemma off to our friend Ted at Nok-Out who went right to work. First, he needed to find out the content of your footwear, which the Bogs folks do not reveal, so he is assuming some kind of a rubber and plastic compound that is quite porous.  Read more

Recently a message showed up in my inbox that made my heart sink. I couldn’t help imagine what it would be like to lend my car to someone, only to have it come back to me with a little something I’d not counted on. And what if that condition was permanent?! Thankfully, I have good news for at least one desperate reader.

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DEAR MARY: I have a problem that I can’t solve and was wondering if you would be able to help.  Someone borrowed my car recently and transported a small generator in it.  Somehow, the gasoline spilled out inside my Explorer and left a very intense gasoline smell. I have tried everything I can think of and nothing has removed the smell.  I steamed cleaned it with carpet shampoo, sprinkled it with baking soda and vacuum it up, saturated it with Nok-Out at least three time to no avail. Any ideas? Lisa

DEAR LISA: My first response to your dilemma was to wonder if this “someone” was at one time on your list of friends (relatives?) but I won’t go there. Instead, I do have a solution for you and one that does not involve pushing that SUV off a cliff. It’s long, so bear with me.

This is definitely a job for Nok-Out—an odor-eliminating product that is non-toxic, fragrance-free and absolutely works wonders providing it is used specifically. Read more