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The Best Thing I Ever Bought—UPDATED!

Of all the columns I’ve written, the one on how to have perpetually clean carpet in my home has generated by far the most interest. And the most requests to reprint. Since you asked, here it is again, updated. Enjoy!


Okay, so maybe I should say, “One of the best things ….” but at this moment, as I write, I cannot think of anything I’ve ever purchased that can top my Hoover SteamVac. I bought it on Dec. 7, 2008, and I only know that because I kept the receipt.

All these years later —while still enjoying clean carpet for going on 12 years—Hoover is still performing flawlessly. I wouldn’t want to live without my workhorse Hoover, pictured below on the left.

On the right, is the current version, which replaces my model—Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine.

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Questions: Mascara Renewal | Robot Vacuum | Ant Killer | Malfunctioning Oven

It’s time, once again, to reach into my virtual mailbag to read what a handful of my Dear Readers have written. I love to hear from you with your questions, feedback, thoughts, and ideas.

Woman sitting at desk and working at computer hands close up

 

Dear Mary: I am an Ann Arbor News reader—especially on Sunday. Love, love your column. Thank you!

I lost the column from I think two weeks ago, regarding rejuvenating mascara. You used saline solution or something like that.

Please republish the formula if possible.  I have good, not great mascara and it does get clumpy, messy. I’ve thrown away soooooo many mascaras because of that. Sharon

Dear Sharon: First, I should explain to my online readers, that some of my blog posts are syndicated by Creators, and distributed to hundreds of local, independent newspapers such as The Ann Arbor News. I never know which post is going to show up in which newspaper, but I’m pretty sure I know the tip you’re referring to. Here it is:

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17 Favorite Things I Use (Almost) Daily

I wonder how well I’d do as a contestant on the hit TV show, Survivor. Have you seen the rules for what contestants are allowed to bring? Basically, it’s the clothes on your back, sunscreen, and one luxury item.

For example, a toothbrush is considered an acceptable luxury item; a hairdryer is not. Paper and pen—yes; Macbook Pro—no.

While I’m certain I could survive in my life with far fewer things than I do (I have in the past, trust me on that), there are things that I depend on heavily and use nearly every day—17 to be exact. These are things I love because they bring efficiency, joy, and beauty to my life.

I’d need to be granted some kind of immunity to allow me 17 rather than one luxury item on Survivor Island. Shouldn’t be a problem, right?

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Best Non-Perishable Food to Stockpile for an Emergency and Where to Keep It

If recent world events have given you one big fat wake-up call, you are not alone. The message is clear—every household needs to have some amount of food in storage. Natural disasters like blizzards, hurricanes, and floods often come with little or no warning.

Stocking up now on the right non-perishable food items will help you weather the storm (or global pandemic) with less stress. The type and amount of food to store is an individual decision that depends on your financial resources and storage area.

cans of non perishable food on a shelf

Ideally, your long term goal is to have stockpiled enough to feed your family for six months. But start with shorter goals, like enough food for one week, then two weeks, and then a month. This kind of incremental plan won’t bust the budget or throw you into panic buying that can easily lead to burnout and buyer’s remorse.

Pro-tip

When non-perishable items are on sale, buy enough for your immediate need plus a couple for your stockpile. Make this a regular habit and you’ll build a very impressive stockpile in no time.

Canned vegetables

Generally, commercially canned foods are good for two to five years from the date they were packed. High acid food like tomato sauce will not keep as long as a can of beans, for example. Canned varieties can provide you with essential nutrients, making these a great hurricane food or natural disaster option. Canned foods lose vitamins as time goes by so you will want to rotate your food supply so you are using and replacing items before their “use by” dates.

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The 3 Vacuums I Use Every Day and Absolutely Swear By – UPDATED

If you have hard flooring, carpet or flat surfaces in your home, which just about covers every possibility—there are three specific vacuum cleaners that deserve your attention: an upright, a cordless stick vac and a cordless handheld. These are the worker bees that I own, love, and do not want to live without.

Once you familiarize yourself with these vacuums and their specific uses, you’ll know why each one gets my designation of for Best Inexpensive™ in its specific category. Because life is uncertain and things can change with a minute’s notice, today I am updating and republishing this post with new and exciting information.

1. Shark Professional Navigator Lift-Away

 

shark navigator pro lift away vacuum

In the decade since I met and fell in love with my first Shark upright vacuum, I’ve purchased, tested, given as gifts, and worked nearly to death (it’s really hard to wear out a Shark) many Shark vacuums because the company comes out with a new model or two about every week, or so it seems. I can say with confidence, there is no better basic corded, upright vacuum cleaner on earth.

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9 Ways You May Be Abusing Your Appliances

Is it possible that without knowing it, you’re making damaging even dangerous mistakes with your household appliances? As I have been researching how to take care of our new kitchen appliances so they will last longer, I’m learning about the most common appliance abuse that can lead to expensive repairs and even a shortened lifespan.

 

stainless-steel-kitchen-appliances-sink

It’s true that these days household appliances just aren’t made to last for decades the way refrigerators, ranges, and other household appliances lasted back in our grandparents’ day. “Eight to ten years,” is what the salesman told us is what we could expect from our new refrigerator. He went on, “This machine is designed to stand up to years of use and ordinary wear and tear—assuming you don’t abuse it.”

Let’s dig in to uncover the most common appliance abuse.

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How to Clean Where No Vacuum Has Gone Before

It’s been several years now since one of my awesome readers told me about an inexpensive, super effective tool I could attach to my vacuum cleaner’s hose that would let me vacuum places no vacuum had ever gone before. Every time I use it, I wonder how I had lived so long without VaccuFlex.

 

Simple tool cleans where no vacuum has gone before

 

Meet VaccuFlex

Look. That’s it! Just a multi-piece kit that attaches to any vacuum cleaner that has a hose—like my Shark—which then turns it into a vacuum cleaner that can get into even the tiniest crevice, corner or space.

What’s so ingenious about a VaccuFlex kit is that within those seven pieces—which are food-grade so safe to use in the kitchen—is the perfect combination to fit any size vacuum cleaner hose to get into any size space. And this is not like some little battery-powered mini vac. I have all of the power of my Shark behind VaccuFlex.

Kitchen

I use VaccuFlex to vacuum all the crumbs and bits out of my kitchen drawers in a flash, because there is no need to remove flatware, utensils and so forth. And that area around my coffee grinder? That thing is messy and throws fine coffee grinds into cracks, crevices and drawer guides. VaccuFlex to the rescue for that and for reaching under the refrigerator, too.

 

Automobile

To me, car vacs are troublesome. They’re either too wimpy and powerless or the cord is too short; or if cordless, lacking in runtime. Using a full-power vacuum cleaner with VaccuFlex is the way to detail the inside of a car.

See that tiny hose? That can get into the tightest spots to super-suction out all of the stuff that accumulates in car seats, floors, door compartments, center console, and dashboard. This is the way to vacuum tight spaces!

Door and window tracks

What is it about door and window tracks that they simply refuse to get clean? It’s the corners and that area right next to the track that seem absolutely impossible! The solution is to make sure those areas are perfectly dry, then put VaccuFlex on the job. I’ve discovered it’s a lot easier if I loosen the dirt and debris with a good brush first.

 

Clothes dryer

My first clue that things were not quite right with my clothes dryer—suddenly, it was taking forever to get anything dry! I’d check and re-check the lint trap, so that wasn’t the problem. Turns out it was all kinds of lint that had been trapped, behind the trap farther inside the machine. And in the dryer vent line.

My laundry appliances are stacked so pulling the dryer down to get into those areas from the back was not at all practical. And that’s when in desperation I ordered a VaccuFlex kit. I removed the lint trap and stuck that hose all the way into that area. It was amazing. Shark nearly filled itself before I stopped pulling out lint balls. Then I went outdoors to vacuum through the outside of the dryer vent. And that fixed the problem.

 

Simple tool cleans where no vacuum has gone before

Clogged sink

Warning: You must attach VaccuFlex to a wet-dry vacuum to perform this household rescue. Shark vacuums are NOT wet-dry! This Vacmaster is an excellent wet-dry vacuum, which would work well for this.

If you have a hopelessly clogged sink, it’s possible that you can quickly clear that clog with VaccuFlex attached to a wet-dry vacuum. Video demonstration here.

 

 Photos: VaccuFlex.com

There are so many other ways VaccuFlex has made my life easier—cleaning out air returns, condensate lines, p-traps, and HVAC systems to name a few.

Such a great invention!


You may also enjoy:

Absolutely the Best Window Cleaning Tips Ever

In a Pinch, You Can Use This for That

How to Make Your Own Powerful Tub and Shower Cleaners

 


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon affiliated sites.

 

 

How to Clean a Shark Vacuum and Its Filters

You know by now just how much I love my Shark vacuum cleaner. And given my readers’ letters and comments, I know that many of you have Sharkies, too. Now you need to how to clean a Shark so it keeps performing at top efficiency.

I love your messages. They make me smile because I understand the range of emotions that come from using a Shark vacuum for the first time—from amazement to flat out embarrassment.

Where on earth did all of this dirt and debris come from? I can’t believe what’s been lurking in my carpet!

 

Shark vacuum taken apart for cleaning

With all of the miles I’ve put on my numerous Shark vacs over the years, I’ve never had one fail. And while the manufacturer boasts that Sharks never lose suction, that is predicated on regularly cleaning Sharkie’s canister, filters, and rotating brush.

It’s right there in the owner manual, which most of us don’t think to read until we have a problem. You need to clean your Shark every three months to keep it working at top efficiency—more often with heavy use. It’s easy.

Signs Sharkie needs a bath

  • loss of suction
  • dirt being left behind
  • sounds weird like Sharkie is gasping for air
  • an unpleasant, dirty odor

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