QHow can I clean a concrete basement floor to rid it of pet odors? -- Susan
AMany pet owners swear by a product called Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover, which is sold at many pet stores. It is a non-toxic, enzyme-type cleaner that is sprayed on suspect areas. If you can't find it locally, it can be bought on the Internet at www.petsmart.com (about $30 for 1.5 gallons, with sprayer; smaller quantities also available). On the Web site, type Nature's Miracle in the search space.
This product can be used on many surfaces, but be sure to read the directions carefully.
Our well water makes a green stain in our bathtub. Our plumber can't explain it; can you? -- A. O'Hara
A blue-green stain is caused by water reacting with copper pipes. The stain can generally be removed with bleach or cleaner containing bleach. The stain sometimes results when a water softener reduces hardness to the point where the water becomes corrosive and actually begins dissolving the copper in the pipes. In severe cases, the pipes can develop leaks. A chemical neutralizer that reduces the corrosiveness can sometimes resolve the problem.
If you haven't had your water tested recently, you definitely should. Drinking water containing copper or lead can cause health problems. Some companies that sell water purification equipment offer free analyses, but you can usually expect a hard sell for their equipment. Check under Water Filtration & Purification Equipment in your telephone book.
My throw rugs left large colored stains on the carpets in my kitchen and bathroom. I haven't been able to find a cleaner that will remove the stains. Can you help? -- T. Roberson
The stains might be permanent, and I doubt that do-it-yourself cleaners will help. I would discuss the problem with a carpet-cleaning expert in your area and see if you can get professional help. If that fails, call the agent for your homeowner's insurance. Accidental damage of this type is sometimes covered (minus your deductible, of course). Insurance could help pay for new carpets.
A couple of our exterior doors have large gaps at the bottom when closed. The doors appear to be sagging. How do I make them tight and draft free? -- Lida
Open the doors and check the hinges to make sure all the screws are tight. Tightening screws will often eliminate problems caused by sagging. If this isn't the problem, check the thresholds at the bottom of the door. Some newer doors have thresholds that can be adjusted up or down by turning screws in the top of the thresholds. Turning an adjustment screw counterclockwise will lift the threshold and close some gaps.
If your doors don't have this feature, a "sweep" is your best bet. You can buy door sweeps in the weather-stripping department of most home centers. The sweeps are simply wood or plastic strips with a rubber fin at the bottom. Screw a sweep to the bottom of the door so it contacts the threshold and closes the gap.
Questions and comments should be sent to Gene Austin, 1730 Blue Bell Pike, Blue Bell, Pa. 19422. Send e-mail to email@example.com. Questions cannot be answered personally.