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Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything: Pet Hair, Almond Milk, Stick Vac

Mary Hunt on

I have a friend who lives alone and considers himself single. But nothing could be further from the truth. He has four cats, or as I call them, The Four Shedders. Max solved his cat hair problem by replacing all of the carpet in his house with laminate flooring and a robot vacuum. Fortunately for today's first questioner, who has her own kind of pet hair problem, I have a much easier (and cheaper) solution.

Q: How can I remove stubborn pet hair from the carpet in my car? Not one of my three vacuums can make my dogs' hair even start to budge! -- Ellen

A: Grab a pumice stone -- the kind we use to exfoliate dead skin off our feet or remove a nasty toilet bowl ring -- to scrub the carpet. Work on a small section at a time, scrubbing in one direction. Prepare to be amazed. That pet hair will surrender and gather into one pile, the way you might sweep a floor. Then use one of your vacuums to pick it up. You may need to use some elbow grease, but it will work because pet hair sticks to the pumice stone more than to the carpet. And don't worry: This will not harm the carpet.

Ellen later wrote back: I used a pumice stone on a rocker to see whether the dog hair would come off it (it needs to be recovered anyway). It was amazing how quickly and easily the hair just fell onto the floor and could be vacuumed away. Next up is the car. Thank you so much.

Q: How can one tell whether almond milk has gone bad? It does not have an odor like traditional cow's milk. The carton has now passed its expiration date. How should I proceed? -- Patricia

A: Dates stamped on cartons are confusing. Product dating is voluntary (except for infant formula, it is not required by federal regulations), and there is no standardized system. What you see could be a "sell by" date to help stores manage their inventory. At any rate, this is what I know about almond milk: It definitely goes bad, and you'll know that because it starts to taste kinda sour and get lumpy. If yours doesn't taste funny or look weird, don't throw it out; it's still good.

Food pros pretty much agree that you should use almond milk within seven to 10 days of opening the carton and store it in the back of the fridge, where it is coldest. Almond milk naturally separates, so don't take that as a sign it is spoiled. Shake well before using to counter its tendency to separate.

Q: Is the Eufy Cordless HomeVac usable on carpet, or just hard-surface floors? Gayle

A: Yes, it is rated for use on low-pile carpet, but it is not meant to replace your regular vacuum cleaner. The Eufy HomeVac (which costs about $99 and can be found at www.everydaycheapskate.com/amapethair) is hands down my most favorite cleanup friend. It's a quick picker-upper! It picks up anything on tile, wood and laminate floors, and low-pile carpet -- pet hair, crumbs, dust, debris, dust balls, popcorn, cereal and bits and pieces of this and that. But do not expect it to pull out dirt and sand that's trapped deep within carpet. For that you'll need a fabulous inexpensive vacuum cleaner.

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Mary invites questions, comments and tips at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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