From cars that reek of stale cigarette smoke to tile grout to robot floor mops, I get questions of every kind from my awesome readers. I love the challenge! So, please, keep those cards and letters coming!
Dear Mary: I love my Eufy Robovac II. With an entire house of wood plank tile, it has changed my life! It has recently come to my attention that there are now robot mops. Do you have a "best inexpensive" recommendation for these? -- Janet
Dear Janet: I'm so happy to hear how much you are loving your Eufy robot vacuum. I love mine, too. As for a robot floor mop/scrubber, the one or two that work pretty well most of the time are way too expensive. Affordable robot floor scrubbers seem to be more trouble and make a bigger mess than they're worth. As soon as that changes -- and it could anytime -- you'll be the first to know!
Dear Mary: What can I put on a window to block the heat from the hot sun on that side of the house?
The easiest and most attractive option would be a drape that you can open and close. As long as the fabric is fairly heavy and has a tight weave, it will do wonders. Just make sure you draw the drape so the window is covered before the sun comes up. Other options include covering the glass with aluminum foil (not the most attractive or functional, if you want access to light once the sun is not beating in). Solar blinds do a great job of blocking the heat while allowing light to come through. Lastly, I suggest you consider applying transparent heat-control film to that window. A product like Gila Heat Control Adhesive Window Film will reduce incoming heat, glare and UV rays while allowing natural light to enter and maintaining your outside view.
Dear Mary: Short of buying a new car, how would you recommend removing the stench of cigarette odor from a car interior?
While this is a difficult problem, it's not time for a new car just yet! You need the only thing I know that will truly eliminate that cigarette odor: Sniper, formally called Nok-Out (www.nokout.com). It will absolutely oxidize (neutralize) the odor of tobacco smoke. The challenge is to make sure the Nok-Out comes in contact with every square millimeter of surface that the smoke has penetrated. Fortunately, the inside of a car is fairly small, which will make this more doable.
If you know the odor became airborne and is most likely now clinging to every bit of the ceiling, walls, flooring, cracks and crevices, Nok-Out must do the same in order to reach and oxidize all of the stink. To do this, you need a room humidifier or vaporizer that produces cool mist (Nok-Out should not be heated to or near the boiling point) and has the capacity to hold enough Nok-Out to run the appliance for a number of hours between refills. When using Nok-Out in a vaporizer or humidifier, use it at full strength. If it is a maintenance dose, then you can dilute by around 1/3 water.
Nok-Out is not cheap but worth every penny for its ability to truly eliminate bad odors. It starts at about $25 with free shipping.
The best inexpensive humidifier that meets this criteria is Honeywell Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier HCM-350. Its large capacity will allow it to run for up to 24 hours straight between fill-ups.
For a link to the humidifier and others mentioned in this column, please visit www.everydaycheapskate.com/amarobot.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 Web page at www.creators.com.Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.