Question of the Day


What is the best safe cleaner I should use to clean a carpet?

When you say "best safe cleaner," do you mean for people, animals, or carpets? Also, are you interested in general shampooing or cleaning specific stains? With people and animals in mind, perhaps the best safe cleaner is a mixture of white vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar per 1 gallon of water) brushed into the carpet. No need to rinse, but test a small area first for colorfastness. With carpets in mind, commercial shampoos are generally suitable, although we wouldn't recommend using them on Oriental or handwoven carpets. To remove a water-based stain, combine 1/4 cup mild dishwashing liquid, 1 quart warm water, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Whip to a stiff foam with an eggbeater and apply to the carpet with a soft brush, rubbing gently. Scrape away the soiled foam with a dull knife, then wipe off the residue with a damp sponge. Rinse with a little cool water on a sponge, then blot with paper towels. For an oil-based stain, apply a coating of flour while the stain is fresh. Let sit for 24 hours, then brush. For a set-in grease stain, dip a bar of Lava soap in warm water and rub it on the spot. Rinse well to remove the soap residue.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Last 7 Days

Can you use neat's-foot oil to clean suede?

We don't know for sure, but we recommend cleaning suede by first brushing it with a suede brush or steel wool, then wiping it with a cloth dipped in white vinegar and wrung out almost dry.

I think my dog has acne. What could have caused this? Can I treat it at home?

Acne can result when animals eat out of old, scratched plastic food bowls, which collect bacteria. Feed your pet from a metal bowl or replace plastic bowls regularly, and wash the bowl after each feeding. You can try gently washing (patting) the acne-infected area once or twice a day with warm water and pet shampoo on a clean washcloth. If the acne does not clear up, call your vet, who may prescribe something stronger. Incidentally, cats can get acne as well, and the same solutions apply to Fluffy as to Fido.

Can you find the date of an eclipse that was visible in Canada or Nova Scotia in the summer of 1912?

We couldn't find a record of an eclipse that was visible in those areas, although 1912 had two solar eclipses. The first was on April 17, 1912, a total eclipse that originated in South America and went across the Atlantic strait to France, then on to Asia. It is unlikely that even a small partial eclipse was visible from Nova Scotia. The second eclipse was on October 10, 1912, another total eclipse. It originated in Central America and traveled across South America in a southerly direction to disappear even further south. Is it possible that your date is wrong? The eclipse of May 28, 1900, originated in the Pacific, went all the way to North Africa and was possibly close enough to be visible as a partial eclipse in Nova Scotia. The eclipse of June 17, 1909, originated in Greenland, went via the North Pole to Asia, and could have been visible as a partial eclipse. The best candidate is the eclipse of August 30, 1905, which was a total eclipse going directly over Nova Scotia.

In California's Central Valley, we are "blessed" with tule fog in the winter. Where did that name originate?

Tules, or tule land, is marshy or swampy land in northern California. The word comes from the Native American word tollin, meaning "bulrush," a plant that grows in these marshes. Eventually, the word was applied to the land itself. Presumably, tule fog is fog that forms over this type of land.

We have a bread box that is lined with wood. How can I get the smell of the wood out of the box?

Put a few drops of vanilla extract in a cup of water and mix. Apply this mixture to the interior by rubbing hard with a rag.

Where did the idea of satellite weather forecasting originate?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was the first government agency in the world to begin using satellites to forecast weather, beginning with 2 satellites in the mid-1960s. There are now more than 50 satellites in orbit to forecast weather for many governments.

I can't seem to get my white cotton socks clean in the washer. Is there any way to whiten them without bleach?

Boil your socks in water with a slice of lemon. Just make sure they aren't too aromatic when you put them in the water, or your kitchen will smell like a locker room.

Subscribe to Question of the Day