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INSIDE & OUT : Odor Blocker and Paint Might Mask Pet Smells


Q The former owners of our house let their dogs and cats occupy one of the lower kitchen cupboards, which has left a very offensive odor. I've repainted the inside of the cupboard, but that hasn't helped. Any suggestions?

B.B. San Juan Capistrano *

A There are a few things you can try but no simple solutions, says Jim Grant of Dutch Boy Home Decorating Center in Santa Ana. You can remove the paint you've applied, then wash down the inside of the cupboard with a solution of bleach and water. After it's dry you can try applying an odor blocker, which you might find at a pet store. You can also try painting the cupboard with an oil-based paint.

One old painter's trick is to take pure vanilla extract, preferably the kind found in Mexico because it's so strong, and mix it in with the oil-based paint to mask the smell of the paint. It also may work on your pet odors.


Q Is there any cleaner available that will remove stains from aluminum shower doors and tub enclosures?

T.M. Mission Viejo *

A There are two products nearly everyone has in their homes that can do this kind of job, says Tammy Griffith of B & D Glass & Mirror in Orange. Make up a solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and go over the aluminum with fine steel wool. If the aluminum has a color, it's probably anodized, and you'll have to be careful with the steel wool. Try it first on an inconspicuous part of the door. Vinegar is an excellent choice to remove hard-water deposits and spotting. You can even use it on your shower glass.


Q I've got an old hose bib outside that I'm trying to replace, but it seems as if it's almost locked on. Are there any tricks to getting it off?

S.R. Huntington Beach *

A First, you'll have to determine whether it's screwed on or soldered on, says Steve Johnson of Familian Pipe & Supply in Costa Mesa. If it's locked into place, you're probably better off having a professional come out with a torch, melting the solder and replacing it. If it's screwed on, use a wrench on the bib and another on the pipe so it doesn't turn. If you're then able to get enough leverage, the bib should turn on the threads.


Q The house we just bought has an air-conditioning unit outside and a gas furnace in the attic space. Where would the filter be? Does each unit have its own filter?

F.N. Anaheim *

A There should be just one filter at the furnace site, says Tom Houlihan at Orange County Appliance Parts in Garden Grove. It's usually just below the furnace. Once a year, though, you should check the air-conditioning condenser unit outside, making sure the exterior is clean and debris-free. This is especially important when you have pets, because pet hair tends to collect in corners, where these units are often installed.


Q We have a log cabin in the mountains and have always applied log oil on it twice a year. We're thinking of painting the exterior but have been told the logs will need an expensive sandblasting beforehand. Is there another solution?

P.J. Seal Beach *

A You may be able to paint by just skipping the oil treatment, says Allen Howell of Imperial Paint in Fullerton. As long as the surface is dry, you can apply a good oil-based exterior primer, then use an oil- or water-based finish coat. Test the log surface by splashing a little water on it. If the water soaks in, that means the wood is porous and it's probably dry enough for the paint job. If it beads up and runs off, skip the next oil treatment and check it again in a few months.

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