don’t know what I’d do without Joe Ponessa, the
Rutgers professor emeritus who, time after time, for as
long as I have been writing this column, has stepped in
to bail me out of my ignorance.
time, it’s about cat urine, an issue that a reader
asked about a few weeks back.
urine is an especially difficult contaminant to deal
with, especially if it’s a long-term problem, he says.
Ponessa is not sure anything would fully eliminate odors
from long-term staining, there are a couple of easy
things he suggests trying before resorting to some kind
commercial pet stain and odor-removal product would be a
first choice. Another worthwhile alternative would be to
cover the stained areas with activated charcoal,
available at pet stores and perhaps pharmacies.
is a treated charcoal with legendary ability to absorb
chemicals and odors, functioning like a chemical magnet.
This would be spread on the affected areas and renewed
every couple of days. He would try this for a week or
charcoal is used in fishtank filtration systems, as well
as in air purifiers, and is prescribed for and fed to
some poisoning patients because of its ability to take
up certain types of poison from the stomach.
not sure how effective this would be, but it’s cheap
and easy enough to do," he says.
the way, "the ultimate resource for products to
deal with severe stains and odors is a mortuary supply
company," Ponessa adds.
I have a black-slate-top end table that I have had for
more than 25 years. Last year, my granddaughter-in-law
placed a large pumpkin on the table. We did not realize
that it was leaking until it was too late.
have tried to remove the spots from the slate but have
not had much luck. I have tried white vinegar,
toothpaste, and furniture wax.
you have any other suggestions on how to get rid of
these unsightly spots?
What I saw online, at eHow, is this:
half a cup of vinegar, half a cup of lemon juice, and
half a cup of baking soda in a bowl. This should form a
paste. If necessary, add a little water or more baking
soda to make a thick paste. Apply paste to the stains,
lay a damp cloth over it, and leave it for up to 20
We dug out dirt next to our foundation and spread tar on
the wall. We covered with tar paper and filled back the
still get seepage after a big rain. We read that sodium
bentonite can be used, but don’t know where to obtain
it. Do you have any suggestions?
Sodium bentonite, actually western sodium bentonite
clay, is used as a pond sealer. They say it is
environmentally safe, but I don’t know anything else
is applied with hand tools, the manufacturer says. It
comes in 50-pound bags. Check online for a supplier,
typing in "pond sealant."
In my bathroom I have a sink, toilet, and bathtub. When
I flush the toilet or after running the water from the
sink, it makes this plunk, plunk noise about five to
bathroom tub does not make this noise, neither does the
kitchen sink nor the sink in the basement. This has been
going on for about two months now.
tried plunging the sink, but that did not help. What are
your thoughts on this matter? Is it a big problem, and
is there a solution?
Proper drainage requires constant and unimpeded air
flow. When the drain is partially blocked — hair and
soap I’ve noticed — that plunking sound occurs.
all the drains are connected to the sink, and the sink
is partially clogged, it may clunk.
may want to start with that.