Mouse in house a pesky prob­lem

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - REENA NoR-CS

QUES­TION: I have a mouse prob­lem at my house. What can I do to pre­vent mice from com­ing in­side? What can I do to catch them once they are in my house? Linda (Blan­shard, Man.)

AN­SWER: Al­though some may ar­gue mice are adorable and cud­dly lit­tle crea­tures, they carry dis­ease and are a haz­ard to you and your fam­ily.

What works for one mouse will not nec­es­sar­ily work for all. Be­gin by seal­ing off all open­ings to the home; a mouse can squeeze through a hole the size of a dime. To seal an area, use caulk, spray ex­pand­able foam, steel wool or, even more ef­fec­tive, cop­per wool.

A pop­u­lar non-toxic de­ter­rent is pep­per­mint oil, used on cot­ton balls and placed in groups wher­ever mice like to con­gre­gate (this is dif­fer­ent from pep­per­mint ex­tract used in cook­ing). Pep­per­mint oil can be pur­chased at health stores or on­line. An­other op­tion is shav­ing cream sprayed onto cot­ton balls and put in­side boxes or un­der the hood of ve­hi­cles.

While a cat is the most ef­fec­tive way to keep mice away, an al­ter­na­tive is gen­tly used kitty lit­ter sprin­kled around the house, or shav­ings of Ir­ish Spring bar soap, fab­ric soft­ener sheets or rub­ber snakes. Moth­balls should be avoided as they are poi­sonous to an­i­mals and hu­mans.

If you’re us­ing a non-kill trap to catch a mouse, here is a trick that will bring you suc­cess­ful re­sults. Com­bine peanut but­ter and bird­seed and put it on the trap, but do not set the trap for two days. Do­ing this will en­cour­age mice to play near the trap without any threat of be­ing caught. On the third day, set the trap and catch your crit­ters. Bring the mice at least 10 kilo­me­tres from your home be­fore re­leas­ing them, oth­er­wise they will likely find their way back to you.

Peanut but­ter is more ef­fec­tive than cheese be­cause mice love the taste and it’s more dif­fi­cult for them to re­move from the trap. Bird­seed keeps mice at the trap longer be­cause they take time to chew the seeds.

QUES­TION: I am won­der­ing about the best way to get Sharpie (per­ma­nent marker) off a beige leather couch. It looks smudged; no one is owning up to it! Thanks. Mona, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: At­tempt­ing to re­move this stain may make the area ad­di­tion­ally vis­i­ble, there­fore you may want to leave it alone. How­ever, here are a few sug­ges­tions of re­movers that have had good re­sults on ball­point ink and may work on per­ma­nent marker. Be­gin by blot­ting the area with a gen­er­ous amount of Dawn dish soap, wa­ter and a white cloth. If some of the ink ap­pears on the cloth, con­tinue this process. Other won­der­ful ink lifters in­clude Sun­light bar soap, shav­ing cream, mos­quito re­pel­lent or a 50/50 com­bi­na­tion of vodka and three per cent hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide. Some peo­ple have had great re­sults with a prod­uct called Zout.

If all else fails, soak the stain with paint thin­ner and dab, dab, dab. This is the most ef­fec­tive per­ma­nent ink re­mover, how­ever it does carry a strong odor and takes per­sis­tence. Test ev­ery­thing on an in­con­spic­u­ous area first and blot with dish soap and wa­ter be­tween ap­pli­ca­tions. (Taken from House­hold So­lu­tions 1 with Sub­sti­tu­tions).

To sift or not to sift, that is the ques­tion

Have you ever asked your­self what the point is to sift­ing flour and does it re­ally make a dif­fer­ence? The an­swer is yes. Sift­ing flour cre­ates fluffier and lighter cook­ies and cakes. When a recipe calls for sifted flour, mea­sure your ingredients, place the mea­sur­ing cup on a piece of pa­per towel or parch­ment or wax pa­per and sift the flour over the cup un­til it is over­full, and then level it off. Sub­mit­ted by: Mar­garet

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