Best Way to Kill Argentine Ants

Amdro Ant Block

This is the best way to kill Argentine ants I have found, and I have tried many things over the years. Pesticides that did work were outlawed. Borax in sugar water did not work. All the different type of baits, they were not attracted to them. Amdro Ant Block Bait is the only bait they would take back to their nest. Especially works good around citrus trees, where the ants would “farm” aphids on the leaves. I am in Southern California where the Argentine ant has become a big problem. I also find it works on Black ants that build mounds in the lawn.

Over 9 years I have found the best way to use this bait for me is- I use it as spot treatment. The bottle shows using it as a house perimeter block, spreading it around the whole house. I just sprinkle it lightly along ant trails I see, or where I see ant activity. I could see doing the entire perimeter thing if you have them bad in the house, but I don’t. I have more of a problem with them in the garden now. In the beginning the ants would climb the trees and plants and get in the house. By killing them in the planters, they stay out of the house.

Sprinkle it lightly where you see ants. Do not pile mounds of it, the ants will avoid it and pets could get into it. Sprinkle just enough so you barely see it. Don’t let the bait get wet. Put it out in dry weather or after watering. Don’t worry that the granules look big as an ants head (like my neighbor did), they got strong jaws. After opening the container, the bait can get old and loose effectiveness. I find it lasts about a year before it doesn’t work as well and I have to get a new supply. Be patient! It takes about a week to see results. By being patient and not using a spray that kills just the ants you see and leaves a toxic residue, the nest and queen will be destroyed. Amdro is not cheap, but it works. You can get it at Amazon, all major home improvement centers and Walmart.

Carpet Cleaner Detergent Substitute

Carpet Cleaner Soap

 

You can make your own carpet cleaner detergent substitute cheap. You can even make substitute de-foamer to keep the water picked up in the recovery tank from foaming up.  I did it and it is easy. You can use what you already have. Also known as carpet shampoo, solution, soap, it is all the same.

I have a Hoover carpet cleaner that I use several times a year to clean  high traffic areas. Works good  and I like the results. The price of the fluid adds up though, at $12 of more a bottle. Then you add on  the de-foamer and the spot treatment, it really adds up. I knew there must be a cheaper way, so I searched the web and saw it mentioned you can use laundry detergent. Made sense to me, since you are cleaning fabric.

After using it for a couple years, this is what I do. I use a teaspoon or less of powdered laundry detergent to a gallon of hot water. Think about how much you use in the clothes washer to a gallon of water. I don’t see why you couldn’t use liquid soap instead. If you use scented, your carpet will smell like your clothes do. You wouldn’t use something with fabric softener in it. May attract dirt. As always put some of the solution on a rag and test a concealed part on the carpet for color fastness.

For de-foamer in the recovery tank, just put a small piece of bar soap in the tank. Fish it out and use it again. Works great! For the spot pre-treatment, I just spray some Formula 409 cleaner on the spot and rub it a little before going over it with the carpet cleaner. Spray some on a cloth first and rub a carpet area to make sure no color from the carpet transfers to the rag.

Those are the three ways I save some dollars cleaning my carpets.

How to Add Knife to Knife Block

Knife block add knifeHow to add knife to knife block easily using magnets. The key is to use the new high strength neodymium magnets. I used these from Harbor Freight –Magnets. These from Amazon will work too 20 Neodymium Magnets 3/8 x 1/16 inch Disc N48   Don’t be fooled by the small size, they are magnet on fingervery strong and will slam together when pulled apart. They can chip when hit, leaving a sharp edge. Keep away from children. You want just enough magnetic force to do the job. Too much and you will pull over the block when taking the knife away.

First hold the knife you are adding to the side of the knife block. Make sure it doesn’t interfere with any of the existing knives. Determine where the magnets should go to evenly hold the knife. If you Magnets on knifefind later more force is needed, you can add a magnet in the center. Put some masking tape in the area you want the magnets and mark on the tape. Drill a shallow hole slightly larger than the magnet, When glued in place, the magnet should be slightly above the surface. The tape also protects the area from glue slop.

I used 2 part epoxy. I don’t think super glue would work as well on the porous wood I had.

epoxy mix

Epoxy Mix

Drilling Knife Block

Insert epoxy sparingly and gently push down magnets until they are just above the surface. Knife block magnetKnife Block Magnets inserted 2

 

Let epoxy set and remove tape. You are done. If magnets do not hold knife secure enough, add another magnet. BE CAREFUL if the knife blade edge is exposed beyond the block- you could get cut .Knife block add knife

Stop Vacuum Smell

How to stop vacuum smell. You have one of the new vacuum cleaners that doesn’t use bags. Nice not to have bags, but now you have to clean filters. You get them all clean and put everything back together, ready for next time. A week, later after starting to vacuum, you smell a stench in the air. Your clean vac is now putting a bad smell in the air.

The problem is, when the pleated filter was rinsed, it provided moisture for mold and bacteria to grow. That is what it did while the vacuum sat and you smelled the result. To prevent this, you need to sterilize the filter. The pleated filter is almost impossible to get completely dry, unlike the foam one, so it must soak in a sterilizing solution. Fortunately everyone has it- bleach. Bleach kills microbes.Cleaning vacuum filter with bleach

 

Simply take your filters, place in a container and cover with water. Add a couple tablespoons of bleach and swirl around gently. Keep it out of your eyes! let set for 5 minutes, drain and rinse. Don’t over do it with the bleach, as it could damage the filters.

Sterilizing home vacuum filter in bleach

After rinsing, squeeze out the foam filter and let them dry. Preferably in the sun, as it kills bacteria too.

Drying home vacum filter

Doing these simple steps should stop the smell.

How to Make Wallpaper Paste

Reattaching Wallpaper

I needed to make wallpaper paste. Just a little to reattach half a sheet of wallpaper that had come loose below a chair-rail. It looked bad, so with a search on the internet, I found a couple recipes and settled on a flour mixture. I cut the recipe in half and still had some left over.

I used 1/2 cup flour and 1/6th cup sugar- stir together and in a small saucepan whisk in 1/2 cup water to wet the mix then add another 1/2 cup water while mixing. The key is no lumps. Over medium heat whisk the mixture. Do Not Stop! Even for a moment. I did and had to throw away the batch, It started to setup and burn on the bottom causing lumps. You don’t want lumps under your wallpaper. So keep on whisking and all of a sudden it will start to thicken and look like wall paper paste. Keep on stirring and remove from heat. Let cool.

Wish I would have taken pictures while doing it. I could not remove the paper all the way, as it was trapped by the baseboard. Pulling the chair-rail back, was the hardest part of the job. Using a 2″ paint brush I applied a thin layer of paste to the wall. Smoothing the paper onto the paste with the side of my hand while positioning it. I did get a wrinkle so pulled the sheet part way off to release it.

After a couple days the paper is still attached to the wall. Wallpaper is not as popular as it used to be, but it was far easier to fix one little sheet than take it all down and repaint. The picture above is of the finished job. No more wrinkles!

(Update) I got a message from Laura from Washington. She said using cornstarch works good for attaching fabric to walls and is easily taken down later, without damaging the wall or door. Here is the site she got her info. from How About Orange. Thanks Laura!

 

Washer Agitator Repair Whirlpool

Washer Agitator WhirlpoolWasher agitator repair for a Whirlpool washer. Most top load washers are similar. This is how I repaired mine. I noticed clothes were not getting properly cleaned and I heard a knocking when the machine was running. This was a top load Whirlpool washing machine. While running, I could see the top of the agitator was not rotating. When I grabbed it, I could easily turn it in either direction. The top section of the agitator is supposed to move in one direction pushing the clothes down to the lower agitator that moves back and forth. This causes the  clothes to get deep cleaned. If the top agitator does not work. the clothes just move back and forth. Researching, I found that there is a part that stops the top agitator from moving in both directions. They are called “agitator dogs”. They work just like a ratchet wrench.Here you can see the agitator after removing the softener dispenser and then the dust cover. You can see the dog assembly held on by the bolt.

Agitator dust cover Whirlpool

Agitator  Dog Assembly

I bought an agitator repair kit from www.appliancepartspros.com for less than $5. The shipping was $7. They have good videos there on how to replace these parts. Better than I can do. View them first before ordering parts. You are going to need a socket wrench with an extension to remove the bolt. Notice how it engages the washer before removing all the way. I ran into a problem separating the lower from the upper  agitator. They would not come loose. Looking down the throat of the agitator, I could see two of four plastic tabs were worn over as they came through the dog assembly. This kept it from releasing. I lightly ground on it with a Dremel tool until it came loose. That was the hardest part and it shouldn’t normally happen. It seems I am just lucky that way. Here is a picture of the tabs that go through the dog assembly.

Lower agitator engagement tabs

The teeth of the dogs engage the sides of the agitator in one direction. They are made of nylon and will wear out. Here is a picture of the new and old parts. You can see the worn out teeth on the left. Click on picture to enlarge.

Agitator repair kit Whirlpool

After replacing the parts the washer works great! Only cost me $15!

Review Ryobi P882 Drill and Impact Driver Kit

Ryobi P882

This is a review of the Ryobi P882 Drill and Impact Driver Kit. I got it at Home Depot. It is a 18 Volt Lithium Ion setup. My previous cordless drill was a 12 volt nicad Hitachi which always seemed slow to me. There is a substantial increase in power with the new drill. I like the Lithium power-pack because the speed of the drill does not decrease as the power pack gets drained and they hold a charge a long time when stored. At first I did not like the color, but it is growing on me. It comes with a soft case, rapid charger and two battery packs. You can get larger battery packs, but I find the ones supplied last long enough for my use. The included charger rapidly recharges them in under an hour. Ryobi Lithium Drill P882

 

 

 

Ryobi P271Ryobi P271 top

The drill is a 2 speed range 0-440 rpm and 0-1600 rpm, 1/2″ chuck, 24 clutch settings. The chuck locks and has a long nose so it is easy to tighten and loosen. Has a level, storage for a driver bit, magnetic tray on the base to hold loose screws. I like the weight and how it fits my hand. It has enough power to drill large holes through oak.

Ryobi Impact Driver P234GImpact driver is variable speed, has locking chuck for  standard  1/4″ hex bits. It also comes with a 3/8 inch socket adapter for driving lag bolts, etc.. It acts like a regular variable speed drill until it meets resistance. Then it switches over to impact mode, giving it more torque. It really snugs fasteners down. Works great on lag bolts and fasteners.

This kit is a great addition to the tool collection of the  DIYer. I sold my 2 year old nicad drill when I got this one as it was such an improvement I didn’t want to be bothered with the old technology. Especially the nicads rapid draining when stored. Hope this review helps.

My youtube video of the un-boxing is here.