Monday, May 11, 2015

Cleaning Secrets - Gas Smell in Carpet


You aren't supposed to carry cans of gasoline in the cabin of your car. The fumes can make you sick and even more dangerous, the fumes are what blow up if there's a spark happening anywhere about. That said, how many of us have propped a gallon on the passenger seat floorboard for the trip home to mow the grass.
Slosh a bit on the carpet and you could be driving with the window open for the next two or three months. Fortunately, there's a way yo can get the smell and the explosive potential out of your carpet in short order. Just follow these steps carefully and in order and this easy to make solution should help pull the smell out of the carpet right handily. If any smell lingers, just repeat until it doesn't. It shouldn't take more than a few repetition. 
  • Baking soda or kitty litter
  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Warm water
  • Measuring cup
  • Paper towels
  • Sponge
  • Shop vacuum
  • Rubber gloves
  1. Immediately after any gasoline spill, blot up the liquid with paper towels. Keep blotting until the spill is as dry as possible. Be careful how you dispose of the used towels. Don't just throw them in the trash. They could spontaneously combust. If you have an outside burn pile you might be able to burn them safely. You might want to contact your waste management company and ask them how they want you to store and dispose of flammable paper towels. Whatever you do, don't scrub the wet gasoline. Blot gently or you will force gasoline into the carpet pad.
  1. Cover the gasoline spot with baking soda or kitty litter as soon as you can. Let the soda or litter absorb as much gasoline as possible. Let the soda or litter sit on the spot for an hour to fully absorb any remaining gasoline.  Leave all your car doors and windows open to keep the fumes from building up in the cabin and possibly blowing up your car. 
  2. Scrape up all of the material and remove it from the car. Don't use a shop vac or other electrical device to remove the saturated litter or soda. It could spark and catch fire. 
  3. Next you're going to use dry cleaning solvent (Naptha) to rinse our the stained area. Test it first on an inconspicuous place to make sure it doesn't damage the fibers of the carpet. Some carpets with polyester in them can be damaged. If you can't use Naptha, try using vinegar. It won't work as well and may mean you have to resoak and blot the spot several more times, but it also won't explode. 
  4. Now, blot the solvent into the gasoline spot with paper towels or a sponge. Fix up a little tub with hot soapy water and do a final soapy and then a clear rinse afterward.
  5. Blot the solvent into the spot with paper towels till the carpet is well saturated, then blot it up with a sponge. Repeat till the gasoline smell is noticeably reduced. If you add a little lemon juice or lemon scented cleaner to the final rinse, it can help cover any lingering smell of gasoline a bit better.  
Safety Tip:

Be sure and wear gloves when you're working to keep fuel from soaking into your skin. If you spill more than a cup or two of gas, you may be better off pulling up and replacing the carpet as gasoline may have soaked into the carpet pad. It may be much better to call up a professional hazardous chemical removal specialist in this case rather than attempting the job yourself. Being immolated in your own driveway is not a particularly pleasant way to meet one's maker.


If a large amount of gasoline was spilled, it may have saturated the padding. In this case, the carpet will need to be replaced and the danger of fire is very high and a professional hazardous chemical removal specialist should be called. 


How to Clean Carpet: Gasoline

Illinois Dept. Of Public Health: Gasoline Fact Sheet

Berkeley Lab: Hazardous Waste

Fantomworks: How to Remove a Gasoline Smell

Auto Evolution: How to Get Rid Of Gasoline Odor in Your Car

(c) 2015 by Tom King

*Graphic:  License: CC0 Public Domain / FAQ Free for commercial use / No attribution required

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Writing Life: Working for Ebenezer

You do not want to work for clients who
are under the delusions they live in
London in the mid-1800s.
Advice:  DON'T DO IT

Here's my nomination for "Still-Believing-in-Slavery" Freelance Writing Client of the Day

Saw this post on eLance. I cut and pasted it without alteration. How medieval is this guy?

"Greetings. Are you willing to complete 500 word articles for $1.00 each (as many as you can handle per day)? I need writers to write (unique and non-plagiarized) up to 10 articles (500 words each) every day for 6 months. 10 x 500 words articles Bidders from native English speaking countries are in demand. The assigned writing tasks are time based, which will require to be sent one by one. Normal workload: One by one and to be delivered within 1-2.5hrs for 500 - 1000 words (if possible). Funding and pay only after acceptance (usually same day)."

He's probably figuring $12 an hour is pretty good wages for doing basically nothing while sitting around at your computer all day in your underwear. After all, he figures:
  • If you can type 100 words per minute that's one story every five minutes or 12 in an hour. 
  • If you can (if possible) do 1000 word stories, it only reduces you to $6 an hour unless you can type 200 words per minute. 
  • If you type back to back stories without a break at 100 wpm off the top of your head (with a little research if you can manage it), then you should be able to do 96 stories in a day for an 8 hour day (120) if you work 10 hour days..

In actual practice, you could probably do one original story in 1-2 hours if you push it, earning a magnificent 50 to 75 cents per hour or about $20 a week. At that rate over the six months this contract runs, I'd gradually become homeless and starve to death even at my current weight class.

AND THIS GUY LIVES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I figured he was probably someone from Somalia or Nigeria.

What is he the White House's statistician or something - can't count worth a flip? Sheesh!

Anybody out there, who has ever written for a living, want to give him the correct answer to his question?

I guess he doesn't remember how much he used to whine when the teacher gave him essay tests back in junior high.

© 2015 by Tom King

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Making Tunable Tubular Wind Chimes

If you want to make a really personal gift for someone or create something special that will give your garden or porch your own personal flavor. Really pretty wind chimes can be really expensive to buy, but they can be really affordable to make yourself and it doesn't take a whole lot of special skills. If you can handle a drill, tie a knot or operate a saw, then this project should be a breeze!

You can build your chimes out of anything tubular. Even solid hardwood can make a lovely sound, like marimbas. You can also make your wind chimes out of tubular metal, bamboo or even plastic - virtually anything that makes a musical sound when struck by metal or wood. You can even tune your chimes to play the notes of your favorite tune - not necessarily in order, but enough that when the wind blows, you'll almost recognize the music. It's really quite fascinating to here the sound.

Tools You Need:
  • Drill and bits
  • Saber Saw, table saw, band saw, radial arm saw or any saw that can cut the material you are working with and wood. You'll need the right blades, of course.
  • Electronic keyboard (if you are tuning the chimes)
  • A roll heavy of 80 pound monofilament or multi-filament fishing line.
  • Tubing that sounds pretty when struck (metal, glass, wood, plastic, bamboo, etc.)
  • Nylon cord
  • Small boat hook for hanging the chimes
  • 1/2" hardwood board - enough to make a 6 to 8 inch disk.
  • Sander and sandpaper
  • Oil stain (wipe-on)
  • Varnish/polyurethane
  • Brush and paint thinner
  • 3/16 hardwood - 2-1/2 inches by 6 inches 
  • Five small eyelet screws
  • Medium sized hook

Step 1:
Mark off a six to eight inch circle on the half inch plywood. Cut the circle out with a saber saw or band saw.

Step 2:
Sand the edges of the disk, top and bottom rounding all the edges. If you have a router, you can do some fancy edgework.

Step 3:
Draw a 3-1/4 inch circle in the center of the half inch wood circle you just cut and cut it out leaving the circle a donut. Sand the edges round and smooth. Sand the 3-1/4 inch circle's edges smooth and drill a small hole in the center.

Step 4:
Drill a pair of 1/16th inch holes 3/4" apart halfway between the inner edge of the donut shaped disk and the outer edge. Space other pairs of holes so that there are a total of six pairs or holes, each 1/6th of the way around the disk from each other.

Step 5:
Cut the tubes. Stagger the lengths for visual effect or, if you are tuning them, cut each tube to whatever length gives you the note you want. You can do this by using an electronic keyboard or piano to sound the notes as you gradually cut down the chiming tubes. Cut the tube so that the note is a little lower than the note you are going for.

Step 6:
Next drill small holes large enough for the monofilament line to pass through the tube very near the top. Suspend the tube by running a foot of line through the holes so that the tube swings freely when struck. 

Step 7:
Then, gradually shave off the other end of the tube a bit at a time till the tube  sounds the note you want when struck. You can tune the tubes to a chord or to a six note sequence. I know a friend who tuned his notes to the opening of the Harry Potter theme. In a wind it plays variations on that theme and it's quite lovely. Set the keyboard to a chime that sounds close to the material used in the chime.

Step 8:
When finished making the chimes, tie the tubes through the pairs of holes in the O-ring and tie them off. Drill four small holes evenly spaced in the top of the donut and screw in four eyelet screws.

Step 9:
Run nylon cord from the top eyelets in the donut together about 8 to12 inches above the donut and tie them to the boathook. Now you can suspend the donut and the chimes and it will be easier to work with.

Step 10:
Tie a single cord to the boathook and let it run through the center of the donut down through the center of the chimes. Cut it off about a foot below the longest chime.

Step 11:
Drill a hole through the center of the 3-1/2" wooden disk large enough to accommodate the nylon cord. Thread the cord through the disk and tie a knot below it so that it hangs just above the bottom of the shortest chime so that the cord swings freely and the wooden disk striker swings equidistant between all of the chimes.

Step 12:
Drill a hole in the 2-1/2 by 6 inch 3/16 inch hardwood board near one narrow end. Attach the paddle about 6 or 8 inches below the sounder. This paddle will catch the wind and knock the sounder against the chimes when it catches the wind.

Step 13:
Stain and varnish all the wooden parts and hang your chime in a place where it can catch the wind. If you didn't get the chimes perfect they'll still sound good. If you did get them tuned right, the sound will be amazing.