Furniture cleaner recommendation

Q.  Hello Henri, you have highly recommended a furniture cleaner, which, I believe you said, that it can only be purchase online. I can’t remember the name, but would love to buy the product. Can you help me.

A.    This miracle furniture cleaner is Milsek, and it is carried by many Ace hardware stores and other merchants. You can also buy it online at, but if you click on Store Locator, you can scroll down to your state and see if a store near you carries it.

I buy it in our local Ace hardware stores in half-gallon containers as we use it for so many things. I have not found anything better for cleaning and polishing furniture, leather and stainless steel. Milsek comes in several formulae; choose the one that appeals to you most.

Grease and grime on kitchen cabinets

Q.  About 35 years ago, we had kitchen cabinets installed (all-wood, dark oak). Over the years, they have retained a certain amount of grease and grime. I’ve tried various degreasers with not much success.

The finish is still good. Is there anything that would really be effective in removing the build-up and restore their appearance without ruining the finish? Your help would be greatly appreciated as I am not in a position to reface or replace them.

A.  Try Milsek Furniture Polish. As regular readers of this blog and of my syndicated newspaper column know, I have recommended Milsek often over the years, and to the best of my knowledge nothing else works as well to clean and polish furniture and many other items. Many of my readers have written back to say how much they loved the products, which has solved so many of their problems. We use it regularly to dust, clean and protect our furniture.

If you don’t find Milsek in a local store (I buy it myself in my local Ace Hardware store), check their site at The site lists stores where you may purchase it, but if none are nearby, you can also order on-line.

Ducts need cleaning

Q.  I own a home with electric air conditioning and forced-air heat. I have owned the home for five years. I have three dogs: two collies and a Boston terrier.

I have not yet had the air ducts cleaned. I wonder if this is something that you recommend be performed on a regular basis. If so, how often? Also, can you recommend a qualified company to perform this work or advise as to how one would best go about finding one in their area?

A.  Yes, you should have the ducts cleaned. They collect a lot of dust — and dog hair — that can breed unpleasant bacteria and odors. You can find companies that do this type of work with an Internet search or your Yellow Pages under “Duct Cleaning”.

Cleaning grease from wooden hood over stove

Q.    I have a problem with the hood of my kitchen stove. It is the same wood as my cabinets and I cannot remove the grease from it; even cleaning people say they cannot remove the grease with soap and water, do you have any suggestions?

A.    Try Milsek Furniture Polish. It’s the best I have ever tried, and the one many readers of my syndicated newspaper column rave about. Milsek makes products to clean and polish many items; you can find the right product on their Web site.

To find a store that carries it go to and click on Store Locator. Or you can order it online. Since you are reading this post is on my Web site, the easiest way is to click the Milsek banner on the right side of this page.

Cleaning greasy wood cabinets

Q.  We have just moved into what we hope to be our dream house. Now that we are in it and getting to know it and get comfortable in it, I just noticed that our kitchen cabinets are somewhat greasy to the touch. I have tried regular household cleaners without much luck, and I am concerned that using harsher measures might hurt the beautiful natural wood finish.
Do you have any suggestions? It would be so appreciated.

A.     The best wood cleaner I know is Milsek. I was put onto Milsek by a Pennsylvania reader of my syndicated newspaper column years ago. I got some and tried it; it is simply amazing how well it cleans and polishes furniture. Of the various Milsek products, use Milsek Furniture Polish with lemon or orange oils for this purpose. Besides cleaning, iIt also leaves a protective coating on the wood.

After mentioning it in my column, many readers have written back to tell me what a miracle product it is. I have even received an enthusiastic endorsement of Milsek from a woman who is a professional house cleaner; she uses Milsek on shower doors to remove soap scum.

Visit Milsek’s website, to order or to check the list of stores in your area that sell Milsek.

House dust causes family arguments

Q.    Hope you can settle a disagreement between my husband and me. Our home is 21 years old. We live directly across the street from the bay. This house is the dustiest house we have ever, ever lived in. I can dust one day, and the very next, it looks like I haven’t dusted in a month. I see advertisements to have your duct work cleaned, but my husband insists it has nothing to do with any duct work and the dust is entirely due to the fact that we live on the beach.

I have come to hate this house. I see particles floating in the air despite vacuuming, dusting, cleaning on a daily basis. I have grown weary and do not want to spend every waking hour cleaning. I do not find this normal; he is constantly complaining about the dust and pet dander (one dog could not possibly create such dust, right?). I just do not know what to do.

Could it be the AC ducts or the heating system? I believe we have hot water radiant heating; another factor I believe could be the culprit. We have most of the baseboard heating  blocked off by heavy furniture and TV surround system so I am unable to vacuum those areas by my lonesome. We had to have extensive repairs on our mega screen TV because — and this is what the TV repair man stated: “It needs to breathe and be vacuumed every 3 months” — something I cannot do.

I believe if we rearranged some of these rooms and I had access to baseboards so I could vacuum, it would help tremendously. The great room in particular where the big TV is. My husband is unwilling to budge on rearranging furniture and thinks I should vacuum 2 to 3 times a day. I am getting too old to vacuum that many times a day. Hope you can help ME (us).

A.    Not being Dr. Phil, I can only respond to the dust problem. It sounds to me as if you have a very drafty house with poor windows.

Since you have baseboard heaters, you do not have radiant heat as radiant is used to describe heating systems in floors or ceilings; you have convection heating. The air-conditioning ducts may need to be cleaned yearly; it might help — it’s worth a try. If your air-conditioning system does not have an electronic air filter, you may want to have one installed; they pick up a lot of microscopic particles.

Other choices are (and I am sure you have thought about them) to move to a less windy and cleaner area; hire a cleaning service to come and move the furniture and do a thorough job once a month, or more often if necessary, to keep peace, or simply get used to having a house less clean that you would like it to be.

Removing rust stains from basement shower

Q.    I have never used my basement shower but I have stored cleaning supplies on its floor. I now find that rust marks have formed where the cans sat. I have tried several methods for removing these rust stains but without success.

A.    You didn’t mention what type of shower floor you have so I will assume that, since it is in the basement, it is an enamel steel pan. Try using Zud, following the directions on the can but be sure to check that it is appropriate for the type of floor pan you have.

Ridding a house of cat odors

Q.    We are thinking of purchasing a house that has that awful odor. They have a “cattery” (showcats) in the basement, and the smell seems to permeate throughout the house — we were lucky enough to be there in all of this rainy weather to smell it at its worst.

They will repaint, amongst other things, saying that they can get rid of the smell. Our thinking is that once a house smells like cats, it is very hard, if not impossible to get rid of the odor. The paint and cleaners will mask it for some time, but after awhile the smell will come right back. Are we right, or is there really a way to get rid of cat urine odor? Thanks for your help.

A.    I think you are right: painting is unlikely to take care of the smell permanently. I had such an experience once when tenants who were not supposed to have pets did so anyway. I had to throw the carpeting away, sand the floors and wash them several times with Pinesol and Clorox bleach.

That was before the existence of Nok-Out, a product I have mentioned many times because it is so effective. As an example, a skunk had set up a cozy home under a porch and its pungent odor made the rooms next to the porch uninhabitable. A gallon of Nok-Out sprayed under the porch and in the affected rooms took care of the smell. You can order it online at