Q. I’d like to take my dog on a vacation overseas. What are the guidelines?
A. If only it were as easy as updating a passport! Before you get bogged down with logistics, consider your dog’s well-being. Is it healthy enough to travel far away? How will it adapt to the new environment? Is the trip long enough to justify the stressful travel conditions?
If you decide to travel with your pup, start planning at least six months ahead of time. You’ll want to contact government agencies, airlines, hotels, and quarantine facilities far in advance to research and secure your pet’s reservations. Not every animal is permitted into every country, so contact the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to find out if your pet is allowed and what you need to do for it to gain admittance. The guidelines are listed at www.aphis.usda.gov.
Don’t wait until the last minute to see your vet. Your dog will need updated vaccinations and an international health certificate. Each country has different requirements and they change often.
Finally, organize all USDA-mandated paperwork, health certificates, and copies of valid vaccination certificates in a secure folder to take with you.
Reviving musty cookbooks
Q. Some of my cookbooks have been damaged by water and are musty. How can I get rid of the smell?
A. Mold can cause a musty smell to linger. The first step, if you think the mold is active (if it appears raised or moist), is to put the books in the freezer to stop the growth. This is important because mold can migrate from page to page. If the mold seems inactive, further dry out the cookbooks somewhere with humidity below 50 percent and cooler than 70 degrees. Finding a safe place outside in the sunshine with the book open and fanned out is ideal.
Because exposure to airborne mold particles can cause serious respiratory problems, remove the mold outdoors. Wear gloves and a paper face mask or a respirator for an extra level of protection. To clean the damaged pages, cover with a mesh screen and vacuum with a HEPA filter. Adjust the suction to prevent wrinkling the page.
Once the cookbooks are cleaned, you can combat any remaining odors. Walter Newman, of the Northeast Document Conservation Center, recommends inserting a zeolite paper (Micro-Chamber Interleaving Paper, $21.95 for 100 sheets, www.conservationresources.com) every few pages. Leave the book undisturbed, and the odor will be absorbed in a few weeks.
Cleaning stainless steel
Q. What is the proper way to take care of stainless steel appliances?
A. There are a number of ways to remove residue and oily buildup and restore the gleam to appliances. A microfiber cloth made specifically for stainless steel, such as Casabella’s Microfiber Stainless Steel Cloth ($10 for 2, www.casabella.com), can clean and polish your appliances using only water. Alternatively, apply a paste of baking soda and water, and leave overnight to dissolve stubborn burned-on oil stains.
If you get aggressive with regular scouring pads and go against the grain, you will leave marks on your appliance.