Everyday Cheapskate

Some of my fondest childhood memories have the name of my sixth-grade teacher written all over them. Mr. Migaki loved science and made me love it, too, with his amazing experiments, formulas and use of the scientific method. He made school so much fun.

I feel the same way about my friends Lou and Ted, owners of Nok-Out. Every time I call them with yet another challenging odor problem, I learn more about the how and why of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator. It really does eliminate (not cover up) odors — even the most challenging ones.

Dear Mary: I recently bought a pair of Bogs waterproof garden shoes at a rummage sale for a just few dollars. I was so excited to find them that I purchased them without realizing they wreaked of chemical lawn fertilizer. I tried to remove the odor using full-strength Nok-Out; then I tried vinegar and even submerged them into a bucket of salty water. Unfortunately, none of my attempts did anything to eliminate the odor. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

— Jill

Dear Jill: This is a tough one, so I sent your dilemma off to our friend Ted from Nok-Out, who went right to work. First, he needed to determine the content of your footwear. He assumed some kind of a rubber and plastic compound that is quite porous.

Bear in mind that it is not unusual for something stinky to actually smell worse after a first application of Nok-Out, especially while still wet or in the presence of high humidity, because of the science involved with odor elimination.

I have readers who stop at this point of spraying down their stinky messes with Nok-Out. They don’t follow Nok-Out protocol, and then they fire off an angry email to me, insisting that Nok-Out doesn’t work. Please do not assume this. Instead, learn how to use it properly so that it will knock out even the most difficult odors — like whatever got soaked into these garden Bogs.

And now for a little science lesson: Nok-Out has a relatively high pH, making it alkaline, like most soaps and detergents. Vinegar is an acid, and if you apply Nok-Out after having applied vinegar, then the result is a fight between an acid and a base. If you’ve previously applied vinegar, remedy this by applying a solution of 1 pint water to 1 teaspoon baking soda in those areas. Allow a bit of time for the acid to be neutralized. Then Nok-Out can perform most effectively.

Ted believes the source of the odor is deep within the pores of the plastic compound. Nok-Out is an oxidizer; it needs to have direct contact with the source of the odor and to dry thoroughly — even if that source is embedded within the boot material itself. This is a challenge, but Ted is quite certain that Nok-Out didn’t eliminate the odor the first time because it couldn’t make direct contact with every bit of the stink.