The Toolbox: Laundry basket collapses for storage

  • Updated: April 9, 2013 - 5:17 PM
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No space to store laundry baskets?

The Unhampered basket folds flat to about 2 inches deep, so it can be stashed in a narrow space. When it’s unfolded, it’s a sturdy basket with handles, an optional divider to separate your load and a pocket to hold detergent or delicate items.

The basket was invented by Atlanta resident Barbara Miles and developed with support from the online community at Quirky.com. It can be ordered from the website for $29.99 plus shipping.

Water leak concern

Q: My roof leaked because of a water dam, and some of the water got into my kitchen cupboards. Raccoon droppings were found on my roof, so I’m worried the water may have spread contamination from the droppings to my cupboards. How should I clean them?

A: Anytime you experience flooding, you can have contamination from various sources, so you should disinfect the surfaces, said Tessie Pollock of the Ohio Department of Health. You can use a commercial disinfectant or a solution of  ¼ cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water.

Raccoon feces can contain the eggs of Baylisascaris roundworm, which rarely infect humans but can cause serious health problems when they do. However, Pollock said infection usually comes from direct contact and typically involves children touching the droppings and then putting their fingers into their mouths.

What’s more, the roundworm eggs dry up and die after about six or seven months, said Kevin Kazacos, a professor of veterinary parasitology at Purdue University and an expert on Baylisascaris roundworm. So if the droppings were old, you can be further reassured.

If you’re still concerned, Kazacos suggested dipping the dishes and other contents of the cupboards in boiling water, since the eggs die at about 144 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also wipe out the interior of the cabinets with hot, soapy water or clean them with a steam cleaner, he said.

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