|Since I inherited my
mother's readership in 1977, the following dilemmas have popped
up again and again-in letters, e-mails and faxes. You keep
asking, so here they are...my greatest hits:
1. Clean cloudy
Soak them for an hour or longer in slightly warm (not boiled)
white vinegar. Then use a nylon-net or plastic scrubbie to
remove film. Still there? The damage must be etching (tiny
scratches that occur in the dishwasher) and is permanent, sorry
to say. To avoid: Hand-wash your best glasses.
2. Get rid of
perspiration/deodorant stains on the underarms of washable
Sponge on white vinegar (or soak stain in it); wait 30 minutes.
Launder shirts in the hottest water safe for the fabric. Using
an enzyme detergent or a detergent with bleach alternative check
care labels to be sure this is okay). I sometimes put liquid
laundry detergent right on the area, leave it for five to ten
minutes, then wash. To prevent: Let deodorant dry before
dressing. And don't let stains sit! Apply prewash spray or
liquid detergent ASAP, then launder. Every third or fourth
washing, use the hottest water safe for the shirts.
3. Freshen a
Sprinkle baking soda in it along with a few drops dish-washing
liquid. Scrub with a brush (a new toilet brush works great),
getting under the rubber gasket and all around the inside. Then
turn on water and the disposal and flush thoroughly. For a fresh
citrus scent, throw in a few cut-up lemons or limes and run them
through, too, using lots of water.
4. Lift candle
wax that dripped onto
Once wax has hardened, scrape up what you can with a dull knife.
Put paper towels or and old, white cloth over the area; with
iron on low-warm (no steam), gently press. As wax is lifted,
move towels so a clean part covers the remaining wax; repeat
until wax is gone. If colored wax leaves a stain, blot with spot
remover or carpet cleaner, following label directions.
Solve a roach problem?
Use my mother's famous 1960's roach bait recipe: Combine equal
parts boric acid (a powder sold in hardware stores and
drugstores) and sugar, mix well. Sprinkle in crevices and, if
building or remodeling, between walls before putting up plaster
board. Put the powder in jar lids; place lids behind the fridge
and under sinks.
Caution: Keep mixture away from children and pets. If
ingested in large quantities, or even in small amounts over
several days, boric acid can be harmful.
6. Erase white
heat marks and water rings on wood furniture?
If the wood has a good finish (don't try on bare wood), mix
equal parts of baking soda and regular white, nongel toothpaste.
Lightly dampen corner of a clean, soft white cloth with water
and dip into the paste. With circular motion gently buff the
marks for a few minutes. Wipe area clean, and buff to a shine.
Follow with furniture polish. (If rings remain after buffing
five minutes or so, they may have penetrated the wood; you might
have to refinish the piece).
7. Take crayon
off painted walls or washable wallpaper?
Spray with multipurpose lubricating oil (dont let it drip on the
floor). Then gently wipe, using a paper towel or clean white
cloth. If mark is stubborn, sprinkle a little baking soda on a
damp sponge and gently rub in a circular motion. If lubricants
residue remains, dampen a sponge with a solution of one or two
drops of mild dish-washing liquid to one cup water. Squeeze out
sponge and gently rub in a circular motion. Rinse sponge;
lightly moisten with water to go over area; dry with a clean
Clean pet urine from the carpet?
First, blot up what you can with paper towels. Mix one teaspoon
mild dish-washing detergent in one cup warm water, dip a clean
towel in the liquid and, working from outside in, dab at stain.
Do not over-wet. Rinse with fresh water and blot dry.
Next, add on-third cup white vinegar with two-thirds cup water
and dab on stain. Rinse with water; ;blot until dry. Once area
is totally dry (after at least 24 hours), sprinkle entire carpet
with baking soda or rug deodorizer. Vacuum after a few hours.
9. Remove ink
Read the care label! If it says dry-clean only, or the mark is
large, rush it to the cleaners. Washable? Try cleaning fluid,
spot remover, or petroleum-based pre-wash spray. Test in an
inconspicuous area to be sure it's safe for the fabric. Place
garment stain side down on paper towels and dab cleaner on stain
using a paper or terry-cloth towel. Check paper towels
underneath and move frequently so there's always a clean area
under the stain to absorb ink. Let area dry and check it. If ink
remains, treat with prewash spray and launder. Before drying,
check again. Still visible? Repeat steps.
10. Keep blue
jeans from fading?
Turn inside out and wash in the coolest water possible; dry on
lowest heat. Try dry-cleaning jeans once every five to six
washings to slow down the fading process and keep colors fresh
All text and photos
Copyright 2000 Heloise, Inc.
Do not reprint without permission.