Answered:  Your Top 10 Questions

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 greatest hits:
How do I...

1. Clean cloudy drinking glasses?
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 shirts?
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 garbage disposal?
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
the carpet?

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.


5. 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 cloth.


8. 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 from clothing?
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 longer.

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