Keeping pie crust from shrinking on plate
them inside. I have the idea this kills all dust mites or animal dander. Is this a myth? Thank you, Darci (Hazelridge)
ANSWER: No, it’s not a myth. House dust mites are microscope bugs that primarily live on dead skin cells regularly shed from humans and their animal pets (hope you’re not eating right now). Dust mites are harmless to most people. They don’t carry diseases, but they can cause allergic reactions in asthmatics and others who are allergic to their feces. Winter is a great time to freshen your house by tossing mattresses, stuffed toys, cushions and pillows outside for at least 24 hours. As long as your fabrics are able to withstand moisture, you will be doing the entire household a favour by cleaning with little effort. For now, put pillows in the freezer while you are washing linens.
Extra tidbit: One ounce of dust contains nearly 42,000 living dust mites.
Note to teenagers who don’t like making their bed: A study in February 2005 by Kingston University in London, England, showed that leaving your bed unmade each morning, with the sheets exposed to air, allows the sheets to dry out and substantially reduces the number of dust mites. QUESTION: We have an apartment and over the past few days there are moths flying around. My daughter is particularly worried about the possible damage to her wool clothing. Do you have any suggestions on how we should get rid of this problem? Regards, Eileen (Winnipeg)
ANSWER: Get rid of moths using one or a combination of the following: Cloves, dried lavender, peppermint, rosemary, mint, thyme, cinnamon sticks, eucalyptus, peppercorns, dried lemon peel and cedar (chips, balls, planks or essential oil cedar-lined closets, drawers or trunks). These natural fragrances are delightful to humans but will keep moths away. You can make sachets to stash in drawers, trunks or hang in closets using pretty cotton fabrics, plain cheesecloth, muslin, linen or clean nylons (knee-highs or cut pantyhose). Or place leftover soap slivers into a vented plastic bag and pack them away. Fabrics will smell great and stay protected.
Dry cleaning or thoroughly washing items in hot water (temperature above 48 C for 20 to 30 minutes) kills all stages of insects. This is the most common and effective method for controlling moths in clothing, blankets and other washable articles. For items that cannot be hot washed, wrap in plastic and place in the freezer for a day.
Mothballs containing the chemicals naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene are a dangerous solution. The balls produce vapours that, in sufficient concentration, will slowly kill insects. However, if the container is not airtight, the chemicals only weakly repel adults and any larvae already on clothes continue to feed. In addition, the balls give off a distinctive and unpleasant smell that can be very difficult to remove even after cleaning. They are poisonous and must be kept away from children and pets.
Blanket Mothproofing Recipe: Combine 90 mL eucalyptus oil, 500 mL denatured alcohol, 2 cups soap flakes into a jar and shake. Add 5 mL solution to 4.5 L warm water. Soak blanket (do not rinse). Hang blanket to dry. Taken from Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives
Change your vacuum bag regularly to ensure you are getting the larvae out of your home.
Outstanding Tips Submitted by Readers:
A few years ago, I had the idea to try using a crazy carpet as a “dustpan” for filling bags for yard cleanup, and found it really speeds up the job. At first it will hold the bag open lying on its side, so you can rake or push lots of leaves and twigs into the bag. Next it holds the bag upright as you finish filling it. Another bonus is that the plastic carpet protects the bag and really cuts back on the rips you can get from sharp twigs. Ronnie
Use coffee filters to protect your dishes when moving. They work great. Jessica Reena’s tip: Place paper plates between glass plates when moving from home to home. When you arrive at the new home, the water may not be hooked up and as you unpack your dishes, you will have paper dishes to eat off.
I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming.
Cute little guy, isn’t he? A termite can be one of the most destructive insects