Whiten yel­lowed ivory pi­ano keys pa­tiently

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - REENA NER­BAS

QUES­TION: What is the best way to clean pi­ano or or­gan keys? Just as a side note, my House­hold So­lu­tions books ar­rived in the mail and I am happy to say that some of my Christ­mas shop­ping is al­ready done. Keep up the good work. Dar­lene, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: For gen­eral clean­ing on plas­tic or ivory keys, use vine­gar and wa­ter on a soft cloth. For ivory keys, wipe with non­gel, non-bleach tooth­paste on a damp cloth. En­sure that you rub gen­tly and do not scrub. Rinse with fresh milk and buff well. Note: Over time and with re­peated clean­ing, the yel­low on your ivory keys can be sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced. Whiten­ing your ivory pi­ano keys takes a long time and a great deal of pa­tience.

Ex­tra tid­bit: If you are un­sure whether your pi­ano keys are plas­tic or ivory, note that pi­ano keys that have ivory tops are made in two parts. If you look care­fully, you will no­tice a join. Also, ivory pi­ano keys are off-white in­stead of stark white. Lastly, ivory has a grain. Mod­ern pianos have plas­tic keys, which do not have any grain. Be care­ful not to mis­take ivory keys for cel­lu­lose keys. Cel­lu­lose also has a grain, but the cel­lu­lose grain is more even than ivory.

QUES­TION: We have a very old (102 years) chris­ten­ing gown made of white cot­ton and lace that has been in stor­age for the past seven years. We now find that it has a yel­low stain, prob­a­bly from milk, on the front of the cot­ton. Be­cause of the age of the gown, we were re­luc­tant to tackle the stain with­out some pro­fes­sional ad­vice.

Can you sug­gest a safe way to re­move the stain with­out harm­ing the fab­ric please? Thank you! Sharon, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: You al­ways want to be­gin with the mildest so­lu­tion and use more ag­gres­sive so­lu­tions only if nec­es­sary. With this in mind, make a liq­uid paste of bo­rax (or wash­ing soda) and wa­ter. Cover the milk stain. Leave overnight and rinse in the morn­ing. Dear Read­ers, I must share with you my dish­washer ex­pe­ri­ence. Last week, my dish­washer stopped work­ing right in the mid­dle of a wash. It could not even muster up enough breath to com­plete the cy­cle. Af­ter in­quir­ing of the man­u­fac­turer, I was told the dish­washer has been re­called for this ex­act rea­son (it just sud­denly stops work­ing). The dish­washer was go­ing to be fixed at no charge within three to four weeks. Well, af­ter two days I opened up the dish­washer and the smell punched me in the face and nearly knocked me down. I poured half a bot­tle of vine­gar onto the floor of the dish­washer and sprin­kled bak­ing soda on top. The smell is gone and I can now breathe with a smile. King vine­gar pre­vails once again!

Fab­u­lous feed­back from reader: Dear Ms. Ner­bas, I read with in­ter­est your ar­ti­cle on garage sales in the Win­nipeg Free Press Satur­day, June 5, 2010. I think it would have been a good idea to also sug­gest peo­ple make at­trac­tive signs that can be seen from some dis­tance. I no­tice many signs which I can­not read as I am driv­ing by in my car.

More im­por­tantly, how­ever, I think you should have told peo­ple to pick up their signs as soon as the sale is over. Many peo­ple never bother to take their signs down. As a re­sult, they some­times blow around the neigh­bour­hood for weeks.

Ken­neth, Win­nipeg Out­stand­ing tips of the week:

I don’t know what I would do with­out ny­lon net — there are so many uses for it. I tuck it in where I am likely to find spi­ders (around doors, the space be­tween out­side walls and con­crete steps). I also se­cure net­ting in­side heat vents with a rub­ber band and put net­ting be­tween slid­ing win­dows that have drainage holes and over top of open pipes, etc. I also fold net­ting over the blade of my knives to pre­vent ac­ci­den­tal cuts. Sub­mit­ted by Erna (Glad­stone, Man.)

If you are still us­ing plas­tic gro­cery bags in­stead of re­cy­clable bags and don’t know what to do with the moun­tain of bags col­lect­ing in your home, the so­lu­tion is easy — do­nate the bags to self-help. The bags will be reused in­stead of wasted.

Scare­crows in the gar­den? A bal­loon pop is a fast way to scare those birds away, but for long-term re­sults use a kite. Place a kite in the gar­den; crows will think it is a bird and fly away to bother some­one else.

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