Get­ting baked-on food off ce­ramic counter

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - FRONT PAGE - REENA NER­BAS

QUES­TION: In an apart­ment build­ing I own, the client cooked on the ce­ramic-top stove, but ne­glected to clean the top sur­face and now it is all baked on. How can I start the re­moval of the old baked-on mess?

— Jean, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: Head to a store where ap­pli­ances are sold. They will sell you a tool that looks like a ra­zor blade. This lit­tle gad­get will not dam­age the sur­face but it will save you time and ef­fort in clean­ing the stove­top each time you use it. There are also prod­ucts on the mar­ket for clean­ing cook­tops but a lit­tle dish soap, wa­ter and the ra­zor tool are all I would use.

QUES­TION: I have re­cently no­ticed a layer of strange-coloured soil on all my house­plants that looks fuzzy, much like white mould. I do not wa­ter my plants very of­ten and am won­der­ing what the cause of this is. What is the best way to get rid of it and pre­vent it from hap­pen­ing again? I just mixed it into the soil but am think­ing per­haps I should have scraped it off. Any sug­ges­tions would be much ap­pre­ci­ated. Thanks — Sheri, Win­nipeg AN­SWER: Depend­ing on where you live, the prob­lem may be the amount of salt in your wa­ter. In other words, if you have a salt soft­ener on your cold­wa­ter taps and you are us­ing cold wa­ter to wa­ter your plants, the white layer you see form­ing may be salt and not mould. If this is not the case, typ­i­cally mould comes from over­wa­ter­ing your plants. Wait un­til the soil is dry five cen­time­tres deep be­fore wa­ter­ing. Or move the plants to an area where they will re­ceive ad­di­tional sun. If the prob­lem re­mains, re-pot the plants and start over with ster­ile soil.

QUES­TION: I have been read­ing your col­umn reg­u­larly and ap­pre­ci­ate your easy so­lu­tions on so many things. I have a prob­lem I am un­able to re­solve. I used rub­ber/sil­i­con feet to sup­port some dis­play items on a win­dowsill, which was ex­posed to morn­ing sun on the east side. Af­ter a few weeks I dis­cov­ered these feet left marks on the paint of the sill. I have tried many things to re­move these marks with­out suc­cess. I was hop­ing not to have to sand and paint the whole area. I did try sand­ing with a very fine paper (Di­a­mond Grit 600) with­out any suc­cess. I would very much ap­pre­ci­ate any sug­ges­tions. Thank you. — Harwant, Win­nipeg AN­SWER: What I would use in your case is plain old bak­ing soda and wa­ter. Make a paste. Leave for 20 min­utes and scrub hard. If the marks re­main, spray the area with WD-40. Wait for 10 min­utes and wipe. If the marks are still there, you will need to clean the area with TSP and wa­ter or dish soap and wa­ter and re­paint.

QUES­TION: When I lend books to my friend they come back smelling strongly of per­fume and/or creams. Some­times af­ter I’ve vis­ited her, my clothes also reek of per­fume. I am highly al­ler­gic to strong odours. How do I get the per­fume smells out of my books and clothes? I very much en­joy your ar­ti­cles. Thank you. — Mar­ion, Win­nipeg AN­SWER: Leav­ing books and fabrics out­side on a dry day is an ef­fec­tive way to zap odours. When you bring your items back into your home, soak fabrics in bo­rax and wa­ter be­fore wash­ing (ac­cord­ing to the care-la­bel di­rec­tions). As for the books, place them in a plas­tic con­tainer or garbage bag with ei­ther kitty lit­ter or char­coal. Or lay the books in your freezer for a cou­ple of hours. That should zap any lin­ger­ing odours.

QUES­TION: In your col­umn, you men­tioned mi­cro-fi­bre clothes. We bought one a while back, but we don’t know how to use it. Do you wet it, spray it with some kind of so­lu­tion or just use it dry? There were no di­rec­tions on the pack­age when we bought it. Thank­ing you in ad­vance for your re­ply. — Gerry, Belair, Man. AN­SWER: This is such a great ques­tion, it made me smile! Good qual­ity mi­cro-fi­bre clothes are a worth­while in­vest­ment and this com­ing from a very fru­gal per­son. If you get your hands on a good qual­ity cloth, each fi­bre is 100 times finer than hu­man hair. The rea­son this is im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion is the cloth will hold a lot of wa­ter, and wa­ter is all you need. You can wet the cloth once and wipe down sev­eral win­dows with­out hav­ing to re-wet the cloth. If you also find a mi­cro-fi­bre dry­ing cloth, you will be laugh­ing be­cause then you are re­ally in busi­ness. Wash your win­dows with wa­ter and dry in a cir­cu­lar mo­tion (on a cloudy day or in the morn­ing) with your dry­ing cloth. No streaks!

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