How to clean pots left black and blotchy

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

QUES­TION: I own a set of very old WearEver pots and have moved into town with treated wa­ter. When­ever I cook veg­eta­bles, the pots turn nearly black and blotchy. Is there any way to keep them pol­ished and look­ing clean?

P.S. I lived in the coun­try prior to mov­ing and never had this hap­pen, even though our wa­ter there was not treated. Hope you can help. Marg, (Ru­ral Man­i­toba)

AN­SWER: My first sug­ges­tion is to seek the man­u­fac­turer’s ad­vice. Af­ter all, WearEver stain­less steel cook­ware has a life­time war­ranty and the com­pany will likely ad­vise you on the best course of ac­tion.

If this is not an op­tion, you may want to take mat­ters into your own hands. In a pot, boil two ta­ble­spoons of vine­gar or le­mon juice with one tea­spoon of cream of tar­tar. Boil five or 10 min­utes. Turn el­e­ment off and let soak overnight. Wash in the morn­ing. Or, boil sev­eral onions (or rhubarb leaves) in wa­ter; the mild acid in onions does won­ders for re­mov­ing stains. Lastly, add cream of tar­tar (or bak­ing soda) to the pot when cook­ing veg­gies.

QUES­TION: I al­ways en­joy your col­umn and won­der if you can sug­gest some­thing that I can do about all of the flies in my sun­room. I have a lovely (sort of) three-sea­son sun­room but it is full of flies. Where are they com­ing from and how can I get rid of them? I would hate to spray them be­cause my cats go out there. Some­one has sug­gested those strips that catch flies — they are disgusting! The room has new dou­ble-pane win­dows and screens. The floor and ceil­ing are not in­su­lated. I’d ap­pre­ci­ate any ad­vice you can give. Terry (St-Pierre-Jolys, MB)

AN­SWER: This is the time of year when flies pa­rade into our lives and make an ab­so­lute nui­sance of them­selves. Here are a few so­lu­tions: Be­fore you ex­ert any en­ergy in get­ting rid of flies, you must do some de­tec­tive work to find out where they are en­ter­ing from. Even a tiny en­try point or out­side door gives op­por­tu­nity for flies to come in­side.

Af­ter all food is put away and all en­trances are sealed, fill half of a plas­tic zip-lock bag with wa­ter and a few pen­nies and hang it in the sun­room. Year af­ter year, peo­ple and res­tau­rant own­ers tell me this re­duces the pop­ula- tion of both­er­some flies. The the­ory be­hind this funny-sound­ing so­lu­tion is that the re­flec­tion of the wa­ter dis­ori­ents flies and di­verts them away. I won­der if a large vase full of wa­ter with pen­nies in the bot­tom would work in the same way.

House­fly eggs are laid in al­most any type of warm or­ganic ma­te­rial, so you may want to get rid of some of your beau­ti­ful dec­o­ra­tive plants. If you are in­ter­ested in dis­play­ing plants, choose species that re­pel flies such as: cit­ronella grass, cat­nip, rose­mary, marigolds, pep­per­mint, gar­lic, eu­ca­lyp­tus, tea tree, basil or laven­der.

Lastly, in a saucepan, com­bine two cups milk, half-cup sugar and one quar­ter cup ground pep­per. Sim­mer for eight-10 min­utes. Cool and pour into an un-lid­ded, empty two-litre pop bot­tle. Taken from House­hold So­lu­tions 2 with Kitchen Se­crets

QUES­TION: I have writ­ten to you be­fore about a home so­lu­tion for dry clean­ing. On my first request, you sug­gested I use Dryel, which I have been do­ing, but I won­der if there is such a thing as a home rem­edy, with­out re­sort­ing to the com­mer­cial Dryel prod­uct? Hedie, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: The process of wash­ing clothes with an or­ganic sol­vent in­stead of wa­ter is termed as dry clean­ing. Home dry-clean­ing kits are made up of sol­vent-lay­ered dry-clean­ing sheets, which are placed in a bag with one or more gar­ments. The bag is then tum­bled in a clothes dryer for about 10 min­utes. The clothes should then be shaken, re­moved from the bag and hung up to pre­vent wrin­kling. Home dry-clean­ing kits are ef­fec­tive for clean­ing gar­ments but not very suc­cess­ful at re­mov­ing stains.

I am not aware of any home-based prod­uct that is strong enough to sub­sti­tute for dry com­mer­cial sol­vents. If you want to re­duce (not sub­sti­tute dry clean­ing) you can use a salt-clean­ing method. The salt that one uses for dry clean­ing should be finely pow­dered. A clean­ing pad made from muslin cloth or linen would also be re­quired for rub­bing the clothes. Once the salt is spread evenly over the gar­ment to be ‘dry cleaned,’ the clean­ing pad is used for rub­bing. The rub­bing strokes need to be done in a down­ward man­ner in­stead of round. Al­though salt is an amaz­ing cleaner, you may find the re­sults un­sat­is­fac­tory and opt to re­main with your cur­rent com­mer­cial prod­uct.

QUES­TION: We en­joy your Free Press so­lu­tions col­umn very much. Never thought we’d write in but here goes. We re­cently moved into a home built in 1955. It has an old but very func­tional dish­washer that drains un­der the sink in the usual fashion. There is an un­usual odour com­ing from the un­der-sink cup­board. We have cleaned ev­ery­thing un­der there us­ing ev­ery cleaner imag­in­able (yes, in­clud­ing vine­gar). We thought it might be the dish­washer hose, which is a red­dish-coloured hose and strikes me as a bit por­ous. We taped the hose with duct tape as a last re­sort. No luck. Yes, we re­placed the garbage con­tainer. No leaks, no crud, no an­i­mals, no bugs. Any ideas? Thanks. Ge­orge, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: A de­scrip­tion of the smell will help get to the bot­tom of this mys­tery. For ex­am­ple, if the smell is sewage, the prob­lem is likely a trap is­sue. Call in a pro­fes­sional to find out if there is a block­age some­where in the pipes. This sit­u­a­tion does not sound like a san­i­tary chal­lenge but rather a plumb­ing co­nun­drum. Are you sure there is no mouse in the house? It is not that un­com­mon for a mouse to make his/her home in the layer of in­su­la­tion pad­ding on top of the dish­washer.

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