How to clean pots left black and blotchy
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.