Heat, rub­bing al­co­hol will end sil­i­cone woes

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

QUES­TION: A tree fell on top of my trailer re­cently in a storm and punched a hole through the roof. When the owner of my trailer park saw this, he went to tem­po­rar­ily seal the hole and used white sil­i­cone (I be­lieve the type used to caulk bath­rooms and such). The sil­i­cone dripped through the hole and, nat­u­rally, ended up all over the couch just be­low, inside the trailer. There is also some de­bris, but that can just be swept off.

Is there any way to re­move the sil­i­cone with­out per­ma­nently dam­ag­ing or stain­ing the fab­ric? Howard, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: While hold­ing a hair dryer over the area, dab the sil­i­cone mess with rub­bing al­co­hol. As the sil­i­cone heats up, it will soften and the rub­bing al­co­hol will cause the sil­i­cone to pull away from the fab­ric.

Test on a small in­con­spic­u­ous area first to make sure that no dis­coloura­tion oc­curs. Worst-case sce­nario: check out com­mer­cial prod­ucts in hard­ware stores for­mu­lated to re­move sil­i­cone from sur­faces.

QUES­TION: We re­cently moved into our new home and have a beau­ti­ful big walk-in closet in the mas­ter bed­room. It has wood shelves that are spray-stained a num­ber of times with a dark lac­quer. They look beau­ti­ful, but the prob­lem is that my clothes all have the smell of that lac­quer on them.

I’ve tried ac­ti­vated char­coal in bags (the kind you use for fish tanks); all kinds of air fresh­en­ers; and noth­ing seems to be able to get that smell out. Do you have any ideas? Thanks. Debby, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: Since the shelves are fas­tened inside a con­fined area, the process of cur­ing will take more time be­cause ven­ti­la­tion is lim­ited. One pos­si­ble so­lu­tion is to move the shelves into a ven­ti­lated area, ap­ply shel­lac over the lac­quer and let it cure. How­ever the eas­i­est so­lu­tion is to place them in a ven­ti­lated area, such as a garage, un­til the lac­quer smell is gone.

QUES­TION: I have a non-stick toaster-oven broiler pan. Well, af­ter a while I can’t get it clean any­more. Soak­ing it with soda and vine­gar overnight doesn’t do the trick. Betty, Blu­menort

AN­SWER: Bar Keep­ers Friend is a great prod­uct for clean­ing tired-look­ing bak­ing pans. Sprin­kle and scrub with a damp scratch free abra­sive scrub pad.

QUES­TION: I’ve tried many dif­fer­ent tech­niques for bak­ing the per­fect choco­late-chip cookie. I read that the but­ter and su­gar need to be at room tem­per­a­ture and well­creamed be­fore the eggs are added. But ev­ery time I cream the two to­gether, the ap­pear­ance is grainy and not smooth. What can I do to make smooth dough? Wilma, Clear Lake

AN­SWER: You will notice a big dif­fer­ence in the tex­ture of the dough if you use cold but­ter in­stead of but­ter at room tem­per­a­ture. The but­ter does not need to head di­rectly from the fridge into the mix­ture, but it should be cold. Mix­ing re­quires ex­tra el­bow grease (or a strong mixer) but the re­sults are worth it.

Don’t add the eggs un­til the but­ter and su­gar mix­ture is nice and smooth. The cold-but­ter tech­nique is also good when bak­ing per­fectly flakey pie crusts and su­gar cookie dough. Fab­u­lous tips of the week:

In­stead of us­ing dish cloths to wash my dishes, I use rub­ber gloves. Since gloves are not ab­sorbent, they don’t smell and har­bor bac­te­ria and the grip from the rub­ber does a great job at re­mov­ing food from sur­faces. I tie the open­ing with an elas­tic band so that no wa­ter gets inside the glove. Christie, Mor­ris

Here is a tip that worked for a friend of mine who had a chal­lenge keep­ing deer away from her yard. She placed a clock ra­dio by her gar­den and ev­ery morn­ing at 5 a.m. the ra­dio turned on. The deer never both­ered her gar­den again. Georgina, Win­nipeg

I put vine­gar in my wash­ing-ma­chine rinse wa­ter so all the soap scum washes out. Then I air-fluff my laun­dry be­fore I dry it. Whether I dry it on the clothes­line or in the dryer, I never need fab­ric-soft­ener sheets or liq­uid fab­ric soft­ener. Af­ter the sheets dry, I fluff them again in my ma­chine. Betty, Blu­menort I en­joy your ques­tions and tips, keep them com­ing! Missed a col­umn? Can’t re­mem­ber a so­lu­tion? Need a speaker for an up­com­ing event? Check out my brand new blog/web­site: reena.ca

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