Citronella oil helps keep bloodthirsty mozzies at bay
We enjoy an evening meal on the patio, but mosquitoes are becoming a problem. What is the best way of dispelling them? – JG, Jeffreys Bay.
On a calm evening, citronella candles work well. You should find them in a gift shop. The No Fly candles available in big supermarkets are an alternative. The non-toxic candles, which contain citronella oil, are plain white and not fancy but quite acceptable.
Citronella oil, obtainable at pharmacies, can also be used on a cloth – a wipe over the ankles is a good idea! Of course, one of the many commercial products can be used for this purpose.
In response to an item in your last column, I have a tip for making crispy bacon:
Heat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Lie bacon strips on the paper. The best is streaky bacon, and SPAR is my preferred brand. There are usually 10 rashers per packet and they are evenly cut.
Cook for eight to 10 minutes and turn over for a few minutes, but watch it, because it cooks quickly at the end.
You can cook tomatoes and sausages in the pan at the same time, but remove them when they are ready because they cook at different rates to the bacon.
If you like crispy bacon, you will never cook it any other way! – WJ, Port Alfred. Many thanks for your advice – I was hoping a reader would come up with a tried and trusted method!
I have a small but useful pot, which I think is made of aluminium. It has developed a dark colour inside, and I wondered whether there was a way of lightening it so the pot looks a bit more presentable. – WL, Port Elizabeth. Aluminium is a soft metal, so in cleaning you must not use washing soda, ammonia, bleach or bicarbonate of soda, which will cause further discolouration.
To remove the colour, boil a mixture of two tablespoons of vinegar in one litre of water for 20 minutes. Two teaspoons of cream of tartar instead of the vinegar also works well.
Another old method is to boil either apple or rhubarb peelings in a pot of water. Rinse out thoroughly in hot water and rub with a coarse cloth.
How can I remove a blood stain from a sheet, caused by an unnoticed scratch on my arm? – BG, Port Elizabeth.
At this late stage, it may be difficult to remove the stain. Fresh bloods stains respond well to an immediate soak in cold, salty water – a cupful of salt to two litres of water. Note that hot water will set the stain.
It might also be worth trying a soak in suitably diluted Super 10, the marvellous stain remover available through GNLD product distributors. There are a number of stain-removing products, both on the supermarket shelves and from agents, that could be effective against old, entrenched stains. Reader “SN”, for instance, found Mr Muscle kitchen cleaner very good for dissolving blood stains on sheets and shirts. Rub them with it and then wash in the usual way.
Finally, there is bleach, but this must be carefully used in the proportions given on the Jik container – quarter-cup (62.5ml) bleach to five litres of water. Soak for five to 15 minutes and then rinse and launder as usual.
I was wondering if you know of anyone in the Port Elizabeth area who fixes porcelain? The items are an old wash basin and jug. – KS, Port Elizabeth.
Unfortunately, my usual contacts appear to have left PE or no longer undertake this kind of repair. If there is anyone in the area with the expertise to help, I would be glad to hear from you.