Renovation & Design

SOLUTIONS: Washing soda cleans up more than clothes

QUESTION: Can you tell me how much frozen whip I need when a recipe calls for 8, 16, or 24 oz? We buy it by the litre container and I never know how much to use when they call for ounces. Thank you. Bertha, Winnipeg

ANSWER: If I understand your question correctly, you are looking to find out how many cups of frozen whip cream you need to make 8, 16 and 24 ounces. One cup equals 8 ounces, 2 cups equals 16 ounces and 3 cups equal 24 ounces.

QUESTION: You saved the day for me a couple of years ago as to how to get badly burnt sugar off a pot. My question today: In a previous Winnipeg Free Press column, you answered a question to "Barbara" regarding how to find washing soda to clean her cutlery. What I don't understand is whether she was referring to stainless steel, or by chance to silver cutlery. I think stainless steel, but I sure don't want to make a mistake with my silver, which I absolutely have to de-tarnish in the next couple of weeks.

Second, just assuming your answer referred to stainless steel, do any of the products need to be mixed with water to create a soaking solution? If so, what proportions and for how long, please? My 40-year-old stainless steel cutlery, which was a graduation gift from my parents and which we still use every day, is not exactly black, but it's not as bright as it used to be. I look forward to hearing from you, and have a great holiday season! Joan, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Washing soda is a natural product (sodium carbonate) that is used to clean toilets, sinks, ovens, range hoods, exhaust fans, stainless steel pots and pans, garden tools, barbecue grills, silver and stainless steel cutlery, outdoor furniture, copper (removes lacquer), gold and concrete floors. It also whitens and brightens laundry. When cleaning a variety of household objects, it is important to rinse with vinegar following a washing-soda treatment.

To clean silver or stainless steel, test the following solution on an inconspicuous area first and do not use frequently. Place slightly crumpled aluminum foil in a plastic bucket or baking dish. Dissolve one quarter cup (60 ml) washing soda in 4 cups (1 litre) hot water. Place silver on foil and let stand for a few seconds until tarnish is gone. Remove silver, rinse and dry.

To deter future tarnish, you can polish quickly with silver polish. Replace foil as it loses its shine. Use rubber gloves to protect hands. Another, (less effective) option is to clean with non-gel toothpaste. Extra tip: Add white chalk to the drawer to reduce risk of tarnish.

Also, corrosion caused by food can be repaired by mixing 1 tbsp. (15 ml) hot vinegar, 2 cups (500 ml) water and 2 tsp. (10 ml) salt. Soak for 5 mins. and polish.

QUESTION: I recently bought a fleece throw with a Christmas motif. The label advised that I wash before using. I have seen this instruction before as well and am wondering why some textiles should be washed before using. Thanks. Anne, Winnipeg

ANSWER: What's more cosy than draping yourself with a brand-new fluffy blanket on a cold winter day in Manitoba? While many people skip the step of washing before use to ensure the blanket stays store-bought soft, here are a few reasons why laundering is recommended by manufacturers.

A variety of treatment chemicals are often used in the making of textiles. These chemicals have the potential to smell and leave resins on fabric. Some of the chemicals used are added as a measure to guard against stains, mercerizing, prevent wrinkles and disinfect new products. Since a fleece throw is likely to find itself in direct contact with your skin, it is a good idea to launder first.

Unwrap the holidays with storage ideas

-- Buy a few pant hangers from your local thrift store and use them to hang wrapping paper left over from gifts that you receive. The wrap will not tear or wrinkle, and if you hang the hangers in a spare closet, it will be easy to see what you have on hand.

-- Don't allow rolls of gift wrap to unravel and wrinkle. Secure the paper on the roll with fabric-coated hair elastics made for ponytails instead of regular rubber bands.

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:



Browse Homes

Browse by Building Type