QUESTION -- Our dog's favourite place to sit was on our leather sofa, and now that she is gone, we cannot seem to get the odour off of the leather. We have tried leather cleaners, but to no avail. I had a professional here yesterday to clean it but he said pet odours cannot be removed. Can they? Please help! Debbie (Carman, Man.)
ANSWER -- Begin by dampening the area and wiping it with white vinegar and baking soda. Wipe clean. Next, purchase a container of saddle soap that is specifically made for leather. Wet a cloth and rub it with saddle soap to create a lather. Work the lather into the chair and rub for several minutes, allowing the ingredients to penetrate the fabric so you reach all areas of where the dog's mess soaked through. Dry well. If the odour remains, you could use a combination of ammonia and three per cent hydrogen peroxide and dish soap, but the risk of discolouration is high and, therefore, this would only be an option if you are planning to discard the sofa.
QUESTION -- I dripped some red candle wax on an old oak table and did not notice it for over an hour. As soon as I saw it, I scraped off the wax and rubbed the spots with furniture oil. Now I see that although all the wax is gone, there is still some red dye in the wood. I thought I might try some mineral spirits next but I decided to contact you to see if you have thoughts on this. I would like to avoid having the table refinished if at all possible. Thanks in advance. Shelby, Winnipeg
ANSWER -- Have you tried rubbing the area with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser? Depending on the finish of the wood, you may have great success with this. I have also received reports that some people add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the Magic Eraser and say the dye stain disappears (test on inconspicuous area first). Another option is to scrub the area with Head and Shoulders dandruff shampoo and rinse with water. Mineral spirits will likely remove the dye but also damage the finish of the wood. Next time (if there is a next time), cover the area with a brown paper bag or tea towel. Press the area with a warm iron (steam setting off). Move the paper around the area to soak up all of the wax.
QUESTION -- I live alone and love the taste of freshly made bread. So I make my own bread dough and have a hard time eating more than one loaf while it is still fresh-tasting. Is it possible to freeze bread dough and bake it later? Jessy, Winnipeg
ANSWER -- Sure. All you need to do is increase the yeast by one-third when you are making it for freezing. Allow the dough to rise as a loaf and then place the loaf into a lightly floured double sealable bag. Freeze. When the time comes to bake the loaf, remove it from the bag and place it inside of a lightly oiled loaf pan. Cover the pan with a plastic bag and thaw in the fridge. Once thawed, let rise and bake as normal.
QUESTION -- I bought the same honey that I always buy, but for some reason, the honey in this bucket is as hard as a rock. I have already bent two spoons trying to get the honey out of the honey pot. Should I throw it out? The bucket was $20 so I don't want to get rid of it. Help, Nathan (Leaf Rapids, Man.)
ANSWER -- When I think about how hard those little honey bees work for every pound of honey, I cringe at the idea of even one teaspoon of honey being tossed into the trash. Especially since the solution is so simple; fill the kitchen sink with hot water. Put the sealed honey pot into the water, making sure no water seeps inside the pot. Wait 20 minutes and the honey will be liquid and easy to pour.
Did you know? The average worker bee produces between one and two teaspoons of honey in her entire lifetime.
Fabulous Tips of the Week
-- I found putting a few drops of real vanilla on my tooth temporarily helped soothe my toothache. Submitted by: Camea
-- I came up with a clever way to clean my knife block holder. First I turned the block upside down over my sink to shake out any crumbs and dust. Next, I soaked a pipe cleaner in rubbing alcohol and inserted it into the knife block to clean inside the tight slots. Submitted by: Morgan
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