Renovation & Design

Tackling stubborn stains from neck to toes

QUESTION: I am cleaning up all my boots prior to storing them for the summer and I'm seeking clever storage tips. How can I clean street stains from camel-coloured suede (lamb lined) boots and is there a simple way to keep tall boots from creasing when not in use? Thank you. Sue, Winnipeg (a.k.a. Winterpeg)

ANSWER: My absolute favorite way to care for suede is to brush the fabric with baking soda and plain old water. Use a stiff brush and wipe it back and forth to remove dirt and debris. Next, brush the boots with water only. To store boots over winter, roll newspaper and stuff the boots. Doing this helps hold the shape of your boots and zaps any odour on the inside.

QUESTION: I have brown streaks in my toilet bowl from the top to the waterline. I have tried every toilet-bowl cleaner going. I even used muriatic acid. Nothing seems to budge the stain. Wondering if you have any other ideas (other than installing a new toilet). Rita, Winnipeg

ANSWER: To remove stains in a toilet, purchase a pumice stone and lubricate it with either cheap shampoo or dish soap. Wet the stone and gently wipe the toilet rim to remove marks being careful not to scratch the porcelain.

Did you know that, according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, toilets consume about 25 per cent of water inside a home.

QUESTION: My daughter borrowed a silver necklace from me and gave it back years later. The necklace is tarnished and in need of cleaning. Do you have any recipes for cleaning jewelry that you can pass on to me? Leanne, Thompson

ANSWER: Since you probably don't own an ultrasonic cleaner as most jewellers do, fill a bowl three-quarters full with water and add a squirt of dish soap and 2 tbsp. household ammonia. Using an old toothbrush, gently brush your jewelry with the solution. (Rubber gloves are a good idea for this project.) Polish with a soft eyeglass cloth.

QUESTION: I bought a shaving mirror that sticks to the shower wall. When I first brought it home, it had some sort of non-fog coating on it. But now, after a few months, it fogs up. Do you have a suggestion for keeping my mirror clear in the shower? Thanks. Jeremy, Winnipeg

ANSWER: The easiest solution to prevent fog from forming on your mirror is to spray shaving cream onto the mirror. Wipe and repeat in one month or as needed. Another option is to purchase a fog reducer at a sporting goods store; this product is sold to prevent hockey visors from fogging up on the ice.

QUESTION: What can I do to make the flavor in bubblegum last longer? What gives gum its flavor? Cindy, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Stick (pun intended) to strong flavors such as cinnamon and mint. Stay away from fruity flavors; they don't last as long. Some theorize high sugar amounts help bubblegum keep its flavor. However, artificial sweeteners or "sugar-free" gum tend to retain more flavor for longer. You could spray your gum with breath freshener; but it might be easier just to stick a new piece in your mouth.

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 videos/blog/website:!


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