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Renovation & Design

The wonders of baking soda never cease to amaze

QUESTION: My white bone china plates have marks on them from my stainless steel cutlery; the marks won't come out with the dishwasher. Any ideas of how to clean them? Thank-you, Terry, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Since scratches caused by cutlery have damaged more than just the surface, you may be looking at a permanent condition. With that said, here is a solution to try: Make a paste of baking soda and water, rub the plate with an abrasive pad and the baking soda. Rinse and dry.

QUESTION: I recently moved into a home with a one piece shower unit, and it is filthy. I'm not sure what it's made of but I've been told not to use an abrasive cleanser. I'm having a very hard time getting it clean on the bottom and one-third of the way up. Any suggestions? Thanks, Stacy (Sandy Lake, MB)

ANSWER: You will have a hard time getting the shower clean if you don't use a mildly abrasive solution. Into a spray bottle combine one half cup rubbing alcohol, three cups water and one tablespoon of dish soap. Spray onto shower and let soak for 30 minutes. Scrub with a plastic scrubby pad and baking soda. For regular use after the shower is clean, use the spray bottle combination without scrubbing or rinsing.

QUESTION: I love to make thick white cream sauces but find that they are always too heavy and filling. Any suggestions on how I can make them taste good but a little healthier? Lizzy, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Next time you are making a cream sauce and don't want the fat of heavy cream, substitute the cream with non-fat evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is homogenized milk with 60 per cent of its water removed (which is why it is very thick). The real benefit is that evaporated milk contains 80-per-cent more calcium than homogenized milk.

QUESTION: Sometimes when I wash dark clothing, a white residue is left behind. I always use a detergent made for dark wash. Do you know of an easy way to remove the residue without re-washing the items? Also, what do you think is causing this and how can I avoid it in the first place? Thank you, Stacy, Winnipeg

ANSWER: It sounds as though your detergent is not dissolving properly in the wash. If you have not already done so, switch to liquid detergent instead of powder. Wash with less fabric in the machine because, if the washer is overstuffed, water is not able to clean properly.

The other possible culprit is that your water is too hard; therefore residue is not able to dissolve. Whatever the case, always add one cup of vinegar to each load, this will clean the washer and remove residue from fabrics.

Fabulous Tips of the Week:

If the seats in your car are very worn out and you don't have money to replace them. Cover the seats with jerseys from your favorite sports teams. Submitted by: Jordan (Blumenort, MB)

You are ready to get dressed and notice that your clothes are wrinkled but you have no time (or desire) to iron. Put the clothes in the dryer with a damp hand towel and turn the dryer on for a few minutes.

When making a fruit platter, group fruits together and be careful which fruits are beside each other. For example: If pineapples are placed beside strawberries, the color from the strawberries will bleed onto pineapple pieces.

When slicing freshly baked bread, choose a sharp knife that's height is the width that you want each slice to be. That way you can use the knife as a guide before cutting slices to keep them even.

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: reena.ca!

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