Renovation & Design

SOLUTIONS: Cleaning that dirty oven isn't so simple

QUESTION: My oven is three years old but looks as though it has been used every day non-stop for 10 years or more. It's a mess, and baking soda can't get it clean! The oven is self-cleaning, but even after I use the self-cleaning feature, the inside floor, inside window and window panes in between look dirty. Is it possible to take the glass apart and clean it? Sarah, Gillam, Man.

ANSWER: After using the self-cleaning feature on an oven, wipe the floor of the oven with vinegar and water to clean up any debris and white residue. To clean all oven windows, fill a spray bottle with two tablespoons of household ammonia, half a teaspoon of dish soap and two cups of water. Spray the windows and leave for 15 minutes. Scrub with an abrasive cloth.

I learned first-hand that taking oven window panes apart is quite easy; it's putting them back together that can be a pain. Two people will make this project a million times easier -- learned that the hard way.

While there are several different styles of ovens, you will need to remove the screws and possibly the hinges. Take photos with your camera as you disassemble so you don't end up putting the glass back in place upside down -- learned that the hard way. Dry the glass before reassembling the door; otherwise, when you put the glass in place, any standing cleaner will drip inside the pane and leave another drip marks. Learned that the hard way, too.

QUESTION: Can you please give me some tips on sharpening dull scissors? Thanks. Jayden, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Some people sharpen scissors by cutting through layers of aluminum foil, sandpaper or steel wool. However, for anyone who owns a rod-style knife sharpener, use cutting movements to cut through the rod several times. Your scissors will end up sharp enough to cut fabric. Another option: Hold one scissor blade on the outside of a glass drinking cup and the other scissor blade on the inside of the cup. Close the scissors as if you were trying to gently cut the lip of the glass. Repeat a few times.

QUESTION: I have a cigarette burn on my carpet. Is there an easy way to fix this without leaving a big space? Help please! Sol, Brandon, Man.

ANSWER: Since the carpet fibres have actually been singed away, you basically have two options: Either contact a professional carpet-care service or trim the entire cigarette-burnt parts away with small scissors. Using leftover carpet remnants, trim several pieces of fibre. Super-glue the fibres into the burnt area. Check the repaired area in a day and add more snipped pieces if needed.

QUESTION: With spring in the air, I am thinking about planting tomatoes, but I don't have a lot of space, and so I was thinking about growing them in pots. Any suggestions? Lorraine, Winnipeg

ANSWER: Great! Purchase a big pot and put a tomato cage inside the pot. Plant your tomato deeply in the soil and fertilize as desired. Fill a few plastic pop bottles with water, close the lids and put them around the tomato plant. Wrap the outside of the cage securely with plastic wrap from the bottom to the top, much like a greenhouse. These extra steps help keep your plant warm and growing well.

Smart tips of the week

-- For a smooth line when applying eyeliner, heat the liner for a few seconds with your hairdryer. Doing this softens the pencil and enables it to glide on with ease.

-- Less to carry: Instead of carrying bottles of condiments outside for a barbecue, fill each cup of a muffin tray with a different condiment, e.g., ketchup, mustard, sliced onions, cheese, relish, etc. Put a small spoon in each cup so guests can serve themselves.

I enjoy your questions and tips; keep them coming. Missed a column? Can't remember a solution? Need a motivational speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my website:



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