Renovation & Design

SOLUTIONS: Garage-floor residue likely efflorescence

Efflorescence on concrete is removed with a mixture of muriatic acid and water.
Efflorescence on concrete is removed with a mixture of muriatic acid and water.

QUESTION: My concrete garage floor has a white, powder-like residue all over it. It is especially worse in winter months. I have tried a concrete sealer in the past, but it has not worked. Any suggestions? Lorna, Winnipeg

ANSWER: You may want to have an expert take a look at the area. However, it sounds like the white that is forming on the floor is alkaline or efflorescence. To remove; wash with a muriatic acid mixture of 60 per cent water and 40 per cent muriatic acid. Always wear protective clothing and eye protection when you are working with acid and use according to the directions on the bottle because it is dangerous when not used properly. After washing rinse well and allow to dry. Consult your local hardware store and ask for the best penetrating sealer for garage floors.

Although I am not aware of the age of the concrete, you should not experience efflorescence on newly poured concrete. Sometimes salt additives in concrete are mixed in cold weather and produce what looks like efflorescence but it is actually a breaking down of the concrete itself.

QUESTION: The store where I buy my groceries gave away green and red mangoes a few weeks ago. Now I have a crate of mangoes in my fridge. How do I eat them? How can I tell if they are ripe? Peter, Winnipeg

ANSWER: In many cases we observe fruit skin colour to determine whether it is ready to eat but, not in the case of mangoes. The green mangoes that you have in your fridge may be just as ripe as the red. Press the fruit with your finger, if the mango peel feels soft like the skin of a banana it is ready to eat. Leave mangoes on the kitchen counter when you want them to ripen faster.

Peel the fruit with either a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the fruit around the seed; toss the seed, just as you would an avocado.

Use mangos in; salad, salsa, chutney, chili, juice, smoothies, ice cream and pie.

Did You Know? Some people keep mangoes on hand to eat whenever they have indigestion. Makes an upset tummy feel better.

QUESTION: I can't tell you how sick I am of dog owners who let their furry canines do "their business" all over my lawn. I have spent a lot of hard-earned money on landscaping, flowers, trees, etc. I don't walk all over other people's lawns and leave my mark, why should they? I know what you are going to say, "Talk to the neighbors and ask them to keep their dogs on a leash." Well I don't want to talk to them. First of all, it isn't just one pet owner, it's lots, and secondly, I might be labeled as the mean, old lady on the block. HELP. Signed, FED UP! Winnipeg

ANSWER: Well, I hear your frustration and you are not alone. It used to be that home owners would place bottles of milk, water or cola on their lawn to keep dogs off, the idea was that dogs wouldn't "do their business" near liquid but that has been chalked up as a myth. Here are a few seemingly obvious suggestions to try: Of course the most effective way to keep anyone off of your lawn is a fence barrier. If this isn't an option, consider having a sign made, "Please Keep Off the Grass."

Feedback from Manitoban Who Cares

Hi Reena,

With regards to the woman who had cutlery marks on her plates. Vim cleanser works well and is readily available. It is great for cleaning tea stains in cups and numerous other things. Linda

3-Minute Chocolate Cake

"Of course I didn't forget your Valentine's Day gift! I'll be right back."

Grease a microwave-safe coffee mug (500 ml or larger). Into the mug measure; 4 tbsp. white flour, 4 tbsp. sugar, 2 tbsp. cocoa, 1 egg, 3 tbsp. milk, 3 tbsp. oil, 3 tbsp. chocolate chips one-quarter tsp. vanilla, one-quarter tsp. baking powder and one-quarter tsp. salt. Stir and microwave 3 mins. The cake will rise and then fall, cool slightly. Serve alone or with ice cream.

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