Renovation & Design

Cleaning ink off leather may not be neccesary

Question: How do I remove ballpoint ink off a white leather chair?

Answer: The safest solution is to do nothing — ballpoint ink on leather often fades on its own, over time. If you do not want to wait, apply a small amount of dish soap and water onto the area, this may be all you need to get the job done. Whenever attempting to clean leather, you should always test cleaners on an inconspicuous area first. Over the years, readers have had great results getting rid of ink stains by using non-bleach, non-gel toothpaste, shaving cream, hairspray, Goof Off, Goo Gone, Sunlight bar soap, mosquito repellent containing DEET, saddle soap, Windex, Calvin Klein Obsessions cologne or Axe Body Spray. Discontinue application if leather dye begins to fade. Another favourite leather cleaner and renewing product is Urad (available online).


Question: What is the fastest way to ripen an avocado? Thanks, — Robyn

Answer: Wrap the avocado in foil and place it on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 95C and bake for 10 minutes (or until the fruit is soft). Put the fruit in the fridge until ready to use.


Question: What is the best way to clean brass? — Helmet

Answer: While some people use ketchup or A1 Steak Sauce, as their number one go to for brass, I have found that WD-40 is the most effective cleaner. Spray the brass, leave for 10 minutes and polish. After cleaning, apply a thin coat of wax to the brass to prevent it from tarnishing as quickly.


Question: I need a laundry stain remover solution using vinegar, water and baking soda. Thanks. — Lynne

Answer: Here is a spot remover that you can use to pre-treat stains as well as several other machine washable, colourfast fabrics. Into a spray bottle combine 2/3 a cup ammonia (or vinegar), 2/3 cup of Dawn dish soap, 1/4 cup baking soda and two cups of warm water. Spray fabric and wash with heavy-duty detergent. Or boil fabric in 10 cups of water and one cup of washing soda. Boil for five minutes and hang outside to dry (test on inconspicuous area first).


Clever ideas

● I use an old round CD holder to carry my bagels when I pack my lunch for work. It comes with a lid, and it’s the perfect size.

— Marvin

● To prevent strawberries from rotting, I wash them in four parts water and one part white vinegar. Dry them thoroughly with a towel. They will last for a long time.

— Hilda

● The easiest way to clean crumbs and dust that falls between the keys on your keyboard is to run the sticky part of a Post-it Note between the keys. The dirt actually sticks to the paper.

— Blossom

● Grind up one cup of uncooked rice in a coffee grinder to clean the grinder and sharpen its blades.

— Alex

● To get rid of the hiccups, I take a breath and hold it for 10 seconds. Then without letting that breath out, I take another breath and hold it for 10 seconds. The hiccups disappear. Of course, this should only be used if you don’t have any medical conditions.



Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Have a great suggestion or tip? Please send an email at: Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:




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