Renovation & Design

Discoloured towels likely due to cosmetics

Question: Last year I purchased new white towels for my remodelled bathroom. They are lovely, but after a few washes and they started sprouting grey blob-shaped spots, especially on the hand towels. At first, I thought it was my daughter’s toothpaste staining the towels when she wiped her face, but switching toothpastes didn’t help. The spots have also appeared on the bathmat; so, I know it can’t just be the toothpaste. With copious amounts of bleach, the spots can be faded or erased, but this needs to be done constantly or they re-appear. I have changed laundry detergents as well to no avail. Any ideas? — Darryl

Answer: Since the spots are mainly apparent on hand towels it makes sense they may be the result of a product your daughter uses. Bleach is found in cosmetic products other than toothpaste such as teeth whiteners and hair products. Benzoyl Peroxide for example is found in several products i.e., acne treatments may be the culprit. Consider investigating all of the products that she uses to help you determine the cause of discoloration.

Have you experimented by trading towels with her and observing whether discoloration is still an issue? Add a product such as washing soda to each load. Pour one quarter cup to each load to brighten colors and whiten whites. Using washing soda with hot water will also clean out the hoses in your washing machine.

Question: You mentioned preheating the pan for a homemade pizza. Should I also preheat the pan for a storebought, frozen pizza? Is this necessary to prevent a soggy pizza? I usually just place the frozen pizza on a pan (not heated), or directly on the oven rack. Cathy

Answer: If you preheat the oven before placing the pizza directly on the rack, you are choosing the best method for a crispy pizza result. Some people like me are not brave enough to put the pizza on the rack, in this case, you can preheat the pan before placing the pizza in the oven, but it’s really not necessary.

Question: Can you advise me as to why when frying or pickling garlic they turn green? How can I prevent this from happening? I read it is safe to eat green garlic, but it is unsightly. I have also read that it is due to immature garlic, so how does one buy it correctly? Perhaps there are many reasons for this occurrence. Thanks in advance, Mary

Answer: Garlic contains anthocyanins, water-soluble pigments that turn blue, green, or purple in an acid solution. While this colour transformation tends to occur more often with immature garlic, it differs among cloves within the same head of garlic. The garlic flavour remains unchanged and is totally edible and not harmful. Some other factors that may cause colour change include: a reaction to the acid found in vinegar, lemons, or onions; the material makeup of the frying pan or chopping knife; copper in your water; or using a salt other than canning salt for pickling. To prevent colour change, blanche garlic for 30 seconds or sauté garlic in butter or olive oil.

When purchasing garlic, look for dry bulbs, off-white in colour. The peel should be dry and shed easily. Take a moment, in the store, to smell garlic; it will carry no odour unless it is overripe (which you don’t want).

Everyday tips, for everyday challenges

— Stop clothes with thin straps from falling off hangers by sticking small felt furniture pads onto the hanger just beyond where the straps sit.

— To keep spiders or any other nasty surprises out of the shoes you store outside such as gardening shoes or work boots, place old stockings over the top of them. Make sure the stockings don’t have holes in them, and if they don’t fit snugly over the top, use an elastic band to secure them.

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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