Renovation & Design

Don't hide your leather -- shine it

Question: I need your advice about how to clean body oils from a leather chair. Also, when you advise about using vinegar in your household solutions, are you referring to the double-strength solution? Regards, Evelyn

Answer: 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 stains on leather by using one of the following: 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 after shave or Axe Body Spray. Discontinue application if leather dye begins to fade. For regular cleaning use the product recommended by the manufacturer. Another favourite leather cleaner and renewing product is Urad (available on-line). You can also use a small amount of dish soap and water on a damp cloth, which is what I use.

Yes, I am referring to regular strength vinegar, between four to seven per cent acetic acid. To get rid of weeds outside, the higher the concentration of acid, the more effective.

Question: How do I get rid of stains on napkins. They are white polyester Christmas napkins that have been washed and dried in the dryer. Dianne and Bill

Answer: Polyester is my favourite fabric as it is tough as nails! Since the napkins were dried in the dryer, the easiest, fastest and cheapest solution is to fabric dye the napkins. Choose any colour including white dye and follow the instructions on the box. Fabric dye may be purchased at some dollar stores, departments stores and craft supply stores. Another option is to boil the napkins for five minutes in a stainless-steel pot with a half cup of washing soda and eight-cups of water. Fabric safe bleach products are also an option.


Question: I have some dish rags that have become stiff and almost sticky, this may be caused by a build-up of fabric softener and I have tried soaking and washing them in vinegar and water with no laundry detergent. This hasn’t made a difference. Got any ideas? When I wash dishes with them even the dishes look greasy. Beatrice

Answer: This usually happens when the drying time is too slow. For example, if the clothes are hung to dry, they tend to become hard. The other reason this occurs has to do with the dye or fabric used in manufacturing. Try to choose cloths that are domestic rather than imported. North American products under many circumstances have been proven to be higher quality and should remain soft as long as they dry quickly. Boil the dish cloths in vinegar using a stainless-steel pot for five minutes, launder as usual.


Question: What can I do to stop myself from getting shocks as I walk across my carpet? Lorne

Answer: Start by checking the humidity level in your home, in fact you may want to invest in a humidifier. For a quick solution fill a spray bottle with one part liquid fabric softener and four parts water and lightly mist the carpet.


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.



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