Renovation & Design

Hot potatoes hack makes peeling for a crowd a snap

LARRY CROWE / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES/Score and boil potatoes to peel with ease.

Question: In the past, you offered several suggestions for faster food preparation in the kitchen. Do you know of a faster way to peel potatoes for making mashed potatoes? — Louis

Answer: Here is one of my favourite potato hacks, especially handy when preparing large quantities of potatoes.

Score the skin of each potato horizontally around the middle. Drop the potatoes in a pot of water and cook as normal.

When the potatoes are soft, run them under cold water. Pull the soft peel off each potato. If you would like warm potatoes, simply boil them again.


Question: I have an allergy to smoke, and my only sister previously smoked. When she passed away, she willed her clothing to me. How can I remove the smell from the fabric? — Marilyn

Answer: The simplest solution for removing odours from washable fabrics, is to soak them in 50/50 white vinegar and water. Leave for several hours, and wash as usual. For non-washable fabrics, drop the clothing into a large garbage bag and add several sheets of crumpled newspaper to the bag.

Newspaper is an effective odour-absorber. To the bag you can also add a few cotton balls dampened with your favourite essential oil (i.e.: orange, grapefruit, tea tree oil). If you do not have access to essential oils, fill a clean sock with fresh coffee grounds. Close the sock with an elastic and place the sock in the bag; coffee is another effective odour-absorber. Leave for a few days, and check results.


Question: Should I purchase a separate bar of soap for each member of my family? I wouldn’t want the soap to spread germs. — Jessica

Answer: Unless directed by a physician, one bar of soap may be shared by several people.

In fact, a study completed in 1988 by the Dial Corporation technical centre put this question to the test. Here is a brief, summary of the study: several bars of soap were inoculated with E. coli, and other bacteria at levels 70 times as high as those on used soap.

Sixteen people were asked to wash their hands with the contaminated soap bars. Following cleansing with the soap, none of the panellists showed evidence of bacterium on their hands.


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.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Need a presenter on the topic: Effective Speaking or The Power of Words? Check out: 


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