QUESTION — I very much enjoy and appreciate your solutions. Here is one challenge I have and I haven’t noticed it mentioned before here. I have a lovely down-filled jacket that is warm and comfortable. But it is a few years old now and the feathers sort of leak out and leave my sweaters looking like I have a bad case of dandruff! Any ideas? Is there anything I can spray it with (short of shellac) that could prevent this from happening? Looking forward to your "solution." Lainey
ANSWER — Both expensive and inexpensive down-filled jackets have a tendency to lose feathers. Here are a few suggestions to solve this issue. If the problem is excessive and the jacket is new, find your receipt and return the jacket. If the jacket is older and cannot be returned, pull escaping feathers towards the inside of the jacket when they decide to stick out. If you pull feathers out, the holes become larger and more feathers will escape. Put your jacket into the dryer and run the no-heat fluff cycle for about 15 minutes. The reason this works is because as the jacket is worn the feathers compress and flatten making them easier to fit through the weave, but if you fluff your feathers they will fatten up and have a more difficult time squeezing out through the fabric. If all else fails, wear a thin nylon jacket underneath your down-filled jacket to prevent the feathers from clinging to your clothing. Scotchgard products have also proven unsuccessful when it comes to keeping feathers inside jackets.
QUESTION — I have an antique wooden trunk that was handed down to me by a relative. It has a very strong mothball odour inside. Also, it has a decorative paper lining inside, I have wiped it down, left cedar wood chips in it — but have been unable to get rid of the strong odour. Would you have any suggestions that would help me? Jane
ANSWER — The key is to overpower the mothball smell with another smell, which will eventually disappear on its own. Begin by wiping the inside and outside of the trunk with orange furniture oil (found at dollar stores). Next, line the trunk with newspaper. Find a tray and place it on the newspaper, sprinkle the tray with either a generous amount of kitty litter, cotton balls soaked with tea tree oil or even better, dry coffee grounds. Leave for at least two weeks.
QUESTION — I love your homemade cleaners and other solutions. Previously, you wrote that spiders reduce the population of insects. Do you know spider species interested in eating bed bugs? Thanks, Bogda.
ANSWER — I would not rely on spiders to get rid of bed bugs. The best way to kill them is with extreme heat, putting fabrics in the dryer on high heat will kill them. Taking your clothing to a dry cleaner will also kill the bugs. A mattress protector is a great investment, but before you purchase the protector, make sure the packaging says it repels bed bugs. Most major department stores carry bed bug bed mattress protectors. Some protectors have mesh on them which keeps the bugs away. If an exterminator comes to your home, make sure your home is neat and tidy. The reason for this is, if you have a pile of bedding or clothes lying on the floor and the exterminator sets off high heat to kill the bugs, the heat will not be as effective if it cannot seep into every area of the home. The inside of a mound of clothes for example will be left unaffected and your bed-bug problem will continue. Lastly, put plastic cups under each leg of the bed so the bugs have a harder time climbing onto the bed.
Practical Household Hints:
- Stop your clothes with thin straps from falling off hangers by sticking small felt furniture pads onto the hanger just beyond where the straps sit. Vanessa
- To keep spiders or any other nasty surprises out of shoes you store outside (like 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. Vanessa
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 to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: reena.ca.