May 10, 2013 |
I was looking at my home's back steps, constructed of pressure-treated wood, and decided it was time for the annual get-rid-of-the-mildew-and-seal-them program. For some reason, they aren't looking as green as they were last year, so the job will be a snap. It has been a long time since I discussed deck cleaning in this space, probably because these few steps are all I have since we sold the house with the deck 12 years ago. But because the summer entertainment season is coming, it might be appropriate to run through deck-cleaning 101 before the arrival of hotter weather, when things dry too quickly or not at all. If you don't want to do the job yourself - especially if it has been a while since the last cleaning - there are companies that will do it for you. Go online or ask your friends and neighbors.
March 11, 1992 |
Dear Polly: I have a blouse with a care label that says "Do Not Bleach. " Does this just mean chlorine bleach? Can I use an all-fabric bleach on the blouse? - Helen Dear Helen: Generally, "Do Not Bleach" means just that: Don't use any bleach, chlorine or all-fabric, when laundering the garment. If all-fabric bleach is safe but chlorine bleach is not, the label usually says "No Chlorine Bleach" or "Use Non-Chlorine Bleach When Needed" or a similar warning. However, this is really a judgment call.
October 14, 1992 |
Dear Polly: I have a couple of my father's wool suits that I would like to save. What is the best way to store them? - Kaye Dear Kaye: The main point to remember when storing wool garments is to guard against moth damage. Cedar closets or cedar chests are ideal. However, you can also store them in well-sealed garment bags, non-cedar chests or wrapped in heavy wrapping paper; just be sure to add mothballs or moth flakes to prevent moth damage. Remember: Do not put the mothballs or flakes in direct contact with the fabric.
June 12, 1991 |
Dear Polly: When I bake bread in the oven, the top becomes nice and brown. But when I turn it out of the pans, the sides are too light. If I bake it longer, the top will burn. Can you tell me how to get the sides brown? - Jenny Dear Jenny: The sides of a loaf of bread, protected from the oven's heat by the pan, normally brown much more slowly than the top does, sometimes remaining quite light even though the bread is fully-baked. The best trick I know is this: When the bread is just about finished, remove the loaf from the pan and return it to the oven for five minutes.
March 12, 1986 |
Dear Polly: How low should one turn one's water heater thermostat for significant savings on the hot water bill? - Ida Dear Ida: How low you go is really up to you. However, here are some guidelines: Lowering your thermostat from 140 degrees (standard) to 110 degrees will save you 20 percent on your annual hot water bill. However, if you have a dishwasher, 110 degrees may not get your dishes as clean as you like. Many newer models of dishwasher have automatic water heaters; they usually recommend that your hot water be set at 120 degrees (the dishwasher then heats the water to 140)
September 10, 2000 |
Question: It's time again to clean and seal our wood deck. I have watched a number of TV shows that advocate the use of pressure washers and a mixture of chlorine bleach and water. I am afraid that a pressure washer will harm my wood deck, but the TV shows made it seem so simple and easy to use. What is a good way to safely clean a wood deck? What is the best sealer to use once I have finished? - Jackie F., Versailles, Ky. Answer: Many of those TV shows bring a smile to my face.
June 29, 2006 |
Cleaning up after flooding presents peculiar challenges. Following are some issues that might arise. Question: How do I get rid of the smell after a flood at my house? Answer: After removing water and mud with a broom or wet-dry vacuum, spray surfaces with lukewarm water, starting with the floor, then moving to the walls and working up. Use a coarse brush or long-handled broom to scrub these surfaces. Then use hot water with a heavy-duty cleaner to scrub all surfaces, again from the bottom to the top. Follow with a rinse, using a brush moistened with a solution of 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
August 31, 1988 |
Dear Polly: What are the proper proportions for a good oil-and-vinegar salad dressing? I always get it too vinegary, but when I add more oil, it turns bland. - Gayle Dear Gayle: The perfect recipe for vinaigrette, or oil-and-vinegar, dressing is really a matter of taste. Some like a more vinegary dressing, while others prefer a higher proportion of oil. However, a good formula to start with is to use twice as much oil as vinegar. You'll find wine or cider vinegar gives a gentler, more pleasing flavor than regular white vinegar.
September 26, 2008 |
Question: Just wondering if you might have any suggestions for me regarding ants running all over the inside of my dishwasher. It is on an exterior wall, and we have sprayed an ant-control compound outside. We have not had many ants inside the kitchen or the rest of the house, just the dishwasher. I have been pre-rinsing the dishes before putting them in. I run it about every other day. Answer: There must be a food source somewhere - maybe behind the dishwasher or under the dishwasher, or perhaps the filter is dirty and needs to be cleaned.
May 5, 1994 |
Some people may think it's a shameful waste, but a shot of gin will do wonders to perk up a drooping bouquet of flowers. The main ingredient in a Tom Collins or a Singapore Sling will particularly perk up tulips and other bulbs, say those who've tried it. "Absolutely. It works," said Ruth Holmstrom, a San Jose, Calif., flower show judge who also teaches flower arranging. "When I took floral design classes at College of San Mateo, the instructor advised using about a half-cup of gin with tulips.