QUESTION: I tried your Listerine-based mosquito repellent and felt it was not strong enough, so I tripled the Listerine involved, as none of the ingredients should really cause any side-effects. It was better, yet still not as good as a DEET-based spray. My dog had 50-plus skeeters on him, and I had maybe eight, which is eight too many. Is it OK to add more juice, so to speak? Any ideas on how to make it more potent? Love your information, keep it up! George (Lorette, MB)
ANSWER: Excellent questions, George. Isn't it funny how two people can sit outside, and one is bit multiple times while the other person doesn't receive one bite? That's because our bodies give off different scents, which is why some products work great for one person and are useless to another.
-- DEET is the most common remedy used to deter mosquitoes, but not everyone chooses to use such a strong chemical on their skin. Units emitting DEET are now available to wear on the outside of clothing.
-- You can make your own mosquito repellent by combining the following into a spray bottle: Four litres of water, 60 ml of lemon dish soap and 30 ml of original Listerine mouthwash. Spray liberally (it's safe for small children). If that isn't strong enough, apply Listerine directly.
-- For the yard, instead of spraying poisons, use garlic and water. Canada exports garlic to other countries for this purpose.
-- Build a purple martin or bat-house, and if possible, attract barn swallows to your yard.
-- For personal use, combine three garlic cloves and 500 ml of water in a spray bottle, and let it steep for three days. Spray onto skin.
-- Combine lavender or catnip oil with water and apply to skin. You can also bathe with lavender oil. First, combine a few drops with 60 ml of milk before adding it to bathwater so the oil is evenly dispersed.
-- Use Caress soap if possible (it's becoming increasingly difficult to find), and avoid wearing perfume.
-- Wear light-coloured clothing.
-- Eat an orange or garlic before going outside (mosquitoes do not like the smell of citrus).
-- Rub lemon soap, real Mexican vanilla or soybean oil or Skin-So-Soft by Avon on any exposed skin.
-- For pets, dip a rope in eucalyptus oil, wrap it in a bandana, and tie it around your pet's neck.
-- Plants in the garden: Mosquitoes do not like the smell of rosemary, marigolds and geraniums.
-- If you are sitting outside, arm yourself with one or more fans. Mosquitoes are light and can't get to you if the wind blows them away.
-- Remember each human has their own scent. What works on one person may not work on someone else, so experiment with a few options.
-- A product that is becoming very popular is a vitamin B1 patch. You apply the patch to your clothes, and the smell helps repel mosquitoes. Check with your doctor because whatever you apply onto your skin is absorbed into your body.
QUESTION: My problem is a large bake sheet on my countertop got water underneath it, leaving a huge rust stain behind. I have tried bleach, which only faded the mark... help, please. I live in a rental, will be moving soon and would like to keep most of my damage deposit. Thanks, from Rusty, Winnipeg
ANSWER: Make a paste of baking soda and water. It should be the consistency of toothpaste. Apply to stains and leave for one hour. Scrub with an abrasive pad. If the stain remains, use a product called Bar Keepers Friend.
Simple Tips of the Week
-- To quickly peel garlic cloves: Place garlic on the counter (or a cutting board). Using the bottom of a metal bowl, push down to smash cloves. Put the cloves into a lidded bucket or bowl. Shake vigorously. The peel will separate from the cloves.
-- Refreshing summer drink: Cut watermelon into cubes. Freeze several cubes. Blend four cups of watermelon with 15 ml of lemon juice. Put frozen watermelon cubes into drinking glasses, and pour 120 ml of puréed watermelon in each glass. Fill the glasses with champagne or sparkling grape juice. Enjoy.