QUESTION: We live in a small town with hard water. The shower head in my bathtub has turned brown and I can't seem to clean it successfully. Any solutions? Irene (Sanford, Man.)
ANSWER: Fill a plastic bag half full with white vinegar. While the shower head sits on its bracket, place the head inside the bag. Close the bag around the shower head and secure with a rubber band. Leave for a few hours. This should take care of any corrosion and leave it shiny.
QUESTION: How can I remove yellow armpit stains on my white blouse? Theren (Elkhorn, Man.)
ANSWER: Into a bowl combine one part Dawn dish soap, two parts three per cent hydrogen peroxide and one part baking soda. Scrub stains with this solution and a stiff brush. Leave for two hours. Wash as usual.
QUESTION: For the last couple of years, potato beetles have destroyed my potatoes. I bought expensive potato dust from a gardening store but it just seems to feed them. Is there a cheap solution I can use? Any help would be appreciated. Emilie (Winnipeg)
ANSWER: Not long after the plants come up search for egg masses and cut those branches off. Stroll through the garden two to three times a week and pull off potato bugs as you see them. Here is a tip that I received from a 100-year-old man who gardened all of his life. Rhubarb tea is a wonderful solution for keeping ants and potato bugs away. Boil rhubarb leaves in water for 10 minutes. Pour the cooled solution over plants and ant hills or spray plants daily. Extra tip: When boiling rhubarb leaves in water, oxalic acid is released and will leave the stainless-steel pot you boil it in sparkling clean.
QUESTIONS: How can I get a nail-polish stain out of cork floor (hydrogen peroxide has not worked)? How can I get water stains (from plant watering that overflowed too often or just the base of pot being wet) out of an engineered wooden floor? Is there a quicker way than sanding and re-staining to remove water circles from wooden plant stands? These were inexpensive stands and I don't know what type of wood or quality. Thank you. Orlis (Winnipeg)
ANSWER: Nail polish on cork flooring can be terribly difficult to remove. If it is raised, spray the area with WD-40 and scrape with a plastic putty knife (test on an inconspicuous area first). Paint thinner or acetone are also options. All three are risky because they may remove the finish of the cork floor. Water stains are often easy to remove by soaking the area with white vinegar. If the stain remains the area may be permanently etched into the floor. Regarding your third question: Wipe the floor with olive oil and an abrasive cloth to remove circles from plant stands. It is difficult to determine a solution to this challenge without knowing the type of wood and the surface of the stain.
Feedback from Manitobans who care
I read a tip in your column about how to apply eyeliner smoothly. For years I found it difficult to make my eyeliner smooth until I discovered when I wet the eyeliner by holding it under running water, the liner is easy to apply. Maryanne
My friend shared this tip with me: If you are ever in your local home hardware store and see an insulation product called melamine foam, you have probably run into the same product used to make original magic cleaning erasers. Or you can make your own version. The most difficult challenge with this project is locating Castile soap. If your local health food store does not carry it, you can purchase it online. Begin by grating one tablespoon Castile bar soap or purchase liquid Castile soap. Into a bowl combine: Castile soap, one tsp. baking soda and one cup water. Soak a half-inch sponge in the solution. Leave overnight. In the morning remove sponge and allow drying. Wet before each use. Scrub surfaces with homemade erasers.
Congratulations Muriel. Thanks to all who entered, you are wonderful.
Winning submission: It was pouring rain and I was complaining as I passed an elderly gentleman. "Yes, but nobody is shooting at you young lady," he said. I was young then and I am now 69. I have never forgotten that and thank God every day that I do not live in a war-torn country. CANADA IS AMAZING!!!
I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can't remember a solution? Need a motivational speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my website Reena.ca.