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Fleece, pets make for an unhappy mix

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To Reena,
I love my polar fleece tops and jackets, but they are such magnets for hair and pet fur. The hair/fur stays on the garments even after laundering. Can you suggest some kind of laundry product or method to solve my problem? I don’t use commercial laundry softeners in either the washer or dryer, as I am sensitive to smell. Kathy

Kathy,
Many pet owners refuse to purchase fleece solely because of this challenge. Lint brushes, masking tape and lint rollers are not overly effective because fur becomes imbedded in the fleece fibres. Unfortunately fabric softener in the washer is your best defense against cling on fur. Of course vinegar is a wonderful alternative to commercial softeners, use about one cup per load.

Dear Reena,

We have the Household Solutions book series but it is in our home and we are in Mazatlan for the winter. We have Plumbago in our courtyard, a blue flowered plant which is used in dyes. They are sticky, and a flower got on my pants and then I sat on our cotton fabric couch. We now have a blue mark the shape of the flower right in the middle of a white area. We have taken the cover off as we can wash it but don’t know the best thing to use. Right now we have toothpaste on it but thought we would ask you. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Ingrid

Dear Ingrid,

Unfortunately toothpaste won’t cut it (unless it contains bleach) because the fibres are permanently dyed as opposed to surface dyed. The great news is that the cover is washable. If you are fine to lighten the entire couch cover, then purchase dye remover or Iron Out and use it according to the directions on the package. This is easy to find at most craft stores. If you only want to lighten one particular area, remove the couch cover and soak the area with 3% hydrogen peroxide on the blue spot. Wash and repeat this process until the stain is gone. Paint thinner is one other option for direct treatment on the flower mark. Enjoy Mexico!

Dear Reena,
I have a copper chafing dish which is badly tarnished; do you have a suggestion on how to clean it? Pat

Dear Pat,
The following hints are effective for cleaning copper: Sprinkle salt on a wet sponge and wipe. Or mix lemon juice and baking soda together. Rub with an old toothbrush. Another option is to smear copper with either ketchup or WD-40, wait 10 minutes and polish.

Dear Reena,
I want to have a cupcake making party for my daughter’s ninth birthday party. How much batter do I need for 24 cupcakes? Morgan

Dear Morgan,
If you make enough batter for a double layer cake, you will have batter for 24 cupcakes. Fill each muffin liner two-thirds full. If you want to make cupcakes ahead of time, you can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to two months.
Did you know? The first cupcakes did not have frosting, but instead were topped with lard as a kind of cake-moistening gravy. Winston Churchill was the first person to suggest a kind of sweet frosting on the top of the cakes.

Dear Reena,

I bought a pair of burgundy coloured jeans last weekend and when I got them home, I noticed a strong chemical smell. I washed them with laundry detergent and hung them up to dry. The smell was just as strong. So next I washed them three times in white vinegar. There was a little improvement but I still couldn’t wear them. Next I tried borax, no change. Now I am soaking them overnight in the borax solution. Any other ideas? Thanks, Shaun

Dear Shaun,

The smell is a result of dyes and chemicals used in manufacturing the jeans. Soak them in either 50/50 cola and water or 50/50 vodka and water for a few hours. Wash as usual. In any case, the odour will fade over time as you continue to wash and wear them.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming! Missed a column? Can’t remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Interested in grocery coupons? Check out my brand new blog and website at www.reena.ca. You can contact me by email at householdsolutions@mts.net.

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