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How to clean a butcher block

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Use soap, water, and a mixture of vinegar and water to clean up your butcher block. When it comes time to oil the block, food grade mineral oil is recommended.

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Use soap, water, and a mixture of vinegar and water to clean up your butcher block. When it comes time to oil the block, food grade mineral oil is recommended. Photo Store

Hello Reena,
Is using vegetable oil on a new butcher block a good idea? Or do I need to pick up some mineral oil or something like that? Thanks, Anna

Great question Anna!
For everyday cleaning, wipe butcher block with dish soap and water. Rinse with water. To sanitize butcher block, combine one part white vinegar into a spray bottle with four parts water. Spray and leave for 10 minutes, then wipe. When the time comes to oil the butcher block, food grade mineral oil is recommended. This prevents wood from smelling rancid over time. Butcher block is beautiful and durable, and can last for many years if cared for properly.

Dear Reena,
I needed to replace a vehicle and my husband was kind enough to do the search and find one that is in much better repair. But the "new" vehicle smells of cigarette smoke and possibly pets. The cigarette smell is the primary concern because I don’t find it easy to tolerate with mild allergies. I don’t know how to get it out — help! Sincerely, Sarah

Dear Sarah,
Begin by vacuuming and cleaning the interior of the vehicle including all vinyl, leather, carpet and upholstery. You may want to take this project on yourself or hire a professional. After the interior is clean, place an open bag of activated charcoal or kitty litter in the vehicle for several weeks. Instead of car fresheners, it is effective to store an open bar of soap in the car. Fragrances of soap are mild (depending on the soap) and if the fresh soap smell fades, grate the side of the soap with your keys. The soap will once again freshen the air inside your vehicle. I keep a bar of soap inside my vehicle and it smells great!

Feedback from Readers Who Care
Dear Reena,
Another trick for fast peeling of hard-boiled eggs is to cool eggs with cold water, drain and then give the pot a good shake to crack the egg shells. Then immerse them in cold water for peeling. Easy peeling. Carita

Dear Reena,
In one of your columns you recommend using plastic when freezing food. That is a big no-no. Plastic contains dangerous chemicals, some that are known to be cancer causing agents, such as BPA. When freezing food with plastic, those chemicals are directly transferred to the food, and then ingested. Obb

Reena,
I enjoy your weekly column in my local paper, and I’d like to pass along a recent discovery that I think your readers may find helpful. It relates to the common problem of foot odour. Normally, I have to wear non-synthetic material socks and leather shoes to avoid the problem altogether, however once in a while I’ll slip and wear a pair of gift socks, or such, and then there’s trouble. One day, I wondered how much different foot odour can be from underarm odour, so after my morning shower I rubbed a bit of underarm antiperspirant on my finger and applied it between and under my toes. A bit of a tingling sensation at first, but later in the day, the evidence was in: no foot odour. So, what a simply elegant solution, no more baking soda foot baths, or messy foot powders! Underarm deodorant is also "under toe" deodorant. Amazing! George

Timely Tips for Cleaning Water Bottles
Gross, the bottom of your water bottle is caked with crumbs and debris from dishwasher sediment. Help is on the way!
•Fill the bottle with a small amount of vinegar, dish soap and water. Close the lid and shake (not yourself, the bottle). Open the lid and rinse.
•Plastic bottles; Use a long knife with a rounded end to dig out any stuck-on food. Rinse with water.
•Metal bottles: Use a rubber band to secure a small rag onto the end of a narrow handle of a plastic spatula. Scrub the bottom of the bottle and rinse with water.
•Do not use boiling water on metal bottles. Doing this may misshape the bottle.
•If cleaning water bottles is an ongoing chore, purchase a baby bottle brush to clean your water bottle. Problem solved.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can’t remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my brand new videos/blog/website: reena.ca

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