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How to get rid of tough mildew odour

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Dear Reena,
I read your column on a regular basis and love your solutions. Now I need some help. I packed a wet bathing suit coming home from a Hawaiian vacation a couple of winters ago, and even though I unpacked it and washed it right away, it has a mildew smell. I rewashed it, hung it up to dry, tried special bathing suit soap and washed it in vinegar with no luck. Couldn’t part with it, so I put it in a cupboard with my two other bathing suits. When I pulled them out recently — all three had a mildew smell. I rewashed, hung them outside, let them sit in water with vinegar, and rewashed them with vinegar and bathing suit soap — to no avail.  I’ve worn two of them in a chlorine pool several times this winter, and still the mildew odour remains. I always wash and hang dry right after use. Any chance at all I can remove the smell? What is the best thing to do? Thanks for your ideas! Louise

Dear Louise,
Before washing your bathing suits in the washing machine, soak them in hot water and borax. Borax contains no phosphates and no bleach but is wonderful at zapping hard-to-handle odours. If you cannot locate borax, use a generous amount of OxiClean or tea tree oil and vinegar or baking soda.

Dear Reena,
I have laminate floors and when the felt floor protectors on chairs fall off, they leave a sticky residue on the floor. I have tried Goo Gone, dish soap with a microfibre cloth, even scraping with the scraper tool that I use on my ceramic-top stove and nothing gets it off. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Barb
Dear Barb,
Using a hair dryer, heat the area to loosen the glue. Next, smear the area with smooth peanut butter and then lift the adhesive off of the floor with the help of a plastic putty knife so that the floor does not become scratched.

Feedback from Reader Who Cares:

Hi Reena,
Just thought I would offer my thoughts on a couple of things...
Your suggestion regarding pouring melted ground beef fat down the drain...  could be costly in future as that fat will surely cool and solidify...  in the drain pipes!
Regarding the cloudy shower stall glass — I wonder if the stuff used to take the cloudiness off vehicle headlights would work. On the vehicles it is plastic, and the shower stalls might be the same material or similar (plastic) as real glass shouldn’t etch from soap etc. to a point of not being able to clean it off.  
Regarding the cleaning of graters (four-sided types) — I have found a vegetable brush with a handle (rather than the block type) works wonders and takes no time at all. It’s a larger brush than a toothbrush so that makes the job quicker and easier.
I sure agree with the comment on not using leaded glass decanters for things like vinegar!  Keep up the good work, Reena, lots of good ideas surface for us peasants to use! Regards, Maurice (aka Grumpy Gramps)

Dear Maurice,
Thank you for your kind feedback and excellent suggestions! I agree with you that my advice for reducing grease in beef by rinsing it in the sink was poor and should have said, "After the beef is cooked, carefully drain the fat into a container and properly dispose of it."

Dear Reena,

Just reading the question about removing dog blood stains from carpet. I have a messy cat, and have used peroxide for years now. I keep a small soap bottle of straight peroxide handy to pour on pet ‘stains’, and lots of cheap paper towels to blot and rub. Works great for me, there aren’t many spots on my beige carpet this hasn’t been used on. Although peroxide will bleach the cat’s hair, it has never bleached anything else I have tried this on but test on an inconspicuous area first. Hope this helps. Bonnie

Dear Reena,

I read your column regularly and have found a number of your suggestions to be very helpful. In a recent column a lady wrote asking about how much vinegar to use as a laundry additive. I started using vinegar as a laundry additive after I took a microfibre cloth to do some cleaning and found it had been rendered impervious to water as a result of going in the dryer with dryer sheets. My big problem was remembering to run down to the laundry room to put the vinegar in the rinse water. My solution was the purchase of a dryer ball, which is sold to dispense liquid fabric softener to the rinse cycle. I fill the ball with vinegar and throw it in with the laundry, the vinegar is dispensed at the correct time and it seems to be a sufficient amount. I have to tell you that my laundry has never been softer and vinegar is much more successful at removing long dog hair from dog towels and covers than anything else I have ever used, and it is considerably cheaper to use. Thank you so much, Liz

Fantastic Tips of the Week:
• Brighten silverware by rubbing it with oatmeal. Submitted by: Ruth
• Sew a strip of carpet webbing two inches wide, tightly on the underside of a rug, close to the edge, to prevent it from curling up. Submitted by: Ruth
• A little cornstarch in your salt shakers will prevent salt from clumping. Submitted by: Ruth

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
You can contact me by email at

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