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Look for quality degreaser for Arborite counters

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Dear Reena,
I recently purchased a stainless steel Thermos with blue foil wrapped around the exterior. Although the instructions say "dishwasher safe" the foil peeled after four washes. At the present time, the foil is half gone and looks unappealing (pardon the pun). Should I toss the Thermos or is there a remedy to fix it? Lester

Dear Lester,
Since the foil on the Thermos peeled due to the heat of the dishwasher water, you have two options: Either contact the manufacturer and inquire about a refund, or continue similar steps to peel the remaining foil. Put the Thermos into a stainless steel pot and fill it with enough water to cover the Thermos. Bring the water to a boil for at least five minutes. Use tongs to remove the Thermos and gently scrub the remaining foil off with a non-scratch abrasive pad. Your Thermos will be stainless steel in color and ready to use.

Dear Reena,
I have a 10-year-old Arborite counter that is dark in colour and scratched. Recently I hired a cleaner to give myself the gift of a clean house. A company came and cleaned my Arborite counter and it looks almost new! Now two weeks later, and many cleanings later, it still looks great! I asked what they used and they said a degreaser called Tough Tiger and a ‘Bristol’ brush. I cannot find either of these products. Have you heard of a ‘Bristol’ brush? Thanks for your column; I read it carefully every time it appears in the paper. Jeanie

Dear Jeanie,
Sounds like you are looking for a bristle brush which is simply a brush with short, stiff bristles. For example a hair brush or a shoe-polishing brush.
Additionally, Tough Tiger is a specialized janitorial degreaser and cleaner. I have never purchased this product but you may be able to order it online or through the cleaning company that you originally hired. In the meantime, perhaps another degreaser will bring similar results.

Dear Reena,
We just took our cloth lawn chairs out of our shed and over the winter some mice got into our shed and decided to use these lawn chairs as their litter boxes, they smell so bad of urine, it is disgusting!
I have washed the chairs with Mr. Clean, which did not work, tried washing them with OxiClean, which did not work, the chairs are at the side of the house ready for the garbage. I have no problem with that, but I thought I would ask if you had some kind of miracle solution to try, even at the risk of ruining them.
They have been sitting outside the last two days in the sun and they still smell. If there is anything you can suggest it would be greatly appreciated! I love your column every week in the paper! Lisa

Hold on Lisa!
Before you head to the trash, try the following solution. You’ve already thoroughly washed the chairs so now it’s time to deodorize them. Into a bucket combine: one teaspoon dish soap, one cup 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup household ammonia and two cups warm water. In a ventilated area such as outside, using a light-coloured cloth to clean, saturate the fabric so that the solution not only sits on the fabric but actually penetrates into the fabric. Cover the chairs as well as you can with plastic. Leave for 12 hours and remove plastic. Rinse with warm water and air dry. Be sure to always test solutions on an inconspicuous area first.  

Feedback from Caring Readers
Dear Reena,
I read in your recent article about a lady who had problems with her phone and the residue of hairspray. I had the same problem with our home phones and my iPhone. Nothing I tried would work! I finally took our phones to the store where we had purchased them as we couldn’t read who the incoming calls were from. They suggested W-Sol Residue Remover, brand name is Wurth. I contacted the company and ended up ordering it through a car dealership. It is amazing, I just spray some on a soft cloth and wash all the phones with one/two sprays on my cloth, worked for five cordless and two cell phones. We bought the large spray bottle (454 g) about four years ago and there is still about half of it left. This is quick and easy and seems to last forever. Joyce

Hi Reena,
Regarding Heidi’s Stinky Drain Challenge, here is an additional tip for a bathroom sink. Washroom sinks (with an overflow protection slot/hole) have a hollow area between the inner and outer bowl. It’s a great place for things to grow—plenty of water and not-so-fresh air. When you turn on the tap the water going down the drain forces stinky air (from the area between the inner and outer bowl) out of the top overflow hole. To clean this area, you need to remove the sink stopper and plug the drain below the overflow drain hole (small piece of rag will do). Then fill the sink with a mixture of laundry bleach and water until the overflow hole is covered. Let the bleach do its job for about an hour, then remove the rag to drain the sink. Works for me. Al

Fabulous Tips of the Week
• Before purchasing flowers for someone special, keep in mind that typically, the more fragrant a flower is the shorter it will live.
• You bought flowers but can’t give them away for a couple of days. Here is how to keep them fresh: Place a little water inside of a plastic bag and put the flowers into the bag. Lay the bag in your fridge. The flowers remain fresh for several days.
• If you ever decide to make yourself a necklace using fresh flowers, be sure not to wear the flowers directly against your skin. Hang them slightly off of your shoulders because your neck sweats and will decrease the life of a flower necklace.

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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