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Many uses for coffee filters

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Hi Reena,
Since most people have now switched to modern coffee makers, do you have any suggestions for the paper coffee filter? I’m sure there are loads of things we can do with them. Thank you,

Great question Pearl!
Here are a few smart solutions for leftover coffee filters:
• Drop garden seeds in the middle of a filter, dampen the filter and fold to close, lay the filter inside of a sealable bag to allow for sprouting.
• Put filters inside plant pots to prevent soil spilling onto the floor.
• Fill filters with dry herbs and close with a twist tie. Drop herb packages into soup pots when making homemade soup.
• Coffee filters are good for polishing windows, TV screens and mirrors.
• After frying food, place a filter into a bowl and add food to absorb grease.
• Coffee filters make great taco holders.
• Fill coffee filters with baking soda and put them inside shoes to absorb odours.
• Instead of using paper towels to cover food in the microwave, use a coffee filter.
• Substitute dryer sheet: Put a few drops of liquid fabric softener or essential oils onto a coffee filter and toss into the dryer with clothes.

Dear Reena,
I am an elderly person, and over the years I have been given many ballpoint pens and refills. The see-through ones are full, however I can’t get any of them activated. Any suggestions on how to get the ink flowing again? Thank you for your help.
Rose Marie

Dear Rose Marie,
Begin by shaking the pen to loosen the solvent inside. Heat the tip with a hair dryer or hold it under hot water —doing this helps soften the ink. If you do not have the strength in your hand to scribble vigorously, ask someone else to take a crack at it, sometimes a few seconds of swirls on a paper or the bottom of a rubber shoe fixes pens.

Dear Reena,
I have beautiful handmade quilts made by my mother. She kept them in a plastic bag with mothballs. I would like to get rid of the odour. I don’t want to wash them and I can’t afford to have six of them dry-cleaned. These are to be given to my daughters and grandsons. Do you have any solutions?

Dear Cecile,
Mothball smell is challenging to remove and even bringing the quilts to a dry-cleaner may not remove the smell. Without using a liquid solution, the smell will likely remain. Your best bet is to soak quilts in 50/50 white vinegar and water for five minutes. Check the colour to make sure that no colour runs. If the colour holds, repeat the vinegar and water soak, checking every five minutes to make sure the colour is not bleeding. Hang quilts in the sun to dry. Another option is to smear shaving cream onto quilts and wipe, but while the quilts will be clean, the smell will likely remain.

Feedback From Reader
Dear Reena,

I have a tip for removing smoke from the bricks on a fireplace. Our contractor told us the only solution he was aware of was acid. Having young children and a new carpet, we hesitated. One day I took a stiff, damp floor brush and toothpaste. A little scrubbing and the smoke came off. I wiped the bricks with a damp cloth to remove any toothpaste. I just used whatever brand of toothpaste we had at the time (it was something suitable for kids). Sincerely,

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