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Pick the right cleaner for leather furniture

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The label on your leather furniture will tell you what type of leather and finish you’re dealing with, so make a note of it so you can select the right cleaning product to use.

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The label on your leather furniture will tell you what type of leather and finish you’re dealing with, so make a note of it so you can select the right cleaning product to use. Photo Store

Dear Reena,

Several years ago, my leather sofa became badly scratched during a move. The moving company sent an independent repairman to deal with it. He applied some sort of liquid, buffed it, and it looked like new! It has since acquired some more scratches, but I can’t get any information from the moving company, and the repairman has moved away. Do you have any idea what the remedy might have been, or perhaps you can suggest another solution.

Florence

Dear Florence,

While there are short-term fixes such as shoe polish and olive oil, they are not a long-term solution for repairing scratched leather. The label on your leather furniture will tell you what type and finish you are dealing with, knowing this will make a difference in the technique used for repair. If you see an "A" on the cleaning code, that stands for Aniline leather, "P" stands for Protected leather and "N" stands for Nubuck leather. Aniline leather has a wax finish. If this is your leather, heat the area and use your fingers to redistribute the wax or add additional melted wax to the scratched area. Most leather furniture is labelled "P" and the fabric is dyed or painted and then top-coated with a lacquer finish. The repair person that you described may have sprayed the area with lacquer. If you are tackling the damage, a leather repair kit is the easiest way to hide scratches. "N" leather is usually completely dyed and therefore scratches do not typically remove colour. When in doubt, contact a professional restoration service.

Hello Reena,

I have about 10 cross-stitch pieces I never got around to having framed — sadly I kept them in a dresser in the basement which was flooded this past June, and they are very badly stained from the flood water. Can you suggest some way of cleaning them? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you and I really enjoy your column in the paper each week.

Rena                                                                                   

Dear Rena,

Before attempting a thorough cleaning of the pieces, you will want to test the back side of the embroidery thread for colour fastness. If colours run, bring the art to a professional dry cleaner to remove the stains. If the colours stay intact, hand-wash each piece separately in a tub of baby shampoo and water. Move the fabric around in the tub. Drain and refill with clear water. Soak the cross-stitch for a few moments to remove shampoo. Lay flat on a white towel to dry. Cover the art with another white towel. After 30 minutes, remove the towel and let air dry. When the art is almost dry, cover the pieces with a towel once again and press with a warm iron to remove wrinkles so that the art lays flat.

Dear Reena,

I am having a gathering at my house in a couple of weeks. My job is to prepare a snack for the evening but I work until 4:00 p.m. and the guests are coming at 7:00 p.m. Do you have an easy snack suggestion that I can prepare ahead of time and keep warm in my slow cooker? I am planning to have a fruit and veggie platter but I want something a little more snack-like, if not I will just serve chips. Thanks,

Betsy

Dear Betsy,

Here is a tasty idea that everyone will enjoy. Combine the following: One-quarter cup melted butter, four teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of garlic powder, half a teaspoon of onion powder and half a teaspoon of sugar. Stir well. Fill your slow cooker/Crock-Pot with handfuls of Chex cereal, pretzels, pieces of taco chips and nuts. You will need about seven cups of crunchy foods. Pour butter combination overtop. Cook on low for two and a half hours. Stir every 30 minutes.

Feedback from Readers Who Care:
 
Re: Cooking rice

I would like to pass along my recipe for perfect rice. Using a tight-fitting lid pot, place one cup long grain, parboiled rice, one-and-three-quarter cups water, half a teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon Becel or butter. In an uncovered pot bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. Cover and lower heat to lowest setting. Cook for 20 minutes (no peeking). If all water hasn’t been absorbed, cover and continue for three to five minutes longer. Let sit, off heat, for five minutes, then stir. Keep up the good work.

Diane

Re: Mice

Just read your suggestions for repelling mice. Have tried "Irish Spring" soap and it seems to work fairly well — also, mothballs work well but they repel humans as well (especially yours truly). To keep mice away from my ultra-light aircraft stored in a hangar, I run the tires onto sheets of aluminum foil. The theory is that mice won’t walk on aluminum foil (don’t like the feel on their claws) and therefore can’t get to the tires to climb on the equipment.

Ron

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 website: reena.ca!

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