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Monday, March 09 , 2015

Ink-Removing Formula

Did you forget to cap a pen and now it has left its mark on your gym outfit, upholstery or other fabric? We've got a homemade stain-removing formula for you to try.

First, try some easy remedies on that ink spot…

If it's a colored piece of fabric, soak the stained area in milk, then toss in the washer. You can also douse the ink stain with rubbing alcohol. Let it sit for five minutes, then launder as usual.

For all fabrics (and if you don't want to use harsh bleach on your white shirt), spray a good two-second spritz of hairspray on the ink mark, then launder the clothing as usual.

If the ink blot is on upholstery, soak the spot with rubbing alcohol or vodka. The stain should dissipate within a few minutes. Caution: Be sure to test an inconspicuous area of the fabric with the alcohol. The spot should dry completely (no water stains or rings) after an hour or two.

If none of the above simple solutions work, here’s our heavy-duty ink-removing formula...

In a bowl, combine one tablespoon of milk, one tablespoon of white vinegar, one teaspoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of borax powder (available at supermarkets in the laundry detergent section).

For ink-stained clothing, cloth napkins, etc., sandwich the stained area of the fabric between four thick sheets of paper towel. Dip a sponge in the mixture, and pat it on the area of paper towel covering the stain. (You want the liquid to reach the fabric, but you don’t want to put it directly on the stain.) After about three minutes, remove the paper towels, and sponge the stained area with cool water. Repeat the entire procedure until the stain is gone. When it is, launder the item as usual. (You may need to professionally clean a removable upholstery cover.)

More help with household stains…


Thursday, September 25 , 2014

Make Bread Fresh Again

You just bought that baguette yesterday, and it's already feeling a little too stiff to eat. Here's an easy way to bring it back to delectable...

To make stale bread fresh again, spray it with a bit of water or milk and wrap it in aluminum foil. Put it in a 350°F oven for about eight minutes, and the bread should taste as though it just came out of the oven…for the first time.

More help in the kitchen...


Tuesday, August 05 , 2014

Remove Stains from Your Marble Top

If you have a beautiful white marble surface (an antique armoire or a coffee table, for example) that does not have stone-sealer protection, you need to be on the lookout for stains, because marble is a porous stone. Be sure to wipe up any spills immediately, and then do this...

For white marble: Mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide to four parts water. Dip a cloth in the solution, and rub the stain, then wipe it quickly. If the stain doesn't go away, repeat the process. Do not use this solution on colored marble because peroxide can lighten nonwhite surfaces.

For colored marble: Spill enough table salt to cover the stain, then dribble on some milk to dampen the salt (sour milk works well, if you happen to have that around). Leave the salt-milk paste on the stain for two days (cover with plastic wrap if it's in a high-traffic area). Then use a damp cloth to wipe up the milky salt. The stain should be gone for good!

Note: These cleaning methods are safe for most marble surfaces, but there are many varieties of stone that might react differently. Be sure to test an unseen spot first with either solution to make sure it doesn't discolor the marble.

More household magic...


Tuesday, July 22 , 2014

Repair Sun-Abused Skin

Soften the leathery look of skin that has had too much sun with this centuries-old beauty mask formula. Mix two tablespoons of raw honey with two tablespoons of flour. Add enough milk (two to three tablespoons) to make the mixture the consistency of toothpaste. Be sure your face and neck are clean and your hair is out of the way. Smooth the paste on your face and neck. Stay clear of the delicate skin around your eyes. Leave the paste on for a half-hour, then rinse it off with tepid water and pat dry. Do this once or twice a week, and wear a hat when you go out in the sun, please!

More help for your skin...


Wednesday, May 28 , 2014

Sock in Your Mouth?

Do you need to give a speech, a toast or a special presentation? Or is it time to make that life-changing request? Congrats, special person! Here's what to do to avoid that nervous, icky dry mouth that'll make your talk all sketchy.

When it's time to make that all-important speech—or pop that critical question—you want to seem calm and sound confident. That's hard to do when your mouth is dry.

First, what not to drink: Avoid cold beverages. Cold drinks will fix your dry mouth, but they tend to tighten up your already-tense throat. Don’t drink coffee…it might wake you up, but it will dehydrate your mouth and throat. Stay away from milk or cream. Dairy drinks can create phlegm, which will give you a slight gargle when you raise your voice (yikes!).

Here’s what to drink or eat: Warm tea is your best bet. Ginger tea is the very best, if you have time to make it the morning before your big talk. Also, eat a nice, crisp apple, which will hydrate your mouth and make it feel great.

If you don’t have ginger or can’t get to an apple and your mouth is dry as a bone, gently chew your tongue. In less than 20 seconds, you’ll manufacture all the saliva you’ll need to end your dry mouth. Good luck!

More natural ways to feel calm...


Thursday, July 18 , 2013

Best Way to Thaw Frozen Fish

That fishing trip (or your trip to the sale at the fish counter) was fun and productive, but now what do you do with all that fresh fish? Freeze it! Separate fillets with wax paper, and then wrap tightly (and we mean get rid of all the air) with plastic wrap...then wrap again with foil and place in a freezer bag. Fatty fishes such as salmon and swordfish should be thawed and eaten within two months. To thaw your beautiful frozen fish, place the fillets in milk or in one cup of nonfat dry milk mixed with three cups of water. This will remove any freezer taste, and the fish will cook up as though it was just reeled in. Note: Some very oily fishes, such as bluefish, herring and sardines, do not freeze well at all unless you use a vacuum sealer.

More summer cooking tips...


Monday, June 03 , 2013

Milk Bath for Sunburn

The first few sun exposures of the year can be real stingers. When you've gotten a little more sun than you've "basked" for, fill a quart jar with equal parts of milk and ice and two tablespoons of salt. Soak a washcloth in the cold mixture (don't wring it out), and place it on the sunburned area. Leave it on for about 15 minutes. Repeat the procedure three to four times throughout the day. This cooling compress soothes the skin and lightens the redness.

For more natural skin-care tips, including how chicken soup can smooth wrinkles...


Monday, March 11 , 2013

Homemade Energy Drink

Are you feeling a little sluggish from the time change? Try a healthful, homemade energy drink. Add one tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to a glass of milk (regular, skim, soy or rice milk), stir well and bottoms up. The molasses provides a good dose of iron, and the milk contains protein for some extra get-up-and-go.

Friday, June 15 , 2012

Perfect Pancakes for Dad on Father's Day

Put batter in a clean plastic squeeze bottle or a turkey baster and you can form perfect pancakes or use them to form unusual shapes.

For a once-in-a-blue-moon treat, make the pancakes with eggnog instead of milk or other liquid in the recipe.