Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Packing Breakables


By Reena Nerbas

Scratched Dishware

Dear Reena,

I purchased a new set of dishes, only to find there are scratches left from the cutlery after use. This is the second dinnerware set I have had difficulty with, the dishes have both been ivory in color and a matte finish. Is there some kind of glaze that hardens the finish, thereby preventing scratches? I have been told there is a cleaner on the market which will remove the scratches each time the dishes are used and that the problem could be the cutlery. My set is stainless steel and several years old but in excellent shape. Any suggestions? Cathy

Dear Cathy,

Patina develops when the coating on glass is damaged. I am not aware of a food safe glaze that will properly adhere to dishes. The top picks to fix this challenge are to scrub the plates with one of the following: Zud or Barkeepers Friend. Or rub the plates with extra fine 0000 steel wool and ceramic glass top stove cleaner. Extra fine steel wool is available at hardware and paint stores.

Secure Packaging for Breakables

Dear Reena,

I have a business from my home and I ship fragile items to customers across Canada. More than once, the items have broken in transit. How can I package the merchandise so that they stay intact? Louise

Dear Louise,

Begin by wrapping the contents with white tissue paper. This will protect the items and avoid discoloration. Next wrap the items with small bubble wrap and secure the bubble wrap with packing tape followed by large bubble wrap and packing tape. Fill the box with Styrofoam peanuts. Check the box to make sure that it is sturdy and has no weak seams. Pack the box to the top, because a full box reduces the chance of items moving around inside. Lastly, using a thick permanent marker, write FRAGILE on the outside of the box. Alternatively you may want to consider using ‘green’ items to ship products, while still presenting a professional image to recipients. Such items include: recycling newspaper, biodegradable packing peanuts (dissolve when exposed to water) and plain popcorn.

Stain on Oak Furniture

Dear Reena,

I have an oak night stand on which a small lamp sits that has a black velvet type bottom underneath its stand. I have noticed that the black velvet has actually stained the oak a black color. I guess when the lamp is standing maybe the heat from it allows the black to transfer onto the wood? Not sure how or why this is has happened but would like to know if you can advise me on how to remove the stain from the wood. Sonja

Dear Sonja,

In a ventilated area, spray the wood with WD-40 (test first). Leave for 20 mins. and wipe with an abrasive pad (not steel wool). If the stain remains the woods needs resurfacing, in other words sand and re-stain.

Is Skin Porous?

Dear Reena,

Is it true that what you put on your skin i.e. bug repellent actually goes into your body? Sounds like an Old Wives Tale to me? Brandon

Dear Brandon,

Well I’m not a doctor so here is an experiment that you can use to test whether skin is porous. Rub a garlic clove onto the soles of your feet; chances are that eventually you will taste garlic in your mouth. Conclusion…skin is porous.

Feedback from Reader Who Cares:

Re: Sinking homemade bread

Hi Reena,

I also have had the same problem as Pam but have been told that sometimes the problem is that the grain has not been thoroughly dried before milling. The only way that it has worked some for me is to add some white flour to the dough instead of pure whole wheat flour. Yes, the atmospheric pressure plays a large part in the dough or bread collapsing (I use a bread machine and have experienced similar problems). Hope this helps, Erika

Sticky Tip of the Week

Recipe for Homemade Paper Glue: In a saucepan combine one cup flour and one third cup sugar. Add one and a half cups water while stirring, until no clumps remain. Heat on stove and add one tsp. vinegar. Stir until thick. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

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