Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Battling Mosquitoes

By Reena Nerbas

Stains on Fans’ Football Jersey

Dear Reena,

I would be forever indebted to you if you could advise on getting stains out of a green Roughrider jersey! I always wash jerseys in cold water and hang to dry. The stains are worse on the first one I bought (it has made the trip to three Grey Cups). I’ve tried dish detergent rubbed in, which works great on grease stains but doesn’t even touch the other stains which I think must be either a beverage or drippings of food. Lynette

P.S. Thanks for your tip on rhubarb tea – the ants in my yard have been sent packing; it worked!  Haven’t seen an ant since!

Dear Lynette,

It’s a little hard to advise you on cleaning your jersey because I am of course a Bombers fan. However I do feel for you and therefore I have a few suggestions. First of all, always wash your jersey right away to remove stains like mustard, ketchup, or beer. The longer these stains sit on your jersey the more difficult they will be to remove. Pre-treat them and then wash the jersey according to the label directions. Some store-bought pre-treatment products may be too harsh for your official team jerseys, so homemade solutions like baking soda, vinegar, or plain seltzer are much better options. If I were you I would begin by making a paste of borax and water and applying it to the stained areas. Let sit for a few hours and wash. Or soak the jersey in enough water to cover the fabric, add 1 tsp. dish soap and half cup of borax. Soak for a few hours and wash. Mustard is a very tricky product to remove because it contains turmeric which is sometimes used as a permanent fabric dye. One solution that has had positive results is glycerin. Pour it onto the stains. Let sit and wash. Or scrub with a bar of Sunlight laundry soap.
When you put your jersey into the washer, make sure that you always turn it inside out. This will help to preserve the life of the numbers and logos on the front and back of the jersey. Whether they are sewn or ironed on, turning the shirts inside out will keep them looking newer longer. A famous costume designer says in her opinion ‘Zout’ is the best product on the market for removing mustard, ketchup and barbecue sauce.

Tape Residue on Window Frame

Dear Reena,

I’m wondering if you can suggest something that will remove the residue of the double sided tape from a window insulating kit that was left behind on my wooden window frame after removing the plastic. I’ve tried the commercial products, but they have not worked. Short of sanding it off, which I hope to avoid, is there anything that will remove this awful yellow stuff, which is now several years old? Margaret

Dear Reena,

Your best bet is to spray the area with WD-40. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and scrape with a plastic putty knife and an abrasive cloth (not an S.O.S pad). After the area is no longer sticky, make a solution of dish soap and water and wipe the area well.

Grout on Limestone Floor

Dear Reena,

I have light buff limestone in my family room. The installer did not seal the limestone before installing and the grout has gotten into the pores of the soft stone. I do not know how to get it out and the floor looks very blotchy. It is driving me crazy and the floor installer will not do anything about it. Can you help? I will have to do it myself, but with what and which method?  I don’t believe the grout has gone in too deep. Thanks so much for your time; I will try anything. Leone

Dear Leone,

You may want to once again try and call in the professionals. If you were just tackling a haze from the grout you could clean the area with plain old vinegar and water. However this situation requires a stronger solution. One of the products that readers have shared is the best for this mess is Sulfamic Acid Cleaner from TileLab at Home Depot. If you are going to tackle this job on your own, take caution; use at your own risk and read the label. Also test the chemical on an inconspicuous area and ventilate the room. It will take some elbow grease, a nylon scrub brush, Scotchbrite pads and a plastic scraping tool. The clean-up of this mess will take a few hours and when you are finished, clean the area with plain old water.

Bite Back Tips of the Week:

·        When deterring mosquitoes DEET is the most aggressive remedy but not everyone chooses to use such strong chemicals on their porous skin. You can make your own mosquito repellent by combining the following into a spray bottle: 4 quarts (4 L) water, 4 tbsp. (60 mL) lemon dish soap, 2 tbsp. (30 mL) original Listerine. Spray liberally (safe for small children).

·        For the yard; instead of spraying poisons, burn citronella candles to repel the little critters. Or have a fan blowing near where you are sitting (mosquitoes don’t like wind).

·        Spray the yard with garlic and water.

·        Build a purple martin or bat house.

·        For humans; use Caress soap, avoid wearing perfume. Wear light-colored clothing; eat an orange before going outside (mosquitoes do not like the smell of citrus).

·        Rub lemon soap or real Mexican vanilla or soybean oil or Skin-So-Soft by Avon on exposed skin.

·        For pets; dip a rope in eucalyptus oil, wrap in a bandana and tie around your pet’s neck.

·        Mosquitoes do not like the smell of rosemary, marigolds and geraniums.

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.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Need a Presenter on the topic: Effective Speaking or The Power of Words? Check out: