Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Cleaning Metals

By Reena Nerbas

Refresh Velcro

Dear Reena,
How can I refresh Velcro that no longer clings to my shoes? Verajean

Dear Verajean,
Clean Velcro using a metal pet brush or plastic comb and tweezers if necessary. After the loops are free of debris, wash Velcro with soapy water and rinse with water.

Cleaning Brass Plaque

Dear Reena,
The bronze plaque on a cremation burial site has faded to dull. Is there any liquid solution I can apply with a brush, if necessary, to bring it to at least close to original? Ray

Dear Ray,
Water, dust, pollution and weather are hard on bronze and it is true that family and friends are often the people responsible to care for memorial plaques. If left over time only a professional restorer will successfully bring plaques back to their previous condition. To clean bronze plaques, use a soft scrub brush, water and Ivory dish soap. Clean bronze with soapy water; rinse with distilled water and dry completely. Brush on a thin coating of paste wax or purchase wax specifically designed to protect bronze from UV exposure. Buff with a soft cloth being careful not to apply wax to surrounding areas. Clean the plaque regularly and reapply wax if bronze begins to look dull. If excessive wax builds-up over time, use petroleum solvents and soft rags to strip wax (test everything on a small inconspicuous area before using any products on the plaque).

Do I Have to Sift Flour?

Dear Reena,
I hate sifting. What is the purpose of sifting flour during baking? Gem

Dear Gem,
Sifting primarily spaces out particles to increase dry ingredient volume. Sifting also prevents dry ingredients from clumping together. If you really want to avoid sifting, purchase pre-sifted flour and whisk dry ingredients before mixing.

Feedback from Fabulous Readers

Re: Prevent Car from Hitting Garage Wall

Dear Reena,
My mom put a rubber Cookie Monster on a string and hung it from the ceiling of her garage so it hit her windshield and now when she drives into her garage and hits Cookie Monster she knows she is in the right spot. Lee

Dear Reena,
My husband hung a tennis ball to hit our windshield when we drive into our garage as it is tight on all 4 sides of our garage. If I hit our wall, my buffet full of dishes will crash. Mary

Readers Share Great Tips

  • For years I’ve struggled with the problem of getting that last inch of smooth-style peanut butter out of the bottom of the jar, without getting my knuckles covered in PB. Well, today I stumbled upon a solution: when I went to get the jar out of the cupboard, I found that it had been knocked over and the peanut butter had settled on the SIDE of the jar making it easily accessible! So, when I finished using it, I lay the jar down in the cupboard, ready for ‘clean access’ next time!! Submitted By: Dave
  • I have a great trick for cleaning bronze and copper. Into a bowl combine: 1 tbsp. flour, one quarter cup salt, and one quarter cup white vinegar. Stir with a spoon. Use a paint brush generously paint the metal with the solution. Let stand for 15 minutes. Use plain water to wash the metal piece. Dry with a soft cloth. Submitted By: Laurent
  • Whenever I take vegetables home from the grocery store I immediately take them out of any plastic wrapping or bag. I place them on a t-towel in the crisper and put a clean dry sponge beside the vegetables. Any moisture is absorbed by the sponge and my produce lasts a long time. Submitted By: Marcella

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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