Solutions and Substitutions by Reena: Re-purposing Rubber Gloves

Reena NerbasBy Reena Nerbas

Dry Leather Furniture

Dear Reena,

I am wondering if you would mind clarifying something in your books. The leather in my parent’s sofa is starting to dry out. As such, they want to treat it with a moisturizer. One of your books suggests using olive oil to moisturize leather, and another one of your books suggests using cold cream. Which would be the best for what they need it for? If you use olive oil, wouldn’t it leave a sticky residue and maybe even start smelling bad (rancid oil)? What is cold cream, and would it work for this application? Thanks in advance for your help with this! Mark

Dear Mark,

Both olive oil and cold cream are great options for leather, just be sure to test both on an inconspicuous area first. Apply a small amount of one or the other to a soft cloth and wipe on leather in a circular motion. Remove all excess. Leather is porous, therefore the grease will absorb into the fabric without; sitting on the surface, leaving a smell or attracting dust. Cold cream is an emulsion of water and certain fats, usually including beeswax and various scent agents, designed to smooth skin and remove makeup. You will find cold cream where face products are sold.

Tea Stains in Teacups

Dear Reena,

I am wondering if you have a remedy for cleaning tea stains off of bone china cups and saucers. I don’t want to use anything that will take the pattern or gold rim off of the cups. Thanks in advance. Lois

Dear Lois,

For really tough stains on china cups use one of the following cleaning techniques: Place a denture tablet inside the cup and fill with hot water. Leave overnight, the stain should dissolve. Or wipe stains with whitening toothpaste. Or make a paste of baking soda (or washing soda) and water and scrub cups and saucers. Or fill cup with one-teaspoon citric acid and one-teaspoon lemon juice and fill the remainder of the cup with hot water. Leave overnight. Note: Wear gloves when working with washing soda.

Repairing Rubber Gloves

Dear Reena,

Now, here’s a situation you might not have heard of before. I wear rubber gloves for doing dishes. Over the years I have accumulated dozens of gloves for the right hand and thrown away dozens of gloves for the left hand. I’m left-handed and find it’s that hand that gets the pokes and holes from knives and other sharp items during dishwashing. I’ve tried to think of how I can repair the small hole in the rubber glove, to no avail. Can’t bring myself to discard the right hand gloves! What ideas do you have to remedy this situation? Joy

Dear Joy,

Although there is no effective way to fix torn rubber gloves, if you always wear out one rubber glove, start saving all the good gloves and by turning half of them inside out you will gain a few extra pairs. Or cut good fingertips off of one pair of torn rubber gloves and put them into torn glove fingertips to reinforce them. Also, consider alternative uses for rubber gloves: Cut them into circles, they make great non-slip grips for everything such as a stuck jar lid. Or cut the fingers off of torn rubber glove and slip them over mop and broom handles that way when you lean them against the wall they don’t slide or create marks on the wall. Cover chair feet with the finger of rubber gloves to protect floors. Or cut strips on the round, both the hand part and fingers and use as rubber bands. Cut off the index finger piece from the torn rubber glove to create an ideal sheath for your finger the next time you have to sort through a stack of papers. Love the question!

Rust Stains on Sweater

Dear Reena,

I washed and hung a white sweater on a painted hanger to dry. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice that the hanger’s paint was chipped in places. So now my white sweater has rust stains on the shoulders! Any suggestions for removing these stains? Thanks for your help. I find your column so interesting. Marilyn

Dear Marilyn,

One solution that I find very effective on fabric rust stains is pouring hydrogen peroxide (or lemon juice) onto the stain and sprinkling it with cream of tartar. Leave the item in the bright sun for a day and wash, works very well. Or chop a few stalks of rhubarb with water and cook. Hold the stain in the boiling rhubarb water for a few seconds. Great results and your pot will sparkle as well. Taken from Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions.

Beetles in the Pantry

Dear Reena,

I have drugstore beetles in my kitchen cupboards that contain: cereal, pasta and rice. These items are all stored in 500 ml. freezable food containers. I throw out contaminated food and wash the containers and shelves but the beetles are back in no time. Any suggestions? Shirley

Dear Shirley,

The simplest way to get rid of drug store beetles is to locate the source of the infestation and quickly get rid of it. Use a flashlight or other light to examine all food storage areas and food products. Get rid of heavily infested foods by collecting them in heavy plastic bags or in sealed containers for garbage disposal.
When you purchase foods, check packaging dates to establish freshness. Stay away from broken and damaged items. Purchase rarely used foods in small quantities to prevent storage periods of one month or more, (especially during warm months). Store foods in insect-proof containers; glass, heavy plastic, or metal with screw-type lids, or store in a refrigerator or freezer. Properly ventilate the storage area to discourage these moisture-loving pests.

Foods with questionable infestations can be heated in a shallow pan in the oven at 120 degrees F (48.9 C) for 1 hour or place in a deep freeze at 0 degrees F (-17.8 C) for 4 hours; or heat in a microwave oven for a few minutes. After removing all food, food packages and dishes from the cupboard, shelves, or storage area, use a strong suction vacuum cleaner with proper attachments to clean all spilled foods from crevices behind and under appliances and furniture. Pull out heavy appliances from the wall and scrub with soap and hot water. After shelves are dry, cover with clean, fresh paper or foil. It is not recommended to use insecticides around food but if the infestation persists;

Clear out kitchen and put all food that may be affected into the freezer. Spray Raid or call a professional pest control service to tackle the problem. If using a strong chemical be sure to wash all shelves and walls before returning the food to the shelves.

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 website