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Discoloured counters? Paint on denim?

Hello Reena,

I would like to thank you for all your work in helping us live green! I have read a tip on getting rid of ladybugs. Where I live everyone encourages them in their gardens to eat aphids. I have always known ladybugs to be beneficial insects. What do you think?

— Rose

Dear Rose,

Ladybugs got their name in the Middle Ages during a terrible aphid infestation. Farmers gathered together to pray to the Virgin Mary for help. Shortly thereafter, ladybugs arrived and began eating the aphids and the crops were saved. The farmers named the little red beetles ladybugs, after the Virgin Mary who they believed had sent the insects as an answer to their prayers.

Just like ants, ladybugs are extremely beneficial to gardeners. Ladybugs eat huge amounts of aphids and therefore, as outside creatures, they are definitely a welcome addition. On the other hand, indoor ladybugs are another story. I have received many letters from people whose houses are infested and overridden with thousands of ladybugs. They don’t know how to get the problem under control as ladybugs are taking over their homes.

Hi Reena,

My daughter left her hair straightener on our new marble bathroom counter in the basement, and it has discoloured the counter. Is there any way to remove the “stain?” Also, which bookstores stock your book? I thoroughly enjoy your column and want to check out your books. Thanks for your time.

— Brenda

Hi Brenda,

Are you sure that you are dealing with real marble or could it be cultured marble? If you have cultured marble, the damage may be permanent. You may find someone who can sand it down and reapply a protective coating, but it almost certainly won’t match the rest.

If you have real marble, then you’ll need to hire a marble restoration professional to sand/grind away the damaged stone, rehone and repolish the area to match the rest of your countertop.

Whether you are dealing with real or artificial marble, you can attempt the following suggestions, but remember to test everything on an inconspicuous area first. For do-it-yourself repair, apply either non-bleach toothpaste or a paste of baking soda and water onto the stain. Leave for at least three hours and wipe. Or use three per cent hydrogen peroxide and cover it with a white paper towel and plastic wrap. Tape the sides of the plastic onto the counter to create a poultice which may draw out the burn mark. Some people use 35 per cent hydrogen peroxide for this challenge but the concentration is quite high which makes this much more risky than three per cent. If the mark remains, you may be able to hide the burn mark by applying bathtub paint over the area. In any case it would be best to call in the professionals as you don’t want to accentuate or enlarge the mark.

It is difficult to find my books in stores; they are available at household by calling 204-320-2757.

Hi Reena,

I am helping my daughter and son-in-law paint their new house. Before I changed into my paint clothes, I got white paint on my denim skirt. Can you please tell me what to use to get paint out? I really appreciate your help regarding this.

— Thanks, Vickie


Since the paint is more than six hours old, you will need to take aggressive action. In a ventilated area, soak the stain in methyl hydrate (found at your local hardware store). Test on an inconspicuous area first. Leave for 24 hours and scrub. Next, soak the skirt in dish soap and water, rinse and wash as normal.

Feedback from reader:

I was reading your column about a lady who had a burnt pot. I just had a pot with burnt relish containing sugar. I tried several different things to clean it but no luck. Then I bought a can of oven cleaner and sprayed the pot. I left it overnight and it came shiny clean. Just thought this sounded like an easier solution than boiling washing soda and sandpaper.

— Gaylene

Presenting Home Sweet Home workshops across Canada. If you would like me to visit your area and present an all-day workshop, please call 204-320-2757 or email: household [email protected]

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming!

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