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Questions for Reena

Dear Reena,

I have a beautifully embroidered tablecloth. It has a wide border of tiny cross-stitch and handmade lace edging that my mother made for me. It took her many years to make this. It has a real ink stain on it. Because it has been there for many years I really don’t know how to remove it without damaging the cloth. Please help and thank you.

— Lee

Dear Lee,

To be honest, there are many types of ink stains. Therefore, what often works on one ink stain (such as hairspray) may not work on another. Begin with the easiest solution which is dish soap and water or shaving cream or hydrogen peroxide. Blot the ink stain and note if any of the stain has lifted. My guess is that you will need a more aggressive solution which is to soak the affected area in paint thinner for at least one hour, then smear the area with dish soap and water. Wash as normal. This process needs to be repeated until the stain is gone. The risk involved is that if the fibres are very weak they may break and some of the colour may fade. Test everything on an inconspicuous area first.

Hi there Reena,

Do you have any tips or tricks for cleaning horizontal blinds? Mine are dusty, and I always find it to be a difficult task.

Also, if I could be greedy and ask two questions, I have an old, sickly dog that goes to the bathroom in the corner of the dining room. I’ve been cleaning it up with Windex and other wet cleaners, and the moisture is causing the edges of the hardwood floorboards to lift. Any suggestions on alternative methods of cleaning that won’t damage the flooring? Thanks, Reena!

— Amanda

Dear Amanda,

Let’s begin with the blinds. For everyday dusting wipe metal blinds with a good-quality microfibre cloth and water or the dust attachment on your vacuum. Once a month, wipe slats with an unused fabric sheet. Doing this repels dust. Every six months, grab an old clean sock and a bucket of soapy water. Dip the sock into water and wash blinds. Follow up with a clear water rinse. Once a year, remove blinds and fill your bathtub with hot water, 1 tsp. dish soap and 1 cup white vinegar. Allow the blinds to soak for a half-hour or so. Drain the tub and rinse with the shower head or a bucket of clean water. Or bring blinds outside and hose them down and let air-dry.

If you are tackling mini blinds, slip your hand into a pair of socks. Dip hand into a bucket of warm, soapy water and hold the blinds between your two hands. Rub back and forth until you’ve cleaned the whole surface. Then reverse sides so the dry sock dries the blinds. Wipe mini blinds with damp fabric softener sheets to eliminate static that collects dust.

As for the hardwood floor mess; begin by making the corner less attractive to your pet by laying down a pointy rubber shoe mat or a piece of furniture or a pile of crumpled-up aluminum foil.

For cleaning, in some cases, using super-fine stainless steel wool and a small amount of mineral spirits removes urine stains and smells but you will have to finish the area to protect it (refinish by waxing and buffing the area). My favourite tip for urine on hardwood floors is to pour 1/2 cup three per cent hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 cup white vinegar onto the area. Leave for two hours and blot up excess. You may or may not need to refinish the area depending on the result. Test on an inconspicuous area first.

Since your floor is becoming damaged from moisture, you may opt to use enough baking soda and a small amount of water to cover the area. Leave for an hour and wipe. If the smell remains you will need to refinish the floor with several coats of finish.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming! Check out my website

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