Old trunk in dire need of deodouring

Q: I have an old trunk in my basement storing blankets, etc. It is off the floor and we have never had dampness in the basement. This is the first time I have noticed a musty smell when opened. I have removed everything, and the inside looks fine. What can I do to get rid of the smell, so that I can continue to use this large special trunk which is now 50 years old?

Also, please provide some suggestions to clean my washer, dryer and dishwasher.

A: If the trunk is wood, clean it with Murphy’s Oil Soap and water. If it is plastic, clean it with dish soap and water. If the trunk is fabric on the interior, clean it with shaving cream. If the trunk is lined with paper or cardboard, dampen a cloth with vinegar and a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender or orange. Wipe and dry. Leave the lid of the trunk open until it has aired out and is completely dry. Store a container of cat litter in the trunk to absorb excess moisture.

To freshen up your dishwasher, run a package of Tang orange crystals (or vinegar) through the cycle. To freshen up your washing machine, add 1 cup (250 mL) of white vinegar to each load for the next few weeks. To freshen up the dryer, wipe it well with dish soap and water. Another important step in cleaning your dryer is to remove any lint build-up from the lint trap after every use. Although the lint build-up may not be excessive, this excellent habit will keep you from ever allowing the lint to build up to a dangerous point. In fact, lint is often collected by campers to use as a starter for campfires. Clean the lint trap with an old toothbrush dish soap and water.)

Q: I have laminate flooring in my living room and leather furniture. Every time we sit down, they slide a bit. How can I keep them from sliding?

A: Purchase rubber gripper pads, they stop furniture from sliding. They are easy to use, just peel and stick.

Q: I spilled vodka, water and lime juice on an antique oak buffet/hutch (bottom part). The liquid left a white stain behind and I have no idea how to remove it. What can you suggest?

A: It sounds as though the alcohol in the vodka may have stripped the finish of your beautiful buffet. Before refinishing the piece, let’s try this handy solution. Smear the area with either non-bleach, non-gel toothpaste or mayonnaise. Leave for one hour and wipe. If the stain remains, lay a piece of brown paper or a tea towel on the area, and press with a warm clothing iron. Be careful not to burn the wood. Remove towel and observe the stain, if it remains you will need to strip and refinish the wood.


Fabulous winter tips of the week

  • Many people have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout their homes. But do you have a heat detector in your home? Since heat detectors can be used in areas where there is dust or cooking appliances, they work great in kitchens, utility rooms and garages. These are areas where a smoke detector would be giving off nuisance alarms. Since heat detectors are not interlinked, they can pinpoint the location of a fire.
  • Keep your car doors from freezing shut; spray the rubber seals of your doors with cooking spray.
  • Make slippery steps easier to walk on by sprinkling non-clumping kitty litter onto iced areas.
  • Keep your attic well ventilated. The colder the attic, the less melting and refreezing on the roof.

Reena Nerbas is a motivational presenter. Check out her website — reena.ca.

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