Ask Me Anything: Rust Stains, Computer Printers, Dark Spot Remover

Got a question? Lots of readers do and chances are pretty good their questions just might be your questions, too. At the very least, you may find these answers to be somewhat educational, if not entertaining!

The rust in our city water leaves an unsightly brown build up in my bathroom sink made of vitreous china. I have tried homemade remedies and store-bought products, nothing has worked in completely ridding the unsightly stains.  Can you recommend something that will help make my sinks look new again? Diane

Bar Keepers Friend, available in the household cleanser aisle of most supermarkets and discount stores, will remove those stains without harming the enamel coating on porcelain, known as vitreous china. The active ingredient in Bar Keepers Friend is oxalic acid, an organic acid that works as a bleach and rust remover. I think you will be amazed by the ability of BKF to remove these stains! As always, it is vitally important that you test any product in an inconspicuous place first to make sure it will not be damaged before proceeding.

I currently have an HP printer, which works sufficiently well, but I get so few pages per toner cartridge, I cannot afford to use the printer at this price. I am willing to put the money out for a reasonably priced replacement printer, provided the toner is more affordable. Suggestions? Cate

The Brother HL-L2380DW is a great choice for people who need to print, scan, or copy term papers, tax forms, concert tickets and other black and white documents from home, home office or dorm room. This printer handles automatic two-sided printing; it’s pretty speedy too, at 32 pages per minute, with a cost-per-page of about 2.3 cents which includes wear and tear on the drum. This Brother model is quite easy to set up and will be a reliable addition to your home’s computer network. Expect this printer to work well with any current laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet including Chromebooks. The paper tray holds 250 sheets of paper and the printer itself has a draft or “save more” setting that allows you to conserve toner when the document you print does not require professional quality. But when that is needed, this printer outputs sharp, professional black and white pages at up to 2400 x 600 dpi resolution. About $129.

If you need a printer to do it all—wireless printing, scanning, copying and faxing—you want a high-quality all-in-one color printer. My pick for the best inexpensive is HP OfficeJet 8720 All-in-One Printer because it’s a workhouse that is not frustrating to use or difficult to setup. Print from anywhere using your smartphone or tablet. This beauty prints and scans two-sided documents in black and white or color. This printer has tons of additional capabilities including Wi-Fi direct (no network required), borderless printing and a legal-size scan bed—to name just a few.

Per-page print costs for the HP OfficeJet 8720 are lower than those of most competing inkjet printers, at 1.6 cents per page for black and white and 8.1 cents for color. This is an excellent, affordable, beautifully designed, all-around piece of equipment for home or home office. About $200.

I need a dark spot corrector for the face. There are so many products out there, most of which are quite costly, which if they worked, might be worth it.  However, I have yet to find anything that works! Nellie

I have a homemade remedy that’s super inexpensive and very effective for most people. But it requires daily diligence. Ready to commit to doing this for six weeks? Great!  Blend one onion in a blender until it is well pureed. Mix the blended onion with a cup of apple cider vinegar (no substitutes, please). Mix well then pour this through a small sieve and place the liquid into a small container that has a lid.

Blend one onion in a blender until it is well pureed. Mix the blended onion with a cup of apple cider vinegar (no substitutes, please). Pour this through a small sieve pressing out as much liquid as possible. Pour the liquid into a small container that has a lid. Label and store in the refrigerator.

To use: Dip a cotton ball into this potent concoction and dab onto the brown spots. Leave the mixture on the spot for about 30 minutes. Continue doing this daily (or twice daily if you can manage and want a faster result) for about six weeks to see improvements.

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  • Cally

    onion and apple cider vinegar….who’d a thunk?! I may be using this all over my legs… Thanks for the “recipe”!

  • Jeannie

    Any kind of onion?

  • Mike Clifford

    Regarding printer ink running out: about 3 years ago I read the suggestion to leave your printer ON. Just always. As a way of extending printer life. Since I started this, I’ve changed my inks twice. I don’t know why it works, but it works.