Ask Me Anything: Tamari, Dishwasher Cleaner, Expired Sunscreen, Toilet Rings

It’s time to reach into the inbox and pull out a few questions from my loyal readers—answers to which I suspect might be of interest to others.

I love receiving your questions, by the way, so keep them coming!

Dear Mary: What is “tamari?” It is an ingredient in a recipe I would like to make for Spiced Hazelnuts. Where can I find it? Thanks for any information you can give me. Catherine

Dear Catherine: Tamari is a type of soy sauce, usually used in Japanese food. You can easily substitute with Chinese light soy or regular Japanese soy sauce. You should be able to find tamari in the Asian section of a good supermarket or for sure in a Japanese food store. 

Dear Mary: Could you please tell me where I can purchase Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner? I used to get it at the grocery store, but they don’t carry it any longer. It is really wonderful for cleaning my stainless steel dishwasher and also glassware. Peggy

Dear Peggy: Your favorite Glisten Dishwasher Cleaner and Hard Water Spot Remover is difficult to find as you know, but readily available at Amazon. You might want to consider a cheaper alternative that gets even higher raves and reviews, Lemi Shine Multi-Purpose Appliance Cleaner, and a more far-reaching availability. Both produce the same result, in my experience, which I would rate as excellent!

Dear Mary: I have four bottles of sunscreen that have expired. I know that they have lost their full effectiveness as sunscreen, but is there another use? I hate to throw them out. Dorothy

Dear Dorothy: Great question! And good for you for realizing that sunscreen does expire (a good reason for not buying the big economy size unless you are a real sun worshipper). Karen Burke, M.D., a dermatologist and research scientist in private practice in New York and on the dermatology faculty at Mt. Sinai Medical Center tells us that all sunscreens have an expiration date printed on the label. Typically they last a year or two, and most are good for three years. The safest bet is to throw out old product and replace it. But in a pinch, here’s a secret: Sunscreen is still good for six months beyond its expiration date, says Dr. Burke. In that period, it’s better than nothing.

After that, if your sunscreen product has a moisturizing component (most sunscreens do) you could use them for hand lotion. Sunscreen also makes a dandy shaving cream, expired or not. Just make sure you mark these bottles clearly as “expired” so you don’t accidentally use them next summer or you could end up with a nasty sunburn.

Dear Mary: How can I remove a very stubborn ring in my toilet? I’ve tried several things, but nothing seems to work. I read your column every day. You do help a lot of people. Thank you. Anna

Dear Anna: That stubborn ring is likely a build-up of minerals caused by minerals from hard water that have built up over time. The best way I know of to get rid of that is to don a pair of rubber gloves and go after it with a pumice stone like Pumie Toilet Bowl Ring Remover, available in a home improvement, drug store, or online. Surprisingly, pumice will not scratch the enamel finish of a porcelain toilet. Use the pumice stone as you would a sponge. Many thanks for your kind words.

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1 reply
  1. kdonat
    kdonat says:

    The least expensive source I’ve found for pumice stone is Dollar Tree. It’s the same one that you use on your feet. I keep two in our bathroom, one for feet and the other for the toilet ring. Allow to dry thoroughly after use and store in separate marked zip lock bags so know which is which. They work great!

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