I could sit for hours reading the lovely letters, notes and questions you send to me. I could, but I can’t. What I can do is reach into the bag and pull out a few messages to answer and for us to read and enjoy together.
DEAR MARY: Sometime ago you gave your readers a cleaning formula you’d received years ago from a professional housecleaner. The formula sounded way too simple to do anything. I work really hard to keep our clear glass and tile shower spotless, so I gave it a shot. Wow! The results are amazing. The tile has no soap film and the clear glass is really clear. You really gave us a winner in that DIY cleaning solution. (See “How to Make Ugly Soap Scum, Mildew and Water Marks Disappear Like Magic” for the formula and simple instructions.)
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Your column is so very practical and easy to follow. One tip that I have been using for a few years is to stash away any $5 bill that comes my way. By the end of the year I have a great Christmas fund. I have dipped into it during the year for emergencies, always replacing what I take out I has become my own personal Christmas Club! Thanks for being such a friend to all your readers. Barbara
DEAR BARBARA: I knew you’d love that tub and shower cleaner. I’ve never heard from anyone who didn’t! Good for you on that personal Christmas Club. Saving is its own reward for the personal joy and satisfaction it brings. I’m proud that you’ve made this a personal habit.
DEAR MARY: I read your column in the St. Paul Pioneer Press about cleaning windows. As dirty windows are my pet peeve, I would like to tell you my experience with stubborn water spots. After spending $30,000 on windows for my home a few years ago, I kept developing these fine water spots on a few windows in particular, which turned out to be a residual effect from sprinklers in my flower gardens. I tried every single window cleaner on the market including CLR. I employed every “old wive’s tale” cleaner but without success.
The stubborn spots remained. In desperation, I called Pella (the window manufacturer) and explained it to them. They told me to use Bar Keepers Friend Liquid Soft Cleaner from the local hardware store or online. It worked like a charm. I applied a small amount and used a circular motion to scrub the spots; wiped it off with a damp paper towel. Since then maintain my clean windows with regular window cleaner. Couldn’t have been happier. I enjoy your column! Mary Pat
DEAR MARY PAT: Thanks for the tip. I get plenty of mail from readers dealing with stubborn water marks on shower doors—so stubborn it seems nothing will remove them. Hopefully, someone with that problem had the willingness to test Bar Keepers Friend Liquid Soft Cleaner on the spots and report back the outcome. I’m hopeful it will be equal to what you experienced with your windows. Thanks for the tip!
DEAR MARY: Is the bathroom all-purpose cleaner you wrote of recently (50/50 rubbing alcohol and plain white vinegar) safe to use on cultured marble? I love these tips. Thank you! Katherine
DEAR KATHERINE: Yes, as long as it is truly cultured marble. The resin used in the process of manufacturing cultured marble makes it very strong and stain resistant. Some cultured marble manufacturers further suggest using car wax or a special countertop wax like Jubilee Kitchen Wax to shine cultured marble. Again, always apply the wax to a hidden area to make sure it won’t damage or discolor the cultured marble—out of an abundance of caution.
Once you are satisfied, apply the wax to the sink or countertop according to the label directions. Most will recommend to let the wax dry for 15 to 20 minutes. Once dry, use a clean, damp cloth to remove it. Follow that with a dry cloth to remove any remaining wax. CAUTION: If you are using wax in the shower or tub be sure to test for slipperiness before getting in again.