Household solutions

Here are some interesting solutions to everyday situations.

• To avoid paint fumes, add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to a gallon of paint and mix well. Supposedly the extract won't affect the paint color and the house won't stink like paint; instead it will smell like vanilla.

• Getting labels off can be a sticky job. Use a 50-50 solution of coconut oil and baking soda to remove that sticky residue.

• After multiple uses, towels seem to get a funky odor to them even after they're washed. That is because detergent and fabric softener gets built up on them and makes them unable to absorb as much water. To fix this, wash them once with hot water and one cup of vinegar. Wash them a second time with hot water, only this time add half a cup of baking soda. This will strip the residue from them and the towels will smell fresher again.

• A hair appliance drawer in the bathroom is a great idea if you have an available drawer. Have an electrician put plugs behind the drawer you intend to use for this purpose, then cut the back of that drawer out, or have someone drill holes in the back of the drawer and plug your appliances in. They are out of the way when not in use and immediately available when you need them.

• Do you knit or crochet? Does the yarn get tangled or unruly? Consider putting the yarn in a kitchen colander and stringing the yarn through the little holes. You can have several colors going at the same time because there are so many little holes in those colanders.

McClatchy News Service

Cleaning an enameled sink

Q: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers do a great job on my kitchen sink, but cleaning a sink like mine is not one of the uses specified in the product's directions. It's a white enameled cast iron sink from Kohler. Am I making a mistake using the Magic Eraser as a sink cleaner? If I am, can you suggest a good cleaner that will not take away the shine?

A: Procter & Gamble said the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser should not be used on an enameled cast iron sink because it can remove the glossy finish.

Kohler suggests cleaning the sink with Fantastik Antibacterial Heavy Duty All Purpose Cleaner, Formula 409 Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner, Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner, Nature's Source All Purpose Cleaner or Soft Scrub Gel with Bleach. If a stubborn stain develops, the company recommends using abrasive cleaners sparingly.

Removing baked-on oil

Q: I baked vegetables on a tray with olive oil, and the oil burned onto the tray. How can I get it off?

A: Try Dawn Power Dissolver. It's not a dish detergent, but a pretreatment. Spray it onto the dry tray and let it sit awhile before rinsing. You may have to repeat if the oil is really stubborn.

The product can be hard to find, so call around to stores in your area. It's available at some supermarkets and hardware stores.

Akron beacon journal