Q I have an automatic icemaker in my fridge and the ice cubes have started to have a "freezer burn" taste. I've dumped out the tray and had new ones made, and they still taste bad. I've also tried cleaning out the freezer and putting in a box of baking soda, and nothing seems to help.
A You've made some good moves, but because the taste lingers, you haven't reached the root of the problem. Here's what you should do:
• Check the condition of all foods and remove any old or spoiled foods.
• Clean surfaces in the refrigerator and freezer according to the manufacturer's instructions.
• Check that remaining foods in the freezer and refrigerator are well-covered and sealed.
• Turn off the icemaker (if it has a switch) and remove the ice bin and wash it with a baking soda solution (4 tbsp. per quart of water), then rinse and dry thoroughly before replacing the bin in the freezer section.
Over time, the ice cube bin itself can absorb difficult-to-remove odors from the freezer. Some manufacturers recommend that you replace the bin every two to three years, whenever it seems to be retaining objectionable odors and transferring them to the ice cubes.
• Check the owner's manual. It often has a troubleshooting section to help deal with problems like this and lists websites and toll-free numbers for consumer questions.
• An open box of baking soda in the refrigerator can help prevent the transmitting of food odors.
• An in-line filter may solve persistent odor or taste complaints. They're usually easy to install (come with instructions) and are found at hardware, home and appliance stores.
Includes information from "The Cleaning Encyclopedia," by Don AslettOther ways to stop unwanted mail
Several readers responded to a recent column with ideas of their own. Here are a few:
To stop catalogs go to: www.catalogchoice.org. It's free and you do not have to give a credit card number.
Many of the places that send mailings have a "Contact us" page on their website where you can send in requests to be removed from their lists. Some even have an "unsubscribe" name submission page for their paper mailings.
Or call the company and ask to speak to someone who can remove your name from their mailing lists. Magazines have a phone contact list (usually within the first couple pages near the table of contents page) where you can find the right number to call.
Some will ask you to send in a photocopy of the mailing label portion of what you received with a "Does not want" message written on it. Some will have an automated phone line where you leave your information. For all phone or online entries, make sure you have the mailing in hand. There are usually numbers the company will need to find your name.
GAIL L. IMIHY
I used to receive so many unwanted applications for credit cards and the like. This is how I approached the problem. I printed labels that said, "I hope you like receiving junk mail as much as I do." The letters always came with a prepaid postage return envelope. I would put one of these stickers on the application and put it in the envelope and send it back to them along with whatever promotional material came with it. (This increases the weight and the postage needed.) I have received very little mail like this after doing this for a couple of months. Either they didn't like paying for the postage or they just quit this practice, I am not sure. It works for me. I haven't received a credit card application in the past six months.
Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or call 612-673-9033, or e-mail email@example.com. Past columns are available at www.startribune.com/fixit. Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies.