Freshen up your bathtub

STAIN BEETER: Borax and boiling water is the solution for beetroot marks
STAIN BEETER: Borax and boiling water is the solution for beetroot marks

I NEED some help in locating a product to re-enamel an old white iron bath. I’ve searched the web, but no luck here in SA. – SJ, Bedford.

I remembered an item in the column a few years back, stating Mend-A-Bath in Port Elizabeth sent teams into the country to repair baths when there were sufficient customers in the area. I spoke to the still helpful Wanda at the company, and found they no longer offer this service. However, they continue to supply exactly what you are looking for – a DIY kit, at R750. It contains the same products they use in their professional refurbishing, but it does not carry the guarantee. I am sending you Wanda’s phone number.

A couple of months back you published a mixture of equal parts methylated spirits, water and ammonia, and for the life of me I cannot find the article on what this mixture was for! Perhaps it was for stains on fabric? I doubt it, with the ammonia in it. – DR, Port Elizabeth.

It is in fact for cleaning stains off carpets. There are a few variations. “MR” of Port Elizabeth uses one part ammonia, one part meths and two parts water. “PC” of Somerset West uses half a cup of water with a quarter cup each of meths and ammonia. “MN” of Port Elizabeth uses equal quantities of ammonia, white vinegar (instead of meths) and boiling water. “For small stains I use one cup of each,” she wrote. “It works like magic!”

So I suppose you could take your pick, but I would suggest a test first in an inconspicuous place, just in case.

Recently you published an item about mending a torn page in a book with egg white. My mother mentioned there was also a way of doing invisible mending with egg white, but couldn’t remember details. Do you have anything about this in your old books? – HD, East London.

In the same book, there are instructions for both invisible mending and “stitchless mending”, and “stitchless” is where the egg white comes in.

With the damaged fabric wrong side up on a flat surface, spread the area with egg white. Cover the tear with a piece of fine fabric, slightly larger than the rip, and press with a hot iron to make the egg stick. The result is said to be almost invisible if repair is done before fraying starts.

On invisible mending – sew with a long human hair instead of cotton! This method is “…particularly effective on tweed”.

There was a request in your column for a way to tighten stretched jersey cuffs. You could buy “shirring” elastic – very thin, almost like cotton – and run a couple of rows around the inside of the cuff. – AJ, Grahamstown.

Excellent suggestion – many thanks for getting in touch.

I have discovered a beetroot stain on a white blouse. What is the best way to remove it? -– CB, Port Elizabeth.

Dampen the stain and sprinkle powdered borax onto the marks. Then stretch over a basin and pour boiling water through the stain, before laundering as usual.

Home market

I am looking for a remote for a VHS Sansui video machine, model VL-R250EI. I was given this machine, but unfortunately the remote and manual have gone missing. – Collinette, 084-754-5396.

Is there anyone who buys empty honey, marmalade and jam bottles? They have a value and need not be thrown away. – APB, (046) 622-5705

For quite a few years I have been searching for tinned plums. Does anyone know where I could get them? – Trish, e-mail

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