Your type of sink will determine what you use to clean it

This week we had more than 40 questions by email, [email protected] And they were great questions. I want to share those with you because if one person has this problem, others do also.

But first, I would like to solve a mystery for some homeowners. Who doesn’t like a good mystery? I know I do. Well unless it has to do with my home. Those mysteries are no fun. A customer was in the store and asked me how to get rid of a hard water stain at the bottom of his sink. My first question was what kind of sink did he have? If it’s porcelain, well then it’s easy – Delete Germ and a 3M scrubby sponge. Put a ring around the stain and then start cleaning. It will clean up immediately and then you want to rinse right away. End of story.

But when I asked my customer about his sink, he said “how am I supposed to know?” I asked him if the sink and the countertop were all one piece and he said yes. Those are man-made, marble counter tops. And if you read this article often then you know, they are delicate. These tops have to be cleaned with different products. You can use Bring It On, or Gel Gloss. They will take a little elbow grease, but they are safe and will provide a protective coating, that repels water stains.

Now if you are still confused about what kind of sink you have, look under the sink. If the bottom side of the sink looks chalky, it’s a man-made product.

Now to the email …

Question: I have couple of very noticeable burned (black) marks on my oak hardwood floor. Can anything be done to remove the burned marks without replacing the oak plank? Is it something I can do myself?

Answer: You know not all dark marks on the floor are burn marks. Some are pet stains. And if you have a pet that has left a dark mark on the floor, the answer is about the same. If it is a pet stain, and you can catch the stain while it is still white, the answer is White Ring Remover. White Ring Remover stinks, but it will remove a white mark on a floor or any other material that is waxed. The white mark is moisture caught between the layers of wax and varnish. Just wipe White Ring Remover across the stain and let it work. Sometimes you will have to do it several times, but it works. But if the stain is really a burn mark, well you will have to work much harder. But it’s doable. Sand the mark down to remove the varnish. Use oxalic acid to bleach out the stain. Then stain the floor again and varnish to provide protection.

Question: My parents (83 and 97) are finally selling their house to move closer to family. Their kitchen cabinets are about 18 years old and were made of cheap wood. They’ve never really been cared for and as a result have become dried out and have a greasy feel to them. I have tried in the past to clean with Murphy Oil soap to no avail. Can you recommend a product to help?

Answer: Don’t worry, this is easy, and I promise the cabinets will look so much better. First clean the cabinets with Clean-A-Finish by Howards. It’s a safe soap to use and will remove 18 years of good cooking. Then use Restor-A-Finish. This will even out all the color on the cabinets. You might want to put on two coats. Let it dry between coats. Then provide protection with Feed-N-Wax. They will look good and they will smell good too. Feed-N-Wax has orange oil in the formula. Good Luck!

Question: We were badly flooded after Hurricane Harvey. About four feet of water sat in our house for almost two weeks. We have rebuilt and are back in our home again, but the brick on our fireplace still looks dirty. But everything else is clean and brand new! Do you have any suggestions for cleaning our fireplace or any product that I could use that would make it look better? I love reading your column in the Houston Chronicle!

Answer: Use TSP. You will find it in your local paint or hardware store. It comes in a powder, or a liquid. My experience is with the powder. Wear gloves and protective eye wear when cleaning. Cover the floor or any other area close by that might get splashed by cleaning. Don’t let the look of TSP confuse you, this granule is super strong. Mix it up according to the directions and clean with a plastic bristle brush. Try and use the hottest water that you can. Take a small area as a time. Then rinse with clear water. If you don’t want to do this…paint it. Painted brick really will update the fireplace.

If you cannot find the products mentioned here locally, you can find them at

. Click on Shop Johnnie’s Favorites, or call the store at 210-341-1573. Email Trudy Chuoke Lesage at [email protected] Mail can be sent to Johnnie Chuoke’s Home and Hardware, 2361 NW Military, San Antonio, TX 78231.

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