Question: I live in France in a lovely old house with flagstone floors. I would like to know how to remove built up grime, and then how to keep them looking their best.
Answer: It’s time to get onto your hands-and-knees for this one. Scrub with a deep cleaner, like HG Remover (£7.45 per litre (covers 20-50 sq m)), with a scrubbing brush or plastic scourer. But take care not to get the floor too wet – you could loosen tiles. For any hardened stains, such as paint splashes, use a glass scraper held at a 45-degree angle. Never use scouring powder, wire wool or wire brushes as they’ll scratch.
Once clean, you can finish the tiles with polish to keep them looking great, but this isn’t essential. If the floor is porous (this is likely in the heavy-tread areas), you’ll need to seal it first, though never seal tiled floors with resin-based or polyurethane finishes because they might cause long-term problems by sealing in damp. Depending on traffic, you’ll need to reapply every year or so.
Question: How do I get the smell of damp out of my kitchen cupboards? I’ve tried washing them and then leaving the doors open, but nothing seems to work.
Answer: This depends on the nature of your damp. If it’s a local problem, you can use a dehumidifier. For smaller areas, it doesn’t have to be an expensive electrical one – there are dehumidifiers that use granules of silica to soak up that airborne water vapour. However, if the walls at the back of your cupboards are damp, the problem isn’t local but with the plumbing or structure of your house, and I’m afraid it’ll won’t be an easy fix.
Question: What is the best way to clean hard dripped wax from carpet?
Answer: Simply get some kitchen roll, lay it over the area and run a medium hot iron over the paper’s surface, but make sure the iron isn’t so hot that it will damage your carpet. Keep changing the paper and running the iron over it until all the wax has been soaked up. If there’s any coloured residue left in the carpet, you can remove it with a little white spirit.
Question: I am a visually impaired lady and I live in a bedsit with a small separate kitchen but it has no window. I burnt my dinner on Sunday night and I have tried using scented candles, bicarbonate of soda, Shake and Vac for the carpet and Febreze, but I still can not get rid of the smell of burning. Would you have any suggestions of what I can use to get rid of the smell?
Answer: It’s hard to say, because it depends on the furniture and fabrics you have, but have a go at simmering water mixed with a cup of vinegar for half an hour. Use plenty of water to make sure it doesn’t boil dry. If this doesn’t fix it, HG Air Neutralizer could help. It’s available from good hardware stores from £4.99 for a 400ml can, or check its manufacturer’s website.