Ask Andy

Quick Tip
For easier and better dishwashing, add two or three tablespoons of vinegar along with the dishwashing detergent when washing dishes. The vinegar cuts the grease and helps everything–plates, silverware, pots, pans–sparkle.

In Need of Trim
Hello Andy, I’m having my condo carpeted throughout, except in the kitchen area, which will have ceramic tiles. Between the two rooms, I would like to install a carpet/tile trim where the carpet meets the tile, but so far I’ve not found any stores in Pattaya that stock the trim I need. Have you any suggestions where I could get it?

Boonthavorn has the trim you need, Dave. The huge home supply store on Sukhumvit (between Central Road and North Pattaya Road) carries a wide range of trim (the Thai word is khioo; rhymes with the letter “Q”). If they do not stock the color and type you want, they will order it for you. Check it out. As an option, I found a company, Alusite Precision Co., Ltd, which manufactures a variety of trim products in Chachoeng Sao. They export 100 per cent of their production to foreign markets, but will begin marketing in Thailand shortly, kicking off their efforts next month at the Bangkok Architect Exhibition. In the meantime, Alusite’s Khun Laytee told me that they will fill a special order and deliver it to you if you call the factory direct (038 842-748). First go to their Website (, identify the items you want to order, and provide the product code when you call the factory.

Healthy Stash
My husband Alex and I have just started taking vitamins, Andy, and I’m wondering where is best place to keep them? Alex says we should store them in the fridge to keep them fresh. I think that’s not necessary because they’re in bottles, and that we should keep them with other medicines in the bathroom medicine cabinet. The pharmacist says mai pen rai–anywhere will do. Any thoughts?

Like you, Pam, many people store their vitamin and mineral supplements in the bathroom cabinet without realizing that it is the worst choice. The room is too humid and is subject to frequent changes in temperature–both of which can reduce the potency of the vitamins and shorten their lifespan. But your husband’s suggestion–the fridge–is not much better. That’s the place most people store their vitamins, but it, too, is humid and the frequent opening and closing of the door and the containers allow the vitamins to be exposed to moisture as well as warm air, then cold–again and again. These fluctuations make the pills sticky and diminish their effectiveness (the scientific term is a process called deliquescence). Keep supplements out of the kitchen altogether. Instead, put all vitamin and mineral supplements in an air-tight container and keep them in a cool, dry place. That’s often difficult in Thailand unless your home is air conditioned. If no AC, find the most temperate location (ideally, under 80 degrees for both temperature and humidity); a hallway closet might work, or a bedroom drawer.

Moaning After
Andy, I must admit that last night I thought I had met my future ex-wife–a lovely young lady who lured me with her sex appeal and her moist red lips. When I woke up this morning, the sex appeal was gone but I found remnants of her rich red lipstick on my sheets and pillow cases. How do I get those stains out of my bedding?

Lipstick stains are something you should tackle immediately, Casey, and this is the best way to do it: Dab a little mineral oil on the stain, wait 10 to 20 minutes, then blot up the  oil with paper towels. Rinse with cool water and wring well. Now sponge the spots with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Any remnants should wash out in the laundry.

Pocketful of Rai
Seasons Greetings, Andy. As a newcomer to the Kingdom, I need to ask about the many references I see and hear in regard to a ‘rye of land’ and a ‘wha of land.’ What’s a ‘rye’ and a ‘wha’ and how do they relate to yards or meters or acres?

No problem, Perry. First of all, the phonetic spellings are ‘rai’ and ‘wah.’ Secondly, beginning with wah–the smaller of the two measurements–1 square wah is equal to 4 square meters or 43 square feet. A parcel containing 400 wah would be the equivalent of 1 rai. That one rai of land converts to 1,600 square meters or 17,222 square feet. You might also see the word ‘ngan’ used as a land measurement here; that’s the same as 100 square wah (400 square meters or 4,305 feet). As to acres and hectares, you can figure that 1 acre is about 2-1/2 rai; 1 hectare is slightly larger than 6 rai.

Fungus Among Us
I just came across some clothing that I’d left at the bottom of a hamper for months, Andy, and found a bunch of mold stains on otherwise nice shirts and shorts. Is there anything I can do to get the stains out?

Sure, Archie. To remove mildew stains from clothes take the stained items out to your balcony or your yard where you can brush away the mold without scattering fungus spores in your house; brush thoroughly. For washable garments, pretreat by rubbing detergent into the dampened stain, then launder in hot water, detergent and chlorine bleach (if bleach is safe for the fabric). If the stain remains, sponge it with hydrogen peroxide, then rinse and launder. Items that are not bleach-safe should be soaked in an oxygen bleach that is safe for colors, then washed. Take non-washable fabrics to a dry cleaner and tell them what the stain is (ra is the Thai word for mold).

Stained Glass
My husband like drink coffee too much make every day but never to wash glass pot. Him say stain in pot no problem. Think better because after wash maybe soap stay in pot and coffee taste no good. How I can do?

Valid or not, your husband’s concerns are shared by coffee lovers around the world, Toi. There are several alternatives to scrubbing the pot with distasteful detergent. My favorite is soaking the coffee pot with equal parts vinegar and water. Allow the mixture to sit for a while, then rinse and wipe with paper towels. If the pot is badly stained, reduce water by half. As an option for stubborn stains, add several tablespoons of baking soda to the vinegar, allow it to bubble and soak, then scrub with a non-abrasive sponge. Another option you might try is a cleaning method we used when I managed a restaurant in a previous life. At the end of each day, we poured some salt into coffee pots, added ice, then swirled the mixture until the pots were clean.

–Handy Andy

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