Ask Andy

Cool Colors

Andy, I’ve been told to keep my nail polish in the refrigerator so that it stays fresh longer. But I find that when itís cold it becomes thicker and harder to apply. Is there a better way to keep it fresh? –Betty

Many nail polish aficionados swear that keeping fingernail paint in the refrigerator renders the liquid a little thinner and easier to use, Betty. Indeed, such advice to refrigerate nail polish has been repeated in numerous newspaper “household hints” columns, and many users agree. However, like you, many women (and select men) who have tried this tip assert that the cold temperature imparts undesirable qualities to the polish. So the jury is still out on this one. Where there is clear≠cut agreement is on the topic of keeping bottles of nail polish tightly capped when not in use. Air is the enemy of nail polish, rendering the liquid thicker and more difficult to apply. Therefore, to extend the life of the polish, even when waiting for one coat to dry before putting on another, recap the bottle tightly.

Gold Mold

Can you tell me something about cleaning gold? –Otto

The best way to clean gold is simply washing it in soapy water. For plain jewelry, soak for a few minutes in soapy, lukewarm water, then dry with a soft cotton cloth. If the item contains gemstones, do not soak. Just rub with a soft cloth dipped in soapy water, remove any residue with a damp cloth, then set upside down to fully dry. If dirt has become lodged in the crevices of your gold jewelry, it can be cleaned out using ordinary white toothpaste on a soft toothbrush. Then wash thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth. If your jewelry requires more extensive cleaning, take it to a professional.

Ziploc em up

In a recent column you said the best way to store onions is in a cool, dry, well ventilated place. But what do I do with unused onions that I have peeled, chopped, sliced, etc? –May

Youíre right in remembering where to store onions, May, and itís equally important to remember to not store whole onions in plastic bags; they need air movement to maintain freshness. As to peeled and cut onions, if youíll be using them within a week or so, wrap them in plastic or put them in a sealed container and place in the vegetable drawer of your fridge. For longer storage, after slicing or chopping the onions, lay them flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, remove from the sheet and store them in Ziploc bags or storage containers in the freezer.

Songkran Panes

We usually enjoy Songkran as much as anyone, Andy, but this year some revelers got out of hand and broke several windows on our house. (Donít ask why or how.) Anyway, never having replaced window panes, Iím wondering if you could tell me the proper way to do it, hopefully, step by step.  –Soo

Sure, Soo. Begin by removing the old glazing from the window. A heat gun works well for this, but avoid pointing it directly at the glass and be careful not to scorch the frame. Take out the small glazier points that hold the pane. Then remove the broken pane from the frame. Roll a small bead of glazing compound and lay it out where the pane sets on the frame. Center the new pane in the opening and set it snugly into the compound. Carefully install new glazier points, starting them by hand and pushing them home with the tip of a putty knife. Roll out a bead of glazing compound slightly larger than the size of the old glazing. Set the bead around the pane’s perimeter and pack it into the frame with a putty knife. Give the compound a beveled edge by angling the putty knife between the frame edge and glass (forming a triangle). Finally, run the knife around the perimeter, pressing the compound smooth and trimming the excess. Avoid messing up the fresh bevel by picking up the excess with a small ball of sticky compound.

Slow Flow

Our clothes washer is taking longer and longer to fill with water. Can you offer an explanation and/or a solution? –Norris

The most common reason for slower flow of water into a washer is blockage in the water inlet hose. So turn off the water and unscrew the hose at the tap side. Remove the filter and clean it well with a stiff brush. Refit the filter and screw the hose back onto the tap. (Donít forget to turn on the water when finished.)

Door Chore

My screen door to the patio gets jammed up and even slips off the tracks. Anything to be done? –Isaac

Vacuum out the top and bottom of the door tracks. Then clean the tracks with detergent and a reasonably stiff bristle brush. If the door is dragging at the bottom, manipulate the adjustment screw found near the bottom roller so the door frame rises off the track. Grease both top and bottom tracks with white lithium grease (which is excellent).

Out of Sight

Andy, when you insert shims to level a cabinet, board, etc., must the shims stay in forever or should they be removed after the screws or nails are put in?  –Willie

If you will not see the shims again (that is, if you will cover them with trim, for example), leave them in there. If they will remain uncovered and visible, you can take them out once the cabinet is securely screwed in place.

Different Strokes

I am attempting to paint the closet doors in my condo white. I am having trouble with too many brush strokes and the paint drying almost immediately. I have primed them, sanded them and kept my brush strokes to a minimum, as youíve suggested. I am using a latex paint (which you said is easier to apply), and I am using a high≠quality brush. Admittedly, I have little experience painting anything (okay, basically none, but surely I should be able to do this job. Right?) Help, what should I do? –Carlos

Assuming you are painting a flat surface, Carlos, you can eliminate brush strokes by using a smooth surface roller. For areas with variations in the surface, use a 4≠ or 5≠cm foam paint brush.



Signs of Our Times

Seen in a bar: Caution≠≠Drinking alcoholic beverages before pregnancy can cause pregnancy.

≠≠Handy Andy

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