Trying to get onto ABC Radio

As of a few weeks ago, when my 6PR show wound up, I no longer have a radio show.

I’m trying to rectify this by getting onto ABC radio. That advantage of this is that it could potentially lead to a national profile, as the show could be syndicated nationally (as Dr Karl is).

Ultimately this could of course lead to me finding a publisher for my book. I’ve sent a few emails off, but with no joy as yet. If you’d like to join the campaign to get me onto ABC radio, you might want to send an email to either or both of and

Millipedes and Coopex.

Reader Kath asks

Hi again! We get literally invaded by thousands of disgusting Portuguese Millipedes every year. The only thing I’ve tried that works is mixing powdered Coopex with water & spraying round the perimeter of the house-have tried drenching a square metre of concrete & shining a desk lamp on it overnight=BIG pile of dead millipedes in the morning. They are a huge problem in lots of semi-rural areas (not sure about metro) Any advice or anything better than Coopex? We have dogs, chooks, fish, ducks & a horse (& kids!) so a bit concerned how ‘safe’ Coopex is? Thanks heaps,

I have the same problem, although perhaps not as bad as Kath.

The solution that Kath suggests – Coopex – is a good one. This is simply a powdered form of a common insecticide – permethrin – that you make and use yourself. You’ll also find it in many house and garden insecticides, but the beauty of making it yourself is that you get much better value for money.

Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid, and is the safest class of insecticide available. In terms of its impact on humans or animals. You can get this information from its MSDS, which says that it has an LD50 for rats of about 1g/kg.

This means that a rat has to consume 1g of permethrin per kg of body weight to have a 50% chance of being lethal. This is a very high amount, and renders it essentially harmless. So when you’ve made it up as a solution and sprayed it around, there simply isn’t enough there to be a hazard to any animals or children.

So make it up according to the instructions, and splash it around with a watering can. In wet weather like this, that millipedes love, you’ll need to reapply it regularly.

Windex Loses Confidence in Itself

There are many products that we recognise immediately – when we think of fly sprays we think of Mortein. When we think of furniture polishes it’s Mr Sheen.

And when we think of window cleaners it’s Windex. At least it used to be – now it’s Mr Muscle:


Now, as it happens, Mr Muscle and Windex are both SC Johnson products, and have been for years. Most people probably weren’t aware of this, but there are a lot of products that are made by the same company – Mortein and Pea-BeU, Dynamo and Cold Power, and so on.

The reason that this information is hidden in the fine print is that they want to conceal from consumers the truly limited range of choices that there are – that when you are choosing between OMO and Surf all the money is still going back to Unilever, and the choice between the two is all about what marketing claims will capture your interest.

It is therefore odd, to say the least, to see two brands on the same packaging. It gets across the idea that the Windex name itself doesn’t carry enough clout, and it needs the Mr Muscle branding to convince people to buy it – you know, as though someone walks into the supermarket looking for a window cleaner and sees Windex and says “Windex – never heard of it. Oh wait – it’s a Mr muscle product. It must be good.”

If this scenario strikes you as odd I would agree with you. I suspect what’s happened here is that this is a decision that has been made overseas (perhaps due to falling Windex sales) as is beginning to happen more these days. Overseas, Mr Muscle is a bigger brand than it is here. The main reason is that Reckitts Benckiser don’t have anywhere near as great a presence in the US as they do here and in the UK.

Consequently, in Australia, Windex is far more known than Mr Muscle. So I think it’s a marketing mistake that will hurt their sales. The other reason I think this is that Mr Muscle is generally associated in most people’s minds with heavy duty cleaning – ovens and so on, and they might not want to put heavy duty cleaning chemicals onto glass.

Part of this perception may be the idea that the formula of Windex has changed, and it now contains these harsh chemicals.

So I think that SC Johnson have made a mistake here, and a very odd one at that.

Cleaning Fish Smells out of a Fridge

Reader Marisa asks
I need help, I had raw fish in my fridge and the liquid of the fish leaked onto the fridge, I didn’t realise for two days, I’ve tried everything even Shannon lush’s suggestion rub normal bathroom soap onto a pantyhose and rub the inside of the fridge! My fridge smells really bad and it’s a new fridge!
Any suggestions.

Soap will be no good to you in this application as the fish smell is not a fat or oil, it is an amine. Also, panty hose is simply an open weave light nylon cloth that has no special cleaning properties whatever.

Amines belong to the same class of chemical as urine and sweat, and they of course stink. In this case, the chemical is trimethylamine, and the way to remove it is with an acid. Since the fridge is a food area, a good place to start is with vinegar. That should protonate the tertiary amine group, remove the smell and make it water soluble so it wipes up with a sponge.

If that doesn’t work try lactic acid (Ajax Spray and Wipe), Citric acid (Shower Power) or sulphamic acid (BAM Easy Off Power Cleaner).

If they don’t work, try Harpic Toilet Cleaner – it’s a weakly acidic powder (bisulfite) that should do the job.

If they don’t work, next is Ajax Powder Cleanser (an oxidiser) and last resort is an oven cleaner (BAM or Woolworths caustic cleaners). But I doubt you’ll need to go that far. Let me know how you get on.