Archive 18/11/16

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225 thoughts on “Archive 18/11/16

  1. Hey Dr. Chemical, how do I remove yellow urine stains from carrara marble tiles around the toilet? I\’ve tried lots of off the shelf cleaners but they don\’t remove it completely – would WD40 work?

  2. What do you think about the use of cellulase in some laundry detergents? How would this effect cotton fabrics long term, seeing it is cellulose? Would it thin healthy yarns over time, rather than just eat the fuzz? Thanks Dr. Chem.

    • The purpose of the cellulase is to whiten cottons. With time, cotton degrades, and little bits of the fibres break off and stick up into the air. These are called “pils”and have a yellowing effect as they scatter light. The cellulase gobbles up these “pils”by its enzymatic action and restores the whiteness to the garment

  3. Would you know how to remove sunscreen stains caused by the active ingredient avobenzone/butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane. It creates a yellow stain that is impossible to remove. I have learnt through the internet that the yellow you actually see is iron ions absorbed from washing the item. Some remedies given suggest oven cleaner or rust remover to remove the stain, as in effect it is rust you are seeing. This has been hit or miss, and can return on subsequent laundering. Do you have any other solutions? Love your site!

    • Ive been asked this before – apparently it’s difficult to remove.. I’d try oven cleaner as it is an excellent general purpose cleaner for organics. If that doesn’t work, try dipping the stain in a glass of acetone.

  4. Hi Doc, while we were away for ten days the power went off & we returned to a fridge/freezer full of rotting food. I\’ve tried everything: all surfaces/bins sprayed with vinegar; washed with detergent & hot water; washed down with a bicarbonate/water wash; turned off with doors left open to air; turned on with bicarb/charcoal/coffee sitting inside; removable parts left in the sun… nothing is making the smell go away. It\’s three days since we returned. Is it a matter of time? Am I doing something wrong? Have I missed some trick? FWIW the fridge is a F&P French door only 3 years old. Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Use oven cleaner on it. Spray it on, wait a few minutes for it to react, and then wipe off I had a similar problem myself recently. It works a treat.

      • Thanks for your quick reply! Does this instantaneously get rid of the smell? Or does it still take time to dissipate (doors open or shut?)Just wondering if the oven cleaner will damage the plastics in the fridge/freezer, since there’s a big label in the fridge saying don’t use anything other than mild soap to clean…. pretty desperate though. Should I have the fridge turned on or off? Thanks again.

        • The oven cleaner won’t damage anything in the fridge – it’s just caustic soda – and you don’t need to turn it off

  5. Hello
    Shannon Lush says to remove yellow stain from pillowcase (inside protector part ) to soak in lemon juice. It now has brown stain from doing that. How to remove?
    Thank you

    • Do you mean that the yellow stain is on the actual pillow itself? As is often the case, it’s not immediately apparent what it is. First thing I’d try is White King Stain Lift laundry prewash. Spray it on and put it in the sun so that it has a bit of warmth for the enzymes to do their thing. If that doesn’t work, try the same thing with Preen OxyAction. If they don’t shift it, get some Washing Soda, sprinkle a generous amount on the area, then wet it with a minimum amount of water and scrub in with a brush. Brush away excess powder and let it dry. One of those should work

      • Thanks. It is not the pillow or the pillowcase but the pillowcase-like cover that co vers the actual pillow that comes with pillow.After using napisan yellow is mostly gone. The brown stains are no doubt about it from residue from leaving lemon on too long without rinsing, that’s what I’m asking about. Thanks a lot.

  6. Hi there apologies if this has been covered before.
    How do I remove sunscreen marks from the inside of a car. Mainly the doors (near the window) and the hard plastic/leather parts like the dashboard.

    Many thanks

  7. Hi what can I use to get car oil off brick paving & grease & car oil off garage floor? I’ve tried easy off oven cleaner but it hasn’t worked.

    • Yes it’s too weak for such a large area. Go to a hardware store and get an alkaline-salt based degreaser. I think Bunnings sell a brand called Kenco. They work better than the old solvent-based formulas. Also be aware that nothing will remove the stains completely, as cement is porous

  8. Dear Dr Chemical
    I have only recently stumbled across your blog.
    I have recently discovered Red Star laundry sheets, they are bamboo sheets which are impregnated with a ‘concentrated’ laundry detergent (so not liquid or powder). Red Star claim to have no fillers and less water and a gentle lavender fragrance. The fragrance is much less than in other laundry detergents, there is no powder to get up my nose and there is much less packaging than with other options (it comes in a ‘foil’ package within a cardboard box, although I think the foil is really plastic). As you mentioned that it is difficult to tell if a laundry detergent has done a good job, could you please tell me if you know what components are in the formula and if you think it a very effective formula? I have recently re-tried Bio Zet liquid and I like the smell but prefer fragrance-free. Also, it is liquid (so mostly water) and it comes in plastic. Do you have a hands-down beats-all fragrance-free and eniro-friendly super effective laundry option?

    • I’m not familiar with that product but if you want a fragrance-free product you might want to look at the Amway product – I forget the name but Amway have a practice of making no-nonsense products that are often fragrance-free and I think that is true in this case

  9. I was using Citristrip on a dresser and some of the paint I was scrapping off got onto my stained concrete floors. I did not clean it up immediately (like an idiot) and when I went to sweep it up a couple days later, the paint flakes with the gel on them were stuck to the floor. I tried scrapping it up but I think I’m doing more harm to the floors than anything. It looks like the stain is coming off of the concrete. How do I get the Citristip residue off of the concrete without messing up the stain underneath?

    • A method which may work is to use metho on a rag to soak it up. It won’t damage the coating on the cement. If that doesn’t work try xylene (paint thinners), and if that doesn’t work try acetone, although acetone is quite aggressive and may damage the concrete coating. Or try a steam cleaner. Spray a fine jet of steam where it’s stuck to the concrete and you may find it will soften and peel away

    • Yikes! How much of it is there? For a small area washing soda might work. Sprinkle a generous amount on, wet with a minimum of water and rub in with a stiff sponge. Blot dry as much as you can, and then vacuum white powder left over after it dries

  10. I have an old insert from a wood fired boiling copper and was wondering what I can use to clean it but as the outside is very black from the fire (soot) and the inside has a green tinge to it. would love to find away to bring it back to its nice copper finish

  11. Hi I was wondering if you may have a solution to my problem. I have black marble tiles
    in my Shower recess and the ones on the floor have a white build up on them. It is very heavy wher the water pools slightly around the drain . I have tried Vinegar with a salt scrub, CLR, Lemon juice but nothing works. Would appreciate your view.

    • Depending on what part of the world you live in, it’s almost certainly Calcium Sulphate, an insoluble salt that causes problems in indutrial boiler systems all over the world. There is no chemical solution to this and unfortunately you must resort to a mechanical cleaning process. Try Ajax Powder Cleanser – it’s pretty good in these kind of applications

  12. I need to remove a white, paint like substance from the floor of my fiberglass bathtub. Bleach and awesome cleaner aren’t touching it.

    • Try Metho on a rag first – if that doesn’t work try Citristrip. Acetone would probably work as well but may attack the fibreglass, so you could try a bit on an inconspicuous area first

  13. We have a cherry coloured leather lounge bought only a month ago that our granddraughter has decorated extensively with biro. What is the best cleaner?

    • Go to an electronics store and buy some isopropanol – may also be called isopropyl alcohol. It’s used for cleaning electronic components but is a good ink remover. Alternatively try Orange Power Sticky Goo and Spot Remover (from the supermarket). In both cases severeal applications and a bit of rubbing will be required

  14. How can I remove cement from the whole side of my car? Would “oven pride” work. I’ve seen that muratic acid will work but don’t know what it is.

    • Oven pride is the wrong pH. Muriatic acid is hydrochloric acid and will work. I’d try 1:1 mix and wear a glove. The acid shouldn’t hurt the paint in a modern car, but make sure you rinse it with lots of water afterwards. But a better approach is probably a heat gun. If you heat the area the metal will expand at a different rate to the cement and it will flake off. Or ice cubes might also work. But that’ll happen anyway with use. As the car heats during tea day and cools at night the cement will eventually flake off

  15. Hi Dr Chemical,

    Thought Id share a worth while discovery:
    O’Cedar floor and shine is the best product ive come across (and ive tried many) that is a great floor cleaner and gets rid of shoe scuff marks on wooden floors!! I also make it up in a spray bottle to use as a general cleaner for other marks and cleaning the kitchen ( makes short work of grease and grime).

    And thanks to your advise on here over the years im finding the following particularly effective:

    Im finding methylated spirits a great toiler cleaner (not in the bowl) as its a disinfectant and evaporates (which means that dust accumulated on the toilet doesnt stick around as when a damp cloth is used).

    Shelleys Tile, brick and grout cleaner is a great addition to the toilet bowl to get rid of hard water build up and does a great job at removing caked on you know what.

    I use a squidgy to clean glass to achieve a streak free finish.

    Thanks for all your help so far.


  16. I sprayed leak seal on my cinder block foundation on the inside of my house under stairway now it smells like cat urine. How can I get ride of smell I have a dehumidifier going cause it’s a little damp. Any suggestions

    • Not familiar with that product, but if it smells like cat wee it’s an amine. Any weak acid will neutralize it – vinegar is a good choice as it has a residual smell of its own

  17. Hi Dr Chemical,

    We are having some work done in the bathroom and need to save some tiles. They are firmly stuck to the fibre cement backing and when we try to separate them they are very fragile and crack. Is there anything that will soften or dissolve the fibre cement or the tile adhesive without damaging the ceramic tile?

  18. does azadarachin produced from the oil of the nut of the neem tree really have all teh magical properties (insecticide, medicine, beauty products etc) as claimed
    i note you recommend rubbing in detergent on shower mirrors to stop misting. will this also work on glass shower screens to stop water droplet marks ?
    many thanks for your good wok
    Jim Price

    • Not familiar with azadarachin, but I’m generally sceptical of claims such as this. To minimise droplet marks on your shower screens use Mr Sheen. The silicone coating will stop the water adhering

  19. Hi Dr Chemical, fabulous site. I love the chemical solutions to our everyday problems household problems.

    Any suggestions for restoring shine/lustre to old laminate (the cheap thin stuff abt 15 years old) bathroom benchtops (charcoal colour with speckly bits) – the shine has gone and can see imprint from bottles, spray packs etc. I sometimes clean it with babyoil which makes it shiny and hides the stains but of course that wears off pretty quick so need a medium to long-term solution.

  20. hi Dr can I get ferrous oxide from grass treatment out of timber decking that animals have walked all over it has left dark blobs all over or will lt fade over time ,thanks


    • Unfortunately ferric oxide is very chemically stable, so you have to use something pretty strong to get it out – like 1:1 hydrochloric acid. Put some in a generic garden sprayer and spray onto an inconspicuous area of the decking first. It won’t damage the wood, but it may stain it (by reacting with the wood stain). And no, it’s the colouring agent in red bricks, so it won’t fade. The other thing that may work is physical removal with steam, but once again check on an inconspicuous area first

    • You need to use an enzyme cleaner on that. Get some Biozet Attack or White King Stainlift (look for “enzymes” on the labelling somewhere). Put some on the blood, leave it to soak for half an hour, then blot dry. You may need to repeat a few times.

    • Best to use non-soap products. Soaps are very alkaline and will dry your skin by stripping the fats out of it. An example of a non-soap product is Dove, but there are many others. Look for the phrase “non-soap” or “pH-controlled” (to pH 5.5) on the packaging somewhere

  21. I live in a block of units and tenants dogs keep pooing and weeing around the place,what would put a stop to this any idea’s.thanks

    • My only suggestion is to mask the smell that dogs use as identifiers with something that doesn’t smell worse. Put some vinegar in a garden sprayer and squirt it around the place – that’ll work if anything will

    • Yikes! Firstly blot up as much as you can with several rolls of paper towels. Then get some Kenco degreaser from Bunnings or auto accessory shop. Put some in a spray bottle and squirt it on, then blot dry. Leave it to soak in for about 10 minutes before bloting. That will eventually get it up, but if you’re in Perth and wanted to get a Carpet Cleaner in, the best one I have found is a mob called Clean Underfoot. His name is Duncan

  22. Hi Dr C. I love your website. I am renovating my old house (50 years – that’s old for Canberra). The metal casement windows have old fashioned winders that are dusty and grubby, with a few old paint marks. They are made of die cast zinc. Can you offer a chemical solution that will brighten them up? I know zinc is quite soft and I don’t want to use anything that will damage them. Thank you (in advance)

  23. I have a self cleaning oven but it still needs cleaning
    what do I use they tell me Mr muscle is no good for self cleaning ovens
    thank you

      • The best ever oven cleaner is Selleys Oven Plus Heavy Duty Gel – hard to find but the retailers that sell ovens, cook tops etc. usually stock it – try it you will be amazed. Cleans baking dishes/trays etc. too and glass on oven door looks great too! No scouring needed just spread it on wait a while and wipe/wash off – really baked on things might need a second go.

  24. Hi there. Oil stains from previous occipants of our house that makes the drive look unsightly. Have tried several proprietary degreasers and also a ‘product’ from Tasmania that ‘guaranteed its removal’ but left whitemarks on top of the oil patches. Obviously the paving bricks that make up the driveway are porous so perhaps they are too far gone. Can you please suggest something to remove the solid oil stains? Thank you

    • Yes you’re right about the porosity. Sprinkle some caustic soda flakes on the stains, wet with a minimum amount of water, then scrub it into the stain with a stiff broom. Squirt off with a high pressure cleaner (I saw some 2800 PSI units in ALDI the other day going very cheap)

  25. My son bought a house 4 and a half years ago and the grout residue on his kitchen and living are floors was never cleaned off properly. It has dried so hard that even scraping with a sharp blade does not budge it. What can you recommend to remove it as it is very unsightly. I heard you on Curtin radio today and thought you might be able to help? Thanks

    • BAM Easy Off Soap Scum and Shine (with Sulfamic acid) will do it. Or get some hydrochloric acid from the hardware store and dilute it 1:10. Don’t worry the fumes aren’t toxic. But make sure it doesn’t come into contact with anything metallic or it will mark it

  26. Q1. Best way (other than bleach) to remove huge amounts of moss covering from outside courtyard pavers and how best to prevent the moisture coming up through water logged winter soil on which they sit?
    And second Q2. is how best to remove engine oil from pavers as well?

    • Same answer for both – caustic soda (or caustic potash if you can get it). Make up say a 5-10% solution in a watering can. Spray it onto the moss and oil and let it soak for at least half an hour. Then squirt off with a HP cleaner. For the oil stains, you could also try this

  27. Hi Dr
    Need your help due to building upstairs cement has poured down on my glass windows downstairs and was left for a while until renovation was over. Now I have streaks and streaks of greyish marks on my window and seem to be embedded in it. Have tried all sorts of cleaning agents – no difference !

    • If anything will do it, hydrochloric acid will (use it 1:1 with gloves and safety glasses). But it may indeed be etched – cement is highly alkaline and will etch glass

  28. Dear Dr Chemical,

    Could you please suggest how I might clean possum urine stains from a white painted concrete fence.
    So far I have used liquid sugar soap but although it cleans the fence fine there still remain light brownish urine stains.
    They remaining stains are fairly slight and may have decreased to some extent but can still be seen against the white paint.
    Thank you in advance

    • Try some oven cleaner. Spray it on, wait a minute or so, then wipe off. If that doesn’t work, use an acid of some sort (Ajax Spray and Wipe with lactic acid). Last resort – bleach. But you’ll find they’ll fade in the sun anyway

      • Thank you very much for your suggestions Dr Chemical; I’ll try these and see how I go. At any rate as you say the stains will most likely fade in the sun so it should not really be too much of an issue anyway.


  29. Hi Dr Chemical,

    I have read many of your responses to treating mould to bathrooms etc. I just bought an old circa 1950s Queenslander that has painted asbestos ceiling in the bathroom. Will bleach or other products break down the ceiling to the point where this could become a health hazard. Do you have any suggestions? (Btw the mould isn’t too bad – but will get worse if not attended to)

  30. Hi,

    I have my lawn sprayed by true green and the dripped these chemicals all over my cement I have dogs what can I use to get this off my cement I also heard to leave dogs off the grass for a few days this I do
    Is that correct

    • Not familiar with that product. What marks has it left on the cement? Also there’s no way that any lawn care product would be harmful to dogs

    • Bicarb soda. Use it as powder on a wet sponge. It’s an excellent deodoriser as it’s an amphoteric compound that will react with both thesmelly amines and free fatty acids

  31. Fastidious frenzied house proud types will know that Perth water leaves white to brownish stains on glassware. To clean this off, the product ‘CLR’ works well but I’m curious about why we need to use something other than water to dissolve the substance that was dissolved in that same water in the first place. I’m a dill at chemistry, but I’m thinking that even if the chemicals that cause these stains were suspended solids rather than dissolved, why can’t I just wipe them off?

    As a bloke who left skool early, I’m in awe of you Captain Chemistry – or Dr Chemical if you prefer.

  32. It would be appreciated if you could please advise how to remove mould/mildew stain from fabrics. Soaking in vinegar and drying in the sun does not help.

    • It’s difficult without damaging the fabric (especially if it’s 100% cotton). The mould intertwines intimately with the material and is not easily removed. If anything would work it’s something highly alkaline, as organics can often be dislodged by this tactic. Spray some over cleaner onto it, let it soak for a few hours and then wash normally. If it’s a synthetic fibre it might work, but if it’s 100% cotton it probably won’t, and may damage the fabric

  33. Hi Dr Chemical,

    I recently unearthed some old gym equipment and found it with signs of rust. I had previously found a section when you discussed the use of Citric Acid to remove it. Would the Citric acid that can be purchased from Coles be appropriate to do the job? Is there a specific temperature that this will work best in or just use on a west sponge?

  34. HI, I have just built a corrugated galvanised fence with merbau decking boards trimming along the top.
    I have oiled the merbau however it is leaching down onto the gal sheeting.
    I have tried cleaning this off with turps but it is not working.
    Any suggestions what I can clean it off with?

  35. G’day Dr Chemical,
    I had a new windscreen fitted to my old Ute some time ago.
    Prior to fitting they removed a protective film from the inside then cleaned it with an unknown cleaner. I was never happy with its “smudgy” appearance so I attacked it with Metho that seemed to work along with its regular cleaning with Windex or Mr Sheen for a while.
    The other day I remembered I had some Acetone from a previous dilemma, so I tried it on the inside of the windscreen. That was a wrong move so I went back to the Metho (hic) which is just not doing the job.
    I’m a bit fussy and I’d like to have a “Crystal clear” windscreen to look through.
    Can you please assist me with something that’ll do the job?



    • Use a caustic oven cleaner on it. I like BAM Easy Off. Spray it on, wait a couple of minutes then wipe off with an absorbent wipe of some sort. Then use Windex to remove the last traces of the oven cleaner with disposable paper towels. Don’t use anything other than paper towels and Windex on the inside of your windscreen

  36. I mended a China teapot lid with superglue. Whilst letting it fix I left it on a marble surface which now has a perfect circle of white looking scum that is fixed onto the marble, how can I get rid of this mark?

    • Acetone. Wet a paper towel with it and soak it for a while (but not too long or the acetone will evaporate) then rub and rub and it will come off.

  37. I have an antique silverplate tray … the serving surface has a yellow film / yellow color. I’m sure it’s surface not underlying metal. I’ve tried all the silver tarnish removal methods as well as acetone and a Bix stripper. Still there. Any additional ideas? If so, how long should I leave whatever you recommend on? Maybe I’m too impatient with the acetone and stripper. Thanks,

  38. Do you have any suggestions for removing melted shoulder pad from a jacket. It might have happened in the dry cleaners. It looks like oil and feels sticky. I tried Sard soap, ironing on top of brown paper but not much change. Thankyou

    • Put it in the freezer. Once it’s frozen you’ll probably be able to pick it off. There’s no simple chemical solution. Or a steam cleaner with a jet nozzle should do it

  39. Hello Doc,

    My parents had a new bathroom installed.

    They were told by the tiler that using bleach will both dissolve the tile glaze and the grout. The tiler said they had to re-lay new tiles and re-grout, where bleach has supposedly done this in new homes and installations.

    From that point on, bleach has never been used and it makes cleaning difficult.

    Will sulphamic acid also damage tiles and grout?

    Mould has already seemingly got into the silicone sealant, how do I get rid of this?

    My concern is there is nothing else, aside from steam, that will kill mould.

    I need to convince my parents that bleach is harmless.

    Kind Regards

    • The tiler is an idiot. Bleach will not dissolve grout or damage the tiles. Also, any fumes it produces are harmless. Just because something smells unpleasant or makes you cough or gag it doesn’t mean it is toxic. Sulphamic acid will not damage tiles, but is a strong enough acid to clean grout. It won’t damage it though

  40. I have a suede ladies jacket (it says pigskin on the inside label) and I have a gravy stain on the front of it that needs removing.
    I have tried putting cornflower on it to ‘soak’ up the grease but it’s still there.
    Help, as this jacket is new and I would like to continue wearing it!

    • Suede is possibly the hardest stuff to clean without leaving a water mark of some sort. I’d try blotting it with metho on a rag first. If that doesnt work put a minimum amount of Biozet Attack on it, work it in with your fingers and then blot dry. It’s important to use your fingers because the enzymes work best at body temperature of about 40 degrees

  41. Hi I have faint burn marks in my carpet from hair straightners and wondered if there was anything I could do to disguise It . Thanktiu for your time.

    • Tough one. All I can suggest is that the burning process will have embrittled the fibres and they are more likely to break away with mechanical agitation. So when you vacuum spend more time on that spot than elsewhere and with a bit of luck they’ll eventually be vacuumed up

  42. Please help if you can I have a house in Broome and the water there is full of silica our house has black tiles there is a white film over them and a build up I have tried every thing even used a grinder can you give any advise as what would get it clean it’s only 4 years old and looks twenty

    • I’m afraid if it’s silicates you’re screwed, at least in terms of a chemical solution. If anything will work, it’s Brasso. It has just the right level of abrasion to cut the surface back (and hopefully remove the silica coating) without scratching it.

  43. I asked Shannon about my external Windows that are marked and etched from continuous rainwater dripping from an overhead balcony. She said it was glass cancer and could only use sweet almond oil every few weeks to hide the problem. This did not work and as the window is at least 2 mtrs x 2 meters, in sun every chalky white spot stain can be seen from my lounge. I am quickly running out of ideas to solve this very ugly problem. It will be expensive to replace the glass.

    Can you help………please?

    • Yes I’ve heard the “glass cancer” comment. Glass of course is inorganic and doesn’t get cancer.

      If anything will work, an acid such as sulfamic acid will (BAM Easy Off Grime and Soap Scum Remover). You could also use citric acid (Shower Power) or Ajax Spray & Wipe (lactic acid). If the white stuff is mineral deposits this will remove it, but if it’s been there a while you might be out of luck. Although glass is very chemically resilient, one weakness it has is alkalinity. If there has been enough calcium carbonate on there for long enough, this will indeed etch the glass. And so that even when the mineral deposits have been removed, there will still appear to be stuff on there. All that’s happening is the are uneven surface where it has been etched is scattering the light therefore creating the impression of something on the surface.

  44. Hi Dr Chemical,
    Do you recommend steam cleaners for tiled floors and if so is there a particular brand you could recommend? Any particular features I should be looking for?

    • There are lots of little ones around, but if you want to get serious, Karcher make a very good commercial grade machine that allows you to adjust the amount of steam and water. I bough mine for $1600 online but they’re about $3000 retail. If you want a little one, a Steam dream is a good option

  45. i have some dark spots on a light
    coloured carpet not sure what was spilt on it any suggestions on what i
    might try to remove them they are about the size of a 5 cent piece

  46. Hey There Dr. Chemical,

    My blue age old toilet has always had (since I bought the house 22years ago) a Dark stain at the bottom that I always thought was the porcelain wearing away, don’t know if thats possible?
    Anything I can do?

    • If anything will work, it’s abrasion with Wet and Dry abrasive paper. Because it’s underwater it should work nicely (if it works at all). I’d use fairly coarse stuff

  47. Hi my kids have dropped small droplets of hand sanitizer on cream travertine marble floors which look like they are sealed which have left clear circle stains. Have tried many floor cleaners, ammonia etc and they won’t budge. Any suggestions?

    Many thanks

    • Caustic soda (that’s what drain cleaners use). Sprinkle say a generous amount (say 400-500g) into the sink. Then run a minimum amount of water onto it – just enough so that it goes down the sink. Let it soak for a good 10 mnutes. If that doesn’t do it then you need a plumber. Wear gloves and safety glasses when handling the caustic soda

  48. Hi
    We have a bored and with the showers and toilet they get the iron stain really quickly and bad, any tips on the best way to remove.
    Thank you

    • BAM Easy Off Soap and Grime cleaner should do it. If that doesnt work, hydrochloric acid (about 1 part in 4). Don’t worry the fumes arent toxic

  49. Dr Chemical, We drink a lot of water using the same glass rather than a new glass every time. Where we leave our glasses in blackish laminate, there is a white appearance I can’t seem to remove. Can you help please?

    • Bit hard to answer without photos. I’d try a mild acidic cleaner – Spray and Wipe (with lactic acid) will probably work

  50. Hello Dr Chemical hopefully you can help me ???? I am trying to soften rubber manifolds on my old Honda motorcycle, plus other rubber parts. I have tried to soak them in CRC, dot4 brake fluid. These old parts are not cracked or damaged only VERY HARD.

  51. Hi, we covered our new concrete pavers with the silver side down of silver darling used for house insulation, as protection whilst we were renovating our pool. When we removed the darling to clean and seal them the aluminum and perhaps the laminate from the darling has stained our pavers and we cannot remove it. We have tried acid etc and still no luck. Please help.
    Kind regards,

    • Try caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) – gardening places might sell it. Put a generous amount (about 1kg) in a plastic watering can and add about twice the volume of water as the volume occupied by the KOH. Careful – it will get very hot (wear safety glasses). While hot pour it on the aluminium and let it sit. It should dissolve it. If it doesn’t, hydrochloric acid (concentrated) should do it, but it will also dissolve the upper layer of the paver (although you won’t notice it later).

      Note, caustic potash is chemically similar to caustic soda, but stronger. Caustic soda is easier to get, and cheaper, so it might be worth a shot

  52. I had a spill of salad dressing that included tuna in olive oil, in a good leather handbag. There is a bit of staining on my wallet, on the strap and bottom of the bag. I’ve tried talcum powder, cornflour, washing up liquid and white spirit with only limited effect. Should I be more aggressive with one of these or try something different?

    • Oven cleaner. Spray some onto a rag and wipe on the effeccted area. It should come off but may dull the surface. Restore with Mr Sheen

  53. I use Paul Mitchell Freeze and shine hairspray. It has gotten all over my painted walls and wooden bathroom cabinets and I can not get it off. I have tried all cleaners with no success, can you help me?

  54. I need help with eliminating urine odour from bedding, seats etc., due to incontinence in a person who is disabled from Multiple Sclerosis.
    Hope you can help.
    Thank you

    • Vinegar is pretty good as it neutralizes the urea in the urine. Put some in a fine sprayer and just spray it on and leave it.

    • LPG is propane and butane. Natural gas is methane and ethane. Both classes of gases burn cleanly and produce plenty of heat. I suspect that the natural gas is cheaper, however. But also, be aware that gas heaters are not interchangeable between the two. They can be converted (by changing the jets) however

  55. My dog rolls around on our pool cover. The color rubs off onto my dogs fur, it feels like some kind of coating on his fur and turns him blue, the same color as the pool. It is very hard to wash off. My concern is if it could be toxic. What would cause the color to rub off a $2500 final pool cover.

    • Hmm. That’s an unusual one. Not sure what it would be, but you can be guaranteed that it’s not toxic – the days of toxic pigments are long gone. To get it off the dog, try wiping with metho. Keep it away from any mucous membranes (nose, eyes etc) or it will sting

  56. What are the ingredients in Freezer Frost Remover Sprays? I’d like to know so that I can make a homemade version.

    • I have no idea. Sorry. I didn’t even know such products existed.. I’ll have a look next time I’m in the supermarket and try to figure it out

  57. Hi Dr Chemical,
    I’m experimenting jelly soap that is bendable, squeezable, wobble and WILL NOT break up into pieces.

    I have tried many different ratios using ingredients of liquid soap, gelatin and simple sugar syrup. My liquid soap contain glycerin and diluted with distilled water.

    I wonder if by adding medical grade silicon powder will work to achieve getting a fun jelly soap that lathers, can be bended, squeezed in all directions and WILL NOT break up into pieces.

    Thanks in advance


    • Ten points for endeavour but I’m agraid there’s no simple solution to that. At least I don’t have one. Silicone is certainly worth a try

  58. Recently moved into an older house that has with well water. It was suggested I spray a tile cleaner on the tile, wait, then rinse. Late that night, we discovered the metal shower sprayer cord had come in contact with the chemical and dripped a yellow/orange stain down the wall on the tile. We’ve tried everything we can think of and nothing removes the stain. So hoping you might have a suggestion.

    • It’s probably iron. Hydrochloric acid will get it off. Wear gloves and safety glasses, mix 1:1 with water, put on a rag and it should wipe off. And don’t worry if you breathe the fumes – they’re not toxic

  59. Hello, I have a vintage 1950-1960’s walker doll with a plastic body /legs and vinyl head and arms. On her forehead there is some blotchy spots where it looks like the factory varnish has been marred by someone trying to fix her. I cleaned her up using Dawn dish soap for overall wash, white toothpaste and an old toothbrush for scrubbing/buffing tiny details, baby shampoo followed by a white vinegar rinse then a deep conditioner in her hair. After drying her and rubbing some baby oil into the vinyl I noticed the blotchy forehead. Should I remove all of the old factory varnish / paint on her face and repaint it ? Will acetone hurt the vinyl since it is older ? Is there a safer option that you would advice ?

    • Yes acetone will almost certainly damage it. You want isopropanol – it’s harmless and is an excellent general purpose cleaner. You can buy it from hardware store or electronics store (eg Jaycar).

  60. The house was power washed and now we have white streaks running down our asphalt drive way. We tried just hosing it off but the white streaks are still there. Any suggestions that you might have that could try. It had just been seal coated a month prior it looked beautiful, now we an eyesore for curb appeal. It also bothers us very much. There are at least 7 or 8 long streaks and big stain where it puddled near the front door sidewalk. thank you so much!

    • There’s no way it can be removed, particularly on asphalt, as it is very soft. But not to worry, it is not chemically bound to the asphalt and when it dries up it will eventually just blow away (in a few weeks)

  61. Hi sir I’m a painter I left 1/12 orange sure guard tape on new avers in high heat it left a tape residue I’ve tryed everything even gasoline they are not sealed yet help please . Thank you rob

  62. My questions concern mould please. Apparently I have mould – its not clearly visible – in drawers under two wooden bed frames with no air that circulates in them and on a piano and two legs of a dining room table and a bookcase that rests against an outside wall – would foam placed between the wall and the bookshelf stop this and the other places where there is mould would a treatment of 80 parts white vinegar and 20 parts water get rid of the mould please.

  63. Have chaise lounges that seem to have been stained by brick pigment coming off the house. Have tried lots of stuff to no avail. Any thoughts. Thx

    • It’s ferric oxide that won’t be cleaned off by any chemical process. The only options are physical removal – vacuuming etc.

  64. Hi Dr Chemical. What’s the best product/s to use to clean grouting and tiles in a bathroom that also suffers from dampness/mould? I’ve been cleaning the painted walls with a mix of bicarb and white vinegar, but that combination hasn’t been effective on my tiles and grouting.

    • I’m afraid the vinegar/bicarb mixture won’t clean anything. You’ve been listening to Shannon Lush too much.

      The best grout cleaner is the Ajax Professional Bathroom Cleaner. It contains phosphoric acid which will react with the upper surface of the grout, and leave a nice white layer of calcium phosphate on top

  65. I have a washcloth in the toilet drain, is there an acid that will dissolve the cloth and not damage the sewer pipe. My home is older built in 1972 if that helps to determine what kind of plumbing was used.

    • Hmm. Tricky. It depends on what type of cloth it is and what your plumbing is made of. The problem with an acid is the possibility that it will dissolve your pipes. Your best bet is concentrated bleach. Go to a pool shop and get some concentrated pool bleach (12%). You want to saturate the cloth and hopefully soak it. But it won’t happen immediately and would probably take at least a day for the bleach to degrade the material sufficiently for it to fall to bits. The other thing that might work is caustic soda. When the caustic mixes with water it gets very hot and in this case it’s he heat that may help, as it may soften he fabric enough for it to wash through. If you tip the pellets into your bowl it will get very hot and may even boil. If you can somehow then flush this past the cloth it may dislodge it

  66. Hi, my son’s milk has spilled in my leather handbag and soaked my leather purse – it stinks! I washed the lining but it has penetrated the leather underneath. Any tips? Thank you, Helen

    • Yep. There is no substitute for air. The milk fats are biodegradable, with exposure to air (oxygen). Put it in a well-ventilated area and leave it for say a week and it shoud be OK. If you could prop it open (can it be turned inside out?) that ill speed up the process.

  67. I have a 27 year old stain that has turn the material hard on a baby blanket I wanted to give as a keepsake. I don’t know what it is.The material is a cotton blend I think. I have tried the Dawn baking soda peroxide solution ,no luck.My next plan was to buy the product Goof Off .Any suggestions? Thanks

  68. I have brown coastal ants in my dishwasher. Can’t trace the source of entry. What is an effective and safe way to be rid of these pests?

    • I’m afraid there is no simple solution – you have to find the point of entry and stop them with Ant Sand

  69. Powder-coated Aluminium corrosion. Hi Dr Chemical. Firstly thank you so much for your extremely helpful information.
    The aluminium tracks/frames to a couple of sliding doors at my house have corroded. It’s most likely happened because of ‘a metal surface is exposed to a stagnant solution under conditions where the solution may become depleted in oxygen.’
    Would you please recommend a solution which i may paint or spray onto the corroded aluminium to inhibit further corrosion? I can provide photos and information i have gathered so far, if this will help.

  70. Hi, I have a polyurethane vanity basin that has had clove oil spilt on it. It is stained and seems to have gone into the layers. I’ve tried everything. Nail polish remover started to work but was melting off the top layer.

  71. Hi there, im wanting to know how to get out very old dog urine out of white sheets. I have washed, soaked and scrubbed. Nothing has worked so far

    • If it’s the smell, there is no substitute for air. Hang it on the clothesline for a coupld of weeks. If there is a mark use and enzyme cleaner (BioZet Attack as a prewash)

  72. I have heard anecdotally of people soaking a brick or lump of sandstone,in a bucket of petrol/gasoline overnight and then using this saturated brick or stone as fuel the next day..Just putting a match to it,and it will burn all night and leave almost no residue the next morning…Is this true..?
    Please advise

  73. Good Morning,
    I am not sure you are receiving this? it is the only way I can find on your web page to contact (I am not on social media) you when clicking on Ask me a question
    I have spilled some Harpic Flushmatic Blue toilet flush POWDER from the container onto my carpet, I have not tried to remove it as it seems it has a strong staining type composition?

    Hoping you can suggest a method to remove it.

    Thank you

    • It’s a very intense dye, but it should be water soluble. Repeated blotting with a wet cloth will eventually remove it, but it will take a while

  74. Ive washed my sofa seat covers now somehow they wont fo back on my sofa an looks like the underneath material has all shrivled and melted what do i do?

  75. We have a fibreglass motor home there are some marks from leaching on the timber walls through to the fibreglass it’s a light beige colour the timber has been replaced and the places where water was getting in is now sealed.
    We have been told it would polish out not true.
    A vinyl wrap guy said because the marks are a bit porous vinyl wrap won’t stick.
    We were told if we get the section sprayed the colour will come through after its sprayed.
    I read to try ronstan smart gel oat restorer any ideas.

  76. Good day Dr.
    I hope that you can be of assistance. What product/chemical can I use to effectively clean Iron Oxide stains from my (painted) house walls About 20km from our town there is a bulk storage iron ore terminal, the South Westerly wind transfers the fine Iron Oxide dust particles to mostly vertical surfaces, it is very difficult to get of once on the walls. I am in particularly interested in a product that will agitate the iron oxide when applied, and can wash off once the product is applied and done it’s work.

    • Firstly, pure wool is more prone to staining than synthetic fibres. It’s the price you pay for the field of natural fibres. The same is true of clothes – natural fibres such as cotton and wool are more likely to stain than any synthetic fibre. But vegemite, however, should not be too difficult to remove. Get yourself an enzyme based liquid laundry detergent (it should be written on the packet somewhere) such as Biozet and use it as a spot cleaner. Dab some onto the vegemite with a wet cloth and rub it in.

      Blot it dry with a paper towel and then repeat. When you are rubbing it in use warm water – the ideal temperature is about 40°. This is because enzymes performance is temperature dependent and 40° is the optimum temperature

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