How to Clean Your Alloy Wheels

If you drive your car for any length of time then sooner or later your alloy wheels will collect grime. The front wheels will be worse because of the brake dust. That is, as you brake, most of the work is being done by your front brakes, as obviously the weight transfers to the front of the car as you brake.

With normal carwash it does not come off very easily, and is very greasy in nature. Even if you go to one of those DIY carwashes and use the foaming brush even then it doesn’t come off very well.

So use oven cleaner. Spray oven cleaner onto it, leave it for a couple of minutes, and it will just wipe straight off. At the DIY carwash, it will just blast off with the high pressure water cleaner

How to stretch leather shoes that are too small

A little while ago I bought some RM Williams boots on Ebay that were just the style I like and were surprisingly cheap.

Small problem – they were a size too small. I could get them on, but after a couple of hours it hurt so bad I had to take them off. So I hunted around for a way to stretch them. There are lots of ideas out there, and it took a while before I found that I thought would work: rice.

Fill the front half of the boot with rice, sit the boots up against something so that the toes are pointing to the ground, and fill them with water. The rice, of course, soaks up the water and expands, and in doing so moistens the leather and helps it stretch.

I left them overnight and it worked – my boots are now a comfortable fit.

Shannon Lush gets it wrong #7

Shannon Lush once again regaled us with her advice on home cleaning on 6PR on Monday.

One listener called in and said that he had a shirt that had one white sleeve and one black sleeve. He wanted to know how to wash it such that the brightness of the white was enhanced. Shannon’s answer referred solely to the washing temp, and suggested that if the water was “blood temperature” that this would achieve the desired result. This answer is partly right – with modern detergents warm water produces optimum results. But the point is that such a detergent is required. Premium brands such as OMO or Biozet contain optical brighteners that not only will make the white brighter, but will also make the black a more vivid black.

Next a listener wanted to know how to get a wasp nest off the cement rendering of his house. He said that he had used high pressure to remove it but it hadn’t worked. Shannon’s answer was, firstly, that high pressure cleaning only “forces dirt in further.” I’m sure this information would be news to the many businesses that use high pressure water to clean houses and driveways. We were then told that the wasp nest would release endorphins. I think she meant pheremones – endorphins are the natural feel-good chemicals that your body releases as a response to intense exercise.

The advice to use glycerine/tea tree oil to dislodge the nest is sound, however. Glycerine has pretty good stain removing properties due to its de-facto surfactant structure. But caustic soda would work better. Spray the nest with an oven cleaner, wait half an hour or so, and then blast with the HP cleaner and it will come away.

Then came a pantry moth question. Shannon’s answer was to use Bay Leaves, as they “release enzymes that render moths sterile.” This sounded a little far-fetched to me, but I don’t know everything so I investigated. I asked Bryce Peters, a well-known entemologist at UTS in Sydney.

His verbatim reply was:

I have not heard that one. I know some people claim Bay leaves repel moths. I have not seen any evidence of that.

How to Kill Ants (outside)

If you have an ant problem, it’s always a big problem. That is, whether it’s inside or outside, you have ants in their thousands, or possibly millions.

In this situation, forget fly-sprays – they don’t kill enough, and in any case they leave a residue.

The only course of action is to get some WMDs – something that will wipe them out in their millions.

Last week I was attacked by ants while trying to hang out the washing. The cement paving near the clothesline was infested with them, so I had to take drastic action.

In this circumstance, I resorted to a remedy that we used to use as kids to kill trapdoor spiders – boiling water.

So I boiled the kettle, took it outside, and poured it down the crack between two pavers from which the ants seem to be coming. Then I did it again, and again, and again. Over about a two week period, I tipped boiling water down the crack, and along the ant trails, wherever I saw them a couple of times a day.

Now they are all but wiped out, and I can hang out the washing without being attacked. But there is an odd and slightly smell in the air in the vicinity – cooked ants.