Experts say

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Tackle lingering smells with baking soda

I have an open-concept kitchen and the smells from my cooking linger on my fabric sofa. How can I get rid of the smell?

Learn from the housekeeping departments at Swissotel The Stamford and Fairmont Singapore in tackling lingering odours in hotel rooms.

Baking soda is sprinkled over the furniture and left to sit for at least 30 minutes. If the odour is verystrong, the baking soda is left on overnight. Vacuum the sofa the next day after the baking soda has absorbed all the odour.

To remove odour from rooms, mist your furniture lightly with white vinegar from a spray bottle and let it air- dry. You will smell the vinegar at first, but it will dry and become odourless.

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Avoid using standard air or fabric fresheners because they only mask the smell, which usually results in a nasty combination of air freshener scent and the bad odour.


Marble is prone to watermarks, so wipe spills up pronto


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I have a coffee table with a marble top and I noticed a stain of a cup ring on it. How can I remove the stain? Marble, like any natural stone, is porous and prone to watermarks and etching (surface damage by something acidic). Both will appear as dull patches.

You can remove the stain by using a solution of water and baking soda (or bicarbonate of soda) or marble cleaning product.

Make a thick paste of baking soda with water and spread the paste over the stain. Allow the paste to sit for several minutes and then wipe it off. Repeat the process if needed.

To maintain your marble, never allow wet dishes, glasses or water to sit on it.

Also, do not use vinegar or citrus- based products on marble and wipe spills as soon as they occur, even if it is water.

Lastly, use coasters to save yourself a lot of elbow grease in future.


Keep cockroaches at bay with checks

I constantly find cockroaches climbing up my rubbish chute and finding their way into my home, even when I keep the chute door closed. What should I do to keep them away? This is a common problem that, according to technical and client services director Eugene Surendra of PestBusters, can be solved collectively.

On your part, check the rubber lining around the hopper door. "Chute hopper doors have a rubber lining that acts like a gasket and is designed to be airtight to some degree. This keeps out odours and vermin. Wear and tear of the rubber lining can result in gaps that can provide an entry point for cockroaches," says Mr Surendra, who has more than 30 years of experience in the pest management industry.

If necessary, replace your hopper door with a new design that provides a tighter seal. Place roach bait stations around the chute and in areas where you spot the pests.

The town council should be involved in pest control, which usually means fogging as it is the easiest way to spread the chemical.

A one- or two-time fogging session is not effective in the long run, says Mr Surendra. "If cockroaches are noticed during the exercise, pest control will need to carry out repeated fogging at closer intervals.

"Most times, the treatment is done on a quarterly basis, which is inadequate. Once the cockroach population is under control, there must be a monthly schedule."


Rubbing alcohol and window cleaner help keep mirrors pristine

What is the best way to keep mirrors fingerprint- free? Gather these supplies: rubbing alcohol (also known as isopropyl alcohol), cotton pads, a window cleaner or a vinegar solution and a microfibre cloth.

Dampen a cotton pad with rubbing alcohol and rub the mirror to remove any dried toothpaste, soap or dirt. Work quickly as the alcohol dries quickly.

Next, mist the entire mirror with window cleaner or vinegar solution. Wipe from left to right, starting at the top, stopping to switch to a dry part of the cloth once one section is damp.

Step back and check for streaks and go over any with a dry section of the cloth. Avoid getting the edges of the mirror wet as it can damage the mirror and cause a "black edge". Paper towels and tissues, though handy, are not ideal for cleaning mirrors as they leave residual lint on the surface.

• Home & Decor and experts in renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the July issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.

• Got a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, Level 7 Media Centre, 82 Genting Lane, Singapore 349567 or e-mail maghomedecor@sph.com.sg. Photos and layouts are non-returnable.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2017, with the headline 'Experts say'. Print Edition | Subscribe