Julies Blog

Knife blocks

by Julie Finch-Scally

I was cleaning my kitchen bench the other day and moved the knife block to clean under and behind. As I moved the block I noticed the dust sitting on the flat surface between the knife handles. From the look of the dust it must have been there for quite some time, but I hadn’t noticed it before. I realised the block, especially that flat surface had to be cleaned.

As with all knife blocks there are holes to house the knives. This means submerging the block in hot soapy water is not a clever idea because the water will soak down into the holes and make the inside of the block wet. This will affect the knives and in the end ruin the whole block.

After removing all the knives and scissors that sit in the block I rubbed down the sides with a damp cloth that had been rinsed in hot soapy water. The sides were shiny so they had been covered with lacquer which was a protection. Using a damp cloth to wipe the sides was not a problem. I did dry it with a tea towel after I had removed marks and dirt.

But it was the top of the block where the knife handles sat that I was more concerned about. That was the dustiest spot and I did not want to use any water, as the rim of the holes needed to be cleaned as well as the top surface.

I finally decided to use a micro-fibre cloth with some multi-purpose spray to wipe over the top and rub the hole edges. This worked well and made the top surface look much cleaner. But I knew leaving that surface unprotected was going to be a problem in the future.

My first thought was to use furniture polish over the area, but as all the polishes in my house are made with oils, they would only penetrate the surface and not cover the surface to protect it. It meant a trip to the supermarket where I purchased a furniture polish with silicon.

Many years ago furniture polish with silicon was the preferred polish, until people realised the polish was sitting on the top of the surface and not being absorbed into the wooden furniture which it required. Actually the silicon furniture polish became more useful for protection of other articles of furniture not made of wood, especially water proofing marble bench tops. But as sales of silicon contained polish declined it has become more difficult to find. Thankfully there was one version on the supermarket shelf.

When I got the can home I spray the polish onto a polishing cloth and rubbed it over the top surface of the knife block and around the edges of the holes. After the initial coating of the top surface I actually sprayed the surface so some of the polish could penetrate down into the holes. I then completely wiped over all the knife block with the polishing cloth to remove any excess and coat the sides.

I must admit, because of the shine of the polish the knife block does look a lot better. It is not only clean, but in shines and make the knives look elegant.


Dust on folds in clothing

by Julie Finch-Scally

I’ve finally joined the thousands of people who purchase clothing on line. A couple of weeks ago I sent off for a dress, which duly arrived a week later. Only one thing wrong, when I came to remove the dress from the cellophane bag there were folding creases down and across the dress.

The creases I knew I could iron out, but obviously the packet had been sitting on a shelf for a long period of time as dust had collected on the outside of the creases. As it was a dark material the dust was more than noticeable. It made each crease look like a faded line down the outfit.

I worked out it would be easier to remove the dust from the creases while the dress was sitting on the ironing board. I put up the board and placed the dress on the board with the ironing section itself sitting inside the dress. This meant I could easily turn the dress around as I worked on the front then the back. Thankfully the material was cotton.

How did I remove the dust? As I steam ironed the dress I placed a clean tea towel over the item and pressed out the creases. This didn’t remove the dust, but it made the dust warm and damp; easy to rub over with my hand and fingers. I followed the line downwards and the dust rubbed off quite easily.

I do have one of those dust removal brushes with special fibres that you can rub against the fabric and lifts any hairs, but as it was dust and not loose hairs, I felt the brush wasn’t quite suitable.

Each time I removed the dust with my fingers I could feel the warmth and dampness in the material. This loosened the dust fibres and made them easy to lift and rub off. By the time I had gone around the whole dress the material was clean and minus any creases.

Purchasing clothing on the internet does have its problems, especially if the item has been sitting on a shelf for a long period and flattened by the item above it. But steam ironing the item protected with a clean cotton tea towel and removing and dust by rubbing the lines away will always work. I can recommend this process because I used it and it was successful.

BTW the dress looked fantastic.


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