Thursday, January 17, 2008

Strictly practical

Yesterday, Ben the Grape lost his fourth baby tooth, another lower incisor. All four of those teeth didn't make their exits until the permanent teeth had already sprouted behind them, shark-style. (The teeth move forward to fill the space after the baby tooth departs.) He tied some dental floss to the bathroom doorknob, hooked the floss around his so-loose-I-can't-believe-it-didn't-fall-out-a-solid-week-earlier tooth, and nudged the door gently 'til there was a snap. I missed the whole thing—I was in the kitchen, utterly unaware at the agency and autonomy my kid was demonstrating.

He placed the tooth in a Dixie cup full of water to rinse off any blood, and undertook to post a "do not drink" sign on the cup. Of course, the handiest paper in the room was toilet paper, and he chose a green Sharpie permanent marker to pen his note. Yep, that marker bled right through to the white vanity counter, all right.

Would you believe I got the Sharpie ink completely off? First I tried Scrub-Free Mildew Remover, a bleach cleaning product. That got off a little. Then I used the internet, which told me Amodex ink stain remover is what I needed, but I sure haven't got any of that around the house. The internet also suggested rubbing alcohol, so I swabbed the stain a couple times with rubbing alcohol. It lightened up a little further. Then there were two more rounds of spraying the Scrub-Free on and letting it sit for 15 minutes, and voilĂ ! The Sharpie stain is gone.

So Google searchers with countertop Sharpie stains, try this approach if you haven't got any Amodex.

You know what else is a practical solution? If your towels come out of the laundry smelling a little musty or faintly mildewy, try using borax (20 Mule Team is the main brand in the U.S.) in each washer load of towels. The box tells you how much to use, and damn, it actually works. I've been using borax for a month or two, and I finally returned a big fluffy bath sheet to innocuous freshness. The box of borax also touts its usefulness for general cleaning and freshening chores, but I haven't ventured down that path yet. You can find handy-dandy borax in the laundry aisle at your grocery store.

The last Orange's Handy Tip is the Desert Essence Blemish Touch Stick, a mini roll-on with tea tree oil and other essential oils. I've found it at stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and it's also available online. This stuff has been killing my zits for a year or two, and I love it! It works its tea tree magic on inflammation and tames the angry pimple. It's also said to be good for bug bites and skin irritations—it does work nicely on those miscellaneous red bumps my kid sometimes gets. It smells herbal and it stings a little on more irritated skin, but it's so worth it.


Jay said...

How herbal does that blemish stick smell? Can you hold some up to your monitor so I can sniff?

We don't do any scents in our house - the allergic husband and all - so I never buy things like that without smelling them first. And sometimes, if I'm in the store and everything around me is scented, that may not do it.

Orange said...

Jay, there was another brand at Trader Joe's that contained fennel or one of its kin, and I found that markedly unpleasant (hate licorice, anise, fennel, etc.). This one is pleasantly pungent. If you touch your face a couple hours after applying it, you can smell the stuff on your hand. It's less stinky than plain tea tree oil. And it's not as if the aroma lingers in the air for hours. You know what? Buy one (maybe not the 3-pack I linked to) and try it out.

E. said...

Thanks for the Borax tip. My personal towels never get musty, maybe because I prefer spartan towels that are small, thinnish, and dry quickly. But my man's big bath sheets begin to stink after a few months. I'll try the Borax.

I use straight tea tree oil on a Q-tip for zits. Works well. Smells like turpentine.

Orange said...

Yeah, I can't do straight tea tree oil. Too smelly.

Narya said...

But you're right--tea tree oil is the best thing I've ever found for skin ills; it's right up there with aloe, which is also pretty miraculous. Tea tree oil is actually pretty good for mildly infected things, too. And one time I cured what I think was a fungal infection (sort of like athlete's foot, but was on my wrist) with tea tree oil and olive oil combined.