Getting the stains out
It's a shame Lady Macbeth didn't know Professor Herb Barndt. If she had she would have been able to remove that "damned spot," with a simple two-step process, soaking her hand in cool salt water followed by application of vinegar for 15 minutes.
After 15 years of research in the Grundy Lab for Textile Product Evaluation at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, Herb Barndt has devised a way to remove almost any stain imaginable, from bubble gum to borscht to baby oil.
His tested techniques are explained in "Professor Barndt's On-the-Spot Stain Removal Guide" recently published ($2.99, Doubleday). The pocket-sized book contains stain removal solutions for 305 substances and is available at major bookstores in the area including Waldenbooks and B.Dalton Booksellers.
Mr. Barndt studied the process of stain removal by taking people's stain complaints on the college's stain hot line and by intentionally soiling fabrics with a variety of substances. He then developed seven removal formulas ranging from the "oil solvent" method which uses the dry cleaners K2r and Carbona to the "absorbent" method" using talcum powder, cornstarch and cornmeal. When these methods are used in different successions, a stain can be systematically removed.
The stain hot line is still in operation at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science's Grundy Center for Textile Product Evaluation. Mr. Barndt and his research assistants will accept questions from callers with unusual stain combinations or problems with the established techniques at (215) 951-2757, Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A number of readers have asked for more information on where to obtain Flea Killer for Carpets, from Enforcer Products, which was mentioned in Home Front last week. A spokesman for the company said the product should be available, soon, if not already, at Ace and True Value hardware affiliates, and at Home Depot stores. If you can't find the product in your area, you can call Enforcer Products toll-free at (800) 241-5656 for more information.
Outdoor furniture needs a little care
Some people think that because it's called outdoor furniture, it's not necessary to take care of patio furniture. Unfortunately, that's not true.
Although it's designed to withstand the elements, outdoor furniture isn't indestructible.
Patio-furniture care is not an onerous task. Most of the time all you have to do is hose off the furniture and wash cushions with a mild detergent and warm water, letting them air dry.
Teak and mahogany are particularly hardy woods that are meant to age after years of exposure.
Aluminum and resin don't rust. However, there are products like FeronGuard, FeronClean and Sun Brite to protect and clean outdoor furniture.
Because the powder-coat finishes on aluminum and wrought iron can chip, manufacturers include touch-up kits with furniture. It's especially important to buff and touch up any nicks in wrought iron to retard rust.
Wicker also can be touched up with paint and even refinished with a coat of latex outdoor paint.
Brown-Jordan urges customers to treat their outdoor furniture as they would "a fine automobile." That means keeping frames clean and waxing aluminum and wrought-iron frames two or three times a year with a high-quality liquid car wax.
Many people who like the look resist the idea of ceramic tile in the kitchen, because of its hardness underfoot and because glasses and dishes that slip to the floor invariably shatter. Now Mannington has introduced a version of the classic black-and-white pattern in resilient flooring by the roll. The new pattern, part of the Mannington Silver Series, Sterling collection, is called "Checkmate," and comes in white with one of four others colors: black; deep forest green; grotto blue; and wineberry. The suggested retail price is from $25.95 to $29.95 per square yard. For information on Checkmate and other Mannington products, call (800) FLOOR-US.
K.V.M. For most of us, "downey ocean" means a motel room or rented condo on the boardwalk. For some fortunates, however, the "ocean" is Nantucket Sound or Vineyard Sound and the dwelling is a former blacksmith's shop in Edgartown or a former sea captain's house in Chilmark on the stylish and sea-girt isle of Martha's Vineyard off the south coast of Cape Cod, Mass.
A new book, called simply "Martha's Vineyard," with photos by Taylor Lewis and text by Catherine Fallin and Elizabeth Talbot (Simon & Schuster, 1992, $45) seeks to capture the richness and charm of place that is steeped in history and tradition. The houses range from comfortably ancient (Edgartown, the oldest settlement on the eastern or "Down-Island" part the island, was founded in 1642) to sleek contemporary. But all are united by motifs of seascape and seafaring, and almost all are surrounded with stunning gardens, clearly lovingly created and carefully maintained.
Judging from the book, these homeowners are delightful people to whom we would all love to pay a visit. Through the book, we are all invited.
Karol V. Menzie
On the Home Front welcomes interesting tidbits of home and garden news -- new products, events related to the home or garden, trends, local people who have ideas to share on design and decorating, mail-order finds, furniture styles, and items used to make life easier on the home front. Please send press releases to: Home Front, Jill L. Kubatko, The Sunday Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or call (410) 332-6150.