Q: Someone used an abrasive material on my stainless steel stove, leaving marks and a dull finish. How can I restore it?
A: The finish may need only polishing. Buy a stainless steel lotion or polish at any hardware store. If those don’t work, rub with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which is probably less abrasive than what made the marks. You can also call your dealer.
Problem with nails
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Q: I had some solid-vinyl trim and window casing installed on my house. The builder used nails with big heads that are rusting. What can I do about that rust?
A: You ought to be angry because the builder used big-headed nails that were not galvanized or stainless and could not countersink them and fill the holes with wood filler. He should come back and pull those nails, clean off the rust, renail with galvanized or stainless-steel-finish nails, countersink them, and plug the holes with exterior wood filler. All for free. If he refuses, find a competent carpenter who will do the job. Be sure to hire a professional with credentials.
Damaged hardwood floors
Q: My oak flooring was refinished about 10 years ago with polyurethane. About six months ago, I left a paper bag of potatoes on the floor, and one rotted enough to turn the floor black. The cleaning product I used didn’t work. how can I remove it?
A: It’s the water in the potatoes that did it, and it penetrated the wood who knows how deep. You can try sanding down to the bare wood and bleaching that spot. Then rinse and refinish just that spot. If that doesn’t work, you will have to install new hardwood and refinish – not the whole floor, but the spot and a little area around it.
Cleaning stained stainless
Q: I have a small stainless steel bar sink. There’s a stain directly under the faucet on the sink bottom. I tried using a nonabrasive product, glass cleaner and turpentine to get it out, but it persists. Can you suggest a fix?
A: First, try the tried and true, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. If no-go, buy a stainless steel lotion at a hardware store or where stainless items are sold. Some metal polishes might work, too, including Maas ( maasinc.com).
Removing burnt-on stains
When the Handyman suggested soaking glass and other pots and pans in detergent and water overnight, a reader offered alternatives: You can use a razor blade scraper on Pyrex because it is much harder than ordinary glass and will resist scratching. Or, take the stained item to an auto shop and use a nontoxic cylinder head cleaner. “I tried that and it came out perfect.”