Keeping your crystal sparkling; removing candle-wax stains from carpets

Q. how does one remove a film from crystal and glass? This apparently happened through the use of hard water, which has settled in the glass or crystal vase or dish. I have tried vinegar mixtures and all kinds of detergents to no avail. How can I return them to their original sparkle?

- J.L.C., Luray, Va.

A. "We call it 'sick' glass," says Joanne Cotton a crystal specialist at Trefler and Sons in Needham, Mass. The minerals in the water have eaten into the glass. She says your crystal, unfortunately, is permanently scarred.

Also, the detergents you used might have contributed to the scarring. Strong detergents eventually cause a white bloom, also known as etching. Here are some other tips for preventing it and keeping your crystal sparkling: Make a thin paste from baking powder and water, and rub it onto the glass. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.

Store glasses upright. If they are stored upside down, they may develop a musty smell. Also, putting lemon peels in the water used for rinsing glasses will cut grease and make them shine.

Q. I need ideas for removing candle wax from a tablecloth and kitchen carpet.

- R.J.L., Jacksonville, Fla.

A. Don Terry, a chemist at Bane-Clene Systems, a carpet cleaning service in Indianapolis, says the wax can be removed by placing a paper bag over the top and ironing it. The heat will melt the wax and the bag will absorb most of it.

If a stain remains, Carbona, a cleaning solvent that can be purchased at most hardware stores, will remove it.

Another method of removal is to freeze the wax with an ice cube and repeat the ironing procedure. If the wax leaves a stain, treat residual color marks with denatured alcohol or a dry-cleaning fluid. Make sure to test the stain remover on another section of carpet, as it may remove color from the carpet. Hold an absorbent white pad - such as a towel - under the stain as you apply the stain-removing liquid.

Place the stained fabric between two pieces of blotting paper or folded paper towels and press gently with a warm (not hot) iron. Refold the paper, and eventually, the stain will "melt" out.

Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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