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Cleaning queries

Stained basin

I have some brownish water stains on my white washbasin. What can I use to restore the basin to its original colour? 


Ed replies: 

This stain is caused by many years of water dripping into the washbasin and is impossible to remove. The only solution is to recoat the washbasin using Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile, which is an epoxy acrylic formula. It comes in a kit and is easy to apply. Each kit is sufficient to coat a standard size bath and handbasin. The finish is porcelain-like and abrasion resistant. The product is available at leading hardware stores nationally.


For more information contact Chantal Pretorius at Tile and Floor Care on 011-822-6901.

Could you advise how to clean x-rays which will then be used to make stained glass products? I spoke to someone who has tried Sunlight Liquid and Jik as recommended in one of the old issues of The Home Handyman, but they found that it did not clean them sufficiently. 

Brian Hewson, our cleaning and coating expert, replies: 

I have tried several methods with no great results, but will keep on trying. In the past, carbon tetrachloride was used by draughtsmen to remove pencil marks made after tracing on a celluloid type material. However, carbon tetrachloride is so lethal, I should not even mention the word, and it should be banned – I believe it is supposed to be internationally, but is still obtainable and promoted by the building institute for removing oil and/or grease. We used to have little bottles incorporating a piece of flannel attached to a perforated screw top and our mothers used to clean our blazers and shorts using this lethal stuff.

Ed replies:
I spoke to an experienced stained glass artist, Petro Greyling, who has been making stained glass objects for 16 years and she suggests you soak the x-rays in a solution of water and Jik and then scrub them with a kitchen scourer or similar. Try adding a bit more Jik if necessary. However, she tried this when she first started out and it is quite messy and she really had to scrub hard, even then the x-rays did not clean up too well. It is a waste of time in her opinion, and easier to buy a sheet of acetate at your local hobby shop.

I browsed the web and found this suggestion: first soak the film in distilled water. Then lightly wash the ‘dirt’ off the film using only your fingers and very light pressure. Then dip the clean film in to a tray of distilled water with about one drop of dishwashing liquid per gallon and hang it by one corner in a dust free place until it dries - overnight should do it.

If, on the other hand, you mean you want to remove the image from an x-ray, you really cannot do that. It would mean scraping the emulsion off the film’s base. It would be easier to just ask an x-ray technician to give you some spoiled film that has been processed unexposed.

It anyone out there has the solution to this x-ray dilemma, please drop us a line. Otherwise, if it were up to me, I would go the acetate route.

Rain water tank
I always read The Home Handyman at every opportunity I get to read my son-in-law's magazines and have occasionally purchased the odd one for myself. My daughter, however, gave me a year's subscription for Christmas, what a pleasure!

The problem I have is this: I have acquired two large plastic containers, which I intend to use as catchments for rain water from our home outlets. These containers have a capacity of about 210 litres each and used to contain a chemical called sodium hydroxide supplied by a company called Sud Chemie SA Ltd. I would like to know how to purify these containers and also how to fit a tap to the bottom section for the use of rain water in the garden.

These containers are sealed with only two screw caps at the top. Please could you possibly also advise on the use for the overflow intake of rain water.
Vic Hermanson, Monte Vista

Brian Hewson, our cleaning and coating expert, replies: 

Rinsing the containers thoroughly with plain water will be more than sufficient. Sodium Hydroxide, otherwise known as caustic soda, is 100 % water soluble and is used in the manufacture of detergents, amongst a host of other applications.

To sterilise them, 250g of pool chlorine, such as HTH, dissolved in water and added to a half filled container, will be more than sufficient for the application. Tip them on their sides and roll about a few times, allow to stand for 15 minutes and rinse out with clean water.

Fitting a tap is a little more tricky as a back up nut can't be easily fitted through the large opening to attach a threaded tap to the lower side of the container. However, an easier plan would be to attach a threaded tap into the small opening on the top and lie the drums horizontally on a stand of sorts. A funnel could be quite easily adapted to fit in the large opening in a right angle format to collect the rain water.

Some of the epoxy adhesives do work on certain types of plastic and a call to the likes of Pratley may provide the answer. In which case, a lower side fitting could be used.

As far as the tap attachment is concerned, there may well be someone out there who has a few bright ideas. Here's hoping that you will achieve your objective.

Contact Brian on 083-267-0792 for further assistance.

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