Home-care expert Carolyn Forte answers your most pressing cleaning questions. (Photo by Mike Garten)

GH’s resident home-care dynamo, Carolyn Forte, shares her best tips and favorite tricks to conquer your toughest messes and trouble spots.

Q: I always self-clean my oven at the start of the holiday cooking season, but I hate the odor it causes. Any suggestions?

A: Those annoying fumes are caused by burned-on deposits that generate smoke during the high-heat cleaning cycle. Before you begin, wipe out charred bits, dry spills and grease with a cloth and warm water. Focus on the glass and the rest of the door (a non-scratch scrubber can help remove any stubborn drips), but not the gasket. During the cycle, open a nearby window and run your kitchen’s exhaust fan to purge smells. To prevent fumes next time, wipe up spills promptly with a cloth dipped in a sudsy solution of dish liquid and hot water, then rinse – or run the self-cleaning cycle several times each year.

Q: What’s the best way to remove that sticky buildup from the bottom of my iron?

A: Burned-on fibers or spray starch usually are the culprits, but you can get your iron gliding again in no time.

Here’s how: For light deposits, try baking soda. Dampen a cloth or non-scratch scrubber, dip it into the baking soda and rub the surface. Once the grime loosens, wipe the soleplate (including the holes) with a damp cloth.

For heavy buildup, use our GH Cleaning Lab go-to solution, Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner ($3, When applied to a hot iron, the paste melts away stubborn stuck-on stuff fast. Blast a few shots of steam to flush any residue from the holes, then wipe clean.

To prevent this problem, always iron low-temperature fabrics like nylon and silk first, and high-temp ones like cotton and linen last. Let spray starch soak in before ironing.

Q: My new wine glasses are cloudy. Why?

A: Your crystal has likely lost its luster from being washed in hard water. Grab some white vinegar and heed this advice:

Make them shine: Heat four cups of vinegar in the microwave for a minute or two and pour into a basin. (In our tests, vinegar worked faster warm than at room temperature.) Soak the cloudy glasses for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating them several times. This will ensure that the vinegar reaches all around. Rinse and buff dry.

Avoid the problem: If this trick doesn’t help and your crystal has a bluish, iridescent look, the issue may be etching.

So, what is etching? It’s a structural change that happens to some glassware in the dishwasher from the combination of heat, detergent and water. There’s no way to predict when it might happen, but you can help prevent it by washing glasses by hand. If you still opt to put them in the dishwasher, slow down the etching process by using a short cycle and less detergent, and taking them out early to be dried by hand.


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Recalls Alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, (800) 638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.


Fisher-Price Soothing Motions Seats, BuybuyBaby, Target, Toys R Us, Walmart and other stores nationwide and online at and other websites from November 2015 through October 2017 for about $160 for the Soothing Motions Seat and $175 for the Smart Connect Soothing Motions Seat.

The motor housing can overheat, posing a fire hazard. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Soothing Motions Seats and contact Fisher-Price for a full refund. Consumers can contact Fisher-Price at (800) 432-5437 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or online at Click on “Recalls & Safety Alerts” for more information.

Chrysler 2017 Dodge Challenger and Charger, equipped with Hellcat engines

The engine oil cooler hoses may fail, resulting in a rapid loss of engine oil. If an EOC line fails, oil may spray onto the windshield or contact a hot surface, impairing driver visibility and increasing the risk of a crash or fire. Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the EOC lines for free. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at (800) 853-1403. Chrysler’s number for this recall is T48.

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