magic eraser

photo by nutmeg

DEAR SARA: How do you get a Crystal Light stain off a kitchen counter? I am going to blame my kitty cat for this. It's that red color, and I have been cleaning it today, and it is a little lighter but still there. -- Palooka, forums

DEAR PALOOKA: I use melamine foam, such as Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser. Assuming you don't have granite countertops, you can use bleach and water, Bon Ami, Bar Keeper's Friend, baking soda and a damp rag, powdered Comet or Soft Scrub to remove the drink stains.

DEAR SARA: How do you get an adhesive sticker off plastic? I have a toy that I tried removing the price sticker from. The label came off but not the adhesive guck. I've tried rubbing it, putting water to it and rubbing it, using a curled piece of tape and "dabbing" off the other adhesive, and nothing works. I have to get the tape off and have the toy looking nice because I'm giving it away. Any suggestions? I'll give almost anything a try. -- Q.M., Canada

DEAR Q.M.: Use vegetable or baby oil, Goo Gone or WD-40. Any of them will work to remove the adhesive from plastic.

DEAR SARA: What to do with my fresh oregano? I have oregano coming out of my ears in my garden. It's about to go to seed, so I need to do something with it. I don't have a dehydrator, and I live in a humid climate with nowhere to really hang dry it, so I'm stuck. How can I preserve it so it won't go to waste? -- Rachel, Georgia

DEAR RACHEL: You can place the herbs flat on a baking sheet and dry it in your oven with the light on. I know you said you don't have room to dry them, but you can place the herbs in a paper bag. Cut some small holes in the bag so air can circulate. This can be hung inside a closet or even outside. You can also use your microwave. Place a few branches between paper towels. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Check to see whether the herbs are dry. If not, microwave for an additional minute. Once dried, store the herbs in an airtight container, such as a canning jar. I'd give some away to family and friends, too.

DEAR SARA: Any recommendations on what to use for deodorant? I want to get away from using a lot of chemicals. -- Cindy, Florida

DEAR CINDY: My mom gave me a deodorant stone. I had my doubts, but it works well. It's made from potassium-alum mineral salts. I apply it directly after I shower. You can find something similar at I've had readers report that witch hazel applied to the skin with a cotton ball works well, too.

DEAR SARA: I was wondering if the homemade liquid laundry detergent is OK to use in high-efficiency (HE) machines. -- Anja, e-mail

DEAR ANJA: Homemade laundry soap creates very little suds, which is what HE washers require. Regular laundry detergent creates oversudsing. That's why they make HE detergent. So yes, it's OK to use it.