Dear Heloise:

I accidentally burned a spot on my laminated plastic kitchen countertop. Is there any way to remove this?

A Reader, via e-mail

I'm sorry to say, most burned spots on this type of surface cannot be removed unless they are very slight. A professional we contacted said a paste of baking soda and water might work as long as it's a slight burn and not one that penetrated through. If that doesn't work, you can "decoratively" cover it up.

You can disguise burn marks using colorful ceramic tiles or even wood cutting boards when the burned area is in a location where either of those can be used. Also, a carpenter can cut out an area about 12 inches by 12 inches, or however large you would like it, from the countertop and recess a wood cutting board, which would actually be a great addition to your countertop.

Dear Heloise:

Faced with a carton full of foam peanuts charged with static electricity, I sprayed a couple of shots from my can of anti-static spray into the box. It worked like a miracle, and I was able to pour the peanuts into a plastic trash bag with ease.

I just wish I'd came up with the idea earlier, when I had to reach into a carton to pull out the merchandise I had ordered -- and ended up with pieces of foam all over my sweater.

New Hampshire Dear Heloise:

While vacuuming, I hit my wood furniture and left scratch marks. I am devastated, as the furniture is only a few months old.

Is there anything I can use to cover the scratches? At this time I don't really have the money to call in a professional. Thanks for any help you can give me.

D.E., Anniston, Ala.

This is really a "nutty" solution, in that you use the "meat" of a pecan or walnut to get rid of the marks. Just break the meat in half and, going with the grain, rub over the scratches. Use a clean, soft cloth to buff the area.

It might take a time or two, but this should help.

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