Please tell me how to remove paint from oak trim. Our painter said it is water-base paint and would wash off. We have paint on both the trim and the floor that has hardened and will not wash off. Can you help? -- S.I.
I can recommend two different stain-removal cleaners on the market that can remove dried latex paint spills. Goof Off from Atlanta Sundries, 6480 Chupp Rd., Lithonia, Ga. 30058, is available in a four-ounce can size and a six-ounce size, plus a seven-ounce spray can.
Another new product, Klean-Clean, is also effective in removing dried paint spatters. It comes in pint, quart and gallon sizes, a seven-ounce aerosol can and a four-ounce flip-top can and is available at hardware stores or from Klean-Strip, Box 1879, Memphis, Tenn. 38101.
Both cleaners are also effective in removing other types of stains (such as gum, glue, lipstick or crayons).
It is a good idea to test either product in an inconspicuous area to make sure it does not mar your oak finish.
If these products prove ineffective, you will have to use a paint remover recommended for water-base paints.
Your local paint dealer can assist you in selecting a brand.
It is likely that a paint remover will mar the oak finish and you may have to spot refinish your oak trim. Could you give me the name of a reliable cleaning product for a kitchen carpet? The carpet has a thick foam rubber backing, so I do not want to get it very wet. -- L.C.
If the carpet is badly soiled, I recommend that you have a professional carpet cleaner tackle the problem.
After the carpet is thoroughly cleaned, be sure to vacuum regularly to remove surface dirt and keep a good spot cleaner handy to remove any stains as soon as they occur.
For spot cleaning, Woolite Spot Cleaner is an effective product.
Another carpet cleaner, recommended by a carpet dealer, is Nylac from Tonka Mills Inc., Box 249, St. Bonifacius, Minn. 55375. I have an older toilet, made of white porcelain, that has a buildup on the bottom of the bowl. This substance is very difficult to remove, short of chipping at it with a blunt instrument. Do you have any suggestions on how to remove this eyesore? -- E.G.
There are commercial products in the housewares section of the supermarket and from hardware stores for cleaning the scale from toilet bowls.
Another method of removing scale is with a solution of oxalic acid, applied with a dish mop.
Or an even stronger solution would be muriatic acid (mixed 1 part muriatic acid with 9 parts of water -- be sure to pour the acid into the water rather than the other way).
Be sure that the water is drained from the toilet bowl and wiped dry before applying an acid mixture.
Let the mixture set for five or 10 minutes, then rinse with plenty of clear water.
Be careful when working with either solution. Wear rubber gloves, old clothes and goggles, and avoid any spatters on your hands or face.
Send inquiries to Here's How, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 190, San Diego, Calif. 92112-0190. Only questions of general interest can be answered in the column.