Martha Stewart answers questions about how to store produce, clean a shower-curtain liner and stop a dog’s inappropriate chewing.
Q: Why shouldn’t certain produce be stored in the refrigerator?
- Christopher Dorsey, Baltimore, Maryland
A: With some fruits and vegetables, cold temperatures can lead to unsavory textures and flavors. So let tomatoes sit on the counter at room temperature. Onions and garlic can lose crispness and become moldy when exposed to the refrigerator’s moisture; they can also impart their flavors on foods stored nearby. Store onions, garlic and potatoes separately in a cool, dark place in perforated baskets or bins to allow for good airflow. Keep all fresh produce away from direct sunlight.
Q: How do i clean a shower-curtain liner?
- Claire McGowan, Austin, Texas
A: It’s difficult to feel clean after showering if your shower-curtain liner is dirty. Liners are inexpensive to replace, but washing yours is far more sustainable.
Clean a vinyl, nylon, cotton or hemp liner by machine-washing it in hot water and mild detergent. Then shake and rehang the liner to dry - do not place it in the dryer. Give liners a good wash at the start of every season.
Hand-wash your liner if the care label does not recommend machine-washing (or there is no care label). Take the curtain outside and scrub it with a solution of 10 parts water to one part chlorine bleach, using a plastic-bristled brush. Let it dry in the sun until any mold or discoloration has faded, then rinse. Shake well and rehang.
Prevent grime by cutting your shower liner so it does not drag on the shower floor; this will keep dust and moisture from getting trapped in it. After your shower, shake off as much water as possible, and pull the liner closed so moisture can’t collect in the folds.
TIP: Clean kitchen sponges in the washing machine, or sterilize them by soaking for a minute in three cups of water mixed with two tablespoons of chlorine bleach, then rinsing. Discard sponges when they start to disintegrate or smell foul, about every two weeks.
Q: How can I stop my dog from tearing up his bed?
- Alexandra Horowitz, New York City
A: Dogs are always going to chew, but you can make sure they gnaw on the right things, says ASPCA animal behaviorist Kristen Collins. If your pet is chewing on its bed, redirect it to a bone or toy, and provide positive reinforcement to help it learn what’s permitted and what’s off-limits. Offer several toys and treats, and rotate them to keep your dog interested. Spray taste deterrents, available at pet stores, on the fabric to teach your pet that its bed isn’t to be chewed. Also, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise, so it’s too tuckered out to chew when it goes to bed.
Questions of general interest will be answered in this column; Martha Stewart regrets that unpublished letters cannot be answered individually. For more information on the topics covered in the Ask Martha column, visit www.marthastewart.com.