Welcome. The mission of At Home is to help our readers live a full and cultured life during the pandemic. Sometimes that means telling you what we think about Beyoncé’s “Black Is King.” Other times it means figuring out whether you should travel this year. Always it means telling you to make chicken shawarma.
Recently, in response to a reader request to be bossy, we told you to clean your stoves, explaining what joy would come of the labor. Reaction to that suggestion was immediate and remarkably supportive. Indeed, many asked for more cleaning directive at this difficult time. That tracks. We’re most of us at home more these days. Some of us are only at home. You get to noticing things. Peggy Sue sent an email asking how to clean the wooden chairs at her dining table. She’d tried a mild soap solution and had no luck getting the years of grime off the wood, she said.
What to do? A mild vinegar solution might answer, but I’d be worried about stripping the finish. Instead, try mineral spirits, applying the liquid to a clean soft cloth and rubbing it with the grain into the wood. Be patient, as it takes a little bit for the oil to get under the grime. (You can use an old toothbrush to get into corners.) Rub off with a clean part of the cloth and see the luster of your wood restored. That’s a good feeling.
Here’s your soundtrack: Phoebe Bridgers, “I Know the End.”
More good advice for living a good life at home and near it is below. Please write and tell us what else you’d like to know about: [email protected] We’ll try to be helpful.