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Ask Martha

Removing wallpaper border

Q. What’s the best way to remove wallpaper border from drywall?

A. First, cover the floor with a drop cloth. Add hot water to wallpaper remover (which you can find at Home Depot or similar stores) as directed. Pierce the wallpaper with a perforation tool to create holes that will allow the remover solution to get behind the paper and soften the adhesive. Then apply the solution to the wall with a paint roller or sponge. Let it soak in (timing will depend on the manufacturer’s instructions). Once the paper has loosened, peel it using a wide wallboard knife. After the paper is removed, rinse the wall with clean water and let it dry thoroughly.

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Q. Where can I take costume jewelry for a cleaning? Should I clean it myself?

A. Before trying to clean jewelry yourself, determine what each piece is made from. Costume pieces are crafted from a range of materials, including plated brass and steel, sterling silver, crystals, and plastic, all of which respond differently to cleansers.

If you know you’re dealing with a plated metal, which will have a delicate surface, gently wipe away dirt with a soft cloth and buff until the piece is clean.

For raw materials like brass, copper, bronze, nickel, silver, and sterling silver, use polishing pads to bring back the luster. With sterling silver, you can rub a tarnish remover on dull areas.

Apply a gentle, nonabrasive solution of dishwashing detergent and warm water to the surface of nonporous crystals and imitation stones. Scrub gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush or soft cloth until clean.

Once the jewelry is clean, store it in a sealed plastic bag with a strip of anti-tarnish paper or a desiccant packet; either will prevent metals from tarnishing.

If you are unsure how to proceed, rely on a jeweler you trust.

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living.
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