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Handyman on Call

How can she get mold off of her china?

Q. My daughter lives in Germany, and owns a set of fine china she inherited from her grandmother, [that] was previously owned by me, the daughter of the grandmother. That establishes the fact that it is quite old. It is not bone china. Recently she called me and said the china has become moldy, under the glaze. She tried soaking it in straight bleach. It went away but came back. What can she do?

KIM KASNER, Orleans

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A. That is the weirdest thing I have heard in my 34 years of answering questions as the Handyman. But apparently it is a common occurrence with antique china. I Googled “mold under glaze of china” and came up with a bonanza of suggestions. One of them is this: 1. Mix 1 part salt and 1 part vinegar into a liquid paste. 2. Apply to stain and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Wash off and check stain. If it has reduced, repeat the treatment every 20 minutes until stain is gone. Another treatment is to wash with a minimum 30 percent peroxide solution for 20 to 30 minutes. Thirty to 40 percent peroxide is sold in beauty supply stores. It’s interesting; there was no mention of household chlorine bleach.

Q. I have some nice Melamine kitchen cabinets, easily washable with detergent and water. But simple washing does not take the slight stain from around the handles. What can I use on those stains?

BILL WATT, Concord

A. Nothing is easy. For those stains, rub with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It will take some rubbing, but they will come clean because the eraser is very slightly abrasive.

Q. Help! I have a flock of seven wild turkeys in my yard. They seem to have found a home, and are eating some of my hosta, as well. What can I do?

A. There isn’t much you can do, but you can try a revolting-smelling repellent called Liquid Fence, which has the odor of coyote urine. It has to be renewed after rain and bad weather.

And speaking of birds. . .

Here are some tips from Herbidoc about pigeons roosting on one’s roof: Pigeons do not see very well at night, therefore they do not fly at night unless it is absolutely necessary. So if they roost at night, a cheap method of permanently removing them is as follows:

Toss a handful of small pebbles upward, so that they cascade onto the roosting birds, which will scare them. You may have to repeat this several times as they will return. Get them flying several times for several nights and they will find another place to roost. If they only roost during the day, this method will have to be repeated many times for many days. This worked for Herbidoc; the birds ended up on his unfriendly neighbor’s house.

Thanks, Herbidoc.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton also appears in the Sunday Real Estate section. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton (photton@globe.com) also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. Go to www.boston.com.
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