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3 ways to clear glasses fogged by dishwasher

Question: A lot of my good glasses are heavily fogged from having been through the dishwasher so many times. How can I make them look like new again?

Sally Kallstrom, Lexington, Mass.

Answer: There are several things you can try; one or all may work: Rub the glasses with Never Dull Magic Wadding, sold in hardware stores. Soak the glasses in a large pan in which several denture-cleaning tablets have been dissolved. Wash the glasses with a mix of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. Let them air dry.

Question: What's the best way to build a brick terrace? One contractor suggested laying bricks in stone dust rather than sand. How can I keep weeds down if the terrace is in the sun? And what about a border for this terrace?

Beth Price, Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Answer: You don't have to be concerned for a while because this is not the time to excavate, lay down a base and then the bricks. So you have plenty of time to plan.

Stone dust is the best thing you can lay bricks in, if you don't use mortar. Stone dust packs down better than sand, and no matter which you use, only 2 inches is needed. Excavate about 4 1/2 inches, which will accommodate 2 inches of stone dust and the thickness of the brick. Be sure to butt the bricks close together so that they are touching, then sweep stone dust into the joints. You don't want to have a wide joint in this "dry" setup.

Any loose-brick pavement area - patio, terrace, sidewalk - needs a border. If the terrace is flush with the ground, you can put in soldier bricks - bricks set in the ground on their long ends. If the terrace is raised anywhere from 2 or so inches and up, it would be better to use concrete patio blocks or pressure-treated timbers.

If the terrace is in the sun, put agricultural cloth on the ground before applying the stone dust. This cloth will allow drainage but will pretty well prevent weeds from coming up. The cloth is sold at garden and building supply centers. Or, put down black, perforated plastic.

Answer: I was given some nice old flatirons, but they are covered with rust. How can I get that rust off without spoiling the value of the irons?

Mary Cullinane, Lynn, Mass.

Answer: I'm not sure the irons have a lot of value, but removing the rust is unlikely to reduce it. Rub off the rust with emery cloth or super-fine sandpaper. Finish up with steel wool. For any rust that remains, treat with naval jelly (sometimes called rust jelly), which is sold in building supply stores.

Question: Is there any carpet underpadding that has R value for insulation? What R value does carpet and padding have? E.V. Lundstedt, Marblehead, Mass.

Answer: Carpeting and pads generally have similar R values, but not much: maybe 1 for both layers. If you can find a Homasote Carpet Underlayment, a rigid board 1/2- or 5/8-inch thick sold in building supply stores, this would provide a little more R value, maybe up to 2, with carpet. And, with this carpet underlayment, you don't need a pad. All this is for wall-to-wall carpeting.

Question: The joint between the tub and tile at the drain end of my tub is 1/2 inch. Would grout still work in such a wide joint, or would caulking be better? David Hartz, Charlotte, N.C.

Answer: The widest space recommended for grout is 1/4 inch. Your 1/2-inch joint may be too much for grout and even for caulking, because the depth of the joint is only about 1/4 inch.

But here is what I suggest, unless you have tried it without success: Use a sanded grout (grout that has sand in it), apply it very compactly and smooth it off. Let it set, apply a tile sealer and see what happens. Even in a joint that wide, I think grout is better than caulking. And be sure to chip and gouge out all the old grout or caulking; this will give the new grout a better chance of staying where it belongs.

Here's another idea: If the tiles along the drain end of the tub were cut, try this: Remove them (if they are glued on), applying heat to loosen them and cut new tiles so that the joint will be a maximum of 1/8 inch. If the tiles were not cut, then there is not much you can do but grout the joint and hope for the best.

There are rigid plastic coves, self-adhesive lengths that you can put over the joint, but even these might not cover the 1/2-inch gap.

Question: Is there anything I can put on my greenhouse roof to keep down the heat in the summer? The greenhouse is large and attached to the house. In the summer, it is just too hot. Venting helps some, and I also have tried inside shades, without much success. Martha Hammerquist, Wellfleet, Mass.

Answer: The trouble with inside shades is that the heat is already in the greenhouse, so your idea of putting something on top of the roof is better. Trouble is, anything like that would be expensive, and it would have to be movable so you can utilize the heat when you want it. And here's the rub: I don't know of any inexpensive movable cover.

The next best thing is to install more openable vents, and/or set up a fan to exhaust that hot air. Such a fan is a standard item in a commercial greenhouse - a large fan, a little like a whole house fan, at one end.