Q: My refrigerator works fine but has a horrendous smell when it's opened. I've tried pulling out all the leftovers and keeping big trays of baking soda in the back, but that hasn't helped. Any other ideas?
A: You've probably already cleaned it out, but you might want to try a more thorough cleaning, says appliance repairman Steve Edgemark of Costa Mesa.
Mix a solution of three parts water and one part bleach in a bucket and use that to sponge clean the walls, compartments and especially the bottom. Many times people will defrost meat in the refrigerator and there might be leakage from a defective bag or tray.
Bacteria react to the spill, and an unpleasant odor occurs. The key is to make sure you place the food in a large dish or bowl.
Q: I was at a friend's home recently and complimented him on the beautiful picture his new TV set had. I was shocked when he said it was hooked up to a rooftop antenna rather than cable. I've always associated antennas with poor reception, which is why I've opted for cable. What should I look for when shopping for antennas?
A: Generally, you'll want to get an antenna with the greatest number of elements, says Gene Hankins of Action Electronics in Santa Ana. You'll also want one that's pretty tall because the higher it is the better your reception is going to be. If you find that the signal is weak overall, you can put an amplifier on the line, which increases the power of the signal and gives you a better picture.
Q: We have twin 6-year-old boys, and one of our projects for this summer is to paint their room. Because of the wear that the walls get with crayons and marks, we'd like to use some type of kid-proof paint. Is there anything like that available?
A: There are lots of high-quality paints that can hold up to a great deal of abuse. However, the key to making them work is in preparing the walls. If there are crayon marks on the walls now, those will have to be removed. Try using denatured alcohol or ammonia to rub them off. Because crayons are basically made of wax, paint won't cover them.
Use a 100% acrylic primer that can be tinted to the finish-coat color, then apply a good quality latex paint with an eggshell finish. This has the look of a flat paint and the durability of a semigloss. Common stains should be washable. However, items such as crayons can stain any paint. It's probably best to steer them to use nonstaining markers.
If you have a question about your home or garden, A Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send questions to: John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.