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Introducing the Stew Tips Column

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Steward/esses, as a group, have a huge amount of knowledge when it comes to solving problems on board, but are often isolated from each other and are therefore unable to take advantage of each other’s experience. It is also fair to say that some steward/esses seem disinclined to share their knowledge, either with their junior stews or with the general yachting community. This is a shame, as stewardessing can be a challenging job at times, and one that can only be made easier with mentoring and the sharing of expertise. 

This culture of knowledge-guarding seems to be changing for the better. OnboardOnline has been watching with interest the development of Facebook pages such as Yacht Stewardess Tips, which shows just how active stews are becoming in sharing their experience and utilizing social networking for this purpose, and how keen they are to help others who they’ve never met. There’s something quite nice about that.   

To aid this development, Isobel Odendaal, co-owner and Principal of the PYA Steward/ess programme at Super Yachting South Africa and founder of the Yacht Stewardess Tips Facebook page, has kindly agreed to write a monthly column for OnboardOnline. Her idea behind the Facebook group was fuelled by recognising a real need amongst steward/esses to have a place where they can share their ideas, questions or simply ask for advice. 

Vinegar Duct Tape Book ad 200The purpose of this column is to create a library of tips covering, amongst others things: cleaning, laundry, stain treating, flower arranging, and storage advice, as well as the myriad other questions and crises that crop up in an average season.  

This column is designed not only for the green steward/esses or the sole stews that haven’t had a chief stew to learn from, but also for every single stew that realises they don’t know everything yet.   

To quote Isobel’s motto:  “We are never too old or too experienced to learn”.

This is Isobel’s first set of tips.   Please get involved, comment and add your own tips and experiences. 


Whiten and Brighten Your Laundry (if you don't have Napisan handy)

To get rid of dingy yellow colour on white cotton, soak your whites in a solution of a gallon of warm water and two Alka Seltzer tablets. 

Deodorize the Fridge

For a clean, fresh smelling fridge, drop an Alka-Seltzer tablet in a cup of water and leave it in the refrigerator for half an hour. If there is still a smell in the fridge, wash down the inside of the fridge with another Alka-Seltzer tablet dissolved in water.

Clean a Glass Jar, Flower Vase or Thermos flask

For those difficult to clean vases with narrow-necks, and hard to reach places, drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets in the vase, add hot water (not boiling!) and swish it around until the tablets are dissolved and let it sit for an hour. Rinse, and the glass jar, vase or Thermos will be as clean as new.

Alka Seltzer old style image 4Restore Stained Plastic Containers

Got spaghetti sauce stains on your plastic containers?  Simply fill your container with warm to hot water and depending on the size, drop 1 - 2 tablets into the water. Let sit for 30 minutes and the stains will disappear before your eyes.

Polish Your Jewellery

Drop two tablets in a bowl of warm water. Let your jewellery soak for about 20 minutes. It will look new again!  (Note: This is not safe for pearls or opals.)

Clean and Deodorize a Cooler/Daypack

Add about 2 cm water to the bottom of your cooler, drop 4 tablets in, and let sit for an hour.  After an hour, rinse and dry. All smells will be gone and it will be clean and ready for its next use.

Unclog a Drain

Just drop four Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar and a cup of baking soda and allow to stand for about ten minutes.  Flush with a pot of boiling water. Doing this on a regular basis can help keep your drains clear. This will also deodorize the drain.

Clean a Toilet in a Hurry

Drop two tablets in the toilet, wait 20 minutes for the citric acid to loosen the grime, scrub and flush.  The bowl will be clean, shiny, and deodorized.

About the Author:

After working in the super yacht industry as a stewardess, chief stew and purser for 10 years, Isobel Odendaal moved back to her home country, South Africa, and co-started a training school for super yacht steward/esses, Super Yachting South Africa, where she continues to learn and teach every day. super yachting south africa logo

*Image credits:  Jana Guothova via Shutterstock (edited),  PDS209  and Alisha Vargas (via CC 2.0)

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