Dear Good Housekeeping: How do I get Karo syrup out of a ukulele?

Posted on March 12, 2012


Dear Good Housekeeping,

While perusing your site today I found many helpful tips on cleaning everything from leather sofas to freezers to sponges, but I was disappointed when I didn’t find a single tip on how to get Karo syrup out of a ukulele.

Surely I can’t be the first person to fall asleep while playing a ukulele and drinking a bourbon sour. I can’t be the first  to wake up to discover  a ukulele covered with the sticky remnants of bourbon and lemon juice and a trail of sugar syrup leading into the ukulele’s sound hole. I refuse to accept this hasn’t happened before.

I can’t be the first person to maintain the Sunday evening ritual of waiting until everyone has gone to bed, putting on a smoking jacket, drinking a bourbon sour, and playing the ukulele. And if I am the first person, so what? I don’t ask you what you do on Sunday nights.

The matter of cleaning the ukulele has become a bit urgent as my wife keeps asking if anyone knows its location. I’ve tried to play it cool.

“Ukulele? Like a tiny guitar, right?”
“Never heard of it. And because I’ve never heard of it, it’s definitely not under the couch cushions in my office.”
“Never heard of it? You play it every Sunday after I go to bed. I can hear you.”
“I’m not on trial here. Why are you asking me? Ask the kids. Ask the cat.”

The location of the ukulele is of issue to my youngest son who is supposed to be practicing the ukulele and will play in the year-end talent show. I worry the audience may find it difficult to concentrate on his playing if his ukulele smells like bourbon sour. I wouldn’t feel entirely guilty if he got in trouble, because he was probably the reason I was drinking the bourbon sour.

I worry the real reason you offer no tips for cleaning bourbon sour is because you don’t consider it a woman’s drink.  And that’s sexist. This is 2012!  Women can drink bourbon sours all day long while being astronauts and travel agents.  And men can engage in housekeeping, especially if housekeeping includes cleaning a ukulele while wearing a smoking jacket. Until this situation is remedied, I fear you’ll never graduate to Great Housekeeping.


Sticky Strings in Shanghai

Posted in: Columns