Solutions & Substitutions Column

By: Reena Nerbas

Hi Reena,

I enjoy your column very much and have discovered so many useful tips. I especially like your homemade fabric freshener tip (Febreeze substitute) and use it all the time. Now I hope you can use your wisdom to come up with a substitute for a daily shower cleaner which is another of my favorite things to use but I would prefer to make my own. Can you help? Thanks for all your hard work and research, Joyce

Dear Joyce,

In a spray bottle combine: half teaspoon dish soap, 1 cup water and one third cup rubbing alcohol. That’s it, that’s all you need. Spray, no need to rinse. Hmm, I bet you thought I was going to suggest the King of Household Superstars, VINEGAR. Well you can always add a few drops of vinegar but you don’t want to clean grouted areas with vinegar, as its powerful cleaning action can etch grout. Happy Cleaning!

Dear Reena,

How can I remove the stale smell from my terry dishwashing clothes?  They are colored so I do not want to use a lot of bleach as it will take the color away although I know it will remove the sour smell. Is there something I can do that will remove the bad odor but not the color?  Thank you, Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,

Toss them in the dishwasher (away from heating coil) to kill bacteria and leave dish clothes smelling fresh. Or a less risky solution for keeping the color is to soak them in King Vinegar for a few hours and wash as usual. Taken from Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets

Hi Reena,

I need an answer to this ASAP.  Boy did I mess up with my grandson’s tux jacket. It is 100% polyester and I had shortened the sleeves and it needed to be pressed. Now it has iron shine on the sleeve. It is for my daughter’s wedding which is in six days. Can you please help?  Much appreciated. Bob

Dear Bob,

The pants are scorched and unfortunately there is no way to fix the fabric as the pants are permanently damaged. However, the wedding will still be perfect!

Feedback from Readers Who Care:

Hello Reena,

I read your column every week and have made use of many of your tips. However, I was quite horrified to see that your Tip of the Week included instructions on making flypaper.  As a bird lover, I think flypaper should be banned. It certainly is very effective for its intended use, but many hummingbirds and dragonflies – and even other smaller birds – are caught in them every year and die. The Wild Arc (Animal Rehabilitation Centre) in Victoria, B.C. has a flypaper trap with the resulting dead bird in a showcase to show the effects of these traps. Hanging them outside in a BBQ area or above a doorway entrance to a home where birds often mistakenly enter are the worst places. I hope you will consider retracting your suggestion or cautioning your readers regarding this information.  Thank you, Barb

  • Recently someone asked about cutting onions without tears. This tip was given to me by the owner of a Chinese restaurant. Move the cutting board as close to the stove as possible, turn the range hood fan on high and start cutting. No more tears!
  • Oh, no! One more onion tip: I always cried while chopping onions until I bought a good (very sharp) knife.  “Bruising” the onion seems to release the oils while cleanly slicing through them does not. Cheers, Diane

Fabulous Tips of the Week:

  • When making cinnamon buns, I save my tuna fish cans and use them as pans instead of muffin tins. They form perfectly shaped rolls every time. P.S. I also use tuna cans for making large muffins.
  • If you have an open un-lidded pitcher of juice in the fridge. Cover the top with plastic wrap so that it does not absorb other fridge odors.

Reena Nerbas is a highly popular professional speaker and the author of three national best sellers, “Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions”, “Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets” and “Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives”. Corporate and Christmas Workshops Available by calling: 204-320-2757.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming!

Check out my web site! www.householdsolutions.org

For all of your home improvement needs please contact my friend Shell Busey at www.housesmartcentre.com. To read more household solutions visit: www.CanadianHomeTrends.ca

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Canadian Home Trends

Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You'll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you've always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada's best places to shop.
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