Solutions & Substitutions for April 23rd, 2010


Hello Reena,

I find the closets in our home always smell stale when we open the closet doors. I have bought the reed diffusers repeatedly only to find that they evaporate very quickly. I am back to square one.  Can you help? Thank you, Lorraine

Hi Lorraine,

Here are a few hints to keep your closets smelling fresh: Store open bars of soap in the closet. Just like in the refrigerator, store an open box of baking soda inside of the closet to absorb odors. Fabric softener sheets tucked inside closets make excellent room fresheners. Other suggestions: Scented tea bags or potpourri, coffee beans in a sock, a bag of open activated charcoal, unlit fragrant candles. Or make your own air freshener. Into a spray bottle add one quarter cup of your favorite scented liquid fabric softener. Fill the remaining portion of the bottle with water. Spray in closets for a fresh scent. Or spray all fabrics in the closet with vodka; this will take away all musty scents.

Hello Reena,

I am writing for your advice on ridding my daughter’s apartment of fleas.  My daughter is expecting her second child and they have an 18 month old as well so using a chemical treatment is not their first choice. They do not own a pet so they suspect that a neighbor with a cat on their floor may be the problem. Is there any safe method you can recommend to rid their living space of fleas that are popping up everywhere and leaving everyone with itchy spots?  She is vacuuming regularly and bags the contents from the vacuum so fleas can’t escape and has washed all covers and blankets in hot water as a first step. Seeing fleas and having bites has just started in the last couple of weeks yet they have been living here for almost a year. Thank you, Julie

Hi Julie,

Constant vacuuming and disposing of vacuum bags is the first and most important step. Vacuum your entire house paying particular attention to corners, dark crevices, under furniture, under beds, pet beds, rugs and especially around skirting boards. Put the nozzle attachment on your vacuum cleaner and thoroughly vacuum around all baseboards and edges of fixtures. The vibrations from vacuuming also stimulate the fleas to emerge from their cocoons and thus they will be exposed to the insecticide that may be used. You are likely to need an aggressive approach to get the fleas to flee. Vacate your home and have someone spray the home with flea insecticide containing IGR. You may not like using insecticides and chemicals around your house but a home remedy to kill fleas will not work. Once you have broken the flea life cycle you will not have to spray on a regular basis and you can put the insecticides away forever.

Hi Reena,

Just want to know how long can you keep juice in a carton in the fridge once it’s been opened? Shirley

Dear Shirley,

Check the expiration date on the carton. Typically unopened can be stored for 8 months from production date. After the juice is open the drink should be consumed within 7 to 10 days.

Hi Reena,

Is there anyway to freshen-up crackers that have been standing around? Some boxes have not been opened but were bought a while ago and I have a feeling they might be stale. I enjoy your column each week, thanks for the hints. Chris
Hi Chris,

Take a serving of your crackers or chips and microwave them for 30 seconds. You can also put them in a single layer on a baking sheet in a very slow oven (250 degrees) for awhile. Watch them carefully though so they don’t become too crisp.
Dear Reena,

How can I get furniture dents out of carpeting? I have fluffed it up as much as I can with the sharp edge of a knife but they are still very visible. Hope you can help and thanks in advance. Sharon
Hello Sharon,

Drop an ice cube into the carpet indentation. Leave the cube until melted. Blot up wet spots and fluff. Another option is to steam the area, being careful not to rest the iron directly on the carpet.
Important Feedback from Readers:

Hi Reena,

I read your article about cleaning oil paintings. When cleaning an oil painting one should do a test on one corner first to see if it’s varnished. If it isn’t varnished then there is a great risk that you will remove some paint along with the detritus that collects on the surface – fly specks, cooking oils, nicotine, smoke from oil or wood burning stoves, etc. As you go through the cleaning process keep checking your cleaning ‘pad’ (we used cotton balls as they were soft and non-abrasive and held cleaning solutions quite well) to make sure no paint is being lifted off as a result of going through the layer of varnish. We worked on areas of about 3” x 3” until the cleaning was complete. Winsor & Newton makes a good cleaner, and varnishes by Daler-Rowney. Use a Removable Varnish to recoat the painting after it has been cleaned so it is ready to be cleaned again in the future – flies, gasses and smoke usually don’t stop accumulating on pictures. Acrylic pictures need to be cleaned, too. Watercolors and pastels are usually kept under glass. Thanks for the articles you write, Dave
Fabulous Tips of the Week!

  • Use fabric softeners sheets to prevent static electricity from building up around your television and computer screen. Give both a soft wipe to keep static down and the dust from settling.
  • Put a fabric softener sheet in the vacuum cleaner. Every time you vacuum your floors and carpets, the scent will waft through the house, leaving it smelling clean and fresh.

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

Written by Canadian Home Trends

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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