Hi Reena,

I bought my regular fabric softener but with a different scent. I find the new scent is overpowering. I tried mixing it with my usual scent but even that is too strong. Can you suggest anything other than throwing out an almost full container of softener? Thanks, Phyllis

Hi Phyllis,

If you want to avoid throwing out your fabric softener, dilute the fabric softener with water. Next take an old washcloth, put the diluted fabric softener on the washcloth and throw in the dryer instead of the washing machine. Or create an air freshener by pouring one quarter cup of fabric softener into a spray bottle and add 2 cups of water. Spray around rooms, in sports bags or on fabrics to freshen up your home.


Hi Reena,
My elderly father has accidently sprayed oven cleaner on the floor, leaving the floor speckled with brown spots. Neither my mother nor father has ever used a computer in their lives but somehow they have your web site. I just received a frantic call asking me to contact you. Nothing that they have tried is working and I wonder if you might have a solution?  My mother’s parting words were, “Tell Reena it is an emergency!”  Thank you so much for your help with this.

Hi Rachel,

Oven cleaner contains a huge amount of lye which can cause permanent burns on surfaces. Begin by making a paste of baking soda and water. Leave the paste on the surface for one hour before scrubbing with an S.O.S pad. Second options include: Orange TKO or Brasso, both have had positive results. If the stain remains you may need to replace that section of the floor.


Dear Reena,

Can you tell me how to get rid of oil stains on paving stones? Thanks for your help. Chuck

Great to hear from you Chuck,

Soak up new oil messes with one of the following: cat litter, corn flour or talcum powder. Scrub with dish soap and water and a stiff brush, repeat until stain fades. Clean oil typically disappears after several days. Dirty oil can be very difficult, if not impossible to completely remove. Use a degreasing agent or engine cleaning fluid (test on inconspicuous area first). Muriatic acid is another option, use with extreme caution according to the instructions, rinse and scrub with clean water, then repeat as required.


Hi Reena,

I read your column faithfully and I hope you can help me. I grated some lemon and orange rind on the fine side of my grater and I am having difficulty cleaning it. I’ve tried scraping it and using a toothpick to pick out pieces, to no avail. You have given me advice in the past and hope you can help me out again. Thanks in advance, Pearl

Hello Pearl,

Here are a few suggestions for cleaning your grater. Grate a raw potato or apple, this helps unplug the holes on the grater. Use a nylon brush dish scrubber and scrub the inside of the grater, the rind should come out of the holes fairly easily. Anytime you decide to grate cheese (instead of fruit), spray non-stick cooking spray on the grater before you start grating. This helps clean the cheese out quickly, just a few dunks in warm, soapy water and the cheese should pop out. The next time you want to grate fruit, freeze the grater before and after use.


Dear Reena,

Do you have a great recipe for me to jazz up my boring Sunday night meatloaf? Donna


Put half of the ground beef mixture in your loaf pan, layer pepperoni and cheddar cheese and then cover with remainder of meat mixture. Bake as usual but fifteen minutes before meatloaf is done spread a half cup of your favorite pasta sauce on top and bake for fifteen more minutes. Remove meatloaf from oven and let rest for ten minutes.

Fabulous Tip of the Week!

Speaking of meatloaf; don’t toss out the bread crusts that your family won’t eat. Soak them in two-third cups buttermilk for 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess milk and add to meatloaf before baking. Moist and yummy!

Note: ‘The Stinky Drain Challenge Remedy’ should have read 1 cup

household non-sudsing ammonia down the drain and chase with 1 cup baking soda (not washing soda).

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”. Books and Household Solutions 1, 2 and 3 Cooking/Cleaning Gift Packs are available on-line or 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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