Home & Decor

Solutions & Substitutions Column

By: Reena Nerbas

Dear Readers,

I must share with you my dishwasher experience. Last week my dishwasher stopped working right in the middle of a wash. It could not even muster up enough breathe to complete the cycle. After inquiring to the manufacturer, I was told that the dishwasher has been recalled for this exact reason (it just suddenly stops working). The dishwasher was going to be fixed at no charge within three to four weeks. Well, after two days I opened up the dishwasher and the smell punched me in the face and nearly knocked me down. I poured half a bottle of vinegar onto the floor of the dishwasher and sprinkled baking soda on top. The smell is gone and I can now breathe with a smile. King vinegar prevails once again!

Dear Reena,

How long do flu germs live outside the body? Simon

Hello Simon,

According to Mayo Clinic the length of time that cold or flu germs can survive outside the body on an environmental surface, such as a doorknob, varies greatly. But the suspected range is from a few seconds to 48 hours — depending on the specific virus and the type of surface.

Flu viruses tend to live longer on surfaces than cold viruses do. Also, it’s generally believed that cold and flu viruses live longer on nonporous surfaces — such as plastic, metal or wood — than they do on porous surfaces — such as fabrics, skin or paper.

Although cold and flu viruses primarily spread from person-to-person contact, you can also become infected from contact with contaminated surfaces. The best way to avoid becoming infected with a cold or flu is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or with an alcohol-based sanitizer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site says the H1N1 virus can survive and infect a person for two to eight hours after being left on a surface.

Dear Reena,

What is the best way to clean piano or organ keys? Just as a side note, my Household Solutions books arrived in the mail and I am happy to say that some of my Christmas shopping is now done. Keep up the good work, Darlene

Great to hear from you Darlene,

For general cleaning on plastic or ivory keys, use vinegar and water on a soft cloth. For ivory keys, wipe with non-gel, non-bleach toothpaste on a damp cloth. Ensure that you rub gently and do not scrub. Rinse with fresh milk and buff well. Note: Over time and with repeated cleaning, the yellow on your ivory keys can be significantly reduced. Whitening your ivory piano keys takes a long time and a great deal of patience.

Extra tidbit: If you are unsure whether your piano keys are plastic or ivory, note that piano keys that have ivory tops are made in two parts. If you look carefully you will notice a join. Also ivory piano keys are off white instead of stark white. Lastly, ivory has a grain. Modern pianos have plastic keys which does not have any grain. Be careful not to mistake ivory keys with cellulose keys, cellulose also has a grain, but the cellulose grain is more even than ivory.

Dear Reena,

We have a very old, 102 years, Christening gown made of white cotton and lace which has been in storage for the past seven years. We now find that it has a yellow stain, probably from milk, on the front of the cotton. Because of the age of the gown we were reluctant to tackle the stain without some professional advice.

Can you suggest a safe way to remove the stain without harming the fabric please? Thank you! Sharon

Hello Sharon,

You always want to begin with the mildest solution and use more aggressive solutions only if necessary. With this in mind, make a liquid paste of borax (or washing soda) and water. Cover the milk stain. Leave overnight and rinse in the morning. Keep me posted!

Outstanding Tips of the Week:

  • I don’t know what I do without nylon net; there are so many uses for it. I tuck it in where I am likely to find spiders (around doors, the space between outside walls and concrete steps). I also secure netting inside heat vents with a rubber band and put netting, between sliding windows that have drainage holes and overtop of open pipes etc. I also fold netting over the blade of my knives to prevent accidental cuts. Submitted by Erna
  • If you are still using plastic grocery bags (instead of recyclable bags) and don’t know what to do with mountain of bags collecting in your home. The solution is easy, donate the bags to self help, the bags will be reused instead of wasted.
  • Scare crows in the garden? A balloon pop is a fast way to scare those birds away but for long term results use a kite. Place a kite in the garden; crows will think it is a bird and fly away to bother someone else.

Reena Nerbas is a 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 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

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