Home & Decor

Solutions & Substitutions Column

By: Reena Nerbas
Hi Reena,

I have three pairs of pants that say ‘dry clean’ but I am hoping that they can be washed (perhaps in cold water or hand washed) and hope that you can provide some assistance or advice. The fabric content is as follows: 64% polyester, 34% rayon and 2% spandex,

57% cotton, 32% polyester, 9% rayon and 2% elastane, 54% virgin wool, 30% viscose, 15% polyamide nylon and 1% elastane. Thank- you. Michelle

Hi Michelle,

It is always safe to follow care label instructions and if the label says “dry clean” that is what you should do. With that said, the last time I was inside a drycleaners was about 18 years ago picking up my wedding dress. When I purchase dry clean fabrics unless they are non-washable silk, I hand wash them in cold water and hang or lay them flat to dry. Whatever you do don’t put rayon, wool or viscose into the dryer.

Dear Reena,

I have a huge problem with fruit flies. How can I get rid of them quickly? Thanks, Laurelly

Hi Laurelly,

Apple cider vinegar and dish soap in a cup work great to catch fruit flies but some people want a faster cure especially at this time of the year when flies are at their peak. First plug all drains (they hatch inside drains), refrigerate all fruit, if weather permits put plants outside. The fastest way to get rid of flies big and small is quite simply with a fly swatter, you will locate several if you look at your windows. If you can’t hit them fast enough, spray them with hairspray, this freezes their wings and then you can swat them. Get them now because they multiply at enormous rates!

Hi Reena,

For the first time in my life I bought an expensive bra. The problem is that the clips on each strap constantly slide onto my shoulders instead of staying put where I want them. Any suggestions? Signed, Anonymous

Hi there,

Have no fear super glue is here! Squirt a tiny dab of super glue underneath each clip and the clips will never move again. Another option is to sew each clip into place.

Dear Reena,

I’ve now gone through your third book twice; there are so many great ideas. Reading your ingenious ideas for various uses such as toothpaste gave me the idea to try it on two problem areas. First, it did an excellent job on the inside glass of my oven door. Secondly, I had almost given up on the badly discolored floor of my basement shower, and then I tried toothpaste and a stiff brush. Presto! It looks great once again.

I love your tip about putting an unlit wooden match in your mouth while chopping onions, works every time! Also, when I know a fabric is colorfast, Head and Shoulders Dandruff shampoo has now become my first line of attack on stains. It sometimes takes more than one wash, but always works in the end (another one of your gems)!

Can you please give me a great recipe for homemade play dough? Thank-you for everything. Jan 

Wow Jan,

I love that you are brave enough to not only try out household solutions but that you take the time to report your own findings! The key to a great play dough recipe is to use sea salt instead of table salt. Play dough recipe: Boil half cup sea salt in 2 cups water until dissolved. Add 1 package Kool-Aid for color, 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, 3 cups flour, 2 tbsp. alum (available at grocery stores). Knead until smooth. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Thank-you for your letter!

Dear Reena,

I just got married, what is the best way to clean my wedding dress? Francesca

Congratulations Francesca!

Take the dress to a drycleaner who specializes in caring for wedding gowns. Ask about guarantees and cleaning methods. Next get your hands on a pH neutral box and acid free tissue paper. Make sure that the container is free from peak-a-boo windows. Light causes yellowing over time. Store your dress in a dry environment and at a steady temperature (not a garage, attic or basement).

Fabulous Tips from Reader:

  • Brewer’s yeast rubbed on a dog’s coat will prevent fleas. Submitted by: Harolyn
  • Place cucumber peels on kitchen windowsills to keep ants out. Submitted by: Harolyn

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 Christmas 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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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.