Hi Reena,

Love your column. I would like to change my bathroom countertop and paint the cabinets, what can I do or should I “bite the bullet” and buy a new counter? Thank You, Sharon

Dear Sharon,

Before purchasing a new countertop there are a number of products available for restoring drabby looking counters. You can try a commercial laminate or fiberglass cleaner, such as; 3M Marine Fiberglas Cleaner and Wax, 3M Marine Fiberglas Restorer and Wax, Gel-Gloss or carnauba wax (car wax) (remember to test everything on an inconspicuous area first). You may want to look into purchasing spray on counter restorer.

If your counter is damaged by dents and scratches, filler can be used. One of the fillers that currently exist on the market is “Seamfil” by Kampel Enterprises. If all else fails it is possible to resurface your counter inexpensively with a piece of wood and a thin sheet of laminate counter available at large hardware stores for about $35.00 per sheet. For an even less expensive solution, paint both the cabinets as well as counter, just make sure to check with your local paint store about the best paints to use for these projects.


Hello Reena,

I have two questions: Is it safe to dump coffee grounds down the kitchen sink? Do you have a solution that can be applied to a window to make it look frosted? I enjoy your column and have tried many of you tips. Thank-you, Diane

Great questions Diane,

Some professionals say it is okay to dump coffee grounds down the drain if you run enough water to flush them completely out of the plumbing system. However, it takes a lot of water in most houses to rinse them that far. Chances are you will eventually need to call in a professional plumber to unclog your pipes. A better idea is to add coffee grounds to your potting soil or garden, plants love coffee grounds.

To frost your windows, begin by giving them a thorough cleaning. Next dissolve 4 heaping tablespoons Epsom salts into 1 cup beer. Leave for 25 minutes. Using a paintbrush, apply the solution in a circular motion. To remove frosting, wash the window with vinegar and water and a good quality micro fiber cloth. There are also frosting sprays available in stores. For a longer term frosted look, purchase clear self-adhesive shelf paper or frosted window film.


Dear Reena,

I fried a sausage in my frying pan with grapeseed oil and after doneness, have residue in my pan and cannot get it out, bottom and sides have a yellowish film. Can you please help me? Thanks and have a nice day, Ilona

Dear Ilona,

Unfortunately I have no idea whether you are tackling cast iron, non-stick, aluminum, porcelain or some other frying pan make-up. Here are a few options for cleaning stainless steel frying pans. Begin with the easiest solution, which is to sprinkle the pan with baking soda and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Boil the solution for 5 mins. Turn element off to cool and scrub. Borax or dishwasher detergent and water can be used in the same way. If you are desperately, desperate try either water and ammonia or oven cleaner. Be careful not to combine one cleaner with another and ventilate well by cleaning the pan outdoors.


Dear Reena,

I have a laundry problem. A lip repair (like Lypsol) went through the washer and dryer and has left greasy stains on the front of my good sweatshirt in several places. Any ideas how this can be handled or is this now a permanent stain? Also, when grease stains appear on pillow cases (after guests) how can I get them out? Thank-you for your great column and wise tips. Marilyn

Hi Marilyn,

You are not alone; I have received many letters from people in the same predicament. Here are two options for both challenges: Soak fabrics in hot water and Oxy Clean or soak the fabric separately in half-cup Arm and Hammer washing soda and enough hot water to cover the clothes for 30 minutes. Wash as usual. Air dry. Repeat until stains are gone. If all else fails, you can zap stains using RIT dye remover according to the directions on the box. Note fabric color will be significantly lightened.


Fabulous Feedback from Readers:

Hi Reena,

It just ‘floors’ me that your article about considering new flooring (porcelain or ceramic) didn’t mention how these materials conduct sound. We are presently in litigation because the noise conducted in a wood frame older Condo has ruined our quiet enjoyment. It amazes me how often people choose these lovely materials and don’t give a thought to what may happen downstairs. Perhaps you could add a sentence or two about what may happen to the unlucky ones below (maybe in Granny’s bedroom if you live in a house) if these floors are not properly installed with sound conduction in mind.

Thanks, love your articles. Judi


Great Tip from Jan Cooper:

Ever been frustrated by the puddle of water that collects on the floor after a shower? Jan Cooper talked to a friend who shared this tid bit. Sew a piece of Velcro to the shower curtain, adhere the other section of Velcro to the wall. During shower time attach the curtain to the wall to alleviate all gaps.

Additional Tips:

  • If your key gets frozen in the lock of your car and you don’t have lock de-icer. Use hand sanitizer in its place, the alcohol in hand sanitizer is the main ingredient in lock de-icer therefore they will both work.
  • Want your sled to go faster downhill? Just spray the bottom with non-stick cooking spray. This method will also lubricate an inner tube, shovel and lawn mower blade. Use caution as you don’t want to get hurt going to quickly down hills.


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

By: Reena Nerbas

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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.