Home & Decor

Solutions & Substitutions Column March 19th 2010

Dear Reena,

I have a box of old fashioned moss killer for roofs, but suspect that it is not environmentally friendly. Can you please possibly direct me to a safe product and its supplier? Many thanks for any help that you can provide in this respect. Ian

Dear Ian,

In order to clean moss off of a roof: Combine 1 lb. (500 g) zinc sulphate into 3 gallons (12 L) of water. Spray on; do not scrub. Double or triple recipe as needed. Taken from Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions

Hi Reena,

My telephone has hairspray on it from holding it to my ear. How can I remove the hairspray? I have tried rubbing alcohol and also finger nail polish remover. It looks so dirty I need to remove it. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you, Mary

Hello Mary,

I am assuming that you are referring to a regular phone, not a Blackberry, cell phone or other doodad. Here are a few solutions to try: Combine baking soda and lemon juice into a paste. Spread onto phone. Wait 30 mins. and scrub with a green scrubby. Or clean with baking soda and non-bleach, non-gel toothpaste. Or as a last resort spray WD-40 onto a cloth and gently brush with 000 sandpaper, next wipe with dish soap and water to remove smell.

Hello Reena,
I always read your tips in my newspaper and think your environmental solutions are great. Maybe you can help me with my stinky drains? We rented our house out one year, and when we came back our drains smelled horrible. I have tried the vinegar and baking soda trick but it does not work. Do you have any other solutions? Thank you in advance, Heidi

Hi there Heidi,

Believe me you are not alone; I receive hundreds of letters from people with ‘The Stinky Drain Challenge’! The overnight baking soda, hot water and vinegar solution is a powerful way to freshen drains and using this method once a month has no disadvantages. However, if your sink continues to smell you may have a clog in your pipes which will need to be cleaned out. Other causes of smelly drains are old grease sitting in pipes for a long period and becoming rancid or poor ventilation. Instead of vinegar, pour 1 cup household non-sudsing ammonia down the drain and chase with 1 cup washing soda. Plug drain and leave overnight. Do not drain until morning.

If smell remains call in a licensed plumber to check out the system, and vent lines. The plumber should also check valves, and controls needed to bring the job up to code.

Dear Reena,

My daughter has an adorable little hamster that our entire family enjoys. Like many things in life there is a downside to our furry critter, the smell is nauseating. We clean the cage and the next day the smell fills the air once again. Any ideas of how we can prolong the fresh smell? Roxanna

Hi Roxanna,

Your first step is to ensure that the cage is cleaned properly. The bottom of the cage needs a good scrubbing along with anything inside the cage and the wire on the cage. A well cleaned cage should not smell the next day. Clean the cage with cola or baking soda, water and dish soap.

In order to prolong the fresh smell, some people suggest that the hamster cage be lined with a disposable cat liner. This is not recommended as the hamster will likely eat the liner. Another popular recommendation is to add cat litter to the cage, doing this is very dangerous because it is not an intended product for animal dwellings. While wood shavings are the most popular choice for hamsters, there are products available at pet stores such as; Carefresh, these shavings are made of reclaimed cellulose instead of wood and absorbs additional foul odors. Carefresh is biodegradable and flushable in small quantities. Some pet stores also carry a spray that can be sprayed inside the cage to tackle foul stinkyness.

Have no fear SUBSTITUTIONS are here!

  • Run out of shaving cream? Use canned whip cream to shave.
  • Run out of itching ointment? Blend Cheerios® and apply a small amount of water to make a terrific paste for relieving itch of poison ivy or bug bites.
  • Run out of foot cream? Massage feet with butter, wrap in a damp, hot towel, and sit for 10 minutes. Your feet will feel revitalized.
  • Run out of patience? Coat a knife with butter before slicing through sticky items such as dried fruit in gooey pies.

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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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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