Home & Decor

Solutions & Substitutions Column March 5th, 2010

Hey Reena,

My son is doing a science fair project on ‘How permanent are permanent markers – we are experimenting on various surfaces – linoleum, paint, wood and carpet.  We want to include some green alternatives for removal – do you have any suggestions. Please note – if it doesn’t remove from all the surfaces that is okay because it is just part of the science. Thank you, Frances

Dear Frances,

My favorite less toxic solution for removing permanent marker from hard surfaces such as wood is baking powder and dish soap. Create a paste and scrub the surface. Takes some elbow grease but it will come off. Great science project topic, hope you get an ‘A’!

Dear Reena,

Do you have a recipe for hand lotion made with oil and beeswax? Mary

Hi Mary,

Here is an easy ‘Bee Natural Hand Lotion Recipe’: Into a double boiler melt 4 oz. sweet almond oil and 1 oz. beeswax. Remove from heat and add 2 oz. water and stir well. Add 10 drops Vitamin E and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil such as lavender. Stir until cool.

Pour contents into jars or metal tins.

Hello Reena,

I heard you on the radio in B.C. and I am wondering if you can help our family? We would like to spring clean our kitchen oak cabinets. Can you please let us know the best solution?  Thanks, Linda

Hi there Linda,

Dilute one part soap in two parts warm water and clean the cabinets using a sponge or green scrubbing pad (not steel wool). When cleaning cabinets, pay particular attention to the area around cabinet door handles and drawer pulls, these places tend to be the stickiest. Removing cabinet hardware before cleaning will make it easier to clean.

Other options for cleaning are: Vinegar/water or baking soda/water or lemon juice/borax. For annual or bi-annual cleaning use Murphy’s Oil and water. After cabinets are clean you may want to buff them with a furniture wax suitable for your wood. Test all solutions on an inconspicuous area first!

Hi Reena,

I recently moved into a condo and I am having trouble cleaning the mirrors in both bathrooms. After cleaning (I have tried water and vinegar, Windex and Air Refreshener and then wiping them with newsprint) but they look smeared.  Any suggestions for cleaning the mirrors would be most appreciated.  Thank you, Connie

Dear Connie,

The water in your home may be contributor to your streaky woes therefore, try bottled water if your tap water is mineral rich. Nothing beats a great quality micro fiber cloth for removing streaky looking mirrors. Water and a cloth is all you need, micro fiber drying clothes are also a worthwhile investment, just don’t settle for the cheap stuff or you will be disappointed. The following is my absolute favorite Squeaky Clean Window Recipe: In a spray bottle, combine 1 tsp. (5mL) inexpensive shampoo, one quarter cup (60 mL) rubbing alcohol and fill remaining portion of the bottle with white vinegar. Spray and wipe. For extra shine make a paste of cornstarch and water, wipe mirrors and wipe with a clean cloth. Taken from Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets

Extra Tip: To avoid foggy mirrors following hot showers, smear shaving cream or gel over mirrors once a month, remove all excess.


Tips for Fixing Cooking Mishaps:

  • If a tomato-based sauce becomes too acidic add a teaspoon of baking soda at a time to the sauce to reduce acidity. Some cooks prefer to add sugar for the same reason. Sugar can also reduce acidity of tomatoes used in salads.
  • If you find that the sauce you are cooking is liquidy and thin. Thicken with a combination of flour and butter (add in small batches). Cornstarch is usually a good thickener, but it might help to mix it with water first. A little goes a long way. Some cooks use dried potato flakes as an emergency thickener. If the sauce would not do well with these ingredients, you may try a reduction. Allow the excess liquid to boil out of the sauce until it is reduced in volume.

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

The following two tabs change content below.
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.