Dear Reena,

I read your article regarding, maggots in the newspaper. An easy method that I use to prevent them from visiting is to sprinkle dried crumbled egg shells in the trench before planting onions or seeds (I save shells days in advance).

Secondly, I wonder if you can help me with a problem. I won a Teflon frying pan. The pan has a very stuck-on sticker on the inside bottom that seems impossible to remove without leaving a scratch. Any ideas how to remove the sticker? I always look forward to your articles and learn much. Thank you, Donna

Hi Donna,

Use a hair dryer to heat the sticker area. Pick-up a corner and warm the sticker underneath, the sticker should peel right off.

Hi Reena,

I faithfully read your column and am buying your books for myself and my two daughters but in the meantime, I have a problem that I have not seen so far. How do I remove latex paint from clothing? I have tried scraping with my fingernail and from experience know that once it is washed it is DONE so am waiting for your reply as now I have some on a new T- shirt. In the past this only happened to “paint clothes” but now I need a recipe. Thanks so much for your attention to this. Paulette

Great to hear from you Paulette,

Water based paint needs to be treated no longer than 6 hours after a spill. Apply commercial stain remover to fabric or soak in paint thinner. Wash in cold water with heavy-duty detergent. For old paint stains, soak for 24 hours in Windex or acetone or dish soap or combine equal parts household ammonia with turpentine and scrub with a stiff brush. Taken from: ‘Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions’

Help Reena!

Any ideas as to how to clean smelly hockey and football equipment? Thanks, Rita

Hi Rita,

Most sports equipment (unless leather) is washable. Check care label instructions to see what the manufacturer recommends. If washable lay equipment in a hot bath of water and laundry detergent. Let soak for at least ten minutes, rinse and air dry. Stuff equipment with newspaper and fabric softener sheets whenever not in use to keep odors to a minimum. For extra power, equipment you can also soak equipment in borax or vinegar before adding laundry detergent.

Feedback from reader:

Hi Reena,

Just read John’s problem with the unusually dark homemade marmalade. I make Seville-orange marmalade as often as I find the fruit. I have worked out the quantities for a much larger batch than usual and I use a candy thermometer to arrive at the correct temperature, rather than boiling for a given amount of time. I found that boiling down to evaporate the extra water after the sugar is added will darken the final product. I think it is the extra time of boiling the sugar syrup that does the deed. I always add light rum at the end and there is no colour change at the time of addition.
Regarding your tips about mashed potatoes: My husband prefers very light, fluffy, mealy mashed potatoes and he perfected his own method of boiling them. He prefers russet potatoes. He peels and cuts them into med. size pieces and boils them with a minimum of salted water and a good lid (the steam gets hotter than the water) at med. temp. Boil until barely done (not falling apart), drain and leave to steam out for a few minutes, then mash with a potato-masher.

I grow about 35 different varieties, including red and blue fleshed ones. To keep the color of these, either boil them in their skins, or if they are large and need to be peeled, use as little water as possible and boil at med. temp. Hugs, Gertrud

Hi Reena,

Our on-going flea problem is gone! We used FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth because of our concerns with an 18 month old and expectant mom in the home. We put the DE along the edges of the rooms, in doorways and along the patio door entrance. At night we put old pillow slips covered with sprinkled DE powder in the well travelled areas and then in the daytime put those pillow slips in the bedrooms with the doors closed – again to avoid having my grandson and his toys covered in it (although I was told it would be perfectly safe). We have not had any bites in over a week and yesterday my daughter wiped up a dead flea off her kitchen floor so we feel it does work. Julie
Fabulous Tips of the Week:

  • Lemons make a great household deodorizer. Freshen the drains in your home with lemons. Lemon rinds can be placed in the garbage disposal area in order to keep that area smelling fresh and clean all day, every day. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice into hot water and use this solution to pour down the drain.
  • King vinegar is the royal best of the best for all-purpose cleaning. But most people don’t like using vinegar because of its smell. This is where lemon juice comes in. Add a few drops of lemon juice into your vinegar solution to neutralize the strong smell of vinegar. Lemon juice will not only take away the vinegar odor, it can also add a nice citrus smell that you will surely love.

Editor’s Note: The banana mask recipe previously published was missing one ingredient: 2 tbsp. honey
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”. Corporate and Christmas Workshops Available by calling: 204-320-2757.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming!

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For all of your home improvement needs please contact my friend Shell Busey at To read more household solutions visit:

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