Sunday, March 5, 2017

Solutions and substitutions with Reena

Reena Nerbas

In this issue: Removing mildew smell from bathing suit, removing felt protector goop from laminate floors, removing dog blood stains from carpets, cornstarch in your salt shakers, brighten silverware with oatmeal, laundry softening tip, ironed my carper - help, removing stains from plastic kitchen shelving, Solutions & Substitutions Pillow Edition, cleaning a self-cleaning oven without self-clean mode, save on produce.

Dear Reena,
I read your column on a regular basis and love your solutions. Now I need some help, I packed a wet bathing suit coming home from a Hawaiian vacation a couple of winters ago, and even though I unpacked it and washed it right away, it has a mildew smell. I rewashed it, hung it up to dry, tried special bathing suit soap and washed it in vinegar with no luck. Couldn’t part with it, so I put it in a cupboard with my two other bathing suits. When I pulled them out recently – all three had a mildew smell. I rewashed, hung them outside, let them sit in water with vinegar, and rewashed them with vinegar and bathing suit soap – to no avail. I’ve worn two of them in a chlorine pool several times this winter, and still the mildew odor remains. I always wash and hang dry right after use. Any chance at all I can remove the smell? What is the best thing to do? Thanks for your ideas! Louise

Dear Louise,
Before washing your bathing suits in the washing machine, soak them in hot water and borax. Borax contains no phosphates and no bleach but is wonderful at zapping hard to handle odors. If you cannot locate borax, use a generous amount of Oxy Clean or baking soda instead.


Dear Reena,
I have laminate floors and when the felt floor protectors on chairs etc. fall off they leave a sticky residue on the floor. I have tried Goo Gone, dish soap with a microfiber cloth, even scraping with the scraper I use on my ceramic top stove and nothing gets it off. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Barb

Dear Barb,
Using a hair dryer, heat the area to loosen the glue. Next smear the area with smooth peanut butter and then lift the adhesive off the floor with the help of a plastic putty knife so that the floor does not become scratched.


Dear Reena,
My ironing board broke and so I started ironing my clothes on the carpet. It wasn’t ideal but things were going well until I noticed that I scorched the top of my carpet. Help! Is my carpet ruined? I tried to wash it, but that did not help. Betsy

Dear Betsy,
While washing the carpet will most likely not make any difference, here is a tip that will. Use sharp scissors and gently cut the ends of the pile. Cut as little as possible from the ends because the damage is probably only on the surface. Do not cut too much and make sure that the cut area blends with the carpet. If the damage is too great, consider contacting a professionals flooring specialist.


Dear Reena,
I can’t seem to get stains out of the plastics shelves in my kitchen cupboards, which are more than 25 years old. I have tried bleach and Comet cleanser with limited improvement. Maureen

Dear Maureen,
This is a common challenge and bleach is often a popular recommended solution. However, in order for bleach to be effective you would need to soak the shelves for several days with bleach because wiping them with bleach alone will not get the job done. Another possible option is to clean the shelves with Iron Out (use according to the directions on the bottle and wear a mask). Many people have shared that the best solution for reviving yellowed plastics is to apply hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide sold in grocery stores is not strong enough (3%). You will need to purchase hydrogen peroxide from a salon supply store in the form of a cream, 35%. The cream will not run off of the shelves. Smear the cream onto the shelves, cover with plastic wrap and leave for 12 hours. Wipe with water. 


Solutions & Substitutions Pillow Edition

Dear Reena,
I have 40-year-old feather pillows my mom made. Can they still be used? Phyllis

Dear Phyllis,
Consider opening the seams and inspecting the feathers to make sure that they have not disintegrated. If the feathers are not black, the pillow should be fine after a good cleaning. Wash the pillows according to the directions on the label or hand or machine wash the pillows and dry well. 

Fluffy Pillow Tips:

If a pillow is broken, badly stained or old, you are a candidate for a new pillow. A person who is not sleeping as well as they should may have pillow problems, shoulder and neck pain are good indicators.

To decipher whether a polyester pillow is worn out, fold it over and place a weight on it like a mug, if the pillow stays folded, it’s broken.

Check feather and down pillows for damage by folding the pillow over and squeezing out the air, if it pops open on its own, it is still good. King size pillows should be folded in thirds. 

Many people agree that the most durable and luxurious sleeping pillow is down, which is made from the delicate tufts that cover geese beneath their feathers. Feathers are also very soft but not quite as fluffy as down, and provide firmer support. Down pillows are classified by fill power, or fluffiness, and weight. The higher the fill power and weight, the higher quality the pillow. Disadvantages to down pillows: they may feel hot, need to be reshaped, offer little support and can be a problem for those with allergies.

The best way to clean a feather or down pillow is by hand washing in a tub, gently, without agitation. Dry the pillow in a dryer on the no-heat setting. Tip: To freshen up these pillows, add half-cup vinegar when rinsing. Dry cleaning is also an option.

Synthetic fiber pillows are allergy free and offer firm head and neck support. They are washable and can last for years. However, they do not contour well and may need a week to "break-in".

Pillows that can be machine washed and dried on low heat should bathe in a water temperature of at least 135 degrees to kill dust mites (unless otherwise specified). Tip: Put a couple of tennis balls in the dryer to fluff pillows. Tip 2: Freezing pillows outside or inside is another easy way to kill dust mites. Right now is a great time to lay pillows outside for a day!

Wool pillows may be dry-cleaned. Before attempting to wash wool pillows read the care instructions on the package. Wonderful qualities attributed with wool pillows, they are cool in summer and warm in winter. On the other hand, they are hard, heavy and do not easily contour to the body.

Buckwheat pillows conform to the body and give support to the head and neck. Buckwheat is natural and breathable but very firm (some may say too firm). Buckwheat is cool, dry and lasts about 10 years. It makes a sound as it is moved which may or may not be thought of as a disadvantage. The pillowcases can be machine-washed and tumble dried. Since it is almost impossible to dry soaked buckwheat hulls, cleaning the hulls is not recommended. The inner liner rarely needs cleaning, when it does remove the hulls from the zippered opening and wash the liner in warm water and tumble dry. Replace the hulls when the liner is dry.

Foam pillows are molded for specific neck, back and spine support. Foams pillows are springy and bouncy and must be contoured to precisely fit the user. "Memory foams" contour more readily, making a precise fit less critical, but are less supportive. Combination foam pillows are also an option; these use resilient foam for support, covered with memory foam or fibers for contouring comfort. Foam pillows contain chemicals, which can be a problem to those with allergies. Spot wash foam by hand with warm water and mild detergent. Rinse and gently wring out. Allow pillow to air dry prior to use. Do not machine wash or dry.

Cotton pillows are natural and absorbent and must be cleaned regularly. Some find these pillows heavy and difficult to bend. Others like the firmness of cotton pillows. Machine washable.

Ever tried a body pillow? A pillow that is the length of the body serves several functions for people who prefer to sleep on their side, as the top portion can be used to support the head and neck, while the bottom portion supports the knees and legs. Some people find this more comfortable than using separate pillows for the head and knees. In particular, women who are pregnant may find that a body pillow provides added support for the abdominal area.

Use two pillowcases on pillows to resist the accumulation of dust and bacteria, sweat, and other body fluids. Use a pillow protector as an additional barrier against dirt. Change pillowcases often because dirt penetrates the fabric and will end up on the pillow.

How much money should you spend on a pillow? Consider that you spend one third of your life in bed and that you will keep your pillow for many years. Buying a cheap pillow is not the best bargain, they only last six months to two years before replacement is necessary. Please don’t save your old deformed pillows for when company arrives (unless you don’t want them to return). 

Fabulous Feedback from Readers

Just reading the question about removing dog blood stains from carpet. I have a messy cat, and have used peroxide for years now. I keep a small soap dish bottle of straight 3% peroxide handy to pour on pet 'stains', and lots of cheap paper towels to blot and rub. Works great for me, there aren't many spots on my beige carpet this hasn't been used on. Although peroxide will bleach the cat's hair, it has never bleached anything else I have tried this on but test on an inconspicuous area first. Hope this helps. Bonnie 


A little cornstarch in your salt shakers will prevent salt from clumping. Ruth

Sew a strip of carpet webbing two inches wide, tightly on the underside of a rug, close to the edge, to prevent it from curling up. Ruth

Brighten silverware by rubbing it with oatmeal. Ruth


I read your column regularly and have found your suggestions helpful. In a recent column, a lady wrote asking about how much vinegar to use as a laundry additive. I started using vinegar as a laundry additive after I took a micro fiber cloth to do some cleaning and found it had been rendered impervious to water as a result of going in the dryer with dryer sheets. My big problem was remembering to run down to the laundry room to put the vinegar in the rinse water. My solution was the purchase of a dryer ball which is sold to dispense liquid fabric softener to the rinse cycle. I fill the ball with vinegar and throw it in with the laundry, the vinegar is dispensed at the correct time and it seems to be a sufficient amount. I must tell you that my laundry has never been softer and vinegar is much more successful at removing long dog hair from dog towels and covers than anything else I have ever used, and it is considerably cheaper to use. Thank you so much. Liz 


Re: Cleaning a self-cleaning oven without self-clean mode

Dear Reena,
Here is how I clean my oven; first I warm the oven to 150 degrees. Next I place a pan of hot water on the bottom rack. Then I put a smaller pan with one cup of ammonia on the top rack. Leave for a few hours; everything will wipe right off. Works great! Arla


Save on Produce
Whenever I bring bananas home from the grocery store, I wrap the tip of the bananas with plastic wrap. Doing this stops ethylene gas from being released and keeps bananas fresher longer. Submitted by: Hilda
After a few experiments I noticed that the best way to store lettuce is to wrap it in a paper towel and then place it inside of a plastic bag. The paper towel absorbs a lot of the moisture and the lettuce stays fresh. Submitted by: Tula 

Wrap cheese with parchment paper before storing it in the fridge. The paper allows the cheese to breathe and keeps it fresh. Submitted by: Glen

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Comments are moderated before being published. Please be civil.

Infinite Scroll