Friday, May 11, 2018

Solutions and substitutions with Reena

Reena Nerbas

Dear Reena,
I have little black flies in my home, I'm assuming they are from my house plants. How do I get rid of them? - Marsha

Dear Marsha,
First, set out a bowl of vinegar to determine if the bugs are fruit flies or fungus gnats. Fruit flies are attracted to vinegar but gnats are not. To reduce bugs from hatching in plants, spread a layer of course sand on top of the soil. Doing this makes it difficult for fruit flies to lay eggs. Also, standing water creates a perfect breeding environment for fruit flies therefore, water plants but make sure there is no standing water in the plant saucer. Homemade Pesticide: In a 1-gallon milk jug, combine 2 tbsp. dish soap, 1 tbsp. rubbing alcohol, dash of Tabasco sauce, 1 tbsp. canola oil and enough water to fill the jug. Pour mixture into spray bottle and use as needed (double recipe as needed). Another option is to steep cigarette tobacco in water. Leave for two days and spray plants. 

Dear Reena, 
How do I remove stains out of toilet bowls? - Bells 

Dear Bells, 
Make your toilet bowl sparkle by pouring a little shampoo or dish soap onto a pumice stone and gently, rubbing the inside of the toilet bowl to remove stains. Or clean the toilet with a product called ‘Iron Out’, use according to the directions on the bottle. 

Hi Reena,
I tried freezing my jeans to remove chewed gum, and have got some of it out, but I am starting to wreck them where I am scratching it off. Any other options -Warren 

Dear Warren, 
Wipe the area with rubbing alcohol, doing this breaks down the polymer that makes chewing gum sticky. Another option is to spray the area with WD-40, wait for 10 mins. Wipe with a plastic putty knife. Soak the area with dish soap and water. Wash as usual. 

Dear Reena, 
Can you please provide me with a recipe for garlic spread that I can spread on Italian Bread and bake? - Fern 

Dear Fern, 
This recipe is so good and tastes like restaurant garlic bread! Into a bowl combine: Half cup softened butter (yummier than margarine), one quarter cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 cloves minced garlic, half tsp. dried basil, half tsp. dried oregano, half tsp. dried parsley, sprinkle lightly with black pepper. Slice Italian bread in half lengthwise and spread both sides with butter mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown (about 12 minutes). Slice and serve.

Dear Reena, 
I have many bottles of nail polish that I am unable to open. I have tried running them under hot water, and using pliers, but still I'm unable to twist the top off or pry them open. It is very frustrating. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. - Marsha 

Dear Marsha, 
Dried nail polish acts like regular glue, making lids stick and difficult to open. Begin by wrapping a rubber band around the bottle. Submerse the bottle in HOT water for 5 minutes. Twist the bottle cap until it opens. If you do not have a rubber band you may want to wear rubber gloves while you twist the bottle lid. Once open, use a cotton swab and nail polish remover to clean the area around the opening of the bottle. Next coat the opening with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to prevent the lid from becoming stuck in the future. Close the lid. 

Dear Reena,
I have a huge ant hill in my garden. How can I get rid of it? - Penny 

Dear Penny, 
One option is to sprinkle the ant hill with tea tree oil, next pour boiling water onto the hill. Or sprinkle the hill with a combination of 1-cup borax and 2-tbsp. icing sugar, if there are no pets or small children in the area. Cornmeal sprinkled onto ant hills is a safer alternative when pets or children are around. 

Interesting Hints: 
  • Remove pet hair from furniture using a window squeegee. - Lisa
  •  Regarding ant hills: Sprinkle used coffee grounds to repel ants, this works well and helps fertilize your garden at the same time. - Faye 
  • I recently read an article about rabbits in the yard eating things we do not want them to eat. I found an excellent inexpensive, environmentally friendly and easy solution. Grate Irish Spring bar soap just like cheese and sprinkle it around problem areas (or around perimeter of property) to keep rabbits away. - Jamie
  • Avoid pouring grease from cooking down the sink; instead put grease into the garbage, that way you don’t run the risk of clogging up the sink and damaging the pipes. - Ellen 
  • Storing Potatoes: The onions in Anne's potato box are causing the potatoes to sprout. Garlic will also affect potatoes in this way. - Shirley
  • Storing Potatoes: To the person who stores her potatoes in the pantry in a wooden box with onions on the bottom. Never store onions and potatoes together. Onions give off a gas that accelerates sprouting in potatoes. Also, storing potatoes in the cold temperature of your refrigerator will turn its starch into sugar more quickly, so that you'll be left with a sweet, gritty potato. - Laurie
  • Extra Greeting Cards: Someone was asking about what to do with unused greeting cards. Just thought I'd let you know that some correctional centers keep donated cards on hand. These are given out to inmates who have no money, but would like to send a card to loved ones, particularly if they find themselves in custody over the holidays. - Barbara 
  • In the Bathroom: Young adults, unthinkingly leave metal cans along the surround of the bathtub, leaving ugly metal rings (hard to get off). Take the plastic top off a metal spray can, and place it over the bottom of the can; problem solved. - Peggy 
  • Years ago, I noticed that my shower curtain always had a line of mildew along the hem. I decided to trim the curtain so that it would be shorter, and further from the floor. Since then I have never had a mildew stain on the bottom of the curtain. - Hank 
  • I removed the towel rod from our bathroom because the towels were never hung properly, and they were too crowded to dry. I replaced the rod with coat hooks. Now each member of the family is responsible to organize their own towel and robe on their personal hook. The bathroom is finally organized. - Laura

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

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