Renovation & Design

Clean parka collar with baking soda and a stiff, damp brush

Question: The only part of my parka that needs cleaning is the collar, where my face/makeup has rubbed on it. How can I clean that without having to clean the entire coat? It is down-filled. Thanks, Anna

Answer: Dampen a stiff brush, and dip it into baking soda. Gently brush the collar, then wipe with water. Air dry.

Question: How can I get rid of sowbugs? We have several in our house every day. Thank you, Roger

Answer: Sow bugs typically show up in places where moisture and humidity are high. To find out where sow bugs are entering, look near, or inside, floor drains or nearby damp wood such as panelling or baseboards. Also, check underneath cardboard boxes.

Caulk openings and install weather stripping wherever needed. A perimeter pesticide spray may help break the cycle for a brief time but will not eliminate the problem permanently. Remember, if you do not solve the moisture problem, the bugs will return no matter which chemicals you use. You may reduce the population by sprinkling a small amount of diatomaceous earth, boric acid or borax and icing sugar around the house and in cracks (toxic for pets and small children). Also, note that damp or wet mulch will encourage insects, especially if it is not kept below the level of the building siding or stucco. Often pest control professionals suggest keeping mulch levels low around foundations. A dehumidifier and lots of proper ventilation help.

Question: Little bugs are getting into my kitchen drawers. Any solution, other than toxic sprays would be welcome. Thanks, Armin

Answer: Clean drawers with dish soap and water. Dry and then place bay leaves inside drawers, to keep bugs away.

Question: All of my mom’s clothing at her personal care home is labelled with her full name and room number. Some items are no longer suitable but in otherwise perfect condition. I am not comfortable donating these items with her personal information on the labels, but I am having a dickens of a time trying to remove the labels. Hope you have a solution! Celine

Answer: To remove the labels, begin by lifting a corner of the label and heating it with a hairdryer. This works well to loosen the glue, making it easier to peel the label off. If that doesn’t work, other useful products to remove gluey labels include citrus oil, rubbing alcohol, Goo Gone or, if you are desperate, WD-40. Spray the product onto the label and leave for 15 minutes then peel off the label. Afterward, soak the fabrics in dish soap and water to wash away the odour. Test all solutions in an inconspicuous area first.

Question: What is a dummy doorknob? Martha

Answer: Fake doorknobs that don’t have working parts. These are installed in areas such as French doors or small cabinets.

Interesting idea

I have switched from using dishwasher detergent to vinegar in my dishwasher. I pour one cup into the machine and run it as normal. May not work with all types of water but works well with Winnipeg water. Andy

Drill a hole in a wine cork and use it to close off open caulking tubes. Stanley

Easy salad dressing recipe

Keep a few ingredients on hand so that you can stir up homemade dressing without much notice. Blend the following until smooth: three tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup olive (canola or vegetable) oil, one tbsp. Dijon mustard, 3/4 teaspoons of minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and two tbsp. water. Pour onto lettuce. Add flavour to the salad by including baked, sliced almonds, red onion, and/or crumbled blue or Gorgonzola cheese.

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.

Have a great suggestion or tip? Please send an email. Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:


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