Renovation & Design

Deodorize upholstery and fabrics with vodka and water mixture

Question: Some time ago I saw a recipe for an upholstery deodorizer made with vodka and water that is sprayed on and left to dry. I would like that recipe if you have it. Thanks, Norma

Answer: You can either spray the fabric with full strength vodka or water it down with a 50/50 solution of vodka and water. Spray and leave to deodorize fabrics.

Question: I hope you can help me with a paint dilemma. I wanted to paint my living/dining room which currently has oil base on it. When I went to get my paint, I asked what was required to prepare the walls in order to use latex paint. I was told to either go with a primer and then two coats paint, or sand the wall lightly to take the gloss off and then go with a paint that has the primer built in.

Because it was a large area I went with the latter and did all the right stuff including washing the wall after. I was told not to skimp on the paint and not to go back and rework any missed area as it dries very quickly. The paint went on beautifully, however, when I went to do the second coat I saw that in places there were areas where the paint had actually dripped and then stopped midway. It was very noticeable and so discouraging. I then had to scrape it off, patch and redo. I am using a brand-new microfibre 10 mm roller, the size suggested. I was so frustrated that I stopped painting after one wall. Have you ever come across this before and if so, what should I do differently when I get up the courage to finish the rest? Unfortunately, I have another full gallon, so I will have to use it up at this cost. Thanks for your help, Corrin

Answer: I can feel your frustration because I have found myself in similar situations. Paint quality is often the culprit between a happy paint project and a screaming on the inside moment. If the paint is thin it will run and drip down the wall. If the paint is not adhering to the wall, it will also run down the wall. Paint experts often recommend preparing walls with a trisodium phosphate wash before paint, to remove greasy residue caused by cooking and everyday dust. Since you followed the advice given to you by the retailer, why not bring the paint back and talk to them about the issue you are having? When paint projects work the way they are supposed to, they can be a therapeutic, fun experience. Don’t hesitate to confer with the paint specialist that sold you the paint, and remember to bring your receipt with you.

Handy hints

• If cookie dough gets gluey, resist the impulse to add extra flour so that the cookies don’t become tough. Cool in the fridge until firm or roll out between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper.

• Add a chilled elegance to your next dinner party. Freeze grapes and add a few to each glass before serving wine.

• Spring planting is best done as early as possible, and as soon as the frost is out of the ground. A newly planted rose establishes itself quickest in the cool moist spring soil, rather than in May, when the air is often hot and dry. Also, the longer growing period will produce more and better blooms.

• To combat black spots on roses spray them with a mixture of one tablespoon of baking soda, one tbsp. light vegetable oil, and one tbsp. dish soap with one gallon of water. If they are too far gone make sure to purchase black spot resistant roses next time. Your local nursery should be able to point you in the right direction as far as which roses grow best in your area.

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 at



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