Renovation & Design

Getting rid of ants with kitchen favourites

Question: How do I get ants to leave my yard? They seem to take over a different area each summer, and they bite. — Roberta

Answer: There are many solutions for tackling ants. What works for one will not necessarily work for another since there is such a large variety of ant species; but here are a few ideas that are safe for children and animals.

To begin with, seal all doors and windows. Next, many ants will stay away if they smell an odor unpleasant to them such as: cinnamon, garlic, tea leaves or coffee grounds. You can also sprinkle ant hills with dry oatmeal, cornmeal or corn flake cereal.

Another option is to make what I like to call ‘rhubarb tea’. In a stainless-steel pot boil rhubarb leaves with water. Pour the cooled liquid onto ant hills. This helps get rid of ants and because of the oxalic acid in rhubarb, your pots will come out sparkly clean!

Another suggestion: outside, pile the dirt from one ant hill onto the dirt of another ant hill. Or push a metal pipe into ant hills and pour hot water and tea tree oil into the pipe.


Question: I was painting and forgot to remove my wedding ring. Now I have dried latex paint all over my ring. What is the best homemade way to clean the ring? — Macey

Answer: Soak the ring in 50/50 household ammonia and 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. Brush the ring with an Ultra Soft toothbrush and polish. Keep in mind that many jewelers offer free jewelry cleaning.


Household Superstar: Avocado

  • Avocados never ripe when you need them? Solution: Buy them well in advance, ripen, mash, and then freeze them with a little lime/lemon juice and a little salt. Just thaw and serve or incorporate into your favorite recipes.
  • It is common to purchase avocados with brown spots; this can happen because of a few different reasons: exposure to cold temperatures for a long period of time, or bruising during transport or handling. Unfortunately, there is no way to determine if an avocado has bruising by looking at the outside peel. The good news is that brown spots are not harmful and can be removed by slicing them out.
  • I found a way to liven up devilled eggs by adding one mushed up avocado. For 12 boiled egg yolks I add, 3 tbsp. mayonnaise, the juice of half a lime and salt and pepper to taste. Delicious and healthy! Submitted by: Belinda
  • Chocolate Avocado Pudding: Into a food processor: Combine three avocados, one third cup cocoa powder, half cup milk, one third cup maple syrup and half a tsp. vanilla. Process and refrigerate. Submitted by: Cynthia
  • Avocado Makeover: Into a food processor combine: One avocado, one egg, 1 tbsp. olive oil. Massage onto face and hair. Heat with a hair dryer and let sit 15 minutes. Wash as usual. Submitted by: Cynthia
  • The fastest way to remove an avocado pit from its skin. Cut around the lengthwise circumference of the skin; twist the avocado to open it. Tap the pit with the blade of your knife, twist and pull the pit out of the skin, the pit will stay attached to the blade. Submitted by: Darren

Everyday Hacks

  • Polish stainless-steel cutlery by rubbing it with the cut side of a raw potato. Wipe and polish with water.
  • Vinegar is the best for cleaning calcium deposits and scum in humidifiers.
  • Store cut raw onions in an airtight screw top glass jar. A cut onion will remain fresh for up to one week.


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.

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