Renovation & Design

Lemon juice and baking soda make dishes sparkle

Question: I own white dishes, and my bowls are stained on the insides from frozen cherries because I put them into the bowls until they are defrosted. How can I safely remove the cherry stains without using toxic chemicals? Marsha

Answer: Some people have great results by scrubbing each bowl with a scrubby pad dipped in lemon juice and baking soda. But when the stain is stubborn try the following recipe: In a large pot, combine three cups vinegar, four cups water and two tablespoons of citric acid. Heat, but do not bring to a boil. Set each bowl in the hot mixture for five minutes (the water must cover the dish). Once dry, your dishes should look brand new.

Question: What is the safest method for cleaning stuffed animals? I have a collection and some teddy bears are more than 10 years old. Thank you, Dana

Answer: Vacuuming teddy bears is the least risky way to clean them. However, wiping with a damp white cloth is one of the simplest and most effective ways to clean your teddy bears. For stubborn dirt, grime and odours you will have to resort to a stronger cleaning technique. Check the care label on your bear. To dry your teddy bear, never use the machine dryer. A better way to dry the teddy bear is with a hair dryer. If your teddy bear is an antique, avoid washing or cleaning the bear yourself. There are special establishments who specialize in restoring teddy bears. Another option is to place your teddy bears in a garbage bag with a half cup of baking soda. Shake to freshen. This will remove dust and stale odours, but it will not remove stains. To remove stains, use the wet cloth technique stated above.

Question: What is a safe solution for removing rust on my bike? A.J.

Answer: Make a paste of 50/50 baking soda and water. Apply the solution to the rust. Leave for about 15 minutes and then scrub. If the rust has eaten through several layers, you will need to sand and repaint.

Handy hints

I use make-up pads that come in a plastic “sleeve.” When I was coming towards the centre of the sleeve, I was having some difficulty grabbing the pad so, I came up with a solution to my problem, by pushing the pads towards the top of the sleeve/tube and twisting it and then tying it with a twist tie. Now the pads are once again at the top of the sleeve/tube, and easy to get at. I hope you will be able to understand my instructions. Kind regards, Anne Marie

Next time you make fajitas; add cooked pork, peppers, onions and seasoning to your baking pan. Next cook powdered onion soup and water on the stove. Thicken soup with cornstarch (the way that you would gravy). Add this to the fajita pan for great flavour and texture. Bake to heat. — Mary

To remove the peel from garlic cloves. I have the following tip: microwave a clove or two on high for about five seconds, then cut off the end and the peel will just slide off. — Joel

The easiest way to clean your oven. Pour one cup of vinegar onto the bottom floor of your oven. Sprinkle on a half cup baking soda. Leave overnight, wipe away in the morning. — Jessie

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? Send an email. Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:


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