Renovation & Design

The best way to keep that face mask clean and proper

Beyond laundry, it's also about how you handle it through the day

QUESTION – I never in my life thought I would be asking this question, but what is the best way to clean and sanitize my cloth mask? Melvin

ANSWER – I know what you mean! Use your washing machine and dryer to clean your mask. I prefer to use hot water, but others opt for warm. Use heavy-duty laundry detergent. You can also hand-wash the mask, but the lining may become damaged if you scrub too hard. 

Extra tips for mask use: 

  • Avoid touching and fiddling with your mask. Unless your hands are clean, leave the mask alone.
  • Secure and remove your mask by holding onto the straps, not the fabric over your face.
  • Try to keep your mask clean. Carry your mask in a small plastic bag, not in your hand or in your pocket.
  • It is recommended you wear a clean mask every day.
  • If you disagree with mask wearing or do not wear a mask due to health reasons, avoid shaming others around you who opt to wear a mask.


QUESTION – When I eat cucumbers from my garden, they taste bitter. Is this due to the type of cucumber I planted? Pearl 

ANSWER – Cucumbers naturally produce a chemicals called cucurbitacins, which can cause them to taste bitter. Certain varieties taste more bitter than others; Carosello and Armenian are not as bitter as some of the others. Make sure to plant your cucumbers in rich, well, watered soil. Pick cucumbers in the morning. Cut the ends off the cucumber and, using the cut end, rub the exposed ends for a few seconds until they begin to foam, rinse to remove foam.


QUESTION – How can I get rid of the garlic smell on my fingers after peeling garlic? Soap and water don’t take the smell away. Kendra

ANSWER – Hold a stainless-steel object under running water. The smell on your fingers will disappear (this is the first tip I ever learned).


QUESTION – I purchased a memory-foam mattress topper for my bed, and I am really pleased with it. Unfortunately, since it is made of foam, the topper is off-gassing and resulting in a terrible odour. Since you cannot wash this product, I have been airing it outside and hanging it up indoors with a fan blowing on it. The smell has decreased somewhat, but it is still there. Any suggestions? Selena

ANSWER — Memory foam has a fascinating history. It was initially developed by NASA for the space program to help shield astronauts from high G-forces. It wasn’t until the 1980s that memory foam began to hit the consumer market in the form of medical cushions, disabled seating cushions and eventually as mattresses and pillows.

But I digress; memory foam does smell at first and needs to air out. In fact, few people are able to sleep with their new memory foam immediately after they open it. Most people find they need to leave the foam to air out for a couple of weeks, but the smell does eventually dissipate. For faster results, spray the mattress with vodka to remove odour or sprinkle the topper with baby powder or baking soda, leave for a few hours and then vacuum.

Outstanding Tips of the Week:

  • I don’t know what I would do without nylon netting; there are so many uses for it. I tuck it in where I am likely to find spiders (around doors, the space between outside walls and concrete steps). I also secure netting inside heat vents with a rubber band, put it between sliding windows that have drainage holes and overtop of open pipes. I also fold netting over the blade of my knives to prevent accidental cuts. Erna 
  • If you are still using plastic grocery bags (instead of recyclable bags) and don’t know what to do with the mountain of bags collecting in your home, consider donating the bags to self-help; the bags will be reused instead of wasted.
  • Crows in the garden? A balloon pop is a fast way to scare them away, but for long-term results, use a kite. Crows will think it is a bird and fly away to bother someone else.


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 at: Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website:


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