Renovation & Design

Vinegar renews crunchy towels

Christina Ryan / Calgary Herald files

Hard towels saturated with detergent can be revitalized with a soak in vinegar.

Question: I have several face cloths that have become hard, which I believe is because of soap, which has built up over time. Do you know of anything that will make them soft again? Thanks,

— Lindsay

Answer: Towels do often lose their softness when they are saturated with fabric softener and/or detergent. In order to strip the residue from the textiles, soak them in a full-strength solution of white vinegar. Leave for one hour and wash as usual, using only a small amount of detergent and a half cup of baking soda. Transfer to the dryer and remove them as soon as they are dry.


Question: My kitchen cabinets need a little TLC — they seem to have a layer of grease on each of the shelves. What is the best way to clean them?

— Adam

Answer: As strange as this may sound, you can fight back, with grease! Combine one-part vegetable oil with two parts baking soda. Use a sponge to work the concoction onto the shelves and scrub with a green scrubby pad. Use an old toothbrush to scrub inside tiny crevices. Wipe clean with a wet cloth and a small amount of dish soap. Rinse with water.

Amazing discoveries

I used to endure a lot of fabric damage due to moths. I then placed mothballs in all of my drawers and chests, but they stink. I finally discovered that when I wrap fabrics in newspapers, the moths do not eat the fabric. Apparently, they do not like the smell of printer ink.

— Jesse

My grandson stored metal containers of shaving cream on the side of the bathtub, which left some awful rust stains. My daughter tried several cleaners and mixtures to clean it off, but never succeeded. Finally, as a last resort, she applied peroxide on the stains, covered the peroxide with cream of tartar, covered the patches with a paper towel, moistened with a bit of peroxide and waited one half hour. She scrubbed the spots with a soft sponge, and all the rust stains came off beautifully. A nice and cheap alternative to changing the tub or having an insert installed.

— Pauline


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: Ask a question or share a tip at



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