A whole new way of life

Brandi Johnson:


Renovation & Design

Storing patio furniture cushions a matter of choice

Question: Is it smart to leave my front porch cushions out all summer long, or do most people take them out only when guests are coming over? The extra work of keeping the upholstery clean is such a headache. Lorraine

Answer: There is no hard and fast rule for every person. Determine what works best for you according to your needs and limitations. Our summers are short and since you are referring to the front of your house, you may want to display the cushions for July and August. Other people choose to take the cushions into the garage or store them in a bin on the porch when not in use so that the fabric is not covered in dust and pollen when company arrives.


Question: I put my air mattress away when it was still wet, and it now has mould spots. I washed it with water and vinegar and dried it in the very hot sun. No smell, but the stains still show, do you think the mould is gone? What else can I do to get rid of the stains? Robert

Answer: Regarding safety concerns, it is important that you clean off the mould stains on your mattress. Wipe the stains with a cloth and Lysol or rubbing alcohol. Scrub and rinse the area with water. When the stains are gone, blot the wet area with a dry cloth and air dry.


Question: What is the best way to clean a self-cleaning oven that has a thick layer of baked on grease on the oven floor? Lorraine

Answer: For people who do not own a self-cleaning oven, the oven mess does not have to become a dreaded chore. The world’s easiest way to clean an oven is to sprinkle the bottom of the oven with baking soda. Pour white vinegar over the baking soda, let bubble and soak for 30 minutes. Wipe and rinse with water. In the meantime, put an old towel on the bottom of your bathtub, fill it with hot water and one cup of washing soda. Let oven racks soak overnight and, in the morning, (while wearing gloves) rinse the racks and wipe with vinegar. Clean as a whistle. Note: Do not leave water in the tub if small children reside in the home.

Regarding a self-clean oven, reading the manufacturer’s guidelines is the first step. If the self-clean feature does not clean the oven sufficiently, and you do not have the manufacture’s guidelines, consider sprinkling the floor of the oven with baking soda and water and using the techniques outlined above before activating the self-cleaning feature.

Helpful hints

  • When it comes to gardening, upcycle old items by cleaning, painting or repairing them and displaying them in the garden. These items can include bicycles where you can display flowers in the basket, an old bathtub, a metal wheel, an old chair, even an old child’s wagon. Items such as these will create interest, individualism and uniqueness to your garden.
  • Upcycle an old hitching post and use it to hang your garden hose. Attach a hook to the side of a wooden bench for hanging the garden hose.
  • Concealed hose. Create a hinged door on your wooden porch or deck floor. Place a large tub, box or container under the deck and store your hose underneath the porch or deck. This may also be a suitable option for storing patio furniture cushions.

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:


Reena Nerbas 
July 11

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