Renovation & Design


Renovation & Design

Cooking perfect chicken is all about the temperature

Question: How do I bake chicken breast without drying it out? I either end up with what tastes like rubber, or dry and flavourless meat. Thanks, Gaylene

Answer: The secret to perfect chicken every time is an oven thermometer. Safe cooked chicken temperature is finished at 74 C. Before baking the chicken, soak it in a brine mixture for about a half an hour. Into a plastic container add four-cups water (or enough water to cover the meat) and about one tablespoon of salt. Pat dry and brush both sides of the chicken with butter or oil. Season or brush with sauce. I prefer to bake chicken breast at 175 C for about 40 minutes. Others prefer a higher temperature of 230 C for 18 minutes. Whichever you prefer, check the temperature before eating.


Question: Which lightbulbs are the most efficient for a summer cottage? Cindy

Answer: LED and CFL bulbs are great energy efficient options. A compact fluorescent lamp usually the curly bulbs, are typically used in enclosed fixtures. For lights that remain on for a long time, both LED and CFL will save a lot of energy. LED bulbs are likely the number one choice because an eight-watt LED bulb emits as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Incandescent and halogen bulbs are not your energy efficient buddies, as they have the highest wattage.


Question: I am having a problem removing rust stains from a white T-shirt. They appeared after washing so I am assuming the stains came from the washer tub. Can anything be done? I appreciate your help. Daniel

Answer: Before tackling your fabrics, find out what is causing rust on your clothing. Check the machine or your water pipes or your bleach dispenser to see if any rust is gathering. Are there any leaks in the washing machine? Read your troubleshooting guide in your manufacturer’s manual. If you determine where the rust is coming from and solve the problem, your laundry will be a lot more fun to handle. If you want to clean your machine and remove rust build-up, consider using a product called, "iron out" available at hardware stores. Use it according to directions and ventilate, this removes rust in washing machines, as well as dishwashers.

For fabrics your best bet is to pour either lemon juice or three per cent hydrogen peroxide onto the area. Sprinkle the stain with cream of tartar. Leave the white shirt in the sun for a day and wash. Sun is a wonderful mild bleaching agent and so is hydrogen peroxide; however, be sure to test on an inconspicuous area first. Repeat until the stain is gone.


Question: Please tell me an easy trick for cleaning gutters. I haven’t cleaned them in years. Garry

Answer: Clogged rain gutters prevent water from dripping away from the foundation of your home. They should be cleaned twice each year. When soil around the home becomes wet, serious challenges can result. The easiest tools for cleaning rains gutters are scaffolding and work gloves. If scaffolding is unavailable, a sturdy ladder will do the trick. After the leaves and debris are scooped away, slimy brown goo will remain. While this may not obstruct water, it will smell. Wash gutters using a garden hose or a pressure washer. Sometimes it may be worth it to call a professional, especially if you are uneasy on a ladder.


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
May 8

Renovation & Design

Hot tips to remove melted candle wax

Question: I own a wooden desk, I made the mistake of placing a red candle on top without a holder and after sometime I moved it only to find that the wax of the candle left a red ring on the wood, that I can’t seem to remove. How can I lift this stain without damaging the wood or its finish (which is either lacquer or varnish)? Regards, Selina

Answer: Candle wax often dyes surfaces, making it difficult to remove. Begin with one or more of the following solutions (being sure to clean with water between attempts): Goo Gone, Murphy’s Oil Wood Soap, Head and Shoulders dandruff shampoo, or Sunlight bar laundry soap. If all else fails, lightly sand and refinish the area.

Question: How should fresh basil be picked and stored? Kailynne

Answer: If you plant your own basil, you can pick the leaves whenever you need them, but early morning is the best time, after the dew evaporates and before the sun rises. The departure of oil content is the best. Look for fresh green leaves when buying basil. Gently wash and dry the basil leaves. Wrap with paper towels and seal in plastic bags or containers. Basil can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Since dried herbs are often more potent and concentrated than fresh herbs, you need less. The correct ratio is one tablespoon of fresh herbs equals, one teaspoon of dried herbs.

Question: I own one-year-old maple hardwood flooring, and along one wall in my dining room the hardwood is a bit tacky. Do you have a suggestion for removing this? I have used a very damp cloth to clean and Multi-Purpose Flooring Cleaner a couple of times. The floor is not exposed to the sun and I am baffled as to why this only happens in that one area of the room. Jake

Answer: The most common cause of sticky hardwood floors is high humidity or poor ventilation. As the room becomes humid, the coating on the floor softens, so investing in a dehumidifier is a smart idea. With regards to floor cleaner: Look for a product that specifies that it is formulated to remove build-up on floors.

Question: I bought a hot water bottle, but I can’t use it because the latex smells too strong. How can I get rid of the smell? Thank you, Lorene

Answer: Begin by taking the bottle outside; freezing temperature does wonders for killing odours. Also, in order to relieve yourself of the annoying scent, sprinkle baking soda and water into the hot water bottle. Let sit for a few hours and rinse with vinegar or vodka or toothpaste and water. If the smell remains you will likely be stuck with the stink until it wears off over time.


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:



Reena Nerbas
May 1

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