Your Reading List

More Questions For Reena – for Jan. 13, 2011

DearReena, Ivejust

movedintoa newhomewith bamboofloors. I’mtoldnotto usewater.Any safefloor-cleaning suggestions wouldbe appreciated.

Heidi Hi Heidi,

Bamboo is becoming all the rage. Installing bamboo flooring is healthier and great for families with asthma, allergies or other respiratory ailments. Treat your gorgeous bamboo flooring much like you would hardwood (although bamboo is not a wood but really a grass). With the seasonal changes in Canada, our humidity levels can affect a bamboo floor. In the summer, when humidity is higher, the floor will expand; in the winter, when humidity is lower, the floor will contract. It is important to maintain a humidity level that is at least 45 per cent throughout the year, through the use of a dehumidifier/ humidifier. Bamboo is sensitive to moisture so you want to limit the use of excessive water to clean the floor. Also like wood, bamboo can be purchased unfinished or finished with a urethane or acrylic finish.

To care for a bamboo floor, use a dry, untreated dust mop or microfibre flat mop daily. Or vacuum the floor with a brush head attachment. Spot clean bamboo floors with a moist towel, a microfibre cloth or microfibre flat mop. Do not use any wood polish, wax or solvent cleaners or finishes on the floor, as they can damage or dull the surface. Do not wet strip the floor. To restore the floor, use a screen disk or drum sander, or call in a professional. As well there are bamboo cleaners on the market or use a solution of 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water but remember not to overwet. Enjoy!


Myfriendhadhercarfor threedaysandthenshespilled awholequartofmilkintothe backseat.ThesmellisAWFUL. Anyideas?



The first solution is to use heavy-duty laundry detergent (bleach free) and water to blot the entire area that smells. Leave the windows open so that the surface fibres dry. Next slice up apples thinly and lay them all over the entire surface of the milk mess. Leave for a few days; this has had great results. The smell will need time to evaporate.

Another option is to blot the area with hydrogen peroxide and ammonia, but remember to test this on the upholstery first. Worst-case scenario – bring the car into an automotive centre and they will zap the smell with an ozone machine.


Ihaveacream-colouredwool carpetonwhichI’vetriedcleaning offteaandwinestainswith adampwhiteclothanddish soapandhavenowgotwater marks.WhatshouldIdo? Anna


You do need to use extra caution when dealing with wool carpets. You may want to have the carpets professionally cleaned, but another solution that has been successful on wool carpets is to mix 1/2 teaspoon dish soap with 1 cup water and beat until frothy (test on an inconspicuous area first). Cover the stain with the foam instead of the water, blot with paper towels and cover with plastic wrap. Pile heavy books on top and leave for 12 hours. I like this solution because it does not use water on a fibre that should not be wet. Let me know what you think.


Ihaveaquestionabouta stainlesssteelcountertop.Ithas developedakindoffilmonit andIcan’tseemtotakeitoffor putthepolishbackintoitfor anylengthoftime.Havetried allkindsofcommercialcleaners withverylittlesuccess.The cleanersonlylastuntilthenext timethatIwipeitwiththedishcloth withdishsoaponit.Do youhaveanysuggestions? Sharon


Have you tried using olive oil? I love to clean stainless steel with a small amount of olive oil poured onto a soft cloth. Gently wipe the stainless steel along the grain until the excess has all been removed. Olive oil is nice because it does not attract dust like other oils will and leaves metals looking shiny.


Ijustboughtabunchof wickerbaskets.AsIwasdriving homefromthestoreInoticeda verydistinctwickersmelland amafraidwhenIputclothes inthemtheclotheswilltake onthatsmell.Isthereawayto eliminateit?CanIspraypaint themtogetridofthesmell?Or shouldIreturnthem?Ihave themonmyporchandthereis quiteadistinctodourcoming fromthem.ThanksReena. Ruth


There are two different types of wicker: man-made and natural. If the wicker is man-made, clean the baskets by creating a paste of baking soda and water. Wipe and rinse. For natural wicker use a damp stiff brush dipped in salt; blow salt off with a hair dryer. If the smell remains, you can try stuffing the baskets with three-day- old or older newspaper (the ink from the paper is often effective at absorbing odours). The next step, if necessary, is to clear-coat shellac the baskets or paint them with an oil-base indoor/ outdoor primer and paint.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming! Check out my website:

Reena Nerbas is a Manitobabased professional speaker and author of the national bestselling series, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions, Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives. Corporate workshops available by calling: 204-320-2757.



Stories from our other publications