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Dear Reena, Do you have any tips on how to keep soda pop from going flat (especially two-litre bottles)?

Thank you, Vicki

Interesting question Vicki! Keeping pop cold (but not frozen) and closed are big factors in fizz loss since the solubility of carbon dioxide is greater at lower temperatures. Squeezing the bottle before recapping is also an effective trick since smaller gas volume reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the gas phase. In addition, you can purchase a cap that enables the user to repressurize the bottle. Turn it in place and then operate the little attached pump which is part of and affixed to the centre of the cap. These are available at many department stores.

Dear Reena, Any ideas on how to create homemade bath salts?

Thanks, Gail

Dear Gail, This recipe will make one four-ounce jar (double the recipe as needed). In a glass mixing bowl combine: four ounces sea or Epsom salt and one to two drops of your favourite essential oil i.e. peppermint, lavender, orange etc. Mix until no lumps appear and store in a pretty glass container. Drop two to three tbsp. into running bathwater. Or combine ingredients into a sealable bag with a few drops of food colouring. Gently mash. Store inside a capped container.

Dear Reena, My son accidentally washed a beige pair of jeans with a black pair of jeans. He didn’t put the beige pair (now with several light-grey stains) in the dryer. Can these grey stains be removed from the beige pair of jeans?

Thank you, Helen

Helen, You have two really good options. You can either use RIT dye remover to get rid of the dye; the pants may end up a little lighter than he wants but will still be wearable. Option two — Stir together half-cup liquid dishwasher detergent with eight cups of hot water. Soak clothes for 10 minutes. Rinse immediately in cold water and wash separately (taken from Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets). The second solution is a little more risky because dishwasher soap contains bleach that may create holes in the pants. However, readers have had fantastic results with this recipe.

Hi Reena, I was wondering if you have any ideas on how to get rid of carpet beetles. I have tons of them in my basement and I can’t seem to locate where they are coming from. They are an oval shape and are greyish brown.

Thank you, Lisa

Lisa, If the problem was not out of hand you could tackle the bugs roaming the carpet with a high-suction vacuum or clean your fabrics by dry cleaning. If the little critters were infesting food material you could toss the items in the trash (even though you can kill the bugs with cooking or freezing, and they are, after all, “protein,” it is not healthy to eat carpet beetle larvae or their shed outer skins). Some people have exhibited health problems after doing so.

However, judging by your question your situation is very serious and a little out of control. To help you determine where the carpet beetles are coming from, check for articles of woollen clothing which may have been stored and neglected, and check the premises for old furniture and rugs which may be a source of continuing infestation. Other areas often overlooked include sites where sparrow, starling or other birds nest, inside or outside of the premises. Wasp nests that are found under eaves and in attics are also common sources of carpet beetle and clothes moth infestations. Moth or beetle larvae feed upon the remainders of dead insects fed to the wasp larvae, on cast wasp larval skins and sometimes upon the living wasp larvae. Also an important reservoir of food material for carpet beetle and clothes moth larvae is accumulations of animal hair that may be found quite often in homes where pets are kept. Shed hair may accumulate in heating ducts, beneath furniture, or in hard-to-clean corners.

Please consider contacting a licensed pest management professional. Beyond simple removal of the source and thorough cleaning and vacuuming of the surrounding area, there is some benefit to the use of a “residual” insecticide, and licensed professionals have access to some excellent products that are not sold on retail shelves. An application will help to intercept wandering carpet beetle larvae, and possibly also kill adult beetles that fly in from the outdoors to lay their eggs.

Reader feedback:

Reena, I do not think that your suggestion for cleaning the blender (“Fill the blender nearly half full with hot, soapy water, secure lid. Turn the machine on for a few seconds.”) is a good one as it will explode all over the kitchen. I know because I had it happen to me with hot soup. We just take our blender apart and throw it all in the dishwasher and when we did not have a dishwasher we took it apart and cleaned it that way.

Take care, Kathleen

Thanks for the super email Kathleen! Word of caution: Always check manufacturer’s instructions to make sure that blender parts are dishwasher safe.

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