Solutions For Your Household Problems – for Sep. 9, 2010


Yesterday Icutfour piecesoflinoleum frommy grandmother’s abandoned farmhouse.The twobetterones arefromthe bedroomthat mybrotherand Isleptinmany weekendsduringourchildhood, sotheyarerathersentimentalto bothofus.Theshabbiertwoare fromherbedroomandareat least50yearsold.Doyouhave asuggestiontoproperlyclean them(mould,deteriorationand birddroppings)withouthaving themfallapart?Aswell,howcan theybeproperlypreservedand framed?


Hi Angie,

Oftentimes, people use the word linoleum when they really mean vinyl. Both products are composed very differently; linoleum is a natural product made with linseed oil while vinyl is man made. However, in your case since the floor is at least 50 years old I do believe that you are dealing with linoleum. Make sure that you test any cleaners on a small, inconspicuous area first. Hot water and products that contain a high concentration of ammonia or solvent will likely turn the flooring yellow. If yours has yellowed it must be either lightened or removed through a bleaching action. You must “bleach” the floor, perhaps several times. Dilute 1 part chlorine bleach with 3 parts cool water. Apply liberally and evenly onto floor and leave for 30 to 45 minutes. If stain appears to be lightening, repeat process. If not, wet floor with bleach solution again and sprinkle on scouring powder containing “chlorine bleach.” Scrub the floor. Rinse thoroughly with cool water. Neutralize floor with 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water (being careful not to combine the vinegar and bleach. You may need to repeat this process several times before a visible change is noticed. If nothing happens, strip the floor with a mild solution of a non-ammoniated stripper diluted in lukewarm water according to directions. Test any chosen stripper in a corner of the room to make certain that it doesn’t affect the floor. Rinse and neutralize with a new, clean mop and a white vinegar rinse (1 cup vinegar into 1 gallon cool water). Allow floor to dry. Apply a medium coat of sealer/floor finish. Dry. If necessary, apply a second thin coat of sealer/finish. Dry. As well, there are commercial products available specifi- cally designed to clean linoleum. To preserve the linoleum as art, wipe it with a damp cloth and a small amount of baby oil. Do not use a glass frame over the linoleum as it may discolour. Also, keep the linoleum pieces away from direct sun. Dust regularly with a damp cloth.


IlistentoyouonCBC,and recallyougivingatiponhow tocleanbarbecuegreasestains fromawoodendeck.Canyou sendmeanenvironmentally friendlywaytodothis?Thanks. Greg

Hi Greg,

In terms of grease stains on a deck, if the deck is not sealed the grease will be impossible to remove (unless the deck is sanded down and refinished). If the deck is sealed, your best bet is to clean the area with one of the following: TSP (trisodium phosphate), washing soda or a commercial deck cleaner (powder is more effective than liquid). Or on a sunny day, make a paste of baking soda and rubbing alcohol (test on an inconspicuous area). Apply to the grease stain. Cover with a black piece of sheet metal. Leave in direct sun for 90 minutes. Lift the metal and remove the dried paste; wash with vinegar and water. Wash again with detergent and water; rinse. If the stain remains, sand and restain (Taken fromHousehold Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets).


Iamwonderingifyouhavea solutionforremoving:menstrual bloodandbikegrease. Alison


There are several ways to remove bike grease from fabric. The easiest solution is to soak the fabric in Dawn dishwashing liquid for a couple of hours then wash it in the machine. After a grease stain has been washed and dried it may be permanently set, however, don’t give up just yet. Many people have also had great success by spraying the stain with Resolve Carpet Spot Remover or Lestoil or Simple Green. For really set-in stains, spray the area with WD-40, leave for 10 minutes. Cover with Dawn dish soap and wash. Or soak the area in 1/2 cup washing soda and 2 cups hot water and wash as usual.

As for blood, some people say that the saliva of the person from whom the blood is from can remove a small amount of blood on fabric. In any case, treat the fabric stain as quickly as possible by soaking the washable garment in cold water. Blood can be permanent and sometimes one person’s blood is easy to remove while someone else’s blood is not. Leave for a few hours and wash. If the stain remains, rub the area with dandruff shampoo and wash. Or pour hydrogen peroxide onto the stain and let soak for 20 minutes, but test before using. Wash as usual. Or make a paste of 1 tbsp. meat tenderizer and 2 tsp. water. Spread onto stain and wash in cold water. Always use cold water on this protein stain, as hot water will set the stain. Lastly, if the stain is on a mattress, combine, 1 cup cornstarch, 1 tbsp. salt, 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (test recipe first). Apply to stain, cover with plastic wrap and pile heavy books on top. Leave 12 hours and rinse. Repeat if necessary.


InoneofyourbooksIcame acrosstherecipeforyourSuper SmellyJelly”andwaswondering ifthiswouldworkwellasan airfreshenerinmylivingroom andbedroom.Currently,Ipurchase airfreshenersandasyou know,theyareincrediblyexpensive andlastonly30days.I knowthingsmuststopsmelling niceeventuallybutIhavesixof thesemobileairfreshenersin ourplacesoitisanexpenseand Iwanttoexploreabettercost-effective solutionthatwillprovide thesameresults.Whatare yourthoughtsonthis? Barbara


The Super Smelly Jelly recipe is great for small areas such as bathrooms, lockers and cupboards. The most effective way to keep your air smelling fresh is to purchase an air purifier. Research consumer reports before making a selection. You may be happiest with an air purifier that does not have a filter but instead a carbonized screen. Setting out rosebowls filled with vinegar and floating candles is a tricky, yet effective way of absorbing odours. As well, a bowl of unused charcoal briquettes also absorbs odours. Or use cat litter to absorb smells. Put it in a decorative vase or a candleholder. One of my absolute favourite solutions is to find a small piece of corrugated cardboard (just rip it off of a box). Sprinkle the cardboard with an essential oil (i. e. cinnamon or tea tree oil or lavender). Leave it in a room; it smells great and if you do choose cinnamon, people will think that you just finished baking!

Tip of the Week:If you can’t eat grapes fast enough after purchasing them, freeze them. First, wash and air dry (not you the grapes), lay them neatly on a cookie sheet (not touching each other). Place the tray in the freezer. When the grapes are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container. Store in the freezer and just take out what you need. Eat them as is or add them to things such as yogurt, smoothies and ice cream.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming!

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Reena Nerbas is a highly popular professional speaker

and the author of three national bestsellers, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions, Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and Household Solutions 3 with

Green Alternatives. Corporate and Christmas workshops available by calling: 204-320-2757.





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