Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Old Books and Dry Skin


By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning Musty Old Books

Dear Reena,

I have many old stinky books; some are treasures and 100 years old. I wipe them off but would like to know how to care for them. I really need your advice. Gwen

Dear Gwen,

It is true that over time the ink, glue and paper of books begins to carry a certain musty “old” smell. Books react with heat, light, acidity, smoke and moisture as well as the chemicals used in book production. The best way to store your books is in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight. An easy short term solution for freshening old books is to place a dryer sheet between several pages of the book. Leave for one week to absorb odors. An effective long term solution is to place two or three books inside of a sealable bag. Sprinkle the books with baking soda. Close the bag and place it inside of a freezer. Leave for a week. Remove the bag from the freezer and the smell should vanish. Some experts suggest that freezing books may be harmful to them and recommend sealing them in bags with baking soda then leaving them at room temperature until the odor disappears.

Bed Skirt Slips

Dear Reena,

Please tell me how to keep the bed skirt on my queen-size bed from slipping every time I change the sheets. I have tried pinning it but it pulls away and rips. It does not have any elastic. Ann

Dear Ann,

Purchase a roll of Velcro. Cut Velcro into three inch strips. Separate the strips and attach one half of each Velcro at all four corners and one in the center of the box spring. Attach the other half of the Velcro to the bed skirt. If the Velcro does not stick to the fabric purchase fabric glue/cement, at a department store and adhere it to the sticky side of the Velcro. Or hold the bed skirt in place using furniture tacks. Or purchase No-Slip Shelf Liner or a rubber floor mat, put either on your box spring before draping the skirting onto the bed to hold the skirt in place.

Dry Winter Skin

Dear Reena,

I don’t know what I hate more, the weather or how dry my skin feels from this cold temperature. Do you have a recipe for a really effective cream that I can make at home and that won’t cost me a dry arm and a leg? Verna

Dear Verna,

This is a simple and affordable recipe to combat dry skin. Into a container combine: One cup baby lotion, half cup petroleum jelly (Vaseline) and half cup Vitamin E Cream. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Store in a sealable container.

Feedback from Contributing Readers

Re: Cleaning Soap Scum

Dear Reena,

So that tubs and showers never accumulate scum and always shine: Wipe down all wet areas of your shower stall with a bath towel after each use. There will never be mold growth; as long as all wet towels are removed from the bathroom and dried either on the line or in the dryer. On exiting, turn on the bathroom fan for a half hour and if mirrors are steamed, wipe down with a lint free cloth. Cheers! Terri

Re: Uses for Expired Milk

Dear Reena,

To clarify, the date on milk is not an expiry date. It is the ‘Best Before Date’. The milk quality deteriorates after this date, and is still usable for several days. There is no designated date for when milk becomes “sour”. Phyllis

Apple Butter

After years of bouncing back and forth about whether to spread butter or margarine on my toast; I came up with an alternative that tastes great and is healthier than both margarine and butter. Apple Butter: Dump a jar of applesauce into your slow cooker. Place two chopsticks across the opening of the slow cooker and position the lid on top. The chopsticks prevent the lid from sitting tightly and allowing the air to escape. Let the applesauce cook on HIGH until it bubbles and then turn it to LOW for 10-12 hours depending on how thick you would like it. Freeze leftovers in sealable bags or can in canning jars. Submitted By: Diane

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.

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