Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Dealing with Silverfish

By Reena Nerbas

Bitter Cukes

Dear Reena,

As gardening season arrives, I am thinking about planting cucumbers. The problem is that garden cucumbers always taste bitter. Do you have any solutions to get rid of the bitter flavor? Thanks, Pearl

Dear Pearl,

This old trick works on bitter garden and store bought cucumbers. Cut the end off of the cucumber. Use the detached piece to rub the exposed cucumber end. The cucumber releases a white foam substance. Repeat the process on the opposite end of the cucumber. Peel and cut as normal, no more bitter taste.

Extra Cucumber Tip: Make a refreshing summer facial spa mask. Into a food processor combine; one peeled and chopped cucumber, half cup plain yogurt and one tbsp. milk powder. Blend and smooth contents over skin. Leave for 10 mins. and wash off with cool water to clean and close skin pores.

Reclaiming Church Pews

Hi there Reena,

A group of us recently dismantled six church pews. They are in rough shape, but the wood is still solid and can be reused for another project. The seats of the bench were upholstered with foam underneath, glued to the wood. We have removed as much of the foam as we can; however there is some left, firmly attached to the glue. You can imagine what it looks like. What can we use to remove the rest of the foam and glue? Your help would be appreciated. David

Dear David,

The first option is to cover the foam with ice cubes. As the ice melts, the foam hardens making it easier to peel. Also, carpet cleaning product application often makes foam removal easier. A power steamer or Goo Gone are options, scrape with a plastic putty knife and sand wood if needed. Acetone or WD-40 are last resorts, test on an inconspicuous area first.

Restoring Yellowed Linens

Hello Reena,

I enjoy your column; so many interesting and valuable tips. How do you restore yellowed tablecloths and pillow cases to their original whites? These were handmade, mostly cut-work and are probably 70 years old. They have been lovingly kept in a cedar chest or a cupboard all these years. Barring any solution, what does one do with them? Many thanks, Aurise

Dear Aurise,

The linens may never appear exactly the same white hue as they once were because there are actually many shades of white. However, there are a few products that you can use to whiten textiles. Soak the items in 12 cups water and either; one cup washing soda or borax. If the items are washable; put them into a stainless steel pot and boil in the solution to whiten. Or purchase Rit Dye Whitener to dye linens to a bright white.

Get Rid of Silverfish:

Be sure to remove old stacks of newspapers, magazines, papers, books and fabrics plus food spills and food stored for long periods of time. Often reducing available water and lowering the home’s relative humidity with dehumidifiers and fans is helpful. Repair leaking plumbing and eliminate moisture around laundry areas. Once the cause is remedied, there are many products on the market from baits to sprays that will get rid of silverfish, aerosols such as Raid and Air Devil for hard to reach places. As with all insecticides, read the directions and warnings very carefully.

A simple silverfish trap can be made by taking canning jars, scrubbing them clean and then covering the outside with masking tape to make them easy to climb. These traps are then placed in areas of infestation. The bugs will climb up and fall into the jars and then will not be able to climb the walls to escape. Moist cotton or starchy foods work as bait. Also leave cloves where they like to go, they don’t like the smell. The next step is to use Diatomaceous earth (dust) used as filter media in swimming pools. If you know someone with a pool, ask them to borrow a cup or visit a nearby garden store. If the problem remains call an exterminator!

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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