Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Decorating for the Holidays

By Reena Nerbas

Clumping Salt

Dear Reena,

What can I do to prevent salt from clumping in my saltshakers? Thanks, Vienna

Dear Vienna,

Add a little cornstarch or rice to your salt shakers, to prevent salt from clumping.

Storing Garlic

Dear Reena,

Is it possible to store crushed garlic, so that it is ready-to-use? Shauna

Dear Shauna,

You can store minced garlic in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. Although the most active sulfur compound diminishes within a few hours, refrigeration will slightly slow the process. Use refrigerated garlic as soon as possible. Some people are tempted to freeze garlic, but this is not recommended because the texture changes, as does the flavor.

Removing Underlay from Concrete Floor

Dear Reena,

I have taken on the daunting task of removing carpeting from my basement floor. The carpet came up like a dream, but the foam underneath is stuck to the concrete. I have been on my knees for two days with a putty knife trying to get this stuff off. Do you have any tips to make this mind numbingly frustrating task easier? Neil

Dear Neil,

Pour hot water onto the foam. Let the water soak for 10 minutes. Scrape with a long-handled ice scraper and remove all of the foam. The job will be so simple that you will be smiling all the way to the kitchen as you make your ‘pat on the back 10-layer chocolate cake’ cause that’s what everyone does when they are proud of themselves, right?

Doggie Stain on Laminate Floor

Dear Reena,

I am wondering if you know how I can remove a dog urine stain off my laminate flooring. My daughter brought her spaniel over to visit my condo and she was so excited that she urinated on the flooring. I threw a towel on it and swirled it around thinking I would wash the floor after they left, and of course I forgot. No matter what I try I cannot get the white colored stain out of the panels of flooring. Please advise if you know of any remedies that might help me remove the stains. Thank you, Denise

Dear Denise,

Although I don’t know which cleaners you used on your floor, I am assuming that you tried; laminate floor cleaner, water and ammonia or water and vinegar and have had disappointing results. Typically, laminate flooring is tough and almost anything can be cleaned with little effort as long as it is done fairly soon after a spill. However, in this case it sounds like the dog’s urine may have slightly bleached the floor finish. Since you probably don’t want to replace the boards and no amount of cleaners is going to clean a bleach stain, you are best off, taking a trip to your local hardware store. Bring a piece of laminate with you, and color match the floor to a wax stick or touch-up pen.

Decorating for the Holidays

  • Trim the tree with framed photos of memories. Inexpensive frames may be purchased at Dollar Stores, or handmade.
  • Fill clear plastic ball ornaments with candy such as, M&M’s, gummy worms, or popcorn for guests and family to take home as a gift when leaving your home.
  • Paint burnt out Christmas single lights with glitter paint and hang them on the tree.
  • Gather pinecones, tie a bow on the top and hang them on the tree. Spraying with glitter paint, adds an extra special touch.
  • Create one monogrammed ornament for each visitor or family member with a special message to that person written on the back.
  • Cut out gingerbread cookies, poke a hole at the top of the heads, so that you can later add a ribbon. Bake, decorate and hang them on the tree.

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.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

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