Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Easy Solutions for Everyday Problems

By Reena Nerbas

Diesel Fuel Odour

Dear Reena,

How can I get diesel fuel odor out of upholstered boat cushions that have foam inside of the material? Mike

Dear Mike,

Begin by cleaning the cushions with dish soap and water. Blot the entire cushion and lay on the grass to air dry. When the cushions are dry purchase heavy-duty garbage bags and put one of the cushions inside of the bag with a sock filled with fresh coffee grounds (close with an elastic band), or a few dryer sheets or cotton balls soaked with vanilla. Use your vacuum nozzle to suck out all the air in the bag. Close the bag and leave for a day or two. Remove cushion and repeat steps with the next cushion.

Freezing Gravy and Sauces

Dear Reena,

I can’t seem to solve the problem of gravies and sauces separating after being frozen.  I have tried cornstarch as the thickener instead of flour with no luck. Any suggestions? Janet

Dear Janet,

Gravy may be frozen for several months. To prevent “skin” from forming on the top, lay a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the gravy before covering the container. If you know you will be freezing gravy, try to use as little fat and milk as possible so that it does not separate when thawed. You can reduce the chances of separation greatly if you run the gravy through a blender or food processor before freezing.

Feedback from Wise Contributor

Re: Cold Sores

I use and follow similar directions as the previous contributor for getting rid of cold sores. Wash the area with liquid soap and warm water for less than a minute around 2 – 3 times a day. Just before bedtime, apply an ice cube wrapped in a tissue onto the affected area and allow to dry overnight. It freezes the cold sore because it’s just another virus. Bob

Easy Solutions for Everyday Challenges

  • Yesterday, my daughter got gum in her hair, and I was dreading the ‘peanut butter’ treatment! Rather than use ice, or cut her hair, I took the section of hair that was full of gum and put a paper towel behind it, then sprayed it thoroughly with Pam cooking spray, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and could comb all the gum out. A quick hair shampoo, and problem solved! The paper towel was used to help catch the spray from soaking into the rest of her hair. Take care, Tina
  • Here is a great use for leftover rice. Sometimes I make rice pudding- place rice in a bowl, add 1-2 cups of low fat cool whip, rinse half to 1 cups raisins and add about 2-3 tsp of cinnamon. Mix well and cool in fridge until needed. It is delicious. This would be for using about 2 cups of rice. Gail
  • When barbecuing hamburgers this summer, don’t press down on the meat when the burgers are on the grill. That will just press out moisture and you’ll end up with dry burgers. Dave

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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