Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Hacks for the Home

By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning the Shower

Hi Reena,

What can I use to clean the floor in my acrylic shower stall? Nothing seems to work. Thank you, Susan

Dear Susan,

Into a spray bottle combine 2-cups white vinegar and 1-tbsp. Dawn dish soap. Use the steam from a hot shower to your advantage by cleaning the shower floor shortly after use. Choose a non-scratching abrasive pad (this is key to making the job easier), spray the floor with a liberal amount of the solution. Scrub with the pad and then rinse with water. For badly stained shower floors, consider using ‘Iron Out’ occasionally, switch to vinegar and dish soap for regular cleaning.

Smelly Dishwasher

Dear Reena,

What is the best way to clean my dishwasher? It smells bad and does not clean as well as it used to. Thanks, Shelly

Dear Shelly,

Imagine a person who ate three meals a day plus snacks without ever brushing their teeth. Rinsing with water would not remove the plaque and build-up. The same is true for a dishwasher that requires regular check-up and cleaning appointments. Maintain the machine; by carefully scrubbing the interior, especially where the base of the dishwasher door and floor meet. As well, the filter needs to be taken apart and cleaned from time to time. It’s amazing what gets caught in there: straws, cherry pits, tea bags, bones, pieces of glass, stickers etc. Experiment with a few dishwasher detergents and increase the hot water temperature according to your manual. The next step is to purchase a product called, Iron Out. Run it through your empty dishwasher, it will clean the dishwasher from head to toe including the basin, hoses, racks etc. If poor results continue, contact another professional because the dishwasher will need to be thoroughly examined for damaged parts or incorrect hook-up.

Once a month fill the detergent dispenser of the dishwasher with 2-3 tbsp. Tang Orange Crystals. The dishwasher may be either full of dishes or empty. Run the dishwasher as normal. The purpose of using Tang in the dishwasher is two-fold, first it cleans out the hoses behind the dishwasher and secondly it cleans the interior of the dishwasher. Please note that this process will not zap rust stains in dishwashers.

Feedback from Wise Contributors

Re: Threading a Needle

Another suggestion for threading a needle, especially on a sewing machine. Put a plain white paper or the back of a white business card behind the needle, it seems to luminate the eye of the needle making it easy to see and thread. I keep a business card with my machine all the time. Jo-Anne

Hacks for the Home

  • I have a solution for toilets that do not flush properly. Just squirt some Dawn dish soap into the toilet bowl and add some hot water…and then it will flush right away. Gail

  • If you want to keep all your bed sheet sets together; just fold the sheets and put the sheets in one of the pillowcases. That way you will always have your sets in order. Gail

  • I find that slicing cheese works best with a pizza cutter. Jordan

  • Keep your eyebrows in place by wiping them with a small amount of toothpaste. Mikayla

  • My best household hint is to clean my windows with 50/50 white vinegar and water. The mild acid lifts the baked-on grime, and the water washes the dirt away. Pat

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