Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Travel Tips

By Reena Nerbas

Peeling Garlic

Dear Reena,

I avoid purchasing fresh garlic bulbs, because I don’t like to take time to remove the peel from the bulbs. Do you have an idea of how to remove the peel without the headache? Blaine

Dear Blaine,

Place the garlic bulb inside a mason jar. Secure the lid and shake as hard as you can for 20-30 seconds. The skin will separate itself from the bulb, and your headache should be a distant memory.

Rubber Stair Treads

Dear Reena,

My friend is a big fan of yours and she suggested I contact you about my stairs which have a smooth rubber tread on the surface. Usually they prove to be impenetrable, except for scratches, but I recently put a rag with car washing solution on them and there is now a faded area. Can you suggest how I can ‘renew’ them? Yours truly, Meilin

Dear Meilin,

Thank you for your letter. It is difficult to say without knowing the type of floor textile and the contents of the car washing solution. Your best bet is to contact the manufacturer of the flooring. They will be able to recommend a product safe to use on your flooring, without damaging the warranty.

Water Stains on House Stucco

Dear Reena,

Do you have any solutions for removing white water stains on a stucco house? The water drips off the roof, onto a taupe color. Thank you, Brian

Dear Brian,

The most practical solution is to use water to get rid of water stains on stucco. Using the gentle setting of a pressure washer or spray hose, spray the entire affected area. Or for a stronger solution, some contributors had great results cleaning their stucco with one-part muriatic acid and 10 parts water. Use extreme caution, safety goggles and skin protection, as this is a powerful and dangerous chemical. Test on an inconspicuous area first.

Maple Bugs

Hi Reena,

This fall, there’s been a bumper crop of maple bugs. They tend to gather around doors in the hundreds waiting for a chance to get in where it’s warm… and a lot manage to get inside. We try not to squish them, but some inevitably get stepped on. They excrete bright red fluid. Will the stains ever come out of our carpets? Heather

Dear Heather,

According to contributors who have shared your experience with Maple bugs, the two most common solutions are: Scrub the area with Dawn dish soap and water. If the stains remain, spray the area with WD-40, scrub and wash with dish soap and water. As a last resort, wipe the area with shaving cream, rinse with water.

Feedback from Wise Contributors

Re: Clean Windows

I am a regular reader and enjoy your columns very much. Recently, I purchased cleaning vinegar on a friend’s recommendation, it is great. However, I cannot recall you talking about it. Perhaps readers would be interested to know that if you use vinegar straight in a spray bottle, you will have the “sparkliest” windows on the block. Phyllis

Re: Storing potatoes

I came across a mention you made in your article about storing potatoes.

The person who wrote to you said, she stored her potatoes with her onions. I recently read that potatoes should be stored separate from onions, which I have started doing. Your suggestion was storing potatoes in a plastic bag in the fridge I haven’t tried that, but I certainly do keep spuds and onions separate; for what it’s worth, Valerie

Travel Tips

  • Retain shirts with crisp and straight collars, while travelling; by rolling up a belt and placing it inside the collar. The belt helps the collar hold its shape. Submitted by: Brian
  • When I travel, I always email myself my Driver’s License, passport and all travel documents. This way if my bag gets lost, or snatched I still have all the papers that I need. Submitted by: Irwin
  • Know how to say, “Where’s the bathroom.” in the language of the country you are visiting. Submitted by: Me (Reena)

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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