Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Apple Pie

By Reena Nerbas
Damage to Marble Countertop

Dear Reena,

My daughter left her straightener on our new bathroom counter in the basement. It is marble; it has discolored the counter – is there any way to remove the “stain”? Thanks for your time, Brenda

Dear Brenda,

Are you sure that you are dealing with real marble or could it be cultured marble? If you have cultured marble, the damage may be permanent. You may find someone who can sand it down and re-apply a protective coating, but it almost certainly won’t match the rest. If you have real marble, then you’ll need to hire a marble restoration professional to sand/grind away the damaged stone, re-hone and re-polish the area to match the rest of your countertop.
Whether you are dealing with real or artificial marble, you can attempt the following suggestions but remember to test everything on an inconspicuous area first. For do-it-yourself repair, apply either non-bleach toothpaste or a paste of baking soda and water onto the stain. Leave for at least 3 hours and wipe. Or use 3% hydrogen peroxide and cover it with a white paper towel and plastic wrap. Tape the sides of the plastic onto the counter to create a poultice which may draw out the burn mark. Some people use 35% hydrogen peroxide for this challenge but the concentration is quite high which makes this much riskier than 3%. If the mark remains, you may be able to hide the burn mark by applying bathtub paint over the area. In any case it would be best to call in the professionals as you don’t want to accentuate or enlarge the mark.

Removing Paint from Clothing

Dear Reena,

I am helping my daughter and son-in-law paint their new house. Before I changed into my paint clothes, I got white paint on my denim skirt. Can you please tell me what to use to get the paint out? I really appreciate your help, Vicki

Dear Vicki,

Since the paint is more than six hours old, you will need to take aggressive action. In a ventilated area, soak the stain in Methyl Hydrate or paint thinner (found at your local hardware store) (test on an inconspicuous area first). Leave for 24 hours and scrub. Next soak the shirt in dish soap and water, rinse and wash as normal.

Feedback from Readers:
Re: Burnt Pot

I was reading your column about a lady who had a burnt pot. I just had a pot burnt relish containing sugar, I tried several different things to clean it and no luck. Then I bought a can of oven cleaner and sprayed the pot. I left it overnight and it came shiny clean. Just thought this sounded like an easier solution than boiling washing soda and using sandpaper. Gaylene

Re: Measuring Without a Measuring Tape

Another quick way to measure something long is to measure from your nose to the end of your arm (to the finger tips) which is approximately one yard.  My mother told me this many, many years ago so it is an old idea as I’m 85 now so she would have learned it from her English mother.  I’ve used it many times, especially when measuring out some fabric, just to get a quick idea of length.  Love your column, Barb

Re: Burnt Cookies

I solved my burnt cookie problem years ago. First choice was the air insulated cookie sheets. If that’s an expensive option and you don’t want to use the cookie sheets with a lip all around, turn it upside down. Now you have a cookie sheet that lets air all around your cookies (best for Shortbread). Gently remove from oven as they can be slippery. Linda

Fabulous Pie Tips of the Week!
  • Before you bake your next hot apple pie…prevent apples from shrinking. Cook the apples slowly first over low heat for 15 minutes. Add sugar to the apple slices; doing this will extract some of the juices and make the crust less soggy. Choose more than one variety of apples so that some are sweet and some are tart.
  • Homemade pie crust that is too soft should be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Add flour as needed.
  • If your pie looks cooked, but the filling is underdone, loosely wrap it in foil and return it to the oven to cook through.


Great Tip of the Week:
  • Whenever I have grease left over from frying meat, I NEVER pour it down the drain. Instead, I put it into a small disposable container; i.e. from individual puddings, etc., or even into any container-and place it in the freezer. Once it’s frozen solid, it can easily be discarded, or if not in a disposal container, just pushed out in a solid mass and the container washed for reuse. Ruth


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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