Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Apples

By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning the Ceiling Fan

Dear Reena,

It is time to clean our kitchen ceiling fan and previously you had mentioned putting some oil on it to prevent attracting dust, could you please remind us what type of oil you recommended for this? Thanks. Joan

Dear Joan,

For regular ceiling fan cleaning jobs, you can use a long handled good quality microfiber dust cloth. If you clean your ceiling fan once every one-two weeks then when you turn the fan on, less dust flies around the room and settles on other parts of your furniture. However, when grease and dust have built-up to the point of becoming gummy and sticky, more drastic measures need to occur. You will need; a step ladder, gallon bucket of water, abrasive non-scratching cloth, 1 tbsp. dish soap and 1-tbsp. vinegar. With the fan off (obviously), scrub each blade of the fan using the solution. Rinse with warm water and dry. To prevent ceiling fan blades from collecting dust, you can wipe them with furniture polish (or a fabric softener sheet) and a soft cloth.

Cleaning Smoke Stains from Stippled Ceilings

Dear Reena,

I’m in the process of buying a small house that is a fixer upper and the previous owner was a heavy smoker. Three of the rooms and a hallway have stippled ceilings and I’m wondering if it would be possible to clean them? I’ve tried to research how to go about this with no luck. For the walls and plain ceilings, I thought maybe a solution of T.S.P. might work but the stippled ones have me baffled. Any advice would be most welcome. I enjoy your column and would like to thank you for many of the household hints that have proven most helpful. Barb

Dear Barb,

If I were you, I would begin by deciding how much you like stipple. If you want to keep stipple permanently in your home, then paint the ceiling with a primer called Kilz. This product will kill the odor and make the ceiling look new but, it will seal the stipple. Another option is to spray the stipple with a water filled bottle and completely scrape it off using a plastic putty knife. Clean the bare ceiling with dish soap and water and then either re-stipple or paint. Attempting to clean unpainted stipple will make a messy, mess.

Keeping Apples Fresh in Fridge

Dear Reena,

I just filled my second fridge crisper with apples. I always sprinkle baking soda and put a layer of paper towel under the apples. Do I set the crisper tray on high or low humidity? I also filled an old roaster pan with apples to hopefully keep them fresh for a while and put them on another shelf in the fridge. Should I place plastic wrap overtop? Should I puncture holes in it to help keep the rest of the fridge from absorbing the apples or the apples spoiling too quickly? Also, how does one keep head lettuce crispy to serve in salads (like in restaurants)? Mine seems to always be limp. V. J.

Dear V.J,

Store apples in a cool place such as the basement, garage or fridge (best choice). Humidity levels should be 90% and the temperature between 30-32 degrees Fahrenheit. If stored correctly, apples remain fresh for up to 5 months, the thicker the peel the longer the shelf life. Store apples in a plastic lined box or plastic bag with holes, newspaper lined boxes are another option.

To keep lettuce fresh: Avoid storing lettuce near fruit, which gives off ethylene gas. High humidity is ideal for lettuce and storing lettuce wrapped in a tea towel and placed inside of a plastic bag is another option. Extra Tip: Wash the entire head of lettuce in ice water, tear lettuce into pieces. Dry lettuce in a salad spinner or with a tea towel. Make a bed of newspaper and tea towels in the crisper and drop the torn lettuce into the drawer. Salads will be handy to create, and your lettuce is more likely to be used quickly. Do not cut lettuce with a metal knife unless you plan to use it immediately, metal that comes in contact with lettuce speeds up the browning process.

Did you know Apples Belong to the Rose Family?

  • Store an apple with; brown sugar and homemade cookies, cakes and breads to keep them fresh.
  • Keep potatoes fresh longer by storing an apple with them.
  • Eating a green apple is said to cure motion sickness.
  • If your horse won’t take his medication, stick it inside of an apple. Horses love apples!
  • When picking apples, do so in the morning when they are still cool.

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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