Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Cookies

By Reena Nerbas

Storing Clothing in Damp Basement

Dear Reena,

I am attempting to store a large quantity of clothing in a basement that is slightly damp. I am using two large plastic bags for each lot of clothing. Can you recommend anything to help keep the clothes dry and mold free? Thank you for your help, Bruce

Dear Bruce,

It is a good idea to avoid storing clothing in plastic bags; natural fibers expand and contract with changing temperatures, and if fabrics are trapped in plastic, they cannot breathe; cardboard boxes can be used for temporary storage. Make sure that you use new clean boxes to avoid staining and insects. One of the best storage containers is an unused suitcase; line with acid free tissue paper. Canvas garment bags with cedar tops and bottoms provide great storage protection. These bags are available in a variety of sizes for both hanging and flat storage items. If your storage containers allow light inside, you will need to find a dark space since light fades fabric colors. The ideal space is approximately 23 degrees Celsius because heat encourages bacteria growth and cold can damage natural fibers; however cold spaces are the best for storing furs. Also storing chalk or charcoal with clothing absorbs some of the moisture and reduces the chances of mildew growth. If you are worried about pests, use an aromatic cedar or lavender essential oil which gives off a scent that people and pets love, yet repels adult moths and carpet beetles. A general rule of thumb when considering how much cedar to use; if you can’t smell it, the pests can’t either.

Nail Polish in Bathroom Grout

Dear Reena,

My son dropped (and cracked) a bottle of red nail polish on my bathroom tile and it seeped into the grout. I tried using nail polish remover but to no avail. Please help! Jodi

Dear Jodi,

Whenever wet nail polish finds its way onto a smooth surface, immediately pour sugar onto the area. The nail polish will clump together making it easy to wipe. Spilling nail polish on grout becomes a little more challenging; pour acetone or paint thinner onto the grout and scrub with an abrasive green scrubby cloth. If the nail polish doesn’t budge gently sand the grout using sandpaper dampened with WD-40 (test every product on an inconspicuous area before applying onto a visible area).

Cookie Monster Approved Tips
  • I like to reduce the amount of flour in most cookie recipes by one-quarter cup to make the tender cookies that do not dry out even after several days. Tina
  • I make icing with confectioners’ sugar and milk. I make it fairly thin, as I ‘paint’ the icing onto the cookies with a pastry brush. Thin enough to spread easily but not so thin that it just makes your cookies wet and runny. Jessica
  • Use parchment paper on baking sheets to eliminate the need for greasing sheets. This tip helps promote even browning and easy clean-up. Submitted By: Darren
  • I do not own cooling racks and what I found works to cool freshly baked cookies without sogginess is to line the counter with wax paper. Sprinkle sugar onto the paper before cooling the cookies; my cookies are never soggy! Submitted By: Elma
  • As a long time baker I always cut the required eggs in half for cookie recipes. Working with dryer dough yields a puffier, lighter and more delicious cookie. I also make the dough two days ahead of time and store it in the fridge; this brings out the flavor of the cookies. Submitted By: Chef White


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