Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: From Dust to Decking


By Reena Nerbas

Dealing With Dust

Dear Reena,

We moved into a new home 8 years ago which has a heat pump. I am not sure if the pump causes constant dust, but it is

driving me crazy! It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I dust, or what I use, because as soon as I turn around, it has landed back on all of the furniture. Do you have a solution? Thanks, Helen

Dear Helen,

If the heat pump is working to capacity, this shouldn’t be the culprit because one of the jobs of a heat pump is to purify the air. Sometimes excessive dust is a result of the location of your home and completely out of your control. Other possible causes: Plugged dryer vent, check the back of the dryer as well as the front lint trap. Is your dryer vented to the outside? The attic may not be properly sealed. Unsealed air leaks, duct air leaks (pay special attention to sealing the return duct). Dust leaking out of vacuum cleaner bag or an inefficient vacuum. Dust caused by wood stove or wood fireplace. If none of these factors apply to you, call a professional air specialist to analyze your home. Here is a quick tip to reduce some of the dust before you clean, spray the air with water before you vacuum, because wet dust can’t fly.

Cleaning Composite Decking

Hi Reena,
We have a deck made out of Trex boards, and while my husband was barbecuing, some food landed onto the deck. I removed the stain, and now notice that the spot is a lighter color than the rest of the boards. What can I use to repair this? I was thinking of buying a small can of deck stain in an appropriate color and blending it in, but I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not. Please help! Lori

Dear Lori,

I contacted the manufacturer with your query. As I am not sure how old the light stain is; the representative suggested the lighter spot may take 12-16 weeks to blend with the deck. If the stain remains, they suggest that you use a deck brightener that contains Oxalic Acid, in order to lighten the rest of the deck so the spot will blend. This is a better option than paint or stain which will increase future deck maintenance.

Feedback from Readers:

Re: Butter stored in fridge too hard; looking for substitutes

Dear Reena,

For many years there has been a solution “out there” to the problem of hard un-spreadable butter. It’s known as “better butter”. Soften a pound of butter overnight in a large bowl. The next day, blend your butter until it is creamy. Into a large measuring cup, pour your favorite cooking oil to the one and a half cup line. Slowly add the oil into the butter until you have a fairly liquid product, you may want to experiment to find the consistency you prefer (you can add a little additional salt). You will now have a fairly liquid product, pour your ‘better butter’ into individual small containers and keep in the fridge. This product will harden to a consistency that can be spread right from the fridge. Not only is this product spreadable but the amount of saturated fat is considerably reduced. I hope others will find this helpful. Dale

Smoke Odour in Car

Dear Reena,

I removed smoke smell from a car using a tray of ground coffee, the cheapest will do. Put the coffee in a shallow pan, like a cake pan, and place it on the floor and leave it for a few days. The coffee grounds absorb the odor. Dennis

Re: Dead mouse odour in car

Hi Reena,

Sarah’s letter referring to the smell of dead mice in her car hit a nerve. We once moved a vehicle which had been parked for some time, it was on a hot day and turning on the air conditioner apparently reconstituted the dead mice and the smelly nest. It was buried deep in the air system of the car. It was easy to remove the smell with an air freshener, after ridding the carcasses and nesting material from the air vents and washing the whole system. Ted

Handy Household Hint

· The next time you run out of sheets for your wet/dry mop, dampen one of your clean, fuzzy socks and stretch it over the head of the mop. The sock attracts dust; when you finish cleaning, toss the sock into the wash.

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