Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Getting Gum Out of Hair and Makeup off Clothing

By Reena Nerbas

Pickle Juice on Teak Table

Dear Reena,

Sunday night a jar of pickles spilt onto the dining room table, which is solid teak (very old reclaimed wood if that makes a difference). The pickle juice sat there for a few hours before being discovered. I tried putting baking soda directly on the damp stain and covered it with a towel for 24 hours. Little result, I did notice some stain in the baking soda but there is still a very dark almost black stain on the table. Not sure if this matters but we have treated the wood with teak oil once a year for about 8 years. Is there something else we can try? Kind of desperate here. Thanks. Rick

Dear Rick,

It sounds as though the acid in the pickle juice stripped the finish of the table. Place a tea towel onto the area and press the mark with a warm iron. Observe whether the stain is gone. Next smear mayonnaise over the spot, leave for one hour and wipe. If the stain remains, sand and oil the table.

Removing Gum from Hair

Dear Reena,

Help! My daughter has a big, juicy wad of gum in her hair. She leaned against a dresser that had gum on it. My daughter has very long, wavy hair. Is there anything that I can do, other than breaking out the scissors? Bernice

Dear Bernice,

Step away from those scissors! Reach for smooth, creamy peanut butter. Smother the gum with a good amount of peanut butter and gently pull the gum towards the ends. After the gum is gone, soak the area with dish soap and water and wash well before shampooing.

Makeup on Clothes

Dear Reena,

Do you have a solution for getting makeup/lipstick out of clothing? My friend got bright, pink lipstick on my white dress and I was wondering if you had any ideas as to how to remove it? Jodie

Dear Jodie,

Your best bet is to dab the area with glycerin and water. When the stain is gone smear the spot with Dawn dish soap and water. Rinse until clean and then wash the clothing as usual. White non-gel toothpaste is another great way to get lipstick out of fabrics. Rinse with water.

No Hold Velcro/Static Hair

Dear Reena,

I have a couple of problems that require your expertise. I own a pair of boots with Velcro closures. After a year or so, the Velcro lost its hold. I cleaned out the lint that was caught in the hook surface, but it did not help. Is there anyway the Velcro can be ‘revived’? The boots are still in very good condition.
Problem two: When I take off a certain jacket, my hair gets all static. This doesn’t happen with other jackets. What do you suggest I do to eliminate the static without resorting to chemical sprays? Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks for all the interesting and helpful hints that appear in your column week after week. Allan

Dear Allan,

Here are a few options: Heat the Velcro with a hairdryer and comb it with a pet brush to rejuvenate and clean it. Or stitch a new piece of Velcro on top of the current Velcro, some people recommend gluing (or sewing) a new piece of Velcro onto the boot but in my experience this does not hold. Worst case scenario, bring the boots to a shoe repair store.

Did you know? Unused Velcro makes a great tongue scraper for preventing bad breath.

So that your hair does not fly away on you when you remove your jacket, consider keeping a fabric softener sheet in your pocket. Whenever you remove your jacket, wipe your hair with the sheet. Having a humidifier in your home also reduces static electricity and when washing your hair, use thick conditioner. Last but not least, a little hand cream or water smoothed over your hair works well in a pinch.

Outstanding Household Hints:
  • After using chopsticks the next time you visit a Chinese restaurant, bring them back home instead of leaving them to be thrown out. They come in handy as stakes for plants.
  • Stop clothes with thin straps from falling off hangers by sticking small felt furniture pads onto the hanger just beyond where the straps sit.
  • To keep spiders or any other nasty surprises out of the shoes you store outside i.e. gardening shoes or work boots. Place old stockings over the top of them. Make sure the stockings don’t have holes in them, and if they don’t fit snugly over the top, use an elastic band to secure them.


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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