Gateway Gazette

Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Getting Rid of Ants in the House

By Reena Nerbas

Cleaning Toilet Bowl

Dear Reena,

I am looking for a solution for cleaning the toilet bowl, instead of the bottle of blue solution from the store. Thanks, Pat

Dear Pat,

Make that toilet bowl sparkle by pouring a little shampoo or dish soap onto a pumice stone and gently, rubbing the inside of the toilet bowl to remove stains. Or clean the toilet with a product called ‘Iron Out’, use according to the directions on the bottle.

Getting Unstuck from Crazy Glue

Dear Reena,

What is your trick to get crazy glue off fingers? Gloria

Dear Gloria,

When this happens soak (and I mean soak for at least 15 minutes) your fingers in one of the following: cola or the hottest water that you can stand or acetone. Gently pry the glue off your fingers and wash.

Safe Fire Starters for Fireplaces

Dear Reena,

Is there a problem using homemade fire starters made of sawdust and wax or dryer lint and wax in fireplaces? I am concerned about wax creating a coating in the chimney?  Thanks for your help. Jean

Dear Jean,

Dryer lint, egg cartons, pencil shavings, empty toilet paper rolls and sawdust are suitable fire starters for inside fireplaces. Wax additions are better left for outdoor fireplaces, because as you said wax build-up in chimneys can become a problem over time. An alternative to homemade wax fire starters is to save old newspapers and layer one loosely over top of another. Dry layers for several months. Toss in the fire as a fire starter; be sure to use black and white ink paper only.

Feedback from Readers:

Re: Ants

  • When I lived in Truro, Nova Scotia I had ants all over my kitchen and in the cat food. A hint from my friend suggested I try whole clove powder spray. I sprayed under the kitchen sink where I found the ants had come up from the basement. They disappeared and my kitchen smelled lovely. Next season, I added more clove powder and I never had another ant, anywhere. Ninon
  • I was appalled at your answer to use Raid (to get rid of ants) when we do have non-toxic products available on the marketplace that will also get rid of ants. Louise

Fabulous Tips of the Week:

  • Use a paste of cigar ashes or cigarette ashes on furniture to remove watermarks or scratches.
  • When measuring shortening or butter, dip the cup or spoon in hot water first. The grease will slide right off.
  • To accurately measure flour without sifting (which is often the difference between cakey and moist brownies). Whisk or stir the flour a bit before measuring, since flour settles.
  • Brush a little clear nail polish on the underside of metal containers to prevent rust marks on countertops.
  • Sweet’n Sassy BBQ Sauce: Mix a few spoonsful of jelly into your favorite BBQ sauce. Brush over chicken or ribs towards the last few minutes of grilling. Or add jelly to bottled vinaigrette salad dressing to enhance the flavor.
  • Erase deodorant streaks. Rub pantyhose over white areas. The nylon lifts the marks like magic.

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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