Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Natural Drain Cleaner

By Reena Nerbas

Unclogging Drain

Hello Reena,

Can you please tell me the best natural solution for unclogging a slow kitchen drain? I’m in a condo, on the third of four floors and the drain often gurgles. Someone on my Strata council suggested using Liquid Plumber but I would prefer something more natural. I would appreciate any suggestion you may have. Thank you, Catherine

Dear Catherine,

In a jar combine 2 tbsp. cream of tartar, one quarter cup baking soda and 1 tsp. salt. Drop in the drain, chase with boiling water. Repeat as necessary. Or pour half cup salt down the drain, followed by boiling water or vinegar. Extra tip: Don’t toss flat cola into the garbage; instead pour it into drains to keep them fresh. If this is not effective consider having the pipes under the sink taken apart and thoroughly cleaned.

Soften Vinyl

Dear Reena,

I am an elderly woman and wear Tena panty pads because I leak so heavily. I also wear vinyl pull on panties over them. Instructions say to wash and dry; they are soft when they come out of the dryer but with 5 mins. they become stiff and crackle when I walk. Would you or your readers know how to treat the vinyl without the fabric becoming stiff? Mary

Dear Mary,

Unfortunately many others have commented that the vinyl cannot be softened and regularly stiffens after drying. However, try the following; fill a tub less than half full with lukewarm water. Add two drops of a mild liquid dishwashing detergent like Ivory and mix. Turn the pants right side out with the waist hanging down. Slide them into the water until they are completely covered. Swirl the pants in the water for a few seconds (not minutes) and remove. The entire process should take less than thirty seconds. Hang the pants to dry.

Wax on Suede Furniture

Dear Reena,

I do hope you can help me. I was treating my arthritic hands in a paraffin wax bath and accidently splashed some on one of my beige suede dining room chairs. I was able to scrape some of it off, but there is still a dark spot remaining. Do you have any solution for removing the stain? HELP! Marlene

Hi Marlene,

You want to be careful when cleaning the area not to scorch it. Place a single layer of brown paper on the wax area and move a warm iron over the wax. Move the paper around to soak up all wax. Next sprinkle baking soda onto the wax stain and brush the area with a damp stiff brush to restore the nap.

Handy Life Hacks:

  • I use a piece of Silly Putty to clean the keyboard of my computer. While the computer is turned off, press Silly Putty onto keys, the dust and grime sticks to the putty and lifts it out. Submitted By: Kristi
  • I found a way to encourage my five year old to eat her peas. Start by softening a container of frozen yogurt or ice cream by placing it on the counter at room temperature for 15 mins. Stir in a few chocolate chips and a few handfuls of frozen peas. Re-freeze the yogurt and eat. Submitted By: Lawrence
  • My facial skin seems much softer now that I use a banana mask once a week. Mash up a banana and spread it on your face. Leave for 10 mins. and rinse. Submitted By: Mandy


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.

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