Gateway Gazette

Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Safe Way to Get Rid of Ants

By Reena Nerbas

Dents in Stainless Steel Fridge

Dear Reena,

Can the dents in my stainless-steel fridge be repaired? Vi

Dear Vi,

There is a theory that if you heat the dents with a hair dryer or press dry ice onto the area and then blast it with cold air, the dents should release and vanish. After researching this theory, I have found it unsuccessful. The safest and least noticeable solution is to leave the dent(s) as is.

Safe Way to Get Rid of Ants

Dear Reena,

Is there a product that I can use to get rid of ants, and is safe for pets and kids? Rita

Dear Rita,

There are several solutions for tackling ants. What works for one will not necessarily work for another since there is such a large variety of ant species; but here are a few ideas that are safe for children. To begin with, seal all doors and windows. Next, many ants will stay away if they smell what they consider an unpleasant odor such as: cinnamon, garlic, tea leaves or coffee grounds. You can also sprinkle ant hills with dry oatmeal, cornmeal or Cornflake cereal. Another option is to make what I like to call ‘Rhubarb Tea’. In a stainless-steel pot, boil rhubarb leaves with water. Pour the cooled liquid onto ant hills. This helps get rid of ants and because of the oxalic acid in rhubarb, the pots will appear sparkly and clean! Another suggestion: Ants are territorial, so pile the dirt from one ant hill onto the dirt of another ant hill. Or push a metal pipe into ant hills and pour hot water and tea tree oil into the pipe.

Feedback from Wise Contributors

Re: Freshening Your Home

Dear Reena,

Your suggestion regarding homemade air fresheners was so disappointing. You didn’t once suggest that a good airing of your home will help with freshening the air and reducing odors. The industry has convinced us that clean fresh air is not a desired odor so we have to mask it with cinnamon, lemon, fresh linen, tropical fruits and all kinds of odors. I, am someone who must detour around the fragrance counters in large stores, use “fragrance free” laundry soaps and softeners and can literally start gagging and coughing when I come into a space that has recently been “freshened”. It isn’t necessary. Keep your garbage, composting, bathroom and all other waste bins closed and emptied frequently, and open your windows every day (and doors where feasible), for 15 minutes so air can pass through and freshen naturally. My mother used to do this even in winter, though only for a few minutes when it was cold and when few others were at home. Modern homes especially, are super sealed and air gets trapped and “over used”, masking it with another odor doesn’t help, only fresh air can really freshen your home. Elaine

Re: Freshening Your Home

Hello Reena,

I put a wedge of lemon or lime in the toaster oven with a stick of cinnamon and a couple of cloves. Makes my apartment smell as if I have just been baking. Annette

Re: Eliminating Scum in Bird Baths

Dear Reena,

I heard that sticking copper pennies into a bird bath will eliminate scum and build-up. Trust me, it works! Kathy

Handy Tip of the Week

  • I am very lazy at cleaning my hairbrush (which in the past always looked disgusting because it was caked with hair). I decided to push a fabric softener sheet onto the bristles of the brush. Now I brush my hair and the fabric softener sheet prevents static cling. After a week, I lift the fabric softener up from the bristles and toss it into the garbage. Clean brush and no static on my hair! Submitted by: Amy

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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