Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Soap for Cleanliness

By Reena Nerbas

Using a Bar of Soap More Than Once

Dear Reena,

I tend to only use a bar of soap once before throwing it out because I don’t want to spread germs onto myself. Do you think that this is common practice among other people? Or do you think it is safe to re-use soap several times? Philip

Dear Philip,

We live in a country where thankfully many people have access to clean water and soap; and research shows (and I mean a lot of research) that bar soap and water are an effective solution in removing dirt, grime and germs. This is because soap is a surfactant- a solution that lifts crud, bonds with it, and allows it to be rinsed away with water. Some say that soap dates to 2800 BC and has been used ever since. It is safe to re-use soap repeatedly, in fact many people (including me) wash with a bar of soap until only crumbly little pieces remain. At that time, the little pieces are often added to water in a soap dispenser and used as liquid soap.

Just as a side note: in 1847 Ignaz Semmelweis discovered the incidence of childbed fever could be cut drastically reduced when interns wash their hands before delivering a baby and after performing autopsies. This was a dramatic discovery, and a solid testament regarding the importance of hand washing throughout day to day life.

Red Wine Stain on Wooden Cupboards

Hi Reena,

I love reading your articles, and I wonder if you have any suggestions to get rid of a red wine stain that I have on one of my wooded kitchen cupboards. It has been there for several weeks. Thanks for your help, Glen

Dear Glen,

Red wine is notorious for permanently damaging textiles, because whatever wine touches, it often dyes. Whenever cleaning cupboards, the safest cleaner is dish soap and water, scrub with an abrasive (non-scratching) cloth. Some people had success with a combination of baking soda and non-bleach, non-gel to clean wine off cupboards; however, this is risky as you do not want to damage the color of the wood.

Feedback from Caring Readers

Re: Toddler Sippy Cup

Hi Reena,

Speech pathologists don’t recommend the use of sippy cups as the child does not need to use facial muscles to control the flow. The increase in speech impediments is the direct result. Susan

Re: Cleaning Cooked Grease off Pots

Hi Reena,

The best, and easiest way to get the cooked grease off the bottom of aluminum or stainless pots and pans is to use a sanding sponge found in any Dollar Store or elsewhere where paint products are sold.

Just a scrub with hot water (and if wanted a scouring powder) and it all goes away just like magic. It is cheap and ecological, no strong chemicals needed. My sister gave me that trick and I have now passed it onto numerous friends. Cheers, Colette

Handy Cleaning Tips:

  • Clean tar off your car. Smear a little peanut butter onto the area and wipe it away in seconds. Submitted by: Dan

  • Clean your kettle with little effort. Fill kettle one quarter high with 50/50 vinegar and water (or straight vinegar). Boil and pour out contents, your kettle will look as good as new! Just remember to drain the vinegar before making tea, so you don’t end up drinking vinegar (learnt that the hard way). Submitted by: Reena

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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