Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Sprayed by a Skunk

By Reena Nerbas

Skunk Spray

Dear Reena,
My son was sprayed by a skunk and I would like to know what to use to remove the skunk smell from his clothes. Is there any combination besides laundry detergent that would remove the smell? Bonnie

Dear Bonnie,
Here is the ‘Skunk Spray Recovery Solution’ from my first book: Combine 4 cups hydrogen peroxide, one quarter cup baking soda and 1 tbsp. liquid dish soap. Fill a tub with the solution and enough HOT water to cover the fabrics. Mix, lather and rinse. A reader with this challenge recently shared the following tip: She soaked her clothes in dish soap and water (only) before washing and the smell went away. Another option is to go to your local sporting goods store and purchase Get the Odor Out or a similar product that kill odors.

Cleaning Metal Mini Blinds

Dear Reena,
Do you happen to know how to clean blinds? There are sticky gummy deposits all over my metal horizontal mini blinds which unfortunately have not been cleaned for a long time. Thanks! Deb

Dear Deb,
Fill an empty ice cream bucket with water, one teaspoon dish soap and half teaspoon cooking oil. Scrub the gummy areas with a green scrubby pad. Rinse with plain water and dry with a soft towel.

Oil Stain on Driveway

Dear Reena,
My car had an oil leak last year and my paving stone driveway now has a nasty oil spill. I’d hoped that it would wash away in time, but I use synthetic oil and it looks as bad as ever. What can I do to remove the stain? Fran

Dear Fran,
Here is a method that works well instead of using bleach or muriatic acid to remove oil stains on cement driveways: Pour a small amount of paint thinner, Varsol, WD-40 etc. onto the oil stain and immediately cover the spot with Oil Dry. Oil-dry is an absorbent product similar in appearance to kitty litter; it can be purchased at auto parts stores. The paint thinner dissolves the oil and they are both absorbed by Oil-Dry. For a fresh stain Oil-Dry alone can absorb oil. Sweep up Oil-Dry the next day and store in a closed metal container such as a cookie tin, it can be reused over and over again for a long time.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Dear Reena,
How can I make red velvet cupcakes with white cake mix? Sam

Dear Sam,
Typically you would use a different recipe if you were going to make red velvet cupcakes but in a pinch, add several drops of red food coloring to mimic the red velvet appearance.

Almond Bark in the Freezer

Dear Reena,
I’m pregnant and having a baby in a few months so I want to get some shopping and baking finished now. My question; if I make almond bark now, can I freeze it? Colleen

Dear Colleen,
Absolutely, in fact the bark becomes smoother when frozen. Congratulations on the baby!

Yellowed Plastic

Dear Reena,
Please tell me how to whiten plastic that has yellowed. Thanks. Marie

Dear Marie,
While there are plastic whitening products on the market, you want to be careful and read the label to make sure that the cleaner is appropriate for your particular item. Another option is to soak the area in bleach and scrub with an abrasive cloth. Rinse with water.
Extra Tip: If you have bleach smell on your fingers, soak them in lemon juice or vinegar to remove the odor. Wash hands as usual.

Reader Offers Advice for Stinky Sink Drain

We also had a problem with a bad smell coming from our double kitchen sink however, the odor was only evident in one drain. After numerous commercial solutions and the vinegar and baking soda trick which only provided a short term solution, we noticed water on the outside of the stack of the drainpipe. Turns out the coupling nut between the drainpipe and sink had loosened and allowed food particles to accumulate and decay. Cleaned up the decay, tightened the nut and voila no smell. Thanks for all your great solutions.

Fabulous Tips of the Week!

Don’t throw out lipstick tubes. Save those old colors to label freezer bags. Food safe and cheap!

If you find sealable bags difficult to open, cut a good size V on the top of the bag, being careful not to cut through the seal. This will make opening the bag a snap.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can’t remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my website


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