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Substitute and Solve - Uncle's pipe smoke clings to sentimental leather furniture

Hi Reena,

I was given a beautiful leather couch and loveseat from my uncle, but he smoked his pipe in the house.Is there any way of getting rid of the pipe tobacco odour from the leather?I really love the set and it does have sentimental value to me. Thanks for all your secrets, Troubled

Dear Troubled,

If they were smaller items, I would suggest that you bring them outside on a sunny day. In any case, in order to get rid of the smell, both pieces must be thoroughly treated. Spritz the set with vodka. Next clean every inch of the furniture with shaving cream or saddle soap and water. Wipe dry. Lastly, fill a sock with dry coffee grounds, fasten the sock with an elastic band and hide the sock somewhere in the furniture to absorb remaining odour.

Hi Reena,

I have lost the ‘recipe’ for cleaning silver using aluminum foil; soda and water and I know it works like a charm. Secondly, is it OK tocut the ingredients in halfto make a smaller loaf of bread than the usual size?I guess I would have to cut down on the baking time a bit. Thanks, Irene

Hi Irene,

To make your own silver cleaner: Place crumpled aluminum foil in a pan or plastic bucket. Dissolve one quarter cup washing soda in enough hot water to cover silver. Place silver on foil and let stand for five minutes until the tarnish is gone. Remove silver, rinse and polish dry.

In terms of cutting a bread recipe in half, since the dough will not be as thick, you should reduce baking time. When bread is golden brown across the top of the entire surface and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, bread is ready. If the bread sounds hollow when sides are tapped, this also indicates bread is done. And smell the bread; it should not smell like yeast it should smell like delightfully, baked bread.

Dear Reena,

I have light spots on the dining room table, it is stained very dark to start with and I do not know if the light spots are from heat or just what made it go that way. I would like any helpful tips you can give me as it is only six years old and I hate to see the spots on it. Jackie

Dear Jackie,

I used this solution on my table last week and the marks have vanished. The first and easiest solution is to apply mayonnaise or non-gel, non-bleach toothpaste to the wood. Leave for 30 minutes and wipe. If the stain remains, cover the mark with a white cloth. Using your fabric iron, press the iron overtop of the cloth making sure that you do not set the iron on one area for too long. With a little patience, the marks will disappear.

Dear Reena,

With a variety of pets in my home, my house never smells good. I want to avoid spraying toxic chemicals in the air of my home. Please share with me the ingredients to make my own fabric freshener. Thanks so much, Tara

Dear Tara,

Into a spray bottle pour one tablespoon baking soda, 10 drops of essential oil (available at health food stores) i.e. rose, orange, lavender, etc. and two cups water. Shake and use this inexpensive and spray as an all-purpose freshener for furniture, or fabrics, or spray a piece of cloth and toss it into the dryer with clothes or spray the air of your home.

Hi Reena,

I alwaysread your column and I’ve been procrastinating about asking you a few questions: In our main bathroom our vanity is oak or oak veneer, I’m not sure. As there is no handle to open the doors, I noticed that the wood along the bottom wherehandstouch is grungy looking. I’d like to know what I can safely use to clean that area. I’ve tried some gentle rubbing with dish soap, but no luck and I don’t know what’s safe to use.

Also, how do I get our 15-year-old bathtub to look shiny again?

And here’s a strange one: If you’re wearing a pendant that can’t be removed from the chain and the chain is too long for some tops, is there a way to make it shorter somehow at the back of the neck so that it stays put? Probably the silliest question you ever received. Thanks, Rachel

Three great questions Rachel!

You are right — dish soap and water are the recommended cleaners for oak and oak veneer. When cleaning with dish soap and water, don’t be too gentle in other words; use a non-scratching scrubby pad and a little elbow grease. The next step is to wipe oak with lemon or olive oil. Remove the excess with a soft cloth.

To rejuvenate your bathtub, purchase a product called Gel-Gloss available at home hardware stores, apply to the bathtub. If you are interested in making your own cleaner; mix together half cup baking soda with castile soap until it is the same consistency as frosting. Smear onto bathtub and scrub. Real castile soap is available at health food stores or on-line, often under the heading Dr. Bronner’s soap. Whichever solution you use, please make sure that the bathtub is not slippery before you step in.

Here is the solution to temporarily shorten a necklace so that you can adjust its length to match your outfit. Gather the necklace chain to the length you like, secure an earring into the links and fasten the earring with the clasp. Or clasp the necklace at the length that you want and tie a small bow right above the clasp to prevent the clasp from moving on the chain.

Reena Nerbas is a rural Manitoba home economist is a lab coat - and she’s not afraid to use it. Keep your questions coming:

» householdsolutions@mts.net

(204) 320-2757

reena.ca

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 20, 2014

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Hi Reena,

I was given a beautiful leather couch and loveseat from my uncle, but he smoked his pipe in the house.Is there any way of getting rid of the pipe tobacco odour from the leather?I really love the set and it does have sentimental value to me. Thanks for all your secrets, Troubled

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Hi Reena,

I was given a beautiful leather couch and loveseat from my uncle, but he smoked his pipe in the house.Is there any way of getting rid of the pipe tobacco odour from the leather?I really love the set and it does have sentimental value to me. Thanks for all your secrets, Troubled

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