Solutions & Substitutions Column – Reena Nerbas – April 19, 2013

Solutions & Substitutions Column – Reena Nerbas – April 19, 2013

We are proud to announce that Grocery Alerts will be republishing the fantastic columns by Reena Nerbas. Reena has written three National Best selling books, “Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions and Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets” and Household Solutions, with Green Alternatives, currently available on-line, phone orders and by mail.

You will see her work every week in major newspapers across Canada.

Her website is This advice column shares household solutions and substitutions.

Dear Reena,

I boiled a green banana in a saucepan today, because I saw a segment on television where a nutritionist recommended eating boiled green bananas. It is a resistant carb, which is very good for you.

Anyway, the point of my story is that after I took the softened banana out and poured the water down the drain, I noticed that the scorching on the bottom of the pan (from a previous mishap) was half gone. I washed the saucepan, and when drying it I noticed that the part that had been covered with banana water looked much shinier than the rest! What a surprise.

I do not want you to recommend this to others yet, as this was just one instance. Unless you have heard of this happening before. Anyway, I am intrigued enough that I will try this again, to see if it gets rid of the rest of the scorch marks on the pan. Perhaps you would like to experiment with this yourself, unless, as I said, you already know more about this phenomenon than I do. Gayle

Dear Gayle,

I tried this experiment by combining water and banana peel instead of including the banana (I ate the banana). The pot resulted just as you said, shiny and clean. I boiled the peel for 5 mins. and then emptied the pot and rinsed it with water and dish soap to remove any banana residue. Great tip, thanks for sharing your findings!

Dear Reena,

I collect plastic hairbands to keep the hair from going onto my eyes. Whenever I see a new pattern or color, I immediately have to have it. However, I am often disappointed when I try to wear the band and it slips off of my head and won’t stay in place. Now I have a pile of hairbands to wear and another pile just for display. Do you have any tricks for turning my display headbands into functional hair accessories? Lana

Dear Lana,

You will be happy to know that there is an easy fix for this headband challenge. Purchase a strip of Velcro, use only the hook side. Cut a piece a little smaller than the width of the headband and cut the length one inch. Use a hot glue gun to fasten the Velcro to the middle of the underside of the headband. Voila it’s ready to wear!

Dear Reena,

I love your new website but I am having trouble finding a solution for my problem. I recently became the owner of a small dog and he loves to sit on my furniture. Do you have any tricks for training pets to keep off of the furniture? Thanks, Brent

Dear Brent,

Training your pet early is a very smart idea. Place sheets of aluminum foil on the seats of your furniture. This doesn’t hurt the pet but isn’t as comfortable as warm and cozy fabric. He will hopefully soon see that his own bed is the best place for him to relax. Eventually after he is trained the foil can be removed and he will hopefully stay on the floor. The key is persistence, if you begin this technique, it should be used consistently and with lots of love.

Hi Reena,

How can I stop my furniture, easy chairs and sofas, from sliding on the floor so that they don’t leave marks on the wall when someone sits down? Sheena

Dear Sheena,

The easiest solution is to cut a piece of non-slip shelf or drawer liner the same size as the furniture feet. For furniture that remains in place, cut the shape and simply slide the shelf liner underneath each foot. For furniture that is made to move such as kitchen table chairs you will require some kind of adhesive to hold the liner in place. Use one drop of Super Glue or wood glue depending on the furniture material. There are sticky pads available however, they don’t always hold and often collect dust and hair. Other ideas are to install chair rails or pieces of Plexiglas onto walls so that chairs have no direct contact with the wall. You can also cut small sections of carpet tiles and apply them to the corners of chair backs using double sided tape.

Feedback from Caring Reader

Dear Reena,

We’ve had an acrylic tub and surround for the last seven years and this is what we do. We use an incredible product called Gel-Gloss available at Home Depot and Rona; it is a polish and very mild abrasive used for fiberglass. About every 6-8 weeks we apply it to the tub, walls and shower doors, the soap and water skims right off after a shower. We also use Dawn dish soap on the tub after every bath or shower plus a sprinkle of baking soda about once a week. The tub is not slippery like after using soap or a greasy body wash and the tub shines and gleams like new. Thank you, Barb

Fabulous Tips of the Week

  • Prevent your cutting board from sliding on the counter. Place a wet tea towel underneath the board to hold it in place.

  • Many people have one foot slightly larger than the other and their shoes never quite fit. To prevent your foot from sliding around in your shoe, spray hairspray onto the bottom of your foot to hold it in place so that your foot doesn’t escape from your shoe.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can’t remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Follow me on Twitter and checkout my website at!

Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog,