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Get the smell of smoke out of your car

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Getting the smell of smoke out of your car can be a big task. If you’re not willing to take on the job yourself, hire a professional.

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Getting the smell of smoke out of your car can be a big task. If you’re not willing to take on the job yourself, hire a professional. Photo Store

Hi Reena,

What suggestions do you have to get the smell of smoke out of cars? Thanks,

Jim


Dear Jim,

Begin by vacuuming and cleaning the interior of the vehicle, including all vinyl, leather, carpet and upholstery. You may want to take this project on yourself or hire a professional. After the interior is clean, place an open bag of activated charcoal or kitty litter or 10 drops of essential oil in the vehicle for several weeks. Instead of car fresheners, it is effective to store an open bar of soap in the car. Soap fragrances are mild (depending on the soap) and if the fresh soap smell fades, grate the side of the soap with your keys. The soap will once again freshen the air inside your vehicle.

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Dear Reena,

How do I bring back the sheen and remove the stains on my marble bathtub? Thanks,

Harvey

Dear Harvey,

You want to be sure any product you use doesn’t end up leaving the bathtub surface slippery. Therefore, products such as car wax are not recommended. The idea is to properly remove the residue off of the tub. Using a combination of dish soap, such as Dawn or Sunlight, and baking powder or baking soda or borax, and either a non-scratch abrasive pad or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, scrub the surface of the bathtub and rinse with water.

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Dear Reena,

How do you make great gravy? Can you give me a hint for darkening homemade gravy? My gravy is always light in colour and looks bland. Thanks,

Lorraine

Dear Lorraine,

The art of gravy making can be a challenge. Many people use too much flour, which decreases the flavour. Remember the gravy will continue to thicken after it has been removed from the heat. When cooking time on the meat is almost complete, pour off most of the drippings into a two-cup measuring cup and let the mixture cool. Next add enough beef broth into the measuring cup to make two cups. Add a little less than one quarter cup cornstarch or white flour. Whisk in the measuring cup until no lumps remain. Using a double boiler, slowly heat and stir the gravy until thick. If you do not own a double boiler use a pot, stir constantly and set the heat at less than medium. If gravy is too thick, add a bit of water or broth to thin. To darken gravy, stir in a small amount (about half a teaspoon) of instant coffee granules, soya sauce, dark molasses or Worcestershire sauce.

Extra Tip: If you choose to make gravy ahead of time, put it in a slow cooker to keep it hot!

* * *

Dear Reena,

What is the best way to get rid of the stinky and stale smell of lunch bags? School only began in September and I am ready to throw the bags out. Help!

Candace

Dear Candace,

Step one is to get rid of food as soon as possible. Food that sits in lunch bags moulds and smells bad. Step two, some parents include milk in lunch bags — if any milk seeps out of the Thermos the bag will stink and cleaning becomes a chore. If thermos milk is included in the bag, put it inside of a sealable bag to separate it from the bag.

Most lunch bags can be cleaned by placing them on the top rack of the dishwasher and running them through the regular cycle. Or place one of the following inside the bag: A piece of bread dampened with white vinegar, cinnamon sticks or a piece of cardboard with essential oils on it. Leave overnight and discard in the morning.

* * *

Fabulous Tips of the Week:

• Freshly-baked breads will stay warm longer if you line the bread basket with foil before placing the napkin inside.

• When baking cookies, always start with a cool baking sheet, otherwise your dough will ooze and melt before it bakes.

• Chop your own chips and chunks from a good quality chocolate bar or block chocolate. Chocolate chips, don’t normally come from the highest quality cacao beans, and the chips end up with a very low percentage of cacao.

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 brand new website: reena.ca

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