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Solution will help you to avoid that sink-ing feeling

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Dear Reena,
I enjoy reading your column in the paper and decided to ask you a question about the drainage system in my new house, (about three years old). There is an odour coming from my kitchen sink and from my hot water (nothing wrong when we run the cold water). We have tried some consumer products such as Drano, CLR, vinegar, baking soda, etc. The odour will usually subside for a few hours or days and then return. I would really like your help on what we can do about this problem, do you have any suggestions? Thanks a lot! Manpreet

Dear Manpreet,
Believe me you are not alone; I receive hundreds of letters from people with the stinky drain challenge. The overnight baking soda, hot water and vinegar solution is a powerful way to freshen drains and using this method once a month has no disadvantages.
However, if your sink continues to smell you may have a clog in your pipes which will need to be cleaned out. Other causes of smelly drains are old grease sitting in pipes for a long period and becoming rancid or poor ventilation.
Instead of vinegar, pour one cup of household non-sudsing ammonia down the drain and chase with one cup baking soda. Plug drain and leave overnight. In the morning remove drain and pour boiling water down the drain. If the smell remains call a licensed plumber to check out the system, and vent lines. The plumber should also check valves, and controls needed to bring the job up to code.

Dear Reena,
I am wondering what I can substitute in my Monster Cookie recipe for the required peanut butter. I don’t like the taste of peanut butter but want the healthy goodness of peanuts. From, Ben

Dear Ben,
Leave out the peanut butter and bring in some almonds or chopped pecans! You can also add dark chocolate chunks and chopped up pieces of health bars. The cookies will taste great! In my opinion the best ingredient of Monster Cookies are the M & M’s!
Extra Hint: Go wild with dessert. After your Monster Cookies have baked and cooled, take one cookie and put a scoop of chocolate chip mint ice cream on top. Place another Monster Cookie on top. Enjoy your cool ice cream sandwich. Wrap leftover Monster ice cream sandwiches in wax paper or sealable bags and store in the freezer.

Dear Reena,
Congratulations on your brand new website, it looks amazing! I have found lots of good information on I own a box of old magnetic photo albums and some of the photos are stuck onto the gummy pages. What is the safest way to remove old photos from the pages? Sincerely, Lindsay

Dear Lindsay,
Glad to hear that you have found helpful. Adhesives with which magnetic photo albums are made often degrade overtime and leach acids into photos which cause photos to become damaged and sometimes change color. Before trying to pry photos from old albums, put cotton or rubber gloves on your hands so that the oils from your hands do not damage photos. Gently pry the photos up using either a very small metal spatula (micro spatula) or dental floss. Pick up one loose corner of the photo and slide dental floss underneath. Pull the floss towards you (not upwards).

Reena Nerbas is author of the national best-selling series, Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions, Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets and Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives.

Email her at or check out her website:

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