Solutions and substitutions December 12

Reena Nerbis

Dear Reena:

Please provide me with a homemade wood cleaner for my beautiful wood furniture. Thank you, Elba

Dear Elba:

Into a spray bottle combine: 1 cup water, 1 cup white vinegar and 1 tbsp. olive oil. Shake, spray onto furniture and wipe with a soft rag.

Dear Reena:

How do I keep my Christmas tree from drying out? Jozette

Hi Jozette:

Begin by cutting at least a half inch off the bottom of the tree right before placing it in the tree stand; this step opens the vascular system to hold water. The sooner you add water to the tree-stand the better. During the first few days you will need to water the tree at least once a day. Avoid placing the tree: in direct sunlight, and near heating or cooling vents. Some people suggest adding a tablespoon of sugar or corn syrup to the water; however, most people agree that if the tree-stand always holds water, this is not necessary.

Dear Reena:

My children love to eat chicken wings. I make them by battering them with flour and spices, but when I deep fry the wings the coating falls off, making a big mess of skinless chicken wings. What am I doing wrong? Thanks, Jennifer

Dear Jennifer:

Here is the trick; after rolling chicken wings in batter, cover the bowl of wings with plastic wrap and place the bowl in the fridge for one and a half hours. As the flour adheres to the meat, the wings become sticky and the batter holds to the meat during frying. Also, make sure that the oil is very hot before dropping meat into the pot. To test proper deep-frying temperature, drop a bite size piece of bread into the oil. If the oil bubbles around the bread and turns light brown within 60 seconds, the oil is ready to use. Or put the handle end of a wooden spoon into the oil, when bubbles form along the handle a little, the oil is ready. Or drop a popcorn kernel into the oil, the kernel pops when oil reaches approximately 350 degrees, which is perfect for deep frying.

Reader’s Feedback:

Re: Etching on glasses in dishwasher

Hi Reena:

If the etching is permanent, it will likely continue even with new glassware. In my experience, the problem is caused by the dishwasher detergent being too strong. After I installed a water softener, the problem was resolved when I reduced the amount of dishwasher detergent per load by half. Scott

Re: Food Borne Illness

Hi Reena:

I enjoy your column very much. I am an Infection Control Practitioner (retired) but having managed outbreaks in the past – here is a tip. Washing melons with hot soapy water before cutting into them decreases chances of driving bacteria into the fruit. How many times do you see people slapping/squeezing on fruits in the store? If they have poor hand hygiene – viruses can live on surfaces for long periods of time. Deborah

Re: Opening Jars

The number one tip for opening jars: Purchase a roll of NON-Slip fabric for shelves. Cut into strips and share with family and friends. Susan

Re: Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Dear Ms. Nerbas,

A long time ago when visiting Mexico, I bought lots of silver jewelry and was so happy with my purchase. However, I quickly found that I could not wear it as my skin would turn colors, and even stain my blouses. Afterwards I simply decided to stick with gold, although now I often wear silver which does not really tarnish.

That said, I would not recommend adding clear nail polish as it will ruin the value of the item, unless you plan to never pass it on or sell it. The patina which is so cherished is gone and diminishes the value of the piece. I suggest coating silver jewelry with Vaseline if the items are earrings. When wearing a brooch, or pendant, have something else as a barrier to contact the silver. Just thought I would add my opinion, Vivien

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at