Removing Carpet Made Easy

Household Solutions


Dear Reena,

I have taken on the daunting task of removing carpeting from my basement floor. The carpet came up like a dream, but the foam underneath is stuck to the concrete. I have been on my knees for two days with a putty knife trying to get this stuff off. Do you have any tips to make this mind-numbingly frustrating task easier? — Neil

Dear Neil,

Pour hot water onto the foam. Let the water soak for 10 minutes. Scrape with a long-handled ice scraper and remove all of the foam. The job will be so simple that you will be smiling all the way to the kitchen as you make your ‘pat on the back 10-layer chocolate cake’ because that’s what everyone does when they are proud of themselves, right?

Dear Reena,

What can I do to prevent salt from clumping in my salt shakers? — Vienna

Dear Vienna,

Add a little cornstarch or rice to your salt shakers, to prevent salt from clumping.

Dear Reena,

I am wondering if you know how I can remove a dog urine stain off my laminate flooring. My daughter brought her spaniel over to visit my condo and the dog was so excited that she urinated on the flooring. I threw a towel on it and swirled it around thinking I would wash the floor after they left, and I forgot. No matter what I try I cannot get the white-coloured stain out of the panels of flooring. Please advise if you know of any remedies that might help me remove the stains. — Denise

Dear Denise,

Although I don’t know which cleaners you used on your floor, I am assuming that you tried laminate floor cleaner, water and ammonia or water and vinegar and have had disappointing results. Typically, laminate flooring is tough and almost anything can be cleaned with little effort as long as it is done fairly soon after a spill. However, in this case it sounds like the dog’s urine may have slightly bleached the floor finish. Since you probably don’t want to replace the boards and no amount of cleaner is going to clean a bleach stain, you are best off taking a trip to your local hardware store. Bring a piece of laminate with you, and colour match the floor to a wax stick or touch-up pen.

Smart Tips of the Week

When bringing fresh asparagus home, cut about a half inch off the ends and place tips up in a high glass in the fridge. Asparagus will last longer than a week and stay crisp. — Peggy

For years I have used commercial products for denture cleaning. For years I have read with suspicion the long list of ingredients. No need. Now I just use water and baking soda. My dentures my get a bit brown over some weeks, and at that point I can still use Polident. — Luigi

In the winter my newspaper is rolled in an elastic band and it is hard to unroll, so I put it in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes and it lays flat. — Bob

The Aroma of Chestnuts

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Score each chestnut around the shell. Be careful; they are slippery. Put the chestnuts in a pot of water to simmer. When the water begins to simmer, remove the chestnuts and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes (or until they begin to peel). Remove them from the oven, drop them into a bowl and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave for 15 minutes. Some chestnuts will be easier to peel than others, so throw away any gooey nuts. Remove the outer shell and the tough brown skin. The house should now smell delightful, and the chestnuts are ready to eat. 

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