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Monday, November 17 , 2014

Sticky-Floor Solutions

Did you just discover a spot of sticky gunk on your vinyl or linoleum floor? It could be accumulated food grease or dirt, wax buildup (if you still wax your floor) or an old label that was never removed. Don't pull out the sharp scrapers yet! Here are three floor-preserving ways to get rid of the gunk...

If it's a greasy-sticky patch from a food or oil spill, pour cola on the stain and let it stay there for one hour. Then wipe it off— both the soda and the stain. (Legend has it that Coca-Cola works best due to its acidic content, so you might want to try the “real thing” first.) Don't let it sit for more than an hour because soda can stain some vinyl floors if it dries. (If you’re not sure if your floor has a protective coating, you might want to test some cola on a patch of unseen vinyl before using it to clean the grease.)

If you think the sticky spot is from a sticker, use our favorite pantry floor cleaner— white vinegar. Just pour straight vinegar directly on the spot, and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Wipe away with hot water and a damp cloth. The stickiness will wipe away with the greatest of ease! (You can also use vinegar on sticky food spills, but we think the cola works best when grease is involved.)

If your vinyl or linoleum floor is sticky from wax buildup, take club soda and pour it on a small section of the floor. Scrub it in with a brush, and give it a few minutes as you start the process on the next small section, then go back to the first section and wipe it off.

More cleaning tricks...


Friday, November 14 , 2014

Cloudy Glassware

If you use a dishwasher, place a dishwasher-safe bowl on the bottom rack of your empty dishwasher and fill it with a cup of white vinegar. Place the cloudy glasses on the top rack, and run a full cycle without detergent. This will clean both your dishwasher and your cloudy glasses! We've also found that using gel dishwasher detergent can leave a film on glasses. Try using powdered detergent only, and use a little less than the recommended amount.

Thursday, November 13 , 2014

Emergency Laundry Detergent Substitute

You thought you had enough laundry soap to get you to the end of the week, but you made a gross miscalculation. Here's what to do...

In an emergency, when you must do a wash and you don't have any laundry detergent (or baking soda), use shampoo...that is, if you have shampoo. About one-third cup will do a full load.

In case you were wondering, dishwashing liquid is not a good substitute for laundry detergent. Washing machines and dishwashing soaps both vary in strength...just a small squirt could create enough suds to float the Titanic! (OK, that was an exaggeration.)

More help with your laundry...


Wednesday, November 12 , 2014

Make Your Own Ben-Gay

Do your joints ache from arthritis or overuse? Does the rainy weather remind you of an old injury? If you prefer to soothe your pain naturally, here's a remedy for you...

Combine one-half teaspoon of eucalyptus oil (available at health-food stores or online) with one tablespoon of pure olive oil, and massage the mixture onto your painful areas. You should feel an immediate warmth from the eucalyptus that will help to relieve your pain.

Note: Eucalyptus is strong and can cause local redness and temporary burning to sensitive skin. Always blend the pure oil with a carrier oil (such as olive oil) and discontinue use if you notice an allergic reaction.

More natural pain healers...


Tuesday, November 11 , 2014

No Ice Scraper? Use This

Darn, this year's first frost came out of the blue and you can’'t find your ice scraper. Here's what to do...

If ol' Jack Frost visited your car windshield last night and you don't have a proper ice scraper, use a plastic dustpan—it will do the scraping job without scratching the windshield.

What? You don't have a dustpan? What are we going to do with you? Go grab that half can of cola (it's OK if it's flat) on your kitchen counter, and pour it onto a clean cloth and rub off the icy buildup. The cola should not refreeze (unless you live in the Antarctic and it's 40 below).

Caution: If the cola splashes on other parts of your car, wipe it off quickly. It might eat through the finish. Kind of makes you think twice before drinking it, huh?


Monday, November 10 , 2014

Get Your Sweater Back into Shape

A reader asks, “Do you have any tips for shrinking a wool sweater that is too big without felting* it?” Well, we're not sure about sizing a LARGE down to a MEDIUM, but we can help when the parts get stretched out, such as when a turtleneck looks more like a hippo neck. When this happens, it's easy to shrink a sweater's stretched-out neck, cuffs and waist back into shape. Here's what to do...

Dunk the sweater in a sink filled with hot water. Shake off as much water as possible (without stretching it further!), then blot the sweater with a clean, dry towel. Once the sweater is no longer dripping wet, reshape to the size you want and dry the stretched-out part(s) with a blow-dryer set on hot. The localized heating will bring those parts of your sweater back into line!

Caution: Do not touch a wet sweater with a plugged-in dryer. And some hair dryers get very hot, so move the dryer constantly (back and forth, as a salon stylist would) to keep from burning your sweater.

*Felting is the process that mats together animal fibers (such as wool) until they resemble felt. This usually occurs from a regular hot-water wash. This is not a good thing if you want a sweater to maintain its basic shape (since felting often shrinks material significantly) and the wool to retain its integrity.

More help with your clothes...


Friday, November 07 , 2014

Nontoxic Toilet Cleaners

Stains on your toilet interior can come from mineral deposits, bacteria or organisms in your water (yuck!). Wherever they come from, they are not a pretty sight! Here are three ways to get a stain-free toilet without a harsh bleach treatment.

Toss a few Alka-Seltzer or denture-cleansing tablets into the toilet bowl. Once the fizzing stops, scrub the stains with a brush and flush.

If you have some Kool-Aid fruit juice powder (or Crystal Light...or Tang—any drink mix that contains citric acid), sprinkle one-third cup of the powder in the bowl. Leave it there for a few hours, then scrub with a brush and flush.

If the stains are too tough for even Tang or denture cleanser, empty a few vitamin C capsules, or mash vitamin C tablets into a powder and drop it in the bowl. Let it stay that way for a few hours. Then scrub with a brush and flush.

More help with household stains...


Thursday, November 06 , 2014

Read the Fine Print Without Glasses

You want to figure out how long that DVD will run or how long to cook your pasta, but the type on the back of the case or spaghetti box is just too darn small. Here's what to do...

When you want to read cooking instructions…or a price...or look up that info on the back of a jewel case...or read the small print on that menu, but the type is too small (and you forgot your reading glasses), try this. Make a fist, leaving a small hole between your palm and pinky. Bring your fist up to your eye, look through that small hole and focus on the letters or numbers you want to read. For some unknown reason, the small channel of light entering your eye clears your vision.

You can also puncture a small hole in a piece of paper with a pen point. Hold the paper hole to your eye, focus on the number and see it come into view—larger and sharp.

More ways to boost your vision...


Wednesday, November 05 , 2014

Keep Curtains Crisp and Wrinkle-Free

Washing sheer curtain panels is such a daunting task—you don't want them to lose their stiff crispness. But they do get soiled and dingy. So here's what you do...

After you launder as usual (follow label instructions), soak the curtains—one panel at a time—in a basin or sink filled with at least one cup of Epsom salts (available at drugstores) and about a gallon of cool water.  Let each panel soak for about five minutes, and then hang them up to drip dry. (Do not wring, or they will wrinkle! Make sure you have something underneath them, like some old towels, to catch the drips.) They should dry crisp and wrinkle-free.

More easy ways to clean...


Tuesday, November 04 , 2014

Healthful Hair Thickener

Did you know that you can thicken your hair from the inside out? A deficiency in mineral salts is believed to be a common cause of thinning hair. Studies show that mineral-rich apple cider vinegar improves the overall health and volume of hair. Here's what to do...

Drink one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in an eight-ounce glass of water right before a meal or first thing in the morning. Do this daily for a few months, and you should see your hair thicken up.

More natural hair care...