I don’t know about you, but when I learn some new and amazing household tip that promises to save me time and/or money, well, it just makes my day. I love it! Not all of the tips I get from you, my faithful readers, are brand-new. But since I am not good at keeping 20,000 or more of these delicious little tidbits cataloged in my mind, (yes, you’ve sent in at least that many over the years), even the ones I know can become a new delight when you remind me of them.
I hope you enjoy today’s offering of great tips as much as I do.
Those pesky ants. If you have ants or other bugs around the house, put 50/50 mixture of Blue Dawn dish soap and water into empty spray bottle and keep it handy. When you see the insects, spray them with the mixture. Provided you really saturate those little critters, the soap actually breaks down their exoskeletons, and they die almost immediately. Cheap and easy cleanup, too — Lynda F.
Slippery cleanup. I enjoy baking, but don’t like measuring sticky ingredients like shortening or peanut butter. To avoid the mess that makes, I spray the measuring cup with a nonstick cooking spray, and the sticky ingredient slides right out. I no longer have to spend time scraping the measuring cup or spoon. — Joyce R.
Static cling. When traveling, pack an unused dryer sheet, especially if you’re traveling to a dry, desert-like area. A few swipes with the dryer sheet will eliminate static from garments and equipment. — S.M.M.
Perfect iced tea. If you want to make smooth, clear iced tea that isn’t bitter, just add a pinch of baking soda to the water while brewing. I use an iced-tea maker, so I add the baking soda with the ice. It turns out fabulous. I prefer sweet tea, but this will work with unsweetened tea, too. — Sheryl R.
Ring rid. Get rid of ring around the tub with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. They are cheap, and even generic brands work well! The erasers cut right through the dirt and save hours of back pain from scrubbing with the standard brush and soap. — Margie C.
Re-roof, re-use. We are re-roofing our house, and we didn’t want to pay the cost of having the old shingles hauled away. We have an area in our yard that we plan to landscape with decorative white rocks, and we decided to recycle the old shingles by laying them down under the rocks to prevent weeds from growing up through them. — Bonnie L.
Skillet restore. I burned Pam in my favorite stainless steel frying pan. Thankfully, I was able to remove it with Barkeepers Friend. I made a paste of Bar Keepers Friend and water and rubbed it all over the pan. I let it sit overnight and then scrubbed it with a nylon brush. It took two applications, but now my pan is sparkling clean again. — Tena F.
Ceramic stovetop. My white ceramic cooktop stove is a pain to keep clean. It shows every bit of burned-on grease. I discovered that if I spray it with plain white vinegar and then sprinkle with baking soda, it dissolves all but the most stubborn stains. I keep my baking soda in a leftover spice jar with a shaker top for easy application. It bubbles when it contacts the vinegar, and it also provides a little scouring action for those spots that still need a little scrubbing. — Frieda
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”