Next time you need to give the kitchen a quick once-over, reach to the pantry for the cleaning supplies. Natural products, such as baking soda, lemons, and vinegar, are safe for the environment and work well for everyday cleanups.
* Scour sinks, countertops, and appliances with baking soda and a damp sponge.
* Deodorize and unclog drains by pouring in baking soda followed by a dousing of vinegar. Let it fizz a few minutes. Rinse with boiling water.
* Vinegar and liquid soap clean no-wax vinyl and polyurethane-finished wood floors. Dissolve the soap in warm water and then add a little vinegar. Mixing the two directly will minimize their effectiveness.
* Use a vinegar-and-water rinse to cut through the film on windows, glass appliance doors, and tile.
* For mineral deposits on glassware or porcelain, soak clean rags in vinegar and place them over the deposit for several hours. Rinse.
* Sprinkle salt on the cut side of half a lemon, and rub it on tarnished copper to polish it.
* Reduce stains on countertops by allowing lemon juice to stand on the stain for 30 minutes. Then sprinkle on baking soda and scrub gently.
* Remove stains from white kit
PHILOSOPHY OF FRUGAL LIVING
Essentially, I think that the philosophy of frugal living is living within one’s means. Quite an art form has been made of inducing us to think we need things we cannot or should not afford. It is still possible to live most satisfying and happy lives without all the trappings and pitfalls of borrowed wealth.
In order to achieve a perceived state of ‘happiness’, many people borrow, and borrow heavily. When they do, not so amazingly, ‘happiness’ often disappears, leading to feelings of frustration, despair, being trapped paying debt, etc.
Hey! I know this now but I wish I had known it years ago when I was still earning, and happily spending, reasonable money. There were many things I could have, and should have, done better. As they say, we all have 20/20 vision in hindsight.
There is nothing like falling on hard times, or recognising the potential for doing so, to jolt one into realising that something needs to be done to curb personal spending, or at least to re-direct it, and to get better value for effort, but what to do, and how to do it?
My credentials: I am not in any way formally educated in financial management beyond Grade 12 accounting and economics, which were so long ago, I don’t remember a whole lot about the subjects. I am, however, a reformed spend-thrift, who was easily parted with my money. I had credit cards, (yes, multiple), bursting at their respective limits. I’d even use credit from one card to pay the absoulte monthly minimum off another – just enough to keep me out of trouble. The banks loved me! My sole criterion for buying was, ‘Do I want it?’. I shudder at some of the predicaments I achieved but I was blessed with a moderately well paying, secure job and a desire to spend money on ‘useful’ things, so at the end of the day, I actually managed to achieve relative financial security, probably more by good luck than by good management. Now I am a dependant spouse and mother, trying to extract the best value from every last cent.
What is frugality? One dictionary says that to be frugal is to be thrifty. Okay, so what’s ‘thrifty’? ‘Exercising wisdom and caution with money’. That feels like a nice little definition.
But does frugality only pertain to money? Strictly speaking, yes, but to me, ‘frugality’ has evolved to mean something beyond being careful with just money. Perhaps the term can include the careful investment of effort and/or time as well, with a cautious eye cast towards the overall environmental effect of whatever it is that I am doing.
Where to start? For me one of the easiest ways to start any project is to sit in front of a blank page and jot ideas, any ideas, on to it. As I progress, I start to develop a frame work, fill in the gaps, fine tuning as I go until something is produced that suits my needs, and that I am happy with. The same principle can be applied here.
Some ideas that might be considered reasonable starting points could include:
- Differentiating between needs and wants and knowing the difference.
- Listing all expenses, and income. Remember interest on debt, particularly credit card debt, and financial institution fees and charges are all expenses.
- Keeping a running list of all expenditure for at least a couple of months is a really good way to see where money is being spent. Often the mere process of recording will help reduce spending. This exercise can also end up becoming a habit.
- For consumables, consider marking the price, start and finish dates on the item. It then becomes a simple exercise to work out the exact rate of consumption and cost.
- Once that has been done, identify where savings can be made and work towards that goal. Praise yourself for your achievements, no matter how small. Acknowledge your mistakes – we all make them – and then move on.
- Consider alternatives. Just because something has always been done one way, doesn’t necessarily mean something else may not work out as well or better.
- Consider all (lawful) options. Do your homework and make informed choices. Just discovering what your options really are can often be quite enlightening in itself.
- Reconsider priorities. This one takes a bit of effort and soul searching, (and telling the truth), but it could be that those things which once were your priorities may no longer be.
You may think that the services of a financial adviser may be appropriate. That’s up to you. If you make this choice, it is best to have information as to income and expenditure, needs and wants, already at hand. It shows you are serious, and that you are prepared to do something towards helping yourself. It will probably save you at least one extra visit when you probably would have been sent away to collect just this type of information anyhow.
Conclusion: If you work hard making something, then trade it for something else, wouldn’t you do your best to ensure you got something of equivalent value to yourself in return?
You would think so and yet, so often, when money enters the equation by becoming the medium of the trade, all caution seems to be thrown to the wind and we allow ourselves to be influenced and manipulated in all sorts of ways.
So why is money any different? Yet so many of us let copious quantities of the stuff fall through our fingers and have considerable difficulty in showing that we achieved value for money or that we even have anything to show for our spending.
Just because money is so easily disposed of, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that is was generally a trade that gave us the money in the first place, most often wages for work. So why wouldn’t we want the best value for the money we earn?
What now? Once you know what you are spending and how, how much and where, you have worked towards eliminating waste, both of money itself and the things that money buys, what now?
Well, I guess it is probably time to take stock of some other important things and ask yourself at least the following:
- Do I feel any happier?
- Do I feel comfortable with what I am doing?
- Can I see the light at the end of the tunnel? Is it there? Am I in the right tunnel?
- Do I feel I am achieving anything?
- Has the exercise been worth it?
chen linens by dabbing the stain with lemon juice. Then hang the fabric in the sun.
Quite some years ago now, when I still bought cleaners off the shelf, I bought an advertised shower cleaning product. When I used it, it smelled just like chlorine bleach, so I read the label and compared the listed ingredients with those of the bottle of chlorine bleach I already had, and they were identical. I had just paid four times the price for plain old chlorine bleach done up in a fancy bottle that said shower cleaner! That was the catalyst for my subsequent rejection of most commercial cleaning products, although as time has passed, I feel much more vindicated for the stance I have taken, as more compelling reasons have come to light for not using them. See my toxic house section for further reasoning.
What I have attempted to do here is list some of the alternatives and snippets of information I’ve come across one way or another.
The one thing that I consider is perhaps the most important with regard to the use of any product is use only enough to efficiently do the task at hand and no more! Any more is wasteful, impacts upon the environment and our purse.
It may come to pass that one does use some commercially available cleaners. I do from time to time. Admittedly there are very few but just now and again a product may be found that satisfies most criteria for environmental friendliness, has no excess perfumes, is a reasonable price, and it actually does the job efficiently and effectively.
Although not specifically related to cleaners, I have found that if I use a product directly from its original large packaging, I tend to use more of it, particularly if the that container is fairly full. Someone eloquently referred to this as the ‘Glug, Glug Factor’. If I decant a little off into another container, I use less. This is especially true of liquids. I tend to use an old product container of the same type. The size of the container doesn’t matter as much as how much I put into it. Warning:If you are going to use other containers, religiously mark exactly what is in them, and take all necessary precautions to keep them out of reach of children. I would hope you would do this as a matter of course. All too often, poisonings occur because something wasn’t labelled, was incorrectly labelled, and/or was put into a container that looked like it should have been something else, like mineral turpentine in the soft drink bottle, for instance…
The following information has been copied for the most part from a brochure supplied by the Brisbane City Council.
|CLASS OF PRODUCT||ALTERNATIVES|
|General purpose cleaners||Borax is low-toxic. Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 1 teaspoon soap and 1 litre water. Use in spray bottle.|
|Heavy duty cleaners||4 litres hot water, 1/4 cup cloudy ammonia and 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda. Double ingredients except water for a stronger mixture.|
|Drain cleaners||1/2 cup white vinegar followed by 1 handful baking soda. Cover drain. Also try plunger or metal snake.|
|Oven cleaners||For a fresh spill, wet and sprinkle with baking soda and scrub with soft nylon scrubber. For normal cleaning, make a paste of bi-carb soda and water and apply to the inside of a warmed oven. Leave to dry. Clean off with a brush or scourer and hot water.|
|Pot and pan cleaners||Borax with hot water.|
|Wall and floor cleaners||Borax with hot water.|
|Glass cleaner||Mix vinegar and water. (Also try methylated spirits and water applied with newspaper.)|
|Toilet bowl cleaners||Use vinegar and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Lime scale can then be scrubbed off.|
|Bath and tile cleaners||Mix borax and vegetable soap with hot water.|
|Chlorine bleach||Use dry bleach, borax or soda to whiten.|
|Furniture polish||1 teaspoon olive oil with juice from one lemon and 1 teaspoon water. Or use mayonnaise.|
|Silver polish||Soak 5-10 minutes in 1 litre warm water, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and a small piece of aluminium foil. Wipe with a soft cloth.|
|Spot removers||Immerse in cold water and liquid soap.|
|Moth balls||Cedar chips, dried lavender, pepper corns. Store woollens in zipped plastic bags.|
|Rug cleaners||Rub lots of salt immediately on red wine spills, make a solution of borax and water, or use soap based non aerosol rug shampoos. (Use home made laundry detergent.)|
|Air fresheners||Ventilate. Open boxes of baking soda. Simmer cloves and cinnamon in boiling water.|
BAKING SODA or BICARBONATE OF SODA (NaHCO3)
Baking soda, also known as bi-carb soda, is one of those little gems that no household should be without. It is a most effective cleaning agent as well. It has many uses, some of which I will recount here:
As a cleaner:
- Mix to a paste with water and rub on the inside of stained teacups/coffee mugs.
- Put a good tablespoon or two (a small handful will do) inside the dishwasher during an ordinary cycle. Will reduce any lingering odours and will make metal areas sparkle.
- Apply bi-carb with a damp cloth to bathroom surfaces. Effective cleanser and deodorant. Don’t use it on mirrors, however, as it will leave lovely white streaks.
- Pour liberal amount directly onto spills on carpet and upholstery. Vacuum or brush off when dry.
- Mix with vinegar, it may unblock drains (will fizz incredibly…)
- Used as a paste with vinegar, I had considerable success in cleaning an oven door. I wasn’t expecting much, so was pleasantly surprised when it cleaned up very well.
- Later on, under the heading of vinegar, there is an item on boiling a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water to remove burned stuff from saucepans. A lady e-mailed me to advise that the same result can be achieved by boiling up a tablespoon or so of bi-carb in the water for a few minutes. I suspect that the ‘secret’ to both methods is that the pH is either decreased (by adding vinegar) or increased (by adding bi-carb) which helps in the release of the baked on bits.
As a water softener:
- If you have hard water, add a teaspoon or two to your wash, or washing up water.
Medical: I am not medically trained and I am therefore quite reticent about providing any medical advice, save for the most commonly known first aid treatments. My general advice on matters medical is to seek the appropriate help from your health care professional, do your own research and attend a First Aid course. Also, know your own limitations and get help when necessary.
- Vonnez Kincheloe e-mailed me with her experiences with an outbreak of chicken-pox in her family. She found that baths containing Epsom salts really helped, and after the Epsom salts ran out, she used bi-carb soda instead, which she said worked just as well. She didn’t give quantities but I would suggest using about 1/2 cup of either per bath. She found that after applying calamine lotion after the bath, the sores were not as itchy when the calamine dried. She didn’t have to clean the bath tub either. A simple rinse was all that was required. But she advised that the best of all was that there were no scars!
We too suffered a recent outbreak of chickenpox. I used the bi-carbonate of soda routine mentioned above but I also found out about using rolled oats and between the two, we achieved pretty good control of the itch for our daughter. Firstly, we were quite generous with the amount of bi-carb, using a good handful to a baby bath which is considerably stronger than the mix used above. We then put another good handful of raw rolled oats into a hosiery bag (an old sock or stocking would also work quite well) and made a kind of tea bag which we steeped in the bath with Felicity, squeezing water through this over the lesions. So far, so good. The only lesions which have got to blister and sores were the ones that appeared before I realised it was chickenpox I was looking at. We applied calamine lotion after the bath and on those lesions which had scabbed, a wound dressing gel that prevented the lesion from drying out.
- For first aid for minor burns where the skin is not broken, sunburn and prickly heat: Mix to a paste with water (3:1 baking soda: water) and apply to burned area.
- 1 teaspoon to a cup of water makes an effective antacid.
- For nappy rash, apply a fairly strong solution of bi-carb and water with a soft cloth. Pat dry and apply a moisture repelling cream. For really bad and/or persistent nappy rash, seek medical assistance.
- A small open plate or opened packet left in the refrigerator will reduce odours.
- Some pots acquire cooking smells readily, particularly aluminium ones. A paste of bi-carb soda and water will remove the smell.
- A handful of baking soda in the wash (either washing or rinse cycle) removes odours from washing.
- Sprinkle on to carpet as for any carpet deodoriser. Leave for 15 minutes and vacuum.
- Sprinkle liberally into smelly shoes as soon as they are taken off and leave until just before they are put back on. (By the way, I don’t offer any hope for deodorising the footwear of adolescent males. I don’t know that there is any substance on earth that will assist there! 🙂
- When setting up a clean cat tray, sprinkle liberally with bi-carb. I find that it doesn’t take care of all of the odour, but it helps.
- At least half a cup dissolved into a bath makes for a good soak. Softens skin, softens water.
- Several teaspoons to a litre of water removes acid build up from battery terminals.
- Bleach booster: When using liquid chlorine bleach in washing machine, boost with half a cup of baking soda and halve the amount of bleach.
- A teaspoon of bi-carb in a fruit cake mix makes for a very dark cake and softens the fruit in the mix.
- For fluffy rice, add one teaspoon of bi-carb soda.
- Use one teaspoon of bi-carb and two teaspoons of vinegar to replace two eggs in fruit or ginger cakes.
- A pinch of bi-carb and whipped cream stays fresh longer.
- The recipe for self-raising flour is: Per 3 kg of plain flour, add 30g of bi-carb, 60g cream of tartar and two teaspoons of salt. (I would probably omit the salt as I rarely use it.)
- When a recipe calls for sour milk, add half a teaspoon of bi-carb to 150 ml of fresh milk. This is also a good buttermilk substitute.
- 1/2 a teaspoon or a pinch per pot of brewed tea takes away any bitterness in the tea and keeps it from going sour. (Sheri Litchfield)
Vinegar has various medicinal uses which I will not go into here. There are plenty of other references on that subject, the authors of which I would hope are better informed that I am on medical matters.
White vinegar is one of the cheapest, and most effective household cleansers available. I buy it in 4 litre bottles and would buy larger quantities if I could.
- If you have burned a pot, fill the pot or pan to just above the burned area, say a couple of centimetres deep with a mixture of 1/2 and 1/2 vinegar and water. Set the pot to boil at just below the high setting. Keep checking every 5 minutes or so. After about 30 minutes the residue starts to lift and a scourer pad will clean up what is left. (Tina Koening)
My mother-in-law added that a similar result can be had by boiling up citrus rinds. She says it makes the kitchen smell nice too, which is probably a good idea after burning the pot. Hers was an accidental discovery from making marmalade when she noticed how very clean the pots were after making a batch.
I found that the vinegar method also works quite well if you just leave the 50/50 mix of vinegar and water soaking overnight. It cleans up quite well.
- Use straight for cleaning shower recesses. It will remove soap scum and mildew quite effectively. I use it weekly, just by wiping over all surfaces with a vinegar soaked cloth and mildew has not returned. Unfortunately it does not by itself, in my experience, remove copper stains and other stains caused by water. Vinegar fumes are quite strong so ventilate the room well when using it for this purpose.
- Vinegar mixed with salt is useful in cleaning baths and sinks. As children we used to clean copper coins, when we still had them, with a paste of salt and vinegar. It kept us entertained for hours. WARNING: Do not use this method to clean old coins as it removes the patina and renders them almost valueless.
- Wiping down kitchen benches and cupboards with vinegar is said to repel cockroaches and does a good job at keeping the benches clean. It is a most effective disinfectant.
- Putting a cup or so (I usually just pour in some until it feels about right) in the rinse cycle of the washing works as aneffective rinse aid and mild disinfectant/anti-bacterial for clothes. It is said to remove detergent build up and it is also credited with removing fluff. It certainly acts as a fabric softener, softening to a point about half way between using none and using a commercial softener.
- Sandy e-mailed the following: ‘I have vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to kill weeds organically, spray it on sunburned skin, and spray it on mosquito bites. I also use it with baking soda to clean my stainless steel sink’.
- Nappy (diaper) soak: Half a cup of vinegar to half a nappy bucket of water works brilliantly. No smell, and aids in the removal of stains. (As baby gets bigger, it will be necessary to increase the amount of vinegar a little.) I don’t even use a commercial nappy soak product any more for soaking nappies. I don’t need to. I do use the hottest tap water available to wash and rinse them, my favourite ‘wonder’ soap for the stubborn marks, and add vinegar to rinse. See my baby stuff section for other baby related bits and pieces.
- Manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning our ceramic tiled floor is 1/2 cup of vinegar to a bucket of water. Hot water is even better.
- A splash of vinegar in pot plant saucers is said to kill off mosquito larvae (wrigglers). Be careful though, as this will change the acid levels of the soil in time. A more usual way to stop the mosquito problem in its tracks is to fill the saucers with gravel or course sand so the wrigglers have nowhere to swim.
Ah! To have a lemon tree… How I dream. Well, some dreams do come true. We now have a lemon tree, but I anticipate it will be some years before we are inundated with fruit. Still, if you have access to a plentiful supply of lemons, one way or another, the humble lemon is bound to become a staple ingredient in your life, whether you actually like eating them or not.
It is no coincidence that detergent manufacturers use lemon, lemon smell and colour to enhance the appeal of their product. Lemon has wonderful grease cutting powers, smells clean and fresh, and is an all round good guy. It comes in its own neat compact packaging that can be used for a number of other purposes as well as cleaning and will completely break down eventually after disposal. As good as vinegar might be as a cleaner, it just doesn’t measure up to lemon in the smell department.
It was pointed out to me that I hadn’t addressed this wondrous substance very much in my pages, so let me rectify that situation with some ideas anyway:
- Half a cut lemon used either by itself or dipped in salt, is an efficient brass and copper cleaner. It even comes with its own handle and in built cleaning pad. 🙂 Rinse item with clear water.
- After cutting lemons, rub one of the halves over the cutting board to whiten and assist in stain removal. I’ve left boards out in the sun a while too with the lemon juice still on them. Rinse with clear water after a couple of hours to get the lumps off and then clean thoroughly as you would normally.
- Lemon juice and salt together are credited with removing, or at least having a good go at removing, mildew on fabric. Process might need to be repeated several times though as mildew is almost impossible to remove.
- Kathy Tarbell e-mailed me with the following: She took an empty spray bottle and poured in about 2cm of lemon juice and then half filled the bottle with water. She sprayed the solution on kitchen and appliance surfaces*, and used a nylon covered sponge to wipe. If she encountered a particularly stubborn stain, she just poured a little of the lemon juice straight onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. She was most pleased with the result and stated that she wasn’t left gasping for breath after using it, either from over-exertion or from fumes.
*Never spray electrical appliances. Always spray cleaner onto a cleaning cloth or similar and wipe that over appliance surfaces to clean. Many fires start after cleaners have dripped down onto the electrics.
- If needing to freshen in sink garbage disposal units, roughly cut up a few used lemon halves and put them through.
- I frequently let lemon juice and sometimes lemon rind find their respective ways into my cooking as well. It gives that ‘bight’ I am rather fond of. I don’t mind limes either.
- Roughly cut up a few used lemon halves, cover with water and let boil, uncovered, for a while. It is a pleasant way of helping the kitchen smell nice, at the same time cleaning a burned or particularly grubby pot. Toss in some sinnamon and that should smell even better.
- Lemon juice, lemon rind and leaves are often used in making fragrant recipes for air fresheners, perfumes and the like. I don’t specifically have any recipes for these though, nor do I really intend to reproduce any here.
- Lemon juice is reputed as being good for the skin, a softening agent I believe. It will smart if applied to open cuts, etc.
OTHER USEFUL SUBSTANCES
- Helps dissolve dirt, grease and resinous substances and clean most delicate fabrics, silver, glass and china.
- Mix a little in with icing sugar and leave as baits for cockroaches. Exercise caution around children and pets.
- Try cooked potato, dry mashed, add borax or Epsom salts, roll into small balls and use as cockroach baits. Use usual caution around pets and small children.
- A mixture of borax and hot water poured on troublesome ant hills should eliminate the problem. If you are a little reticent about using the borax, boiling water alone should have the desired effect provided you can get it down deep enough. Try inserting a broom handle as far down as you can so as to create a nice deep hole, and then add boiling water.
Until very recently Australia didn’t have fireants, thanks to stringent quarantine practice. Regrettably some got imported, absolutely adored our climate, and we now have a problem. WARNING: If you suspect that the anthill you are about to shove a broom handle down might be a fireant anthill – DON’T! If you are in Queensland, immediately notify the Qld Department of Primary Industries as they are a notifiable pest. If elsewhere in Australia (let’s hope they haven’t got that far yet), please notify your local equivalent of the DPI. See the Qld DPI fireant website and its links for further information.
In response to my recent plea about how to get rid of green head ants I received a response suggesting the use of powdered NutraSweet (aspartame) sprinkled fairly liberally about the nest. To date it hasn’t shifted the green ants for they don’t seem to be attracted to sweet stuff, but the idea may have merit for other types of ants, perhaps including fireants.
Another suggestion I received was to tip out coffee grounds onto ants nests. Not being a brewed coffee drinker, I can’t test this, but the idea may be of some assistance to someone else.
- The following uses for borax have been copied off the container:
- Laundry: Use 1 tablespoon of borax for each 4 to 5 litres of water for blankets, woollens, coloured fabrics, napkins and coloured washing.
- Enamel ware: To maintain the sparkle on all enamelled surfaces, refrigerators, stoves, sinks, baths, tiles etc., use 4 tablespoons of borax to each 4 to 5 litres of hot water.
- Cleaning concrete paths: Wash with solution of 5 tablespoons of borax to each 4 to 5 litres of hot water.
- Tea, coffee and fruit stains: Whilst stain is fresh, apply a liberal amount of borax powder, then rinse in hot water. Borax is more soluble in hot water than cold.
- Corrects magnesium and sulphur deficiencies in soil. When sprinkled on the soil is said to make an effective snail deterrent. Watch that it doesn’t over correct soil deficiencies though.
- Pure Epsom salts or mixed with icing sugar also makes an effective cockroach bait.
- See item above re Epsom salts bath for chicken pox, but not just chicken pox. I’m told it is great just to relax in.
- 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts placed in the washing machine prior to the wash cycle is said to work as a fabric softener.
Cloudy ammonia: Helps to clean dirty wool, remove stains, brighten yellow fabrics, cleans silver, glass, sinks and drainpipes. Do not inhale fumes and NEVER EVER mix with bleach. One drawback is that animals will often pick up the scent of ammonia as a ‘pee here’ cue. They cannot distinguish between ammonia and urine smells.
Washing soda: A good general cleaning and dish washing agent and water softener. Use washing soda with boiling water as a first step to cleaning out blocked drains.
Methylated spirits: A good general purpose cleaner of windows and mirrors, mixed with vinegar it will clean moss and mould from paths.
To remove permanent marker from white-boards (and possibly other non-porous surfaces), write over the permanent marker with white-board marker and immediately rub off. White board markers are often alcohol based so it stands to reason that wiping over with alcohol, eg methylated spirits, will also work but logically, if using a white board, the most readily available tool would probably be a white board marker.
To remove permanent marker from anything else, I don’t hold out a lot of hope. Generally there is a really good reason it is called a ‘permanent’ marker: It’s there permanently!
Methylated spirits rubbed onto stain. Rinse with clean water. Sometimes hair spray will work too because of the alcohol content, and probably some of the other stuff that ends up in it.
Feedback has suggested that where permanent marker has found its way onto vinyl for instance, the only viable solution was to recolour the vinyl with a product designed for the purpose.
Kaila L. Schollaert advised that a good way of removing permanent marker stains from non-porous surfaces (not clothing) was to use a 70% or 95% ethanol solution. She advised that for mark that has been sitting on the surface a long time, putting the solution on twice usually does the job.
‘JC’s you beaut! window cleaner’. To make 500 ml of cleaner, mix together the following ingredients:
50 ml cloudy ammonia
150 ml white vinegar
300 ml warm water
JC isn’t sure whether the warm water initially helped to meld the ingredients, but says it works, warm or cold.
Carpet cleaner recipe: A green recipe for carpet shampoo (courtesy of Barbara Lord’s ‘The Green Cleaner’) is:
Half cup pure soap or 1 small cup of soap flakes
3 tablespoons* washing soda
3 tablespoons* cloudy ammonia
5 cups boiling water.
* 1 tablespoon equals 4 teaspoons or 20 ml.
Method: Place soap or soap flakes into saucepan. Add boiling water. Boil till soap has dissolved. Add washing soda and cloudy ammonia. (Make sure area is well ventilated.) Store in wide necked jars so you can spoon or scoop it out later.
To use, place small amount of soap mix onto mark, etc. Lather with cloth and hot water. Use as little water as possible. Brush in if you wish. Use dry cloth to remove as much moisture as possible. The author advises that the above quantity will probably last you a year so you may consider making proportionally less.
Soda water. I saw this one work when my niece (who works at a hotel) managed to get blood on her blouse. She immediately dabbed the stain with soda water. It worked beautifully. She says the bar staff use this one all the time. See mylaundry section for other hints on removing blood stains.
Salt. Salt is a good cleaning agent too. Mum showed me this one when I was a child. To prevent a tablecloth staining when tea was spilled on it, immediately sprinkle salt on to it. (I used to get the job of doing the sprinkling.) Then wash with next normal wash. I believe it also works with wine spills but I haven’t tried it. Another way is to first sprinkle salt as above, then put in to soak as soon as practicable in plain water.
Whilst on the subject of salt: Soaking blood stains in slightly salty water is credited with making the stains easier to remove. I seem to remember using about 1 teaspoon salt to 600 ml water. Make the water too salty and the stains will stick fast. Remember, always rinse blood off anything with cold water, never hot. After rinsing, then soak.
Cream of tartar. ‘The Green Cleaner’ suggested soaking grubby tea towels in a mix of 2 (Aus) tablespoons of cream of tartar to 1 litre of water before washing. I’d suggest that this would also work on table cloths.
- Gold: Soak in a little cloudy ammonia for 5 to 10 minutes, then scrub very gently with a toothbrush. Rinse in clean water. NB. Use in a well ventilated area.
- I have cleaned my rings by using a tiny bit of toothpaste & the brush. This is slightly abrasive so if this is going to be a problem, don’t use it.
- Diamonds: Mix together a small quantity of soap, hot water and add a few drops of cloudy ammonia, and scrub jewellery lightly. Remove and dip into alcohol for a final shine.
Concrete footpath cleaner: 50/50 mix of Coca Cola (regular, full sugar variety) and milk (full fat), applied to dirty concrete then scrubbed with a scrubbing brush should clean it up reasonably well. Rinse with a jet of plain water.
BATHROOM / PERSONAL HYGIENE
- Soap: Use pure soap. It is much cheaper, just as effective and does not fuel allergies unless you are allergic to soap itself of course. Soap on tap (generic) is great for where people frequently wash their hands but does have a much more marked effect on the environment than cake soap. Just observe how much people actually use of the stuff. I measured that one squirt from a domestic 200ml bottle is about 2.5ml or 1/2 teaspoon. I have found that by using it at quarter strength (diluted with water), and still just one squirt, still cleans my hands effectively.
If you felt so inclined, you could make your own soap. Elaine White e-mailed me with the address of her site which contains some really good information on soap making.
- A soap alternative can be to do what I do with my daughter, and should do more often on myself: Use vegetable oil. Rub it in well before the bath/shower. (This can also be a really good excuse for a massage.) Use plain water only. The water beads off the body so only light drying is required.
- When you look at what you get when buying cosmetics, the largest portion of the purchase price will be profit margin, probably interchangeable with packaging. If you don’t believe me, work out the retail price per kilogram of, say, eye cream. Now, if you were to establish what the base ingredients were of the particular product and price them per kilo it should make for an interesting comparison. The advantages of using base ingredients, and/orhome-made concoctions, other than price, are that you know exactly what it is that you are getting, and what you are not.
For the record, I rarely use cosmetics, other than a decent sunscreen, so I am not well qualified to comment on cheaper alternatives other than to highly recommend doing searches and reading books on the topic.
- Towels: Buy the best quality that you can afford. They will last longer and actually be cheaper in the long run. I buy high quality towelling (about AUD$18 a metre). A regular bath towel measures about 60 cm X width of towelling, usually 120 cm. Hem, bind or overlock. My personal preference is for binding. A bath towel will cost me about $12 plus cost of binding. To buy a towel of the same quality costs considerably more. Buy another 30 cm and you can make 2 hand towels to match and or 1 hand towel and 2 face washers.
I made up 8 towels in this manner about 7 years ago, when it only cost me $9 a towel, and both of us have used them continuously ever since. So far there are no signs of wear.
I am looking at making up some hand towels and machine embroidering them to use as Christmas gifts.
- Toothpaste: There are some cheap and effective alternatives to toothpaste. Both salt and bi-carbonate of soda are excellent, although I find the bi-carb to be better tasting. Simply dip a wet brush into the salt or bi-carb and use. Rinse well.
Contrary to the advertisements on TV, 4 cm of toothpaste draped across the top of a toothbrush is WAY TOO MUCH for one brushing. That much should efficiently clean your teeth EIGHT times! Just a tiny bit scraped onto the brush still does a good job and a tube lasts many times longer.
When a sensitive tooth drove me to distraction, the dentist gave me the following advice: Firstly to use toothpaste especially formulated for sensitive teeth for the basic clean, then to apply a tiny bit of that same paste directly to the sensitive area, such as where a root has been exposed. This advice doesn’t replace the need to go to the dentist of course to have the problem checked out.
- Shampoo substitute: There are several but I have only tried one thus far: Good old bi-carb of soda rubbed into wet hair does a good job. The hair will be squeaky clean in no time but it does not lather at all. Simply rinse with clean water. I followed it with a vinegar rinse (1/2 cup to 2 litres water), then rinsed again with clean water.
Thanks to the contributors to a thread on misc.consumers.frugal-living newsgroup, I tried watering down both shampoo and conditioner with mixed results. The shampoo didn’t retain its viscosity when watered down to half water making it quite runny and easy to lose under the shower, but it still did a good job. Next time, I’ll try using a little less water and see what happens. The conditioner, however, allowed some water to be introduced and it still kept its creaminess, although tended to separate when left to stand. I tried the same with liquid stain remover in the laundry and was delighted with the result. I think that this is one of those things that trial and error will produce what you are happy with. If it doesn’t suit, simply don’t do it.
- If you do use roll-on deodorants and hate wasting the very last little bit in the bottle, try standing it upside down before use. But it has a round top you say? A toilet roll core can be a perfect size to hold it, and is even more stable if there is still toilet paper on the roll. (Mike Van Emmerik) Addendum: Wouldn’t you know? Mike’s favourite brand has changed its packaging to be more squat with a larger ball so he’ll use more no doubt… Anyway, the toilet paper roll no longer fits so he had to find something else. A section of egg carton now adorns the bathroom bench and it works well enough for the purpose.
- For a deodorant powder, mix equal parts (start off with a teaspoon – that way you won’t waste much if it isn’t for you) of each talcum powder, bi-carb soda and cornflour. Push it through a fine sieve and apply it lightly to underarms with a big wad of cotton wool. For those who do not like fragrances or wish to add their own, use unscented talc and add a drop of your favourite perfume or essential oil to the cotton wool if you like. In times of heavy perspiring it may be necessary to reapply.
- Some recommend rubbing alcohol as a great deodorant. I have found it quite effective. Just mind though, as it will sting if underarms have recently been shaved, etc.
- ‘Hibiclens’, an antibacterial solution often used in hospitals for hand washing, is also highly recommended by some. I haven’t tried it personally but the idea is to put a drop under each arm, thoroughly cleansing the whole armpit, leave for a minute, then rinse off. The theory is that it knocks out all the bacteria that cause the odour.
- Some people have told me how wonderfully effective those deodorant crystals are. No doubt they are. In many instances the effective ingredient is alum. Some products refer to the contents as ‘mineral salts’ but are not any more specific. Be mindful that what they are not being very specific about may well be alum, or at least the mineral from which it is extracted. It seems some manufacturers are now stating that the ‘natural mineral’ used is bauxite. Guess what natural mineral it is that aluminium and alum are extracted from? That’s right – bauxite. So, the word is, if you’re planning on using aluminium free deodorants, this may not be the way to go. Be particularly careful of the content of the product which should be clearly marked. ‘Mineral salts’ in my opinion, does not cut it!
- For clogged shower heads soak overnight in vinegar. The built up scale should then be easier to remove. What I have found is that other stuff will be removed as well. Our shower roses now have permanent copper coloured patches!
- A friend of mine is into aroma therapy. She found out that if a handful of powdered milk is added to the bath water, along with the various essential oils, a ring doesn’t form around the bath from the oils.
- Nits and head lice are an ever increasing problem, particularly in our schools. This situation is probably due in part to our hot and humid climate, together with increasing resistance to the many commercial preparations (a lot of which are quite toxic) used to deal with the problem. BTW head lice are not exclusively a lower socio-economic problem, and don’t just confine themselves to public schools.
Anyway, with the return to school each year in the height of our hot & humid season, controlling head lice is usually somewhat topical on local media. One gentleman found that a lavish application of ordinary hair conditioner to the infected head and hair, and combing through with a fine metal tooth comb was a very cheap, non-toxic and effective way of getting rid of both beasties and eggs. Careful disposal of the eggs and insects was required of course. In fact, the footage I saw showed school children applying the hair conditioner and doing the necessary combing out to each other. It was good to see that a whole-of-school approach was taken to the problem too, rather than excluding individual children, and potentially out-casting them further. Another article along similar lines indicated that one treatment alone was not enough and that several treatments would be necessary.
Used neat, tea tree oil is said to kill head lice. It will be necessary to also comb it through the hair with a fine metal tooth comb. One part tea tree oil mixed with ten parts water is said to be a good repellant once they have been removed. Spray through hair, taking care to get under the hair and right down to the scalp. The oil and water won’t mix so it will be necessary to regularly shake the container. Be aware that tea tree oil is quite potent stuff so, as with any pure product, a very little goes a long way. BTW tea tree oil is one of those substances which has been around for ever and is credited with all sorts of medicinal properties. (Belinda)
© Margaret Van Emmerik 1998-2001.
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OTHER USEFUL IDEAS
My current project is to replace the disposable paper bag in our upright cleaner with a cloth bag. As the attachment is cardboard on the existing bag, I am envisioning doing some clever things with glue…
I received the following suggestions for removing labels, in this instance off metal: Try applying any one of the following to the offending label: petroleum jelly; automotive degreaser for engines; WD40. The contributor had limited success with WD40 for this purpose. She noticed that what all these substances had in common was OIL. She wondered if vegetable oil used for cooking would do as well so she tried it and found that with the friction created in rubbing, it cut through and dissolved the adhesive residue. She then used hot water and dish soap to get rid of the oil. She thinks little a citrus juice may also have helped make that part of the process easier. (Pamela A. Mahony)
The following apply mainly to travelling where it is assumed that the roof over your head will be provided such as in hotel rooms etc., not camping where you provide your own… I have some hints on camping too but the two are worlds apart in my view. See mycamping page.
Breakfasts: I found that by purchasing a box of breakfast cereal, milk and fruit saves quite a considerable amount on breakfasts when travelling. Better yet, it saves on time too. What sort of milk I buy (powdered or liquid) depends a lot on how much I plan on using, whether I will be staying long, and whether there is refrigeration in the room. When we travel, we always pack a couple of plastic coupe plates, cutlery and cups.
Packing. What you pack, particularly in the way of clothing, depends entirely on the purpose of your trip. I have been guilty of packing far too much in the past and have even freighted stuff home! One of the best finds I ever made was the Travelite FAQ. I also found plenty of sensible travel tips and info courtesy of the Compleat Traveler.
In the earlier part of 1998 I spent two and a half weeks in the US in the middle of their spring and I found that
I had spent a fair bit of time and effort assembling a mix’n’match wardrobe around a basic black skirt, pants, and jacket, together with several blouses, all of light weight, low maintenance fabrics. I used the blouses regularly over jeans but only wore the skirt twice during the whole trip! Even so, I don’t consider that this was a waste and they took up hardly any space. Had I been going to more formal places, or the purpose of my trip been other than leisure, I may have been making very good use of the other component bits. For casual trips I would recommend culling this to one complete good outfit which can be spruced up with different blouses if you really need to look different every time.
Other things I took and was glad I packed!
Problems we encountered:
Problems we averted.
Very approximate conversions for the harried traveller:
I established an adequate selection of power tools which in turn saved me much money and time over manual methods or hiring someone to do the job for me. I bought the BEST that I could afford at the time and have maintained these and all tools in good order. Tools quickly pay for themselves time and time again. If you are going to follow this route, it should go without saying that you should also learn to use them properly, and acquire the necessary safety equipment to go with them, otherwise they are a poor investment.
Another thing, call me selfish, but I won’t lend my tools. As sure as I do, any of the following things are bound to happen:
I usually get around the issue by suggesting that the person come to my place to use it (where I can supervise), or if it is convenient, I’ll volunteer to use it for them. If either option is not satisfactory, well they can always ask someone else or better yet, get their own!
As a side issue: Power tools are expensive and are easily off-loaded by thieves. I strongly suggest marking ALL power tools (and other valuable items) with a property identification code. See item on property identification/insurance photographs. Resist the temptation to use your phone number. By using phone numbers you are giving a thief a walk up invitation to ring back to establish when you aren’t home and to hit your place again.
My basic kit includes a basic electric drill and bits; a jig-saw and blades for both wood and metal; and a cordless screwdriver which died and was reincarnated as a reversible cordless drill with a low speed setting ideal for screwing and unscrewing. Over time my kit has swollen to include other tools as needs have dictated.
A hand saw, claw hammer, selection of blade and cross screwdrivers, an adjustable spanner and pliers are also essential components of the basic tool kit. Don’t forget the metal retractable tape measure of the standard for your country. For most small jobs a 3 metre tape is sufficient. A square and level are good investments too.
I received some feedback from Alex Cranford, who has a page on self sufficiency, about this section that suggested that an angle grinder and a cheap set of vernier calipers could also be a most valuable addition to the basic tool kit. I guess angle grinders fall into the category of tools that once you have used them, you’ll wonder how you ever did without them. I’m not all that fond of them personally, probably because I’ve never taken the time to learn to use them properly, and whilst ever my husband enjoys using them, I’ll let him. I certainly agree that the calipers are a good idea, and remove the guesswork out of taking tiny measurements.
Just a word here about one of my pet subjects: Metric versus non-metric. When you acquire your measuring tools get what ever is the standard for your country. If metric is the standard, don’t waste your time and money buying stuff that measures feet and inches only, and vice versa. You are going to cause yourself a lot of unnecessary calculating, creating a huge potential for error, by mixing up the two standards. It truly is best to stick with one *or* the other.
Sticking saw: I remembered this hint from a trick Mum showed me as a child. If a drawer stuck, the offending part got rubbed with wax, either beeswax or candle, and the drawer would run more smoothly. I was hand-sawing a piece of board and wondered if Mum’s trick would work on the saw which was sticking annoyingly. I ran a candle along the saw teeth and for good measure a few centimetres up on each side and it worked like a charm! I’m told that soap also works.
Chafing strap on knee-pads? Wrap old tea towels (or any other bit of soft rag for that matter) around each knee first, then strap the pads on. Of course, long pants also solve the problem admirably but aren’t always practical.
PROPERTY IDENTIFICATION AND INSURANCE PHOTOGRAPHS
I recommend engraving all your tools, appliances and bicycles etc. with your property identification code.
I will explain how it works in Queensland. The code itself consists of your first and last initial, your date of birth* so that it occupies 6 spaces and the letter ‘Q’ to denote ‘Queensland’. For example, my code is ‘MV180758Q’. This code is then registered with the Police Service. In the event that some of my property is lost or stolen, is recovered and handed in to police, a check can then be made on that code and the item can then be returned to its rightful owner. In some states, driver’s license numbers are recommended over dates of birth. Whilst it is true that driver’s license address records are more likely to be kept up to date, my personal reservation is simply that not everyone has a driver’s license. Driver’s license numbers do vary over time and are also difficult to remember. Everybody has a date of birth.
Do not mark antiques or jewellery. Photograph them instead. Include a ruler or tape measure in the photo so you can see the exact scale of the pictured item at a glance.
It is a good idea to photograph all your major possessions. Mark the photograph with date the photo was taken, make, serial number and purchase date and price. In the case of family heirlooms, include a brief history of the article’s origins on the back of the photo. This will be of great assistance to future generations. Open cupboards, including wardrobes and linen closets and photograph the contents so that the photo will describe roughly what is there. Don’t forget the bookshelf, software shelf and computer gear.
Now put all the photographs and supporting material in a safe place. Do not put them in photograph albums. If you have a safety deposit box, or fire proof safe or something similar, even a tin box, put them there.
Insurance companies recommend that you update these photographs at least every three years.
I have practised what I have preached here. Many of my possessions were destroyed by fire. In amongst the ashes I found the clump of my insurance photographs which, although singed around the edges, justified much of my claim. Had they been put in albums they would never have survived.
There are so many variables when talking about disaster planning it is not possible to provide a definitive list which will be a ‘one size fits all’ answer to every situation. My object is not to attempt to do this but to encourage the reader to think about the topic at the very least. Remember the adage ‘Proper prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance’?
When I speak of disasters, I mean something that is well outside the scope of a normal response, either from natural or man-made causes. I’m not speaking of something like someone’s house fire, for example. Although ‘disastrous’ for those immediately involved, the house fire simply doesn’t qualify, but if a few blocks of houses and the local hospital, school and pub went up, then that situation may qualify as a disaster.
I don’t intend to dwell on the disasters which are caused by man, save to say that aside from basic, sensible protective behaviours, and risk minimisation at a personal level, there is generally very little that any individual can do to prevent such occurrences or prepare for the results.
With regard to natural disasters however, people can do various things to help themselves or at least make living through it and the aftermath a little more tolerable. In essence, this is ‘disaster planning’ on a personal level. For instance, much of the coastal regions of the north of Australia are often affected by cyclones and the resultant flooding. When my brother and his family lived in Townsville, one of the kitchen cupboards contained enough basic food items, water, first aid kit, radio, torches, fresh batteries etc. to see them through for a week or two if necessary. There was storage under the house that had an emergency supply of camping gear in it. Everyone in the family knew not to touch these areas until needed. The contents were packed up in containers which could be picked up easily if the family needed to leave the house.
I would consider the following as part of the preparation and planning stage of developing a kit:
I didn’t specifically mention Y2K as I had no feelings about it one way or the other. When regarding issues such as these, my husband and I tend to live by the adage, ‘Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it’ so we did have a bit of extra food and water stockpiled in the new year, and made sure all the gas bottles were filled, but aside from that, we hadn’t wasted any money or effort over and above what we were going to do anyway. If the Y2K issue has done nothing else, it has made a lot of people think on a personal level about what they would do should there be any sort of problem. Overall, I think that is a good thing.
© Margaret Van Emmerik 1998-2001.
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Home > Household hints > Miscellaneous
|I receive many requests regarding stain removal. I am not an expert in this area and what follows is the sum total of my knowledge on the subject. If it isn’t here, you will have to look elsewhere.
I found the following basic recipe in an issue of ‘Soft Technology’ (now ReNew) magazine, a publication of the Alternative Technology Association of Australia. I’ve added some detail as to mixing, my experiences with it and variations on the theme. The concoction saved me the price of the magazine with the first batch.
Amount to use:
Don’t store in narrow necked bottles. When the mixture cools and sets, you aren’t going to be able to get it out. Always use wide necked containers or buckets. The size of the bucket used really depends on what you have available. Whatever size it is, it is better that it has a lid. For interest’s sake, the original recipe called for a regular 9 or10 litre bucket or thereabouts.
The brew does not suds up very much. Where the water is extremely soft, it may froth up a little.
The mixture is, or should be – depending on the soap that is used – phosphate free, reducing our impact on the environment.
I sometimes add a handful of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda, NaHCO3) to the washing cycle and about half a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle, but this is not essential. The baking soda is to assist in the removal of odours from the wash and the vinegar acts as a mild disinfectant, fabric softener and rinse aid. Some people have been concerned about using vinegar in the washing machine. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t recommended for enamel bowled machines. It didn’t cause me any difficulties but YMMV.
I used to have these issues on the page but I edited them out for one reason or another, but sure enough, I got asked them again so here they are back again:
I was asked about this idea that by using soap the wash will go grey over a time, and wouldn’t it be a good idea to use a bluing agent to prevent this from happening? My experiences with using the soap mix for a number of years now don’t generally reflect this. What I have found is that for delicates there has been no greying. For general washes, any greying I have experienced has been no more than what I experienced in the past using commercial products and is more a result of poor washing practice than from using pure soap. I back that up by saying that my baby’s fitted nappies have always been washed this way and are as white as ever they were and I’ve been using them for a little over a year now. They have never been soaked in any bleaching product other than vinegar and water, and they have never greyed. I have used a stain removing soap on the stains. I’ve never used washing blue either. I don’t know what is in washing blue, seeing as how the ingredients don’t appear on the bottle that I have, and have no idea as to any environmental effects.
Miscellaneous: The residue of commercial detergents can stay in clothes for as many as four washes in plain water before being completely removed. Chances are that if you forget to add detergent for one load, there will be enough residue to do the job.
I tend to use a commercial preparation more often than anything else. I use my own pump pack and buy refills and water down by about a third. So far, I’ve not seen any discernible difference in stain removing ability.
I also use a type of special soap with excellent results, which is reputedly a little more caustic than ordinary soap. This is dirt cheap and lasts for ever. It is great on nappies. There are other ‘wonder soaps’ on the market, some more expensive and/or better lasting than others but all are better value when compared with the cost (both monetary and environmental) of pressure packs. The general idea is to wet the offending part, rub the soap on liberally and either rub it vigorously against itself or use a small brush (old toothbrush or nail brush is fine). If washing by hand, rinse thoroughly. Otherwise, drop it into a normal wash cycle.
My various references suggest that the laundry liquid mentioned above should work. It can be applied directly to problem area and rubbed in, or allowed to soak in a fairly concentrated solution such as 1/2 cup to 1/2 bucket of water or a little stronger. Commercial laundry liquid applied sparingly and rubbed or brushed in should also work.
I’ve read about other possibilities too, courtesy of Jackie French in ‘Household Self-Sufficiency’, Keith & Irene Smith in ‘Hard Times Handbook’ and Barbara Lord in ‘The Green Cleaner’, all excellent volumes. I haven’t tried any of these yet.
Diana Booher mailed me with the following two recipes (my additions for metric and local vocabulary) for an alternative laundry starch. I assume that the quantities in this recipe are for use in the traditional manner, ie soaking the garment, or parts thereof, in the starch, drying or part-drying and then ironing. I am sure that smaller quantities in the same ratios would be okay for use as a spray.
Mix ingredients, pour into a spray bottle and shake well. Yields 16 ounces/half a litre.
I made up 1 cup of this second recipe as a trial and was pleasantly pleased with the outcome. I used boiling water. I couldn’t tell the difference between the commercial and home-made stuff although it has tended to go off very quickly. Maybe a pinch of borax or salt added to the mix might improve its lasting capabilities, as might refrigeration.
Variations on using corn flour include using rice or potato water. None of these recipes lasts long.
When spin drying has not been possible or convenient, I have been known to put the rolled up towel, containing said item, on the floor and walk up and down a few times over it. Turn it half a turn and do it again, and it will be as dry as any spin dry.
* I understand that this word has a different meaning, depending on which country you’re in. In Australia, a ‘jumper’ is a long sleeved knitted garment, often wool, which is pulled over the head and keeps the upper part of the body warm. It is also known as a ‘pullover’ and sometimes a ‘sweater’.
I figure if the garment has already shrunk, you don’t have much to lose by trying the above. If it is already matted or felted, find an alternative use for it, like lining pot holders or something, as nothing is going to bring it back.
Comment: If the main reason you are reusing the wash water is to conserve on washing detergents and soaps and reusing the wash cycle water is not a concern, then disregard the above method, and continue as normal.
Ideally of course, all the water would be captured again for use as grey water on gardens, etc. I’m still working on that one.
‘I take the corners at either end of the long side of the sheet, and put my finger tips in the corner of the seam so that it has the seams inside out. I then bring those 2 corners together and overlap them. Do the same to the remaining 2 corners. It should now look like the sheet is laying flat and the folded sides in an upside down U on top. Bring those 2 corners together the same way that you did in the first part. It will now look like an upside down L on the sheet. Fold the long side in twice to make a long strip. Grab one end and roll up tight. This is how I store my fitted sheets. I fold my flat sheets just like you would a blanket. This way, I can tell them apart quickly and easily.’
‘I fold my fitted sheets by slipping my hand into the pocket of one corner and my other hand into an opposite pocket. (I have the full length of the sheet going from one hand to the other). Bring the two corners together and tuck one of these corners into the other, keeping that hand still inside. The free hand can now pick up the new fold and even it. Transfer your “tucked corner” to the other hand and pick up BOTH untucked corners from the opposite side of the sheet and tuck those together (takes some practice but you really DON’T need three hands!) Now bring both pairs of tucked corners together and tuck THOSE into one corner. Keep one hand inside this tuck and use the other to even the opposite edge. You can now fold the sheet as if it weren’t fitted at all. Those neatly tucked “corners” no longer work against you.’
Another recipe for softening towels, which are generally cotton, is to soak overnight in 1 part Epsom salts to 10 parts warm water. (This sounds rather strong. I’d probably start off at 1:20 and see if that worked first.) Wash well.
© Margaret Van Emmerik 1998-2001.
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Home > Household hints > Laundry
|Eye Care Recipes|
|Eye Makeup Remover BY PUPPILUV
A great way to get off eye makeup is to mix water and baby bath. Removes it in seconds, even waterproof.
|Cold Cream on eyelashes and brows keeps soap out of eyes while shampooing.|
|Tired Eyes: Squeeze cotton pads out of ice water, place on eyelids and lie down, elevate feet.|
|Eye Soother : Place cucumber slices on eye lids while relaxing in a hot bath for ten minutes.|
|Dark Circles or Bags Under Eyes: Place slightly warm tea bags over your eyes, leave on for 10-15 minutes.|
|More tips from our readers|
|Dark Circle Eliminator: BY GODDES
Slice one small piece off of a potato, and cut the slice in half. Put each slice under your eyes and leave them under your eyes for 20 minutes.
For more beauty tips from our readers..click here
Here are some tried and true mouth care recipes to not only brighten your teeth, they also save on your pocket book. Experiment, come up with your own variations.
|Make a paste by combining the two ingredients. Use this paste on your teeth and also gently rub along your gums two times a week.|
|Rinse your mouth with cooled tea (mint is a perfect choice.)|
|Dab 1-5 drops of clove oil (a powerful antiseptic) onto a cotton ball and place over painful tooth or gums. It will numb the area, giving temporary relief. (Clove oil is rich in eugenol, dentists use eugenol as a local anesthetic. *Avoid during pregnancy. Do not use on children and babies.|
|Chamomile Fields Shampoo Recipe
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This shampoo smells similar to apples. Chamomile is well known for its healing properties, is also very effective as a shampoo. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Either annual (Matricaria recutica) or perennial Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) species can be used.
|To polish up those patchy remnants of a tan, bring your loofah into the bath with you, and add one of these ingredients to speed up the exfoliating process:
3/4 cup of lemon juice added to your bath water helps to bleach a fading tan and smooth away flaky skin. Or, you can mix a paste with lemon juice plus salt or sugar. Leave on the skin for 30 minutes and rinse dry, dead skin off with it!
Oatmeal is great for soothing a sunburn as well as for exfoliating. Fill an old sock with oatmeal and swish it in your bath water; once it’s softened up, you can then scrub your body with it.
Vinegar restores the acid balance of skin and also acts as a gentle exfoliant. Try adding 1 cup of raw apple cider vinegar to a lukewarm bath to ease the separation of peeling skin.
If you’re still in a blotchy, in-between stage, you might also want to experiment with gentle self-tanners or bronzers to ease the transition.
|Back To Top | Main Beauty Page|
|Mix 2 tablespoons honey with 2 teaspoons milk. Smooth over face and throat. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.|
|Smoothing Skin Lotion|
|Mix 1 teaspoon honey with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and ¼ teaspoon lemon. Rub into hands, elbows, heels and anywhere that feels dry. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with water.|
Preliminary studies have also revealed that honey has significant natural antioxidant properties. Antioxidants play a role in protecting the skin from the damage of UV rays and in aiding in skin rejuvenation. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can cause skin damage, premature aging and even skin cancer. Because chemical and physical barrier sunscreens can cause skin irritation, companies are researching the use of antioxidants, anti-irritants and moisturizers in their sun care products. The natural properties of honey make it ideal for these products. Look for honey to appear in the ingredient statements of more and more cosmetics, sunscreens and skin care products.
|Honey Cleansing Scrub|
|Mix 1 tablespoon honey with 2 tablespoons finely ground almonds and ½ teaspoon lemon juice. Rub gently onto face. Rinse off with warm water.|
|Firming Face Mask|
|Whisk together 1 tablespoon honey, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon glycerin and enough flour to form a paste. (Approximately ¼ cup). Smooth over face and throat. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.|
|Beer Shine BY JACQUELINA|
|Pour one bottle of beer in your hair. Makes your hair shine so beautiful (you won’t smell like an alchoholic)|
|Static Free BY DANIELLE|
|Put a dab of lotion in the palm of your hand and then rub it through your hair but not at the roots, just at the ends of your hair. It makes it so your hair doesn’t get all staticky.|