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1

The Best Spring Cleaning Products & Tools to Make Your Home Shine

There’s an illness that has been documented by poets for centuries and I’ve got it. It’s Spring Fever, that wonderfully amorphous disease we all recognize come March and April. Spring fever remains a fuzzy medical category, but there has been a great deal of research on how seasonal changes affect our mood and behavior. I know how it affects me—it makes me want to clean! I’m anxious to introduce you to the members of my Spring Clean Team …

4

7 Easy-to-Fix Reasons Your Dishwasher is Not Cleaning Like It Should

Few things are more disappointing than opening the dishwasher to put away its clean contents, only to be greeted by dirty dishes and cloudy glassware. It’s understandable how you might conclude it’s time to get a new machine. But hold on. Before you toss a perfectly good dishwasher, consider these seven things you may be doing wrong, any one of which may be causing this frustrating situation.

5

Spring Cleaning Mistakes You Want to Avoid

The sun is shining; birds are chirping, daffodils and crocuses are pushing their way out of their long winter slumber. Suddenly you feel that familiar urge to clean everything in sight. But before you get started, do yourself a big favor and consider these spring cleaning mistakes you definitely want to avoid.

6

Know Your Cleaning Products to Protect Your Health and Wealth!

Two women, different locations, same accident. Both, while using an ordinary commercial toilet bowl cleaner, were not satisfied with the way it was not removing stains. Each added household chlorine bleach and stirred with a brush. One died quickly, the other spent a long time in the hospital. The Problem Whenever chlorine bleach comes into contact with […]

7

Quick and Easy Outdoor Cleaning and Storage Tips You Can Use

Many outdoor cleaning and storage solutions can be rather expensive, especially when compared to do-it-yourself or homemade alternatives. Here some of my favorite cleaning tips and storage solutions for the garage and patio that will give you the results you need without the costs you don’t. Chalky Plastic White Chairs If your white plastic lawn […]

8

Absolutely the Best Window Cleaning Tips Ever

I have this thing for clean windows. I love them, which means I have an equal but opposite disdain for dirty windows. And when I say clean, I mean the kind of clean that makes windows sparkle like diamonds in the morning sun. Some days I wish that by some miracle, a professional window-washing service would […]

10

Try This Old Restaurant Cleaning Trick

Ever leave the coffee pot on overnight only to wake to a blackened, disgusting, burnt-on mess? Can’t get rid of the gunky build-up in your favorite carafe or thermos—stuff you can see, but not reach? Try an old trick perfected by wait staff in restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops everywhere to get it sparkling clean …

See you there! xo m

September 11, 2001 …. We Will NEVER Forget! GOD BLESS AMERICA!

12

Here are the Best Homemade Cleaning Recipes

I pretty much hate to buy things I know I can make for less money to say nothing of the time required to find them in a store. 

Take cleaning products for example. Knowing I can make specific cleaners for pennies that cost dollars in a store just makes me happy. It’s a no-brainer.

Today. my top five homemade cleaner recipes to help you get started saving all that money you’ve been spending on cleaning products.

13

The Best Time to Buy Anything in 2024

Over the years, I have learned an important lesson about getting the best deals on just about everything. Extreme bargain hunters have something in common: timing. They’ve got it down to a science, knowing specific days— even the time of day—when a bargain is at its best.

I’ve had the privilege of interviewing some of the tops experts in their fields (love my job), and oh, what I learned. Want to save like an expert? Today learn these deal-hunting secrets. 

See you there … Love, xo m

15

10 Natural Ways to Repel Rascally Rabbits to Protect Your Yard and Garden

As adorable as these creatures are, rabbits can wreak havoc on a lawn and garden. Garden centers, home improvement stores, and online resources offer commerical products to help gardeners protect their plants from rabbits.

But here’s the problem: commercial repellents are expensive, they require repeated applications, and some of them may contain chemicals that can pose health hazards to pets when ingested.

The solution is to find cheaper options that are equally effective to get rid of rabbits that are ruining your lawn and garden.

Rabbit repellents basically work in two ways to keep rabbits out of your flower and vegetable garden and off the lawn—they produce a smell or taste that is repulsive for rabbits but without harm. Homemade repellents are not only less expensive, but a safe alternative to commercial products …

16

23 Genius Gardening Hacks I Wish I’d Known Sooner, Approved by Experts

So, gardening on a budget. That may sound like an oxymoron—either you garden, or you live on a budget. But don’t believe it. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to grow a garden that pumps out tasty vegetables. There are many simple ways to have a lush, bountiful garden without emptying your wallet. Whether it’s recycling stuff, mixing up your own soil boosters, or scoring cheap seeds and starter plants, I’ve got you covered with gardening hacks, tips, and tricks to save cash while honing your gardening skills.

18

Hot Deals • March 2024

Get ready for March 2024’s best deals! From household essentials to luxurious finds, we’ve handpicked the best discounts to elevate your shopping experience. Remember, details were accurate at publishing, but prices may change. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases, helping us bring you these fantastic deals. Let’s keep saving! Most Recent Top Deals […]

19

News You Can Use • March 2024

Stay informed with our curated selection of March 2024’s top news articles, covering Capital One’s acquisition of Discover, IRS tax payment strategies, and the inspiring journey of a bikepacker turned entrepreneur. More top news articles to come throughout the month. Most Recent Top News Articles Retired at 36? After retiring at 36 from a successful […]

20

The Vacuums I Use Every Day and Absolutely Swear By

Keeping a home clean is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment. Vacuum cleaning plays a vital role in this process, offering several health-related benefits. Here are a few reasons why it is imperative to clean a home using a vacuum, according to the American Lung Association. These are the four vacuums—worker bees!—that I own, love, and do not want to live without: Upright, stick vac, handheld, and a robot too …

22

Bar Keepers Friend: The Secret to a Spotless Home

Keeping a pristine home doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and products, you can achieve a sparkling clean space without spending hours scrubbing away. I’m going to let you in on my secret weapon sitting front and center in my household cleaning cupboard. It’s Bar Keepers Friend.  In this comprehensive […]

23

How to Remove Stains on Aluminum Cookware After An Unfortunate Trip Through the Dishwasher

When aluminum pans, canister, or other kitchen utensils get stained and discolored from frequent use, it’s time for a thorough cleaning. But what happens when these pieces appear to be all but ready for the landfill after an unfortunate trip through the dishwasher? Here’s how to clean those stains to restore the beauty of polished aluminum—and then keep them that way, even with frequent use …

24

How to Clean Suede Shoes and Keep Them Looking Sharp

Suede shoes are a timeless fashion statement, but let’s face it: they’re not the easiest to keep clean. Whether it’s dirt, water, or oil stains, suede seems to attract them all. But fear not! With a little know-how and some TLC, you can keep your suede shoes looking fresh and fabulous. In this guide, I’ll […]

25

Best Ideas and Gifts (Him, Her, Kids!) to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

In this post last minute ideas to celebrate Valentines Day including dozens of gifts that are sure to please your Valentines without breaking the bank, divided into three categories—Gifts for Kids, Gifts for Her, and Gifts for Him. Honestly, this is so much fun.

Don’t worry that time is short. I’ve also included a slick way you can legally and ethically sign up for Amazon Prime Shipping, use it to send your Valentine’s Day gifts (to yourself or to others) and not have to pay for it. Really, It’s OK. Amazon wants you to do this.

26

Yes! You Can Clean Silver in the Dishwasher

Can you put silver in the dishwasher? Contrary to popular belief, you can wash silver and silverplate flatware in the dishwasher without causing harm, just follow a simple set of rules. This should come as great news in the event you are planning to pull out the good silver for the Holidays. Do it … I don’t think you’ll regret it!

27

How to Clean, Restore Dirty Stained Leather

Do you know what I love? Learning insider secrets. I’m not talking tabloid headlines, fake news, or conspiracy theories, which I work hard to avoid—but solid, authentic, and reliable insider trade secrets. And boy, have I got one (make that two!) for you today! I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy this. See you there. xo m

28

Best Inexpensive Toaster in 2024

A toaster is just about the most basic piece of equipment in a working kitchen. Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? And it needs to be affordable. Is this asking too much? Thankfully it is not—we can have what we need in a toaster at a very affordable price.

29

Preventive Maintenance is Cheap “Insurance”

It was a Sunday night and the house felt cold. The only way for the Doloski family to keep their Illinois house warm and cozy in December is with a working furnace. One look at the thermostat told them that clearly, theirs was not. Within minutes of arriving, the service technician diagnosed the problem. They needed […]

33

Christmas Gift Guide: Super Fun Stuff for Kids

When it comes to finding the perfect present, whether you dread coming up with an excellent gift or delight in the search—one thing is for sure, as we come nearer to Christmas, the stress and pressure can be overwhelming. This is the week to finalize your gift choices if you want them to arrive before […]

34

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for Techies

More EC Gift Guides … Gifts & Ideas for RV Owners, Vanlifers, Campers Gifts & Ideas for STEM Toys for Kids of All Ages Gifts & Ideas for Her Gifts & Ideas for Him Gifts & Ideas for Totally Awesome Teens! Gifts & Ideas for Home Chefs, Cooks, Foodies Gift Guide: What Teachers Really Want for […]

35

An Excellent Natural Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

Stainless steel has become a popular choice in kitchen appliances, counters, sinks, and other household fixtures for its longevity and luster. And that beauty can quickly lose its appeal under greasy fingerprints, streaks, smudges, dirt,  spills, and stains (which is weird given that it has”stainless” in its name).

36

Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for Him

When it comes to finding the perfect present, whether you dread coming up with an excellent gift or delight in the search—one thing is for sure, as we come nearer to Christmas, the stress and pressure can be overwhelming. This is the week to finalize your gift choices if you want them to arrive before […]

38

Four Things We Really Want for Christmas

Sure they want toys, but underneath it all, what kids really want for Christmas (adults, too) just might surprise you. What we really want isn’t in a store. So, how can we give those we love what they really want for Christmas? I have a few ideas in today’s post … and I hope you have some, too. Will you add them in the comments area?

41

How to Deep Clean a Stinky Kitchen Sponge

With all those gazillions of bacteria on kitchen sponges that make them stink, some say they can be killed off by a minute or two in the microwave. Others say that microwaving is useless to destroy the bad stuff. What’s the answer?

43

Best Inexpensive Dish Drainer Rack

After a season of searching, trial, and error, I’m excited to reveal EC’s Best Dish Drainer Racks in two choices—Best Inexpensive™ and Best Upgrade. Both are highly functional, modern and reasonably priced.

46

19 Surprising Chlorine Bleach Uses Beyond Laundry

That jug of liquid chlorine bleach sitting in the laundry room has all sorts of uses that have nothing to do with laundry. It can help keep your flowers looking fresh, purify water in emergencies, and even lend a hand when you’re cleaning up after a disaster. 1. Deter Mosquitoes While we think of liquid […]

49

12 Ways to Make it Christmas in July

Ahhh, summer. The days are long, the grass is green, the livin’ is easy and the last thing on your mind is Christmas in July.

While I hate to throw cold water on your barbecue, I need to warn you about something. The holidays are just a few short months away and if there’s anything we’ve learned in the past, Christmas can creep up on you like a too-tight swimsuit.

Blame it on SSAS—Severe Selective Amnesia Syndrome. People who suffer from this condition fall into some kind of seasonal coma. And it’s little wonder. For many, Christmas is no longer the most blessed, but the most stressed time of the year. And expensive.

Somehow we all manage to get through it, many with a pile of new debt. And who among us hasn’t begun the New Year vowing: Next year I’m starting earlier!

Whether you’re into getting started this early or not—I’ve got some great ideas for simple things you can do to celebrate Christmas in July. Come on … it’ll be fun!

See you there, Love xo m 🎄

50

Get Pet Hair and Fragrance Build-Up Out of the Laundry

Dogs and cats shed. A lot. That pet hair can get all over the house—on rugs, on bedsheets, and clothes. It sticks to fabrics and won’t go away. How maddening to find it on the clean clothes from the dryer. What’s a person to do? Solutions in today’s post. Woof! ….

52

8 Surfaces You Should Never Clean with Vinegar

Vinegar is an amazing and versatile cleaner for all kinds of applications around the house. However, because it is acidic it has limitations. Vinegar has the potential to harm certain surfaces. To prevent any damage, avoid using any strentgth vinegar on the following surfaces and household items. 1. Hardwood Floors Even regular supermarket plain white […]

55

EC Father’s Day Gift Guide 2023

Father’s Day is a fabulous, wonderful day to show Dads how much we love them, how special they are—and a great opportunity to poke a little fun, too! Here to help with lots of last-minute gift ideas …

56

Help! I Get Clumps of Crystals in My Homemade Laundry Detergent

Several times over the past years, I have wished with all my heart I could call Mr. Migaki, my favorite teacher of all time who sparked curiosity and the love of science in my fifth-grade self. I needed to ask him about minerals and crystals and why borax and washing soda—both of them ingredients in our homemade laundry liquid and powder detergents—can be powdery soft one day and hard as a rock the next. I was reminded once again of this curiosity when I received this message from EC reader Pat.

58

15 Things That Should Never Go in the Clothes Dryer

In the same way that drying clothes outdoors on a clothesline has its limitations (weather, effort, community rules that forbid outdoor clotheslines), a clothes dryer does as well. It can ruin stuff.

While the effect may not be noticeable on the first time or two through the dryer, the destruction will build until that item, which should have never been put through the dryer in the first place, comes to a tragic end long before its time. Check out 15 things that should never go into a clothes dryer, but air-dried instead.

59

Wash, Clean, Detail Your Car and You Can Keep $150 In Your Pocket

When you think of spring cleaning, you probably think of your home. But what about your car? It has served you well all winter long. It’s been through the mud, the snow, sleet, sand, and salt. It needs a good spring clean, too! You could take your car to a professional and spend $150 or more to get it detailed cleaned up for Spring. Or you can keep the cash and do it yourself.

60

EC Daily Newsletter Archive

Back issues of EC Daily Emails are arranged in chronological order by date, along with the title of that day’s featured post.   Feb 25, 2024      Mystery solved! – The foolproof solution … Feb 24, 2024      Got Leftover Pizza? – best way to Store and Reheat it, Hoands down Feb 23, 2024      Smile and save, […]

62

Absolutely the Best Homemade Laundry Stain Remover!

I’m excited to tell you how to make a fabulous, if not magical, do-it-yourself homemade stain remover. Compare this SHOUT or any other pricey commercial product. This stain remover recipe is so easy and cheap to make. And wow, does it perform! While this stain remover works super well on fabric, upholstery, and carpet in the house and car, it must be rinsed well or laundered once that stain disappears. Got it? OK, let’s get to it.

63

This $10 Self-Sharpening Gadget is Best Thing Ever to Speed Meal Prep

For years, I’ve been relying on a pair of produce peelers. One is red, the other green. Green is for hard-skinned produce like potatoes, carrots, apples—the red peeler for delicate, soft-skinned items like tomatoes, pears, and grapes. OK, just kidding about the grapes, but you get the idea …  I’ve come to loathe my peelers, […]

65

How to Survive and Not Go Broke When Stranded in an Airport

The busiest travel season on record began and will last through Jan. 5, An estimated 47.5 million passengers will fly on U.S. airlines during the winter holiday according to experts— up 3% from last year. Throw weather to the equation and your chances of getting stranded waiting for a flight grow immeasurably.

If you’ve ever set foot in an airport, you know what a ripoff that place can be if you have to buy basic necessities while you wait for a flight. The delay alone is going to feel like you’re out of luck, but your lack of planning can easily make you out of money, too.

Over the years, having traveled more than 1.5 million miles myself and spending more than a few nights in an airport—I’ve learned that it’s easy and super smart to prepare and anticipate the inevitable.

Here are my best tips for surviving an extended stay in an airport.

See you there … Love, xo m 🛩 🤞

67

How to Clean the BBQ So You Can Get Grilling

A couple of weeks ago, with all the confidence in the world that winter had passed, I got everything ready for our first outdoor barbecue of the season. The weather was perfect, ditto for the menu. Shocked! I pulled the cover off the grill and got a shock—and not of the electrical kind. Actually, I […]

70

How to Get Outdoor Windows Sparkling Clean—Cheaper, Better, Faster!

You can pay a fortune to have your outdoor windows washed professionally, or let me teach you how to do this yourself. You need the right tools, too, or you are going to waste a lot of time and money trying to get your windows streak-free and sparkling like diamonds. Look for these tools at a home improvement store near you or use the links provided to get them online.

73

How to Make Highly Effective Fruit and Vegetable Wash

To avoid illness from foodborne contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends washing produce thoroughly to help kill bacteria and make sure your fruits and vegetables are safe for consumption. But don’t waste your money on a fruit and vegetable spray or wash you see in store. Make it yourself for just pennies! I’ll show you how …

74

How to Turn Your Barbecue Grill into a Baking Oven

If you have an outdoor barbecue grill with a cover that closes over the top of the grill, you can turn it into an outdoor oven. Why would you want to do that? I can think of a few reasons! To have another baking oven on holidays or other occasions when you really use it. To have an alternative on days you don’t want to heat up the kitchen. To expand your camping-out cooking repertoire. To have a way to cook and bake during power outages …
To have an alternative appliance should electric rates spike.

75

How to Clean, Condition, and Maintain Leather Furniture

When it comes to furnishing your home, it’s difficult to find anything more luxurious and elegant than fine leather. With that elegance comes the challenge of how to clean leather furniture, keeping it free of stains, and well-maintained so that it gets even better with age. Improper attempts to clean fine leather can result in […]

76

How to Clean Cookie Sheet Pans So They Look New

They come in sizes big and small, rimmed or without sides. We use them to bake just about anything, but mostly cookies. And they can get super grungy with layers of baked- and burnt-on grease resulting in ugly stains and residue build-up.

Does anything here look familiar to you? If so, I have good news. Your cookie sheets can be cleaned and restored, even back to the way they looked when new.

What follows in today’s post is a relatively quick and easy way to get rid of baked-on grease, stubborn food residue, and even rust on any type of cookie and baking sheets—aluminized steel, aluminum, and non-stick—and then to clean and maintain to keep them sparkling clean.

77

How to Hack Your Regular Vacuum to Reach Into Tight Spaces

Today I want to tell you about an inexpensive, super effective tool I that attaches to my vacuum cleaner’s hose that lets me vacuum places no vacuum could ever reach on its own. Every time I use it, I wonder how I had lived so long without VaccuFlex.

My first clue that things were not quite right with my clothes dryer was when suddenly it was taking forever to get anything dry!

I’d checked and re-checked the lint trap, so that wasn’t the problem. Turns out it was all kinds of lint that had been trapped, behind the trap farther inside the machine. And in the dryer vent line.

My laundry appliances are stacked so pulling the dryer down to get into those areas from the back was not at all practical. That’s when in desperation I ordered a VaccuFlex kit.

I removed the lint trap and stuck that hose all the way into that area. It was amazing. Shark nearly filled itself before I stopped pulling out lint balls. Then I went outdoors to vacuum through the outside of the dryer vent. And that fixed the problem. And it has gone on to fix so many other cleaning situations, too! You’re going to love this … See you there! Love, xo m

83

A Most Unusual Frugal Use for Blue Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

There are days when I open up my mailbag and have to sit down because I’m laughing so hard. Some things strike me funny. Turns out this time, though, the last laugh was on me. Seriously it was such a strange tip from Reader Bill, I had to test it for myself. What I discovered was more than a little shocking …

86

How to Remove Rust Stains from Stainless Steel and More

If there’s one subject that shows up in my inbox more often than any other, it has to be rust. Ugly, orange-ish stains on tubs, showers, toilets; washing machines and sinks, even stainless steel. Good news! I have a story followed by a very effective, if not exciting, solution …

87

How to Care for and Clean a Glass Stove Top

When it comes to kitchen appliances, nothing says modern and sleek like a beautiful new smooth, glass cooktop. And nothing says “Oh, no!!!!” louder than a burnt-on mess or ugly scratch that appears for all the world to be permanent. But wait … what if I told you there may be a way to restore that glass cooktop back to its beautiful self? All that right here.

93

Our Top Ten Most Read Posts of 2022

EC broke all records with nearly 8 million pageviews by 7 million visitors to EverydayCheapskate.com. in 2022. Believing it’s always a good thing to look back to see where we’ve been and to count the blessings—we have put together a roundup of the ten most popular Everyday Cheapskate posts in 2022.

95

How to Turn What You Love Doing into a Side Hustle

I’ll bet you’re really good at something. Cooking, organization, gardening, cleaning, sewing, knitting, computing, driving—the list could go on and on. Figure out how you can teach that skill to others. The greater your need to earn extra money, the more creative and better teacher you’ll become.

96

Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

Short on cash this holiday season? Maybe it’s time to start thinking about gifts that don’t come from a store, but from the heart—a gift of time and talent. It’s going to require some (all?) of your free time over the next week or so, but it sure beats going into debt to buy a bunch of gifts for others—or missing out altogether because you refuse to show up empty-handed. Practical, reasonable and doable Christmas gifts that don’t cost a dime!

97

How to Deep Clean a Washing Machine—Top and Front Loading (and Why You Should!)

If you assume the inside of your washing machine is the cleanest place in your home because you put detergent through it with every load and occasionally wash with hot water, join the club. Most people think that. 

So why is there dirty residue on the agitator? Why do washed clothes sometimes come out with stains they didn’t have before they went in? Why do towels and the washer get stinky?

The answer is germs. Germs that have survived load after a load of laundry. Don’t panic! Today’s easy protocol for how to clean, disinfect, and sanitize your washing machine—top or front loading—to the rescue!

98

How to Clean a Shark Vacuum and Why You Should

I’m pretty sure you know by now just how much I love my Shark vacuum cleaner. And given all the mail I get, I know that many of you have Sharkys, too. It’s super important that you know how to clean a Shark vacuum to make sure it keeps performing at top efficiency both now and for many years to come.

99

Gift-Giving: What’s the Point?

The simple act of gift-giving has become extremely complicated. I blame that on the consumer credit industry.

Think about it: You can be completely broke but still spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts—and believe it is not only your right, but that you are obligated to do it. It’s a lot of pressure.

100

Homemade Stain Remover for Carpet and Laundry

Unlike some other homemade laundry stain and detergent products you’ll find here at Everyday Cheapskate, this one is also a homemade stain remover for carpet. Ah-ha! That got your attention!

Just let me be clear at the get-go, that while this stain remover works super well on fabric, upholstery, and carpet in the house and car, it must be rinsed well or laundered once that stain disappears. Got it? OK, let’s get right to it …

101

4 Kitchen Money-Savers That Pay for Themselves in No Time at All

My favorite gadgets, of course, are ones that actually help me to save money and/or time. I’ve been fooled from time to time, spending good money on things that just did not perform well. Or the gadget turned out to be so cumbersome, using it actually complicated rather than simplified my life.

But now and then I strike on a gadget that is so magnificent in its functionality and money-saving properties, I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Today I want to tell you about four gadgets for the kitchen that I consider to be wise investments—money savers!

All four are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in a short period of time—and then to continue paying off in food savings, which is saying a lot as food costs continue to soar.

Meet me there …. Love, xo m

102

How to Organize a Refrigerator

Lately, have you cleaned out your fridge? Once the expired condiments and forgotten take-out containers hit the trash and the shelves and walls get scrubbed clean, it’s time to organize the refrigerator. The way you do that matters. All that plus favorite tips and organization gadgets …

103

Bedbugs: How to DIY to Get Them Out and Stay Out Naturally

Got crawling insects like centipedes, spiders, bedbugs, ants, silverfish, cockroaches, fleas and all other creepy crawlies trying to take over your home or garden? Don’t call an exterminator quite yet. I’m confident this is a problem you can fix yourself with non-toxic, completely safe, natural diatomaceous earth (DE)—cheaper and faster!

105

Surprising Trick Removes Stubborn Hard Water Stain from Glass Shower Doors

Got stubborn hard water marks and stains on your shower doors that simply will not budge no matter what you try? You’re not alone.

I’ve heard from countless readers who say they’ve tried everything from my magic soap scum cleaner to cleaning vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, oven cleaner, muriatic acid, steel wool, Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami and other expensive chemicals to get rid of the horrid, ugly, hard water stains and white haze.

Some readers report that it took multiple cleanings with the magic stuff to get their glass doors truly clean, while others report they’ve tried everything from magic stuff to 30-percent white cleaning vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, oven cleaner, muriatic acid, steel wool, Bar Keepers Friend, Bon Ami, and even razor blades to scrape away the problem—all without success.

I have to admit this has left me in a quandary and about this far from advising new doors to be the only solution. But then, Eureka! The most unusual solution that really works …

See you at the post … Love, xo m 😍

106

29 Brilliant Ways to Use Vinegar That May Surprise You

It’s cheap. It’s available in every supermarket and home center in the universe and so useful around your home, you may have a difficult time believing it. Good old, ordinary, plain white vinegar has dozens of uses … some that may surprise you! I’ll tell you more … at the post.

See you there! Love, m xo 😍

107

How to Remove Scratches on Stainless Steel Appliances, Sinks, Counters

As sleek and sturdy as it is, stainless steel is not immune to picking up unsightly scratches in the course of everyday household activities. They show up on sinks, appliances, cabinet hardware, and stainless counters, too. There’s a good chance you can remove scratches on stainless steel surfaces, provided you use the right tools and closely follow these tips.

108

11 Ways to Use Super Washing Soda to Make Your Life Easier

Washing soda and I go way back. I’ve been using it as a laundry detergent booster for decades. For years, I had no idea I could use it so many other ways around the house! And garage. The more I learn, test, and put it into use, the more it becomes a must-have item in my cleaning arsenal. Think it’s hard to find? Not when you know where to look …

109

10 Minutes to Painlessly Declutter and Organize Your Home

If you think organizing your home or getting your personal affairs in order requires a lot of time, you might be right. However, if you feel that you just don’t have enough time to spend on these tasks, then you’re probably wrong. All you have to do is recognize little chunks of free time throughout the day.

111

19 Absolutely Brilliant Ways to Clean With Denture Tablets

Not many households keep a supply of denture tablets. But every household should because there are so many cleaning jobs that effervescent denture tablets can do from making coffee stains disappear to cleaning fine jewelry and clearing a clogged drain, too.

Denture cleaning tablets are great little workhorses for all kinds of jobs around the house, some you’ve never heard of…

112

22 Things You’d Be Smart to Buy at the Dollar Store

A dollar store is the place I go when I need something to last just until the end of the party—or through the next holiday. Dollar stores are where I match quality with need. If I don’t need it for long (think: disposable), I sure don’t want to pay a lot for it.

Today, my list of things you’d be smart to buy at a dollar store—and some to avoid!

Do you shop at dollar-type stores? Click through to the post, then tell us in the comments!

Enjoy this beautiful day …

Love, Mary ☀️

113

Ask Me Anything: Vinyl Flooring Care, Healthy 5-Min Bread, Stubborn Water Spots

If you’ve ever dealt with vinyl flooring—especially in an older home where the flooring has not been well-cared for, you know the heartbreak of trying to clean it. The problem is tiny grooves and crevices, especially along the baseboards and thresholds where stubborn dirt has built-up over time and is now holding on for dear life.

But, truth be told, vinyl flooring is still alive and well—highly improved, and quite lovely. In fact, some brands of vinyl flooring have now entered the luxury lines of flooring.

If you have new vinyl, old vinyl, grimy vinyl, or shiny vinyl, it’s good to know how to care for it—what to do and what not to do.

All that plus lots more in today’s post.

See you there! Love, xo m

114

Best All-Purpose Commercial Cleaners For Every Place in Your Home

All-purpose cleaners are designed to clean everything from dust bunnies to toilet rings and grease spills. We evaluated many commercial products for effectiveness, ease of use, versatility, price, and overall value. These are our picks for the seven best all-purpose cleaning products for keeping your house clean.

115

The Super EZ Way to Clean Messy Burnt Pots, Pans, Casseroles

There are multiple ways to deal with burned on mess challenges in pans and casseroles—most of which will work to some degree, eventually. But as far as I am concerned, there is only one method that is totally amazing because it’s pretty much automatic and works all by itself in an hour—more or less—depending on the severity of the situation.

117

Best Inexpensive Cast Iron Skillet and How to Love It

I must have been all of 10-years old the day I decided to surprise my mother by cleaning her old black cast iron skillet. It embarrassed me that over the years it had become so gross. Naively, I assumed that she’d burned too many Sunday roasts in it and that’s why it was never shiny with a copper bottom—like the rest of our pots and pans.

I started with household cleanser and steel wool. I scrubbed on a single spot for what seemed like hours. I couldn’t break through that burned-on “crust” to save my soul. Finally, I just gave up.

What I wouldn’t realize until years later was that I was working on a fine piece of cast iron—a skillet I’m sure I managed to un-do years of coveted “seasoning” that makes a cast iron skillet virtually nonstick.

Cast iron skillets never buckle, cast iron is virtually indestructible, lasting for generations—even at the hand of a 10-year-old wielding cleanser, steel wool, and sharp scraping implements. A cast iron skillet can be restored, and in most cases quite easily.

Food cooked in cast iron is fortified with iron—up to 20 times more iron than when cooked in a steel or aluminum vessel. When you cook in well-seasoned cast iron you use less oil. Cast iron is a chemical-free alternative to nonstick pans … and, as you are about to discover, super affordable …

119

14 Things That Should Never Go in the Dishwasher

I have learned the hard way there are certain items that should never go in a dishwasher. They can be ruined or they can ruin your dishwasher. You should hand wash them instead. Consider this list of 14 things that should never see the inside of your dishwasher.

124

How to Clean a Coffee Maker and How Often You Should

Performing a deep-clean on a coffee maker is important to extend its useful life and ensure you’re brewing the best-tasting coffee possible. A build-up of hard water scale and rancid coffee oils in a coffee maker is to be expected. Allowing that build-up to remain (and multiply) can be very hard on the machine. Even […]

125

Still The Best Inexpensive Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Can’t anyone make a decent cordless, handheld vacuum cleaner that is convenient to use, holds a charge well, runs for at least 15 minutes before needing to be recharged; has powerful suction to pick up all kinds of stuff we need a vacuum to pick up including pet hair—will last for more than a couple of years AND not cost a fortune? YES! Here it is!

126

26 Ways to Use Aluminum Foil to Save Time Money Make Life Easier

Using aluminum foil to line cookie sheets and to keep a steak hot while you finish getting everything ready to eat are the ways we’re supposed to use it, right? Well yes, but there are so many other aluminum foil hacks that can save you time, money, and effort. You can use it to polish silver and halt static cling. And there are dozens more ways to use an ordinary roll of aluminum foil.

127

The Original Homemade DIY Tub Tile Shower Cleaner (30 Years and Counting!)

Quite possibly one of the best tips to ever land in my mailbox came from a guy who is a professional property manager. He handles University rental apartments. His job is to get the soap-scum-laden (gross!) tubs and showers sparkling clean for next occupants. Here is his personal, original, homemade solution. Prepare to be amazed …. and forever grateful!

131

The Ultimate Guide to Removing Ink from Leather

Because of the variables, there are a number of remedies, all of which do work to remove ink stains from leather in certain situations. You may have to make multiple attempts until you find one that works for your particular leather and situation. Go through the steps that follow until you hit on the one that works for your specific ink-on-leather challenge.

132

15 Ways to Solve It With Salt and Make Your Life Easier

Sometimes the very thing you need to solve an ordinary household problem is sitting right in the pantry. Take salt for example. It’s amazing stuff! And it’s cheap, too.

I have a favorite little book, Solve it with Salt by Patty Moosbrugger. Just look at all the things Patty says we can do with good old ordinary inexpensive table salt to make our lives better …

133

5 Non-Toxic Methods That Really Work for Killing Weeds

There are a number of effective ways to kill weeds. Some involve chemicals or require digging. The problem with chemical weed killers is they aren’t always effective, they can be expensive, and cause health problems. Sure, digging is always an option, but now we’re talking heavy tools and a lot of sweat. I say we look to non-chemical, cheap, and relatively easy ways to kill weeds that really work.

134

Q/As on Auto Leasing, Homemade Detergent, Silver, and MORE!

You should see my email inbox. Yikes! It’s overflowing with reader questions, tips, stories, feedback, rebuttals, and all kinds of love from you, my dear readers. In this post, I’m making a tiny dent in the pile with these responses to a handful of your questions on auto leasing, homemade laundry detergent and more.

See you there! xo m 💌

135

14 Best Homemade Cleaners That Really Work

Items in your pantry like baking soda, vinegar, cream of tartar, lemon juice, and even tea bags, can work as effective cleaners. Even better, compared to pricey commercial products, homemade cleaners cost next to nothing. So the next time you’re staring down a big mess but you’re out of your favorite product, don’t run to the store—open up the pantry and try mixing up one of these DIY cleaning recipes instead. Step back and enjoy the results and the savings, too!

137

Instant Pot Quick Start Guide: Best Tips, Recipes, and Accessories

Instant Pot comes with an owner manual and recipe book. Both should be considered required reading but honestly, I found them to be unbearably boring while only marginally useful. Here is my Quick Start Guide with the websites, tips, recipes, and accessories that put me on the fast track to falling in love with my Instant Pot.

138

Once You Use Alvin Corn DIY Glass Cleaner You Will Never Look Back

Alvin Corn is a homemade multi-purpose cleaner that cleans glass, mirrors, and lots more. Its funky name refers to its somewhat surprising ingredients: ALcohol, VINegar, and CORNstarch. This is the most amazing product that will clean glass, mirror, quartz surfaces and do it with no streaks, leaving them sparkling clean.

139

How to Make WetJet Multi-Surface Solution Refills for Pennies

If you own a Swiffer WetJet Spray Mop, chances are you absolutely love it. But let me guess: You’re not wild about how expensive it is to buy the refills —the cleaning solution and those disposable cleaning pads. Let me show you how to DIY Swiffer Jet Refills and the cleaning pads too, for just pennies—not dollars!

142

15 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Quick and Easy Using Ordinary Stuff In Your Pantry

Despite how fascinating ants may be, control and management around the home are important for both health and safety reasons. If you suspect you have a serious ant infestation, consider calling a pest control professional. However, most ant problems—especially those teeny tiny sugar ants—are generally annoying and a problem you can solve quickly with ordinary items you have around the house and garage. 

143

How to Clean the Dirty Edges of Carpet

My Dear Readers …

Dark, shadowy, dirty lines on the carpet along baseboards, under doors and draperies, along the edges, and in the crevices of carpeted stairs are all visible signs of an aggravating problem called filtration soil.

Normal vacuuming is no match for removing filtration soil. And neither are the best carpet spot removers. Filtration soil is greasy and sticky. It is possible to effectively do it yourself and in today’s post I am going to show you how to do that.

But first, it’s important to know what that dirt is and how it got there …

146

Put a Beautiful Smile on Your Face with a Dental Savings Plan

Dental Savings Plans are membership plans, similar to the way a person becomes a member of Costco, pays an annual fee, and receives full privileges at Costco warehouse clubs for the year. A member can just walk in, show his or her membership card to enjoy highly discounted prices everything available at Costco. Really, that’s how a Dental Savings Plan works. You sign up with a plan your dentist accepts, pay your membership fee, get your card and enjoy highly discounted dental services and procedures on kinds of dental care.

148

18 Clever Home Organization and Storage Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

Organization is an important aspect of any home. And we’re quite familiar with the rule: A place for everything and everything in its place. Right? The challenge is finding that place and then actually following through by making sure that place is regularly occupied!

What follows is a random selection of tips and tricks I’ve received over the years from my dear readers. Undoubtedly, some will have a ring of familiarity, while others will have you smacking palm to forehead wondering “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

149

How Scarcity and Bar Mops Helped Me Kick My Paper Towel Habit

It was this event, now more than 20 years ago, that served as the catalyst to change my arrogant attitude about abundance and entitlement. A half-used roll of paper towels turned into a lasting wake-up call. I won’t say we have completely kicked paper towels from our home, but we’ve come pretty darn close! A single roll can last for six months or longer. If paper towels were to become extinct and disappear from the face of the earth, not a problem, as we have replaced paper towels in our home with bar mops.

151

DIY PooPourri Spray Makes Sure You Always Leave a Fragrance

I have something really fun to share with you today about fragrance, but first a story. About my friend, Herta. It’s been quite a few years now since she and Al came to visit. In their graciously kind manner, they brought gifts. I thought I’d heard of everything, but one of these gifts left me wide-eyed and sputtering to find a good response, which I am not sure I did.

152

Deals Worth Sharing This President’s Day 2022

Traditionally, Presidents’ Day has come to mean extreme bargains. In fact, in the past, I have suggested that if you can hold off purchasing that big-ticket item, wait until this holiday weekend. This year things are different. Authentic deals are slim pickin’s. However, I uncovered some Amazon and Walmart deals worth sharing. And as I […]

153

How to Cook and Keep the Kitchen Clean at the Same Time

I love to cook. And I enjoy inviting guests for dinner parties or more casual meals. What I hate is the big ugly mess that happens in the kitchen as I’m cooking and concentrating on getting everything on the table. My kitchen is right out there in the open for all to see, which is why I’ve come up with strategies to cook and keep the kitchen clean at the same time.

154

5 Essential Cleaner Recipes That Use the Power of Rubbing Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, is extremely useful around the house because it acts as both a solvent and a disinfectant. Add to that, it’s cheap! Using it as an ingredient in homemade cleaning products is super smart. And don’t we love it when we can figure out how to do things cheaper, better, and faster?! Oh, yes we do 😍 xo m

155

How to Conquer Burned-On Oven Crud

I don’t know how else to describe what happens to beautiful sheet pans once they take up residence in my kitchen. All I can say is that in no time they begin to get this nasty build-up of what I call oven crud—a burned on incrustation of oven filth.

It’s not that I don’t wash and scrub those pans. I do. But apparently not well enough. I’m just not willing to spend hours of my life to keep sheet pans and ovens looking the way I want—clean and sparkly.

I’ve been on a rampage to conquer this problem once and for all. Call me idealistic but I’d like my sheet pans and oven to clean up as easily as my dishes and dishwasher. Is that too much to ask?

I’m pretty excited to share with you what I’ve learned through much trial and error. Now, I won’t boast perfection, but I’ve come up with a protocol that’s working really well for me ….

156

How to Clean a Microwave Oven

Face it, a microwave with frequent use, whether at home or at work, isn’t going to get a thorough cleaning every single time it’s used. It’s going to get dirty, so it’s good to know how to clean a microwave effortlessly, from time to time. With steam!

157

How to Clean a Tub or Shower—and Keep It Clean

The only thing better than making things myself is when what I make turns out to be cheaper, better and faster than something I might buy in the store to accomplish the same goal. Learning how to make and use powerful tub and shower cleaners—one for a miraculous deep clean, the other for daily maintenance—rocked my […]

158

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half Using this Shopping Method

It’s no secret that supermarkets and grocery stores purposely design their layouts to entice us to buy more than we’d planned to purchase when we walked through the door, but shoppers are not victims. It all boils down to our choices—not just for what we buy but when we buy it. There must be dozens of ways to shop for groceries, and I’m confident I’ve tried them all. But when it comes right down to it, every possible method falls into one of two categories—needs shopping or reserve shopping.

159

How to Detail Car Interior Using These Homemade Cleaners

Remember that pristine, fresh, clean feeling of slipping behind the wheel of your new car? Cleaning the interior of your car may not restore that new car smell, but it will certainly improve the air quality. Washing the windows, getting rid of trash and clutter, and cleaning the carpet and seats can help you breathe easier and could even … um, well, improve your driving skills!

160

Homemade Wood and Laminate Floor Cleaner

The great thing about alcohol as a cleaning agent is that, like water, it has a nearly neutral ph—neither acidic nor alkaline. And it helps to dry the floor quickly. This makes alcohol the perfect ingredient in your homemade cleaner to clean, protect, and preserve beautifully finished wood and laminate floors.

162

9 Tips to Make Christmas Morning a Breeze

Early mornings are hard enough, but Christmas morning can easily morph from calm into all-out chaos. But not this year. That’s because time is on your side. Use it now to plan and prep, and you’ll give yourself the gift of sitting back, relaxing and enjoying this beautiful time together—knowing everything is under control. Here’s […]

163

Mary’s Favorite Things

  If you woke up this morning with a sense of panic realizing there are just days until Christmas, let me offer some sweet relief—a compilation of my favorite things that I have purchased from my own money, with all details updated and now gathered into one convenient place. You’re about to discover that my […]

164

How to Clean Wood Floors to Keep Them Looking Beautiful

Of all the choices in home flooring, wood stands out for many as the most beautiful. Add to that, wood is durable, coordinates well with any decor, and most Realtors agree that it improves the home’s value at resale. Knowing how to protect and clean wood floors is essential—and surprisingly easy.

165

What is an Air Fryer? Why You May or May Not Need One

Air fryer recipes are sweeping the nation, but what is an air fryer? How does it work? And most importantly, do you need one? Here’s the lowdown. What is an air fryer? Several years ago, a well-hyped, “miraculous” kitchen appliance appeared on the scene—the air fryer (or is it airfryer)? Either way, the message in […]

167

Homemade Stainless Steel Cleaner

You can skip the store-bought stainless steel cleaners, and make your own highly effective cleaner and polish using items you probably have already. Read on to learn how to create your own stainless steel cleaner for pennies and avoid buying expensive commercial cleaners.

169

14 Ways to Use Cheap Rubbing Alcohol Around the House and Garage

Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol is more than a medicinal cooling and soothing liquid for external application. Pour it into a good spray bottle and rubbing alcohol becomes an effective disinfectant and also a natural solvent to solve so many common but often annoying issues around a home and garage. Plus, it dries quickly and leaves no streaks.

170

Three Generic Cleaners Same as Brand Names but Cheaper

Most people are well familiar with the term “generic” when it comes to medications, a term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without all the fancy packaging and advertising.

Today I want to offer you cheap generic alternatives for these three popular cleaning products—Bar Keepers Friend, Super Washing Soda, and OxiClean.

174

How to Get Fabulous Results Treating Laundry Stains with Lestoil

Lestoil (“less toil”) Concentrated Heavy Duty Cleaner is a product that’s been around for at least a hundred years. Your mother probably used it on your clothes when you were a kid. It is a thick liquid stain treatment that is not easy to find, but it is really worth the effort. Lestoil, used properly, is the best laundry stain treatment when a stain is so stubborn we need to bring out the big guns!

175

This Homemade Silver Cleaner Removes Tarnish Like Magic

There’s no shortage of commercial silver cleaning products on the market these days. Those that I’ve tested generally do the job, but they’re messy, contain harsh chemicals and if that’s not bad enough—they’re expensive!

Good news. I have a simple, non-toxic, homemade silver cleaner recipe for your lovely silver pieces—chains, earrings, bracelets, flatware and heirlooms that’s cheaper, better and definitely faster, requiring little if any elbox grease.

176

15 Appliance Abuses That Are Costing You Money

Sad but true: Modern day home appliances are not made to last for decades the way our grandparents’ appliances did. It’s by design and called “built-in obsolescence.” Add to that, most appliances now have some kind of electronics that make them digital and in some cases, “smart!”

Modern appliances, as lovely and useful as they are, need to be treated with a lot more care than we might have imagined. Otherwise, we could be charged with committing appliance abuse! I’m talking about costly repairs.

Ready to give up your old ways? Me too! And here are 15 ways we can get started now. Today!

See you there … xo m

177

Ask Me Anything: Dry Slow Cooking, Clean Grout, Home Safe, Cloudy Glassware, Not-Drying Dryer, and Lots More!

I don’t mention it as often as I should, but the truth is that I’d be lost without you, my loyal, encouraging, and responsive audience. Thank you for being there every day and for filling my inbox to overflowing with your comments, questions, and outpourings of love and gratitude. Please don’t stop. Ever. Speaking of questions, let’s take a few from my proverbial mailbag …

178

24 Clever Non-Coffee Ways to Use Coffee Filters

It was a dumb mistake. I grabbed the biggest package of coffee filters—a pack of 1,000—only to discover much later that I’d picked up the wrong size for my coffeemaker.

Coffee filters aren’t expensive, which is probably the reason I didn’t bother returning them to the store. I suppose I should have tried, but I’m glad didn’t. I began finding all kinds of ways to use those filters for other things than making coffee …

179

How to Deep Clean a Garbage Disposal and Why You Need To

According to Prevention magazine, there are more than half a million bacteria in the kitchen sink, about 1,000 times more than the average toilet. The solution to this problem is to deep-clean a garbage disposal every couple of weeks. Mark the calendar. It’s easy and you can do this in twenty minutes flat using items from your freezer and pantry.

181

13 Reasons to Keep Borax in the House (and Why It’s Safe!)

Recently this desperate message with a subject line Dishwasher Disaster! washed up in my inbox. I came this close to ignoring that message because I didn’t have much to go on. There are so many variables. But then I stopped short, knowing the first thing I’d try if this were a problem in my kitchen …

183

How to Clean Gunk and Grime from Kitchen Cabinets

Got grimy kitchen cabinets? Don’t think you’re the only one. Unfortunately, wood cabinets—painted or natural with a clear finish—are prone to all sorts of grease, grime, and gunk from simply being in the kitchen. Depending on just how much grease and grime you’re looking at and the supplies you have available, there are several options to clean kitchen cabinets. At least one should help to get the job done—plus one final suggestion for how to keep your clean cabinets looking gorgeous!

185

Even More Brilliant Ways to Use Blue Dawn

I’m not certain when a subject becomes a saga, but I think we may have crossed over into saga territory on the subject of terrific ways to use Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid that have nothing to do with washing dishes. Get ready for even more brilliant uses in today’s post.

186

3 Ways to Clean a Bathtub So It Sparkles—While Standing

Cleaning the bathtub is one of those housekeeping chores that’s more pain than pleasure for those with health issues that make bending and kneeling difficult. Here to the rescue are three very effective and efficient ways to clean a tub while standing—even a tub that is deep and or jetted.

188

A Casserole Connoisseur’s Guide to Healthy Substitutions

It’s easy to see why casseroles have fallen out of favor with the weight- and health-conscious crowd. One serving of some casseroles can harbor an entire week’s worth of carbs or WW points. Luckily, it’s not difficult to trim the calorie count and step up the nutritional value of almost any casserole recipe around, even those typically laden with high-fat ingredients. You can make healthier versions that taste just as good.

189

Got Dingy Dirty Grout? This Product Will Clean It Like New (It’s Just $1.25)

Dingy, dirty tile grout. It’s a vexing problem. I know. I have a lot of tile and grout in my home, all of it white or light-colored. And without fail, within a couple of years of it being new, it gets more than dirty. No matter how diligent I am to clean it, that grout appears to be hopelessly stained. It is a problem for me. And for my readers, it’s right up in the questions I am asked most often.

192

Practical Tips to Help with Home Maintenance and Repair

Maintenance costs can put a serious dent in your budget and savings—a dent that’s tough to repair. And while there are certain things you definitely need an expert to handle, there are plenty of other situations in which you can make minor but meaningful repairs without the need to call in for professional support—while saving serious cash.

194

8 Super Useful Kitchen Gadgets

There’s just nothing like a clogged drain in a tub, sink, or shower to get the day off to a bad start. Ack! Now what? Gallons of caustic drain cleaner? A mad online search for an available plumber? Today, I want to share a fabulous anti-clog tool plus seven other kitchen gadgets that I love and […]

195

How to Make No-Rinse Daily Shower Cleaner—Cheaper Better Faster

The only thing better than making my own cleaning products is when what I make turns out to be cheaper, better, and faster than something I might buy in the store to accomplish the same goal.

This spray-and-walk-away Daily Shower Cleaner is the perfect solution to keep tubs and showers sparkling between major cleanings.

196

The Best Inexpensive Robot Vacuum (It Really Works!)

Vacuuming sucks. Literally. One year, my idea of giving our adult sons robot vacuums for Christmas was intended to help them with that odious chore.

What a disappointment. I learned much later that both guys used their robots for only a few months. They were ridiculously noisy, needed constant supervision, did a lousy job, and just more trouble than they were worth. They were annoying and couldn’t do the job. But that was then and this is now …

197

Window Air Conditioner: How to Fix It, Clean It, and Make it Like New

The heat of summer is giving millions of window-mounted air conditioners a real workout. Undoubtedly, many owners of said units will be wondering why their air conditioners aren’t working properly. In most situations, consumers can fix a window air conditioner themselves provided they have the right information and an inexpensive handy tool. If you have a window air conditioner in your home, here’s what you need to know to fix it, clean it and make it like new.

198

3 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score

What credit score is good? Sound like a super easy question, right? Well, it’s not. In fact, there is no single answer. It’s complicated! But you can forget all the confusion and concentrate on just three simple things and your credit score will take care of itself. Let me show you …

200

The Best Way to Clean a Painted Wood Floor

A message in my inbox this week came from Joan who asked, “What is the best way to clean a very grimy painted wood floor?” Before I get to an answer for Joan, let’s talk generally about wood floors and the difference between a painted wood floor and a finished wood floor …

201

Some (But Not All) Spray Bottles are Designed to Fail

Many commercial household cleaning products—glass and window cleaner for example—routinely come in a bottle with a handy sprayer. And that sprayer top? Don’t expect it to keep spraying for the long haul. It is designed to fail as soon as you use up the product. So maddening!

202

Rehab is for the Birds and More Great Reader Tips

If you’re planning a home rehab—or in the throes of that right now—just imagine how wonderful it would be if all it took to make the place like new was a spritz or two of our favorite odor-eliminating and cleaning spray. That’s all it took for some very lucky birds! Fresh home I have another […]

203

How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home and Yard Quick and Easy

If the arrival of summer is ushering an ant infestation into your home and yard, don’t panic. You may not require toxic pest control products or a professional service to take get rid of these pesky creatures. In fact, chances are good you already have everything you need to do it yourself. Or if you prefer a commercial product that is eco-friendly and really works fast, I’ve got that for you, too.

204

Washing Dishes By Hand vs. Dishwasher—Which is More Effective?

For many readers, handwashing dishes just feels better and something that’s hard to let go of, especially for those who don’t use enough dishes to fill the dishwasher more than a couple of times a week. But is low-tech handwashing just as effective as a high-tech dishwasher? Dishwasher vs hand washing water use? All things considered, the answer might surprise you.

206

8 Ways to Stop Glasses Fogging Up

If you wear eyeglasses, I’ll bet you’ve encountered a most annoying problem while wearing a mask—glasses fogging up. That makes it difficult, if not impossible, to see! But not to worry … today, a bunch of things we can do to stop glasses fogging up. See 🤓 you there, xo m

207

Help! I’m Drowning in an Upside Down Car Loan

It’s time once again to reach into my virtual mailbag to pull out a few questions from you, my dear readers!

A recent opportunity for readers to weigh in on what they like best and want they want to read more of here at Everyday Cheapskate revealed that answering reader mail is right up at the top of your favorites! (It’s mine, too!)

208

It’s a Smelly World Out There—Thank Goodness for Nok-Out

Nok-Out and I met quite by accident. In searching for ways my readers could deal with offensive odors, we found each other online. I’ve used it continuously in my home since then and have recommended it to readers facing serious and potentially expensive odor issues. If you need an odor-related miracle, read on …

209

Tips to Rescue Rust-Stained Sinks, Pitted Chrome, and Slow Running Drains

Isn’t it ironic that the places in our homes that should be the cleanest—the washing machine, kitchen sink, bathroom tub, shower, sinks—are often the most troubled? Harsh chemicals, soap deposits, food stains, rust, hard water minerals, and water spots, when allowed to build up, will eventually not only look bad but cause permanent and irreversible damage.

The good news is that you can halt—even reverse—much if not all of this kind of damage …

212

The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2020

No doubt about it, we can now say with confidence that hindsight is 2020. There it goes, washing away—the year never to be forgotten.

Today, a roundup of the 10 most popular Everyday Cheapskate posts in 2020 starting with #10 and working our way to the number one most popular …

217

My Perfect Kitchen Trash Can and Cheap Trash Bags, Too!

I know “hate” is a strong word, but that’s how I feel about trash. The most important trash receptacle is in the kitchen and it needs to be substantial in size, handy by location, as attractive as possible, impeccably clean, and covered. I want to tell you about what I’ve determined to be the best option…

221

Could You Go a Year Without Spending?

A few years back, Eric and Donna Reed shopped for groceries and household products only once a year. How on earth? I know. That was my reaction, too! How? Or maybe better … WHY?

The Reeds got the idea after reading a column in USA Today, wherein the writer confessed to his weakness when it came to buying clothes. So driven to buy new sweaters, slacks or shoes every time he stepped inside a clothing store, publicly he announced he was giving up buying anything for one full year.

Their story is fascinating enough. But how this all turned out will leave you slack-jawed. And wondering. Could you do it?

See you there … xo m

222

11 Surprising Ways Lemons Can Make Your Life Easier

Several years ago, my son gave me the bounty from the two fruit trees that pretty much rule his backyard. My Mother’s Day gift of Meyer lemons weighed in at 124 pounds. I know, lucky me!

I had to figure out ways to use, share, and preserve lemons in a big hurry. I juiced, cooked, and baked all kinds of lemon things. And I learned so many ways to use lemons in around the house, too! Who knew lemons could be so useful? Love, xo m

223

27 Ways to Use Baby Wipes That Don’t Require a Baby

Recently, in my never-ending quest to organize my home, I came across the half-full case of baby wipes I’d purchased more than five years ago when our younger grandson was born. My first thought was that since Sam is all potty trained now, I should find someone with a baby or donate them to the church […]

224

How to Make Glass, Mirror and Window Cleaner

If there’s one thing you confidently can stop buying ever again, it’s glass cleaner. You already have ingredients around the house that will work to clean glass, windows and mirrors—from vinegar to vodka (true!) to warm soapy water. The problem is that these items, used as single ingredients, have significant drawbacks.  Vinegar will do a fairly […]

225

Worst and Best Ways to Clean Your Eyeglasses

You just paid a small fortune for new eyeglasses. On top of the cost for prescription lenses and fashionable frames, you opted for Anti-Reflective, Anti-Scratch and UV Coatings too. 
After all, eyesight is a precious thing and it’s only wise to do all you can to protect it, right?

Absolutely! But here’s the deal: You may be destroying your investment every time you clean your glasses because you’re using the wrong cleaners and doing it all wrong.

Not to worry! In today’s post all the things to stop doing—followed by the best ways to keep the sparkling clean.

226

How to Buy Carpet—What You Need to Know to Make the Perfect Decision

It’s not something you buy every day. But when it’s time to buy carpet, you’ll want to know your stuff. Make a bad decision and you’ll pay dearly for a long time, and I am not talking just about the money. You’ll pay a significant price in dissatisfaction and disappointment, too.

When it comes to carpeting there are sooo many choices! And companies, and salespeople. It’s not easy to know who to trust. Truth be told, it’s best to educate yourself so you don’t have to rely on others to make the decisions.

In today’s post, I’ll help you sort through all the noise, identify, and then organize the information to come up with a simple roadmap.

See you there! Love, xo m

227

3 Ways to Unclog a Toilet—Quick and Easy!

No one likes to talk about it, but truth be told it happens. Toilets malfunction. They get clogged. Sure, it’s inconvenient but more than that, downright embarrassing if you’re somewhere other than the privacy of your own home. Here’s a cheat sheet so you’ll know ahead of time how to unclog a toilet because everyone needs to know how to unclog a toilet!

228

Mold and Mildew No Match for Magic Tub and Shower Potion

The only thing better than figuring out for myself how to do things cheaper, better and faster is when I get to teach these tips and tricks to my readers. Teaching this one to Mike was the best ever! His response just made my day. I think you will enjoy this, too. See you there … xo m

P.S. As some of you know we had some big technical difficulties yesterday with links in the email that refusted to link! Thanks to my crackerjack tech guy, all is fixed! Thanks to those who messaged me and for sticking with us through thick and thin ❣️

229

Going on Vacation? Make Your Own Plant Nanny Plus More Great Reader Tips

Every day I get loads of mail including wonderful notes, letters, and email messages from my awesome readers.

Tucked into many of those messages are tips, hints, tricks, and great ideas for the ways you save time and money every day. I’m pretty sure I have the best job on earth!

You’re going to love today’s post filled with great reader tips. Makes me wonder when I’ll be hearing from you with your best time- and money-saving tips and tricks!

See you there … Love, xo m

230

Is Homemade Laundry Detergent Safe to Use in Today’s Washing Machines?

It’s been many years now since I switched from commercial laundry detergent to making it myself—both powdered and liquid homemade laundry detergent. The ingredients are simple, the process quick and easy. But the real reason I made the switch? Money. It costs from $.30 to $.50 a wash using store-bought, name-brand laundry detergent—but only about […]

231

16 Surprising Ways Car Wax Can Make Your Life Easier

Chances are good that there’s an old can of car wax hanging out in your garage or basement. Now would be the time to find it, dust it off, and hope it’s not all dried out. Of course, car wax is good for waxing a car, but it’s handy in so many other ways around the […]

233

How to Remove Years of Kitchen Cabinet Grit and Grime

When did you last look at your kitchen cabinets? Not a passing glance, but an up-close visual study—paying particular attention to the areas around the knobs and handles that get touched thousands of times throughout the weeks and months?

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about and what I’m pretty sure my dear reader Sandy is talking about, too. She’s moving into a new-to-her house and she’s asking how to clean her grimy, gunky kitchen cabinets.

In today’s post I have 3 options for Sandy and any other readers who’d like to get their kitchen cabinets (painted or natural finish) back to their original beauty.

235

Stop Making These 5 Costly Hair Mistakes

No one knows your hair better than you do. But is it possible that in your efforts to keep it healthy and looking good, you are washing money down the drain needlessly? Consider these costly mistakes many people make.

236

Drive-Thru, Take-Out, Food Delivery—Is It Safe?

The news is constantly changing as experts learn more about the wicked virus that has invaded our world. Good, reliable information about food safety is absolutely crucial right now.

Restaurants have mostly moved into “to-go only” mode, closing their dining rooms but continuing to offer some combination of take-out, drive-thru, and home delivery. Can we rely on any of these options to keep us safe? Should we? Let’s check with the experts …

See you there! Love, xo m

237

Gardening Is Good for Your Heart and Soul

There’s nothing like a series of sunny days in late winter to awaken my inner gardener. I’m convinced this hobby improves both my mental and physical wellbeing and for very good reasons—six reasons, to be exact!

No matter where you are this morning or what the weather is like—whether you have little or plenty, if you’re feeling anxious or filled with optimism, I hope today’s post will bring you a spark of joy.

I want you to know that we are all in this virus challenge together—each one of us facing it under individual and unique challenges. With so many uncertainties, one thing I know for sure: We need each other—for support and care, You know where I am—right here for you. You know how to reach me. I love your messges so please keep in touch, realizing I am under a mountain of email! I read all, but cannot personally respond. I do that here … every morning.

Let’s get together now at today’s post. See you there! Luv, Mary 🌷❣️

238

My Annual Spring Clean Kitchen Challenge

On the one hand, these days, it can feel as though our lives have been turned upside-down. And right in the middle of so much uncertainty, I promise that spring will arrive precisely on time to remind us of things we can count on that never change. Image: tidbits-cami.com And just like that, I have […]

239

Surprisingly Useful Ways to Use a Vacuum Sealer

My FoodSaver vacuum sealer is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I vacuum- seal fresh fruit to extend the useful by at least two weeks, often much longer. I vacuum seal meat before I freeze it so it can last up to 3 years and still taste fresh, flavorful, and freezer-burn free. Prep ahead meals, leftovers, and produce stored in the fridge will stay fresh up to weeks later instead of spoiling in days.

I could go on and on about how my FoodSaver saves our food bill, but today I want to tell you the useful ways I use a FoodSaver that have nothing to do with food! See you there! Love, xo m

240

I Searched, Tested, Tried—Behold, The Secret to Keeping White Laundry Brilliantly White

If you’ve ever sent perfectly functional household linens or clothing items to the rag bag simply because they turned a dingy shade of gray when you expected your white laundry to come out brilliantly white, help is on the way.

Dingy gray is usually a sign of a build-up of too much detergent that is not getting rinsed away completely in the rinse cycle. If you have well water or hard water that contains unusually high amounts of iron, that could also be contributing to this problem. White vinegar doesn’t necessarily help to whiten clothes. We use it in the rinse cycle to help release all of the detergents. But that may not be sufficient.

Here’s a frugal way to fix and also prevent this problem of white and light-colored items like sheets, shirts, and towels taking on an ugly shade of pale gray…

241

Questions: Double Stroller, Dehumidifier, Car Trash, Lestoil, Rust Spots, Coffee Beans, and More

Have I told you lately about my email inbox? It’s a mess. And today I’m ready to clean it up big time by answering 11 questions, each one of them representing dozens more with substantially the same request.

What’s inside? Here are the questions I will answer in today’s post:

1. Best double stroller

2. Best Inexpensive dehumidifier

3. That really great car trash can

4. Rust spots on stainless steel sink

5. Laundry stain remover, say what?

6. Shark vacuum … but which one?!

7. Cleaner for icky, greasy, grimy, cabinets

8. Source for green coffee beans, please

9. Hardwood, laminate floor recipe

10. Source for bar mops

11. Fumigate a space that reeks of tobacco smoke

Once you get there, you’ll be able to click on a specific question to jump to the answer or read straight through.

See you there! Love, Mary xo ❣️

242

How to Clean Steam Irons and Granite Countertops—Cheap and Easy!

These days its nearly certain that there’s a pricey product available to clean just about anything. But why spend the money when you can make your own homemade products that perform just as well from ingredients you may have already in your cupboards and pantry? I’m talking cheaper, faster, and quite possibly better! …

See you there … xo m ❣️

243

Our Top 5 Favorite Homemade Cleaners (Cheap, Easy to Make!)

If there’s one place you can really cut household spending, it’s cleaning products. The cost of most home cleaning products is getting outrageous.

These 5 cleaning products you can make yourself (so easy!) are downright cheap and perform as well, maybe better, than their commercial cousins! Prepare to be amazed. See you there … m ❣️

244

How to Beat Clutter and Improve Your Life

Getting organized is like dieting. Everyone knows how to do it—you clear out the clutter, cleverly organize what remains, and then maintain the results, right? Uh, not so fast.

For many of us knowing is not enough. It takes more than that …

246

Best Inexpensive Steam Iron

There’s something soothing and instantly gratifying about a good steam iron with a heft of heat and steam gliding back and forth over wrinkled fabric. Find the best steam iron with the best features at the best price—that’s the challenge. But fear no more: I’ve made all the mistakes, faced all the challenged, and come up with the best options for you …

247

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth Money in the Bank

Today’s topic is not pretty, but unless you have $8,000 earmarked to treat periodontal disease, an ounce of good dental care could prevent a lot of dental and financial pain.  Periodontal disease is an infection that destroys the attachment fibers and supporting bones that hold the teeth in the jaw bone and the bone itself. […]

248

Stop Wasting Money on Kitchen Tools That Do Only One Thing

Celebrity chef Alton Brown contends that a kitchen tool that does only one job is mostly useless. He calls anything like a pickle fork, garlic press, strawberry stem remover, or hot dog steamer a “unitasker.” His advice? Don’t waste your time and money on any kitchen tool if it is only good for one thing. It […]

249

Make Your Own Natural Non-Toxic Ant Spray

If you’ve ever had to deal with an invasion of ants, you may know the meaning of exasperation. While the kids think ants are so cute the way they march in formation, stop to help one another, and work hard to prepare for their own life challenges ahead, it’s better to study these amazing creatures than […]

256

Your Cordless Stick Vac Needs a Bath—Photo Tutorial

Rarely do I gush. But gush I do over my Eufy Cordless Stick Vac*. Can’t help it. Eufy is so handy, easy to use, and serves us so well in our home, office, garage, and alas, my husband’s woodworking shop. Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner (NOT to be confused with the Eufy Duo 2-in-1 […]

258

Help! Issues with Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner

If I were keeping track of the number of responses from my readers that are filled with praise and gratitude, there would be thousands of hash marks next to Tub and Shower Soap Scum Cleaner. And the most-often word to describe it? Magical!
But now and then a response will report problems having to do with allergies and, well … that smell!

259

That Bed Sheet Pet Peeve, How to Soften Hard Water for Laundry

It may not show up in The Top Tens Biggest Pet Peeves (yes, there is such a thing), but getting the corners right when putting on a fitted bed sheet ranks high in my mailbox.
Here’s the funny thing: Because it doesn’t bother me, I had no idea that quickly figuring out which corner goes where when putting on a fitted bed sheet was a major pet peeve for so many people! I guess I’ve lived my life just assuming that everyone knew the easy trick to get it right the first time, every time. 

260

Best Inexpensive: Mattress, Bed Pillows, Duvet Cover

The idea to buy a mattress online and have it shipped to your home is still rather mind-boggling. It seems so risky, to say nothing of dubious quality. Like who would do such a thing? It’s a concept whose time has come and one that’s here to stay. The idea of a bed that fits in […]

261

Keep Kitties Out of the Kids’ Sandbox

Pop Quiz: What looks like water, is certainly inexpensive, has a pungent odor but is not toxic (in fact you can drink it if you like); is biodegradable, serves as a useful disinfectant and will repel kitties from your kids’ sandbox? Give up? Read on to learn the answer in today’s first great reader tip.

262

Ask Me Anything: Formica Restore, Silverfish Relief, Party Pressure

Recently, I reached into the pile known as my mail and pulled out a great question, “How can I restore the finish to an original, classic mid-century modern Formica top table that has some noticeable dull spots?” I have the answer but misplaced the letter. So while I don’t know your name, you know who you are and that’s all that matters.

263

Ask Me Anything: Concrete Stains, Yellowed Whites, Power Toothbrush

Every day when I open my inbox, I find dozens, if not hundreds, of questions from the audience. Want to know the most-asked-about subject? Stains. Nasty, ugly, stubborn stains on everything you can imagine from concrete to laundry, and teeth, too. There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a […]

266

Smart Gifts for College-Bound Grads

Although my grandsons are still quite young, I’m keeping this excellent reader tip handy for when they graduate from high school. What a great idea! When our grandchildren started graduating from high school and heading off to college, we wanted to give them money each month during their first year. So in their high school graduation card we enclosed […]

267

For the Love of a Good Steam Iron

While it’s true that life is uncertain, there’s at least one thing of which I am very sure: I will never be held hostage for refusing to iron. Unlike Mrs. Tyrrell whose son Robert, according to police, held her at gunpoint for six hours because she refused to iron his clothes (reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), I love […]

268

Readers in Search of Help with Ants and Sharks

The best part of my job as your humble columnist is the mail I get from my loyal readers. I had to laugh today when the first two letters I pulled from my inbox requested help with ants and … sharks!   There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, […]

270

Immersion Therapy for Mobile Phone Droppers

A mid-west sewer authority did a study and came up with data alleging that 19 percent of people admit to having dropped their phones in the toilet. I’m not sure why this fact would be of interest to a sewer agency, but it did come to mind when this letter washed up on my desk a […]

271

How Does $500 Sound in Exchange for a Scratch or Dent?

DEAR MARY: I love your columns that I read in our local newspaper. We need to purchase a new washing machine and would like your recommendation. I tried to find a column you previously wrote on this subject but was unsuccessful. We need a large capacity machine for our large family. Thank you. Monica DEAR […]

272

Readers Report Nok-Out to the Rescue

Faithful readers know I’m crazy for a product, Nok-Out. I travel with it and live it with. Actually, I wouldn’t want to live without it.    Nok-Out is both an odor eliminator and germicide (bacterial and viral). The best thing: No fumes, no perfume—absolutely not toxic. It looks like water, safe for pets, home, and […]