A New Kitchen is Her Reward for Getting Out of Debt

Imagine for a moment that you were not in debt and didn’t have to send those big payments to credit-card companies every month. What would you do with that money instead?

One reader whom I heard from recently faced that exact, and may I say awesome, situation. Her reward for getting out of debt was the freedom to start paying herself every month instead of Visa and MasterCard!

Recently, after saving for 10 years, I paid cash to remodel my kitchen with stainless steel sinks, granite countertops and new wood cabinets. I’ve been reading your columns and newsletter for many years and used your Debt-Proof Living method to get out of debt and stay out. What advice do you have for caring for my new sinks, counters and cabinets? Thanks, Mary, for changing my debt-ridden life to a beautiful debt-free life! Karen

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Dear Karen: Getting out of debt is no small feat, but once you hit that goal, the money you were sending to credit-card companies each month was yours to save. You did it exactly right and I am so proud of you!

STAINLESS STEEL SINK

Daily Stainless Steel Cleaner. Start with a clean 16-oz. spray bottle. Pour in 1 1/3 cups white vinegar, 5 drops Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent and 2/3 cup water. Apply the spray top and shake to mix.

To use: Simply spray on stainless steel sink (appliances, too) then scrub with a cloth or sponge to clean, rinse well then buff with a dry microfiber cloth to shine. (Be sure to label this product clearly, as you DO NOT want to use it on natural countertops of granite, marble or stone because it contains vinegar.)

Then once a week, or as needed, scrub the sink with Bar Keepers Friend cleanser and warm water. Unlike porcelain sinks, durable stainless steel stands up well to abrasive cleansers. BKF is by far the best cleanser for stainless. Remember always to scrub in the direction of the polish lines (look closely and you’ll be able to see these grain lines in your sink) then rinse well with hot

Ask Me Anything: Blue Dawn Shampoo, Body Wash

There are days when I open my mailbox and have to sit down because I’m laughing so hard. Some things just strike me funny. Turns out this time, though, the last laugh was on me.

I am a cheapskate. I read your column for hot tips, particularly about Blue Dawn Dishwashing liquid. Recently I have begun to use Dawn for a hair shampoo. My wife is aghast. She says my hair is going to turn blue and I will smell. She claims that shampoos have an acid base balance that ensures shiny luxurious hair. Do you have an opinion? How about using it for body wash, as well? Bill

Dear Bill: l have to admit that I was a bit aghast myself as I read your letter. And I came this close to firing off a response siding with your wife but stopped short by sending myself on a research expedition so I could tell you exactly why you should listen to her and never ever shampoo or shower with Blue Dawn.

Boy, was I in for a shock. Not only could I not find credible reasons to not use Blue Dawn for personal care, I discovered a cult-like following of people out there who swear by the stuff not only for hair care and body wash but as a very effective acne treatment, too.

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.

vintage formica and chrome kitchen table set

Dear Reader: Don Aslett, America’s #1 Cleaning Expert says to brighten dull or scratched laminate, rub it down with Jubilee Kitchen Wax (a venerable product, still available online) or a good paste car wax, Meguiar’s Gold Class CarnaubaJust follow the instructions on the package. By the way, Jubilee Kitchen Wax is for use on almost anything: cars, boats, bikes, countertops, skis, your glasses, but don’t apply it to floors. It’s too slick. As I recall you are very fond of your table, so if you don’t already have one of the recommended products, a $10 investment might be worth the price.

Dear Mary: I have a silverfish problem in my home. Nothing I have tried works. Please help. Helene

Dear Helene: Silverfish are such a pesky problem. They’re nocturnal, so you won’t see them much during the day. And silverfish are so hardy they can go without food for up to a year. When they do eat, they find cardboard and wallpaper to be quite tasty.

An excellent pesticide for silverfish is food-grade diatomaceous earth, available at garden centers or hardware stores. Make certain you purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth, NOT the variety used in swimming pools, which has been chemically altered and will not work as a pesticide.

When silverfish and other crawling insects come in contact with the powdery substance they dehydrate. Even silverfish cannot live without water.

Ask Me Anything: Dirty Dishwasher, Charged-Off Debt

From dishwashers to debt, readers of this blog ask great questions. And if statistics can be trusted, we know that for each one who asks there are 999 others who have the same question but just haven’t gotten around to asking, yet!

 

Do you have any suggestions for cleaning the inside of a dishwasher? I have seen packaged cleaners in the supermarket, but are they worth the money? Kelly

Dear Kelly: While I’m a big fan of Glisten Dishwasher Magic Cleaner for that once-a-year major dishwasher cleaning, I do have a super-cheap solution that works really well for routine maintenance.

You’ll need three packets unsweetened lemonade Kool-Aid powder—about $.25 each, available in any supermarket or online by the case of 48.

Divide the contents of three packets between the two detergent cups. Run the dishwasher empty on the hottest, longest cycle. Lemonade Kool-Aid is loaded with citric acid, which will remove rust, hard water build-up and soap scum—leaving the dishwasher sparkling clean. Just know that lemonade is the only Kool-Aid flavor that works for this task.

Letters to the Editor: Lo-Bak Trax, Bad Hair Days, ID Theft, Freezer Tricks, Pay it Forward, Simplify Christmas

I wish you could see my email inbox. No, wait. What I really mean is I’m grateful you can’t see it.  It’s in chaos. I get so much mail and while I genuinely appreciate every single message, it’s the sheer volume of mail that has created such a challenge for me.

My goal in 2018 is to get on top of this situation with a killer organizational tool or better yet, perhaps a virtual assistant. Your comments, ideas, and general feedback are like pure gold to me. More than that, communication with my readers charges my batteries. That is something that I need and have come to depend on.

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Today, I reached into the mountain of mail and pulled out a handful of comments to past posts  to share with you.

Comments to How I Spent Forty Bucks to Avoid Surgery

Thank you very much for bringing this simple device, Lo-Bak Trax to my attention. I have been using my Lo-Bak Trax only once a day, before bed, for almost three weeks, but what an improvement! I am walking longer, farther and with almost no pain. I will use it several times a day, as you recommend [after the holidays. That is my New Year’s resolution. Living in Italy, I certainly would never have heard of it were it not for your column. Peter

We ordered and received a Lo-Bak Trax. It came with no instructions for its use. Can you help? Betty

Oh, that is terrible! You need instructions, for sure. I suggest you watcho THIS VIDEO, which is very instructional and clear in how to use Lo-Bak Trax. And HERE is a link to the printed instruction manual. This is a wonderful device. However, it’s not an overnight fix. Truly you must commit to three weeks straight—at least 21 days in a row—using it 4 to 5 times each day to get started. It is not difficult and it doesn’t hurt. In fact, if feels great, so it’s something I want to do as often as possible. After three weeks you should see a HUGE difference. In fact, when I am faithful to do this every day (and for the rest of my life), I am pain-free. Love this thing! –mh

I have followed your hair routine for four months, and I have never had such reliably good hair in my entire life. This has saved me so much time and angst! Thank you so much for sharing this. Kathy in Indiana

Ask Me Anything: Linty Dryer Balls, Grease Relief, Fingerprints on Stainless Steel

Does this happen to you? You get so involved in doing something that you completely lose track of time? You’re shocked to look up and see it’s time to go home when it feels like you just got back from lunch. Or you sit down for a few minutes to start a new book and suddenly you’re on Chapter 21.

woman reading a book and drinking coffee

Happens to me when I open my email inbox. I can blow through four hours without ever looking up.

There is a theory floating around that smart people are more likely to lose track of time (we like that theory, right?) but also solid research to show that artists lose track of time when they are fully engaged in their artwork.

I suspect that the more often a person is fully engaged in whatever he or she is doing, the more likely that person is to lose track of time. All that to say, I really enjoy the mail I get from you, my dear readers.

Dear Mary: I have not used fabric softener for more than a year. Instead, I now use white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser of my washer and wool dryer balls in the dryer. I love everything about this new routine except some of my dark colored items are picking up white lint from the dryer balls. I have tried a sticky roller like you would use for pet hair to get this lint off my dark wool socks, without success. The only thing that works is to pick the lint off by hand. Any suggestions? Gail

Dear Gail: I know that problem—and the solution.

Ask Me Anything: Bath Mat Repair, Wood Cleaner, Keurig Safety

Got a slippery throw rug? A bathmat that’s lost its backing after just one too many trips to the clothes dryer? Today’s first reader can certainly identify.

I’ve got good news for both of you—something you may have already that’s sitting on a shelf in the garage.

Mary M. asks: Is there any way to rescue throw rugs that have lost their rubber backing? They are no longer safe on the floor when they slip around, but the tops are in perfect shape. I hate to throw them out. There must be some kind of adhesive backing available to buy or make.

There is. In fact, you have a couple of options:

To Repair: To give a bath mat or other type of area rug some traction to give it a new lease on life, flip it over, and apply lines of acrylic-latex caulk every 6 inches or so. Once dry, you can safely use that rug again; the rubbery strips of caulk will hold it in place.

Repair area rug rubber backing with vinyl-latex caulk

To Restore: Another option is an excellent product, Fiber-Lok Non-Skid Rug Backing. You may be able to find this locally at select Staples, Joann and Walmart stores, and also online at Amazon. It comes in size options of pint, quart, and gallon. From my research, Amazon offers the best price with the added benefit of Prime shipping on the pint- and quart-size options.

Ask Me Anything: Lease or Buy, Laundry Detergent Confusion

Pop quiz: What do car leases and laundry detergent have in common? Both can be confusing! Just ask today’s readers whose respective questions  washed up in my inbox ….

Husband and wife have mixed emotions over driving and old car

Dear Mary: My wife and I are having a disagreement. I want to lease a new car now because ours is old and paying for repairs is like flushing money down the drain. She wants to keep it until we can afford to buy better car. I hate car trouble and think peace of mind is something to be considered. I’m sure we can afford the payment but she’s not. What should we do? James

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