Dear Mary: What is a safe disinfectant for colored clothes, such as underwear and bath towels? I can’t use chlorine bleach, and since I usually wash my colored clothes in cold water, I do not feel like I am getting them sanitized enough. Thanks. Sherri
Dear Sherri: Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill tested conventional household disinfectants, hospital disinfectants and natural alternatives to measure each product’s ability to kill specific hazardous microbes. Their results show that white vinegar killed 90 percent of germs without regard to the temperature of the water.
Sounds pretty good until you realize that leaves a 10 percent chance for Salmonella, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus viruses, Influenza A2 virus and Herpes Simplex Type 1 to live on. A product like Lysol disinfectant, on the other hand, kills 99.9 percent of those germs.
Just a reminder that water at 120 F degrees water (hot) plus laundry detergent is sufficient to kill ordinary household germs without the need for an added disinfectant.
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Dear Mary: I have a sticky situation. My parents are in their mid-fifties and I think they spend way too much money. They have been in big financial trouble in the past and have gotten out of it, but I am starting to see the same type of spending that got them in trouble before.
They both work and make very good money. However, I know that they are not saving a lot of it. They are paying for student loans (theirs not mine) and home improvement loans. I also see them spending a lot of money on other things. These are not extravagant things like cars or trips, but like you said before it appears to me that they are five- and ten-dollaring themselves to death.
I am worried about their future. My mother makes comments about how her children will hopefully help them out if they need it when they are elderly. At this rate, I know they will need help if they don’t start cutting back and saving. Retirement age is coming quickly.
I have my own family, plus college educations to pay for. Of course, I love them and would do anything I could to help them in the future, but at the same time, I feel like they should start worrying now about their future, and not rely on their kids.
What can I say or do that can help them? I don’t want to offend them, but I also want them to be able to have a happy retirement. Mary Alice
Dear Mary Alice: While it’s impossible to force change in a person who doesn’t want to change, never underestimate the influence you might have on them. Your enthusiasm for what you are learning and doing to prepare for your future can be contagious.
Without criticizing their lifestyle or perceived spending habits, tell your parents what you’ve just told me, that you are worried for their future. Statistics say they’re going to live many years in retirement. But most of all, talk about your own successes with saving and planning for your kids’ educations.
Your genuine concern for them might just be the catalyst that gets them thinking in new ways.