Two cats on a bed

Great Tips From Great Readers

I can’t think of a better day than today to reach into the mailbag and pull out a few great tips submitted by—you guessed it—my great (loyal, faithful, awesome) readers!

Two cats on a bed


As the owner of two cats, I finally found a wonderful solution to the problem of finding a bedspread fabric durable enough to withstand the constant removal of fur and chafing of paws. Outdoor Living Tablecloths makes custom outdoor tablecloths using Sunbrella® material. Following their directions for taking measurements, I ordered a custom “tablecloth” bedspread for my queen size bed and have been using it now for seven months. It has held up beautifully, cleans like a dream and for sheer hardwearing, long-lasting quality, I think the price is a great deal. ~ Robin

Previously: Best Inexpensive Stick Vacuum—Finally!



I never used a rinse aid in my dishwasher, because we live in an area that doesn’t have particularly hard water that results in water spots left on glassware. I learned the hard way that rinse aids (like Finish Jet-Dry) have another more important use—they help to keep the dishwasher’s drain line running clean. Found this out from the repairman when our dishwasher wasn’t draining. The line was completely clogged—Yuck! ~ Elizabeth

Must read: Know Thy Dishwasher


Wipe down a smelly microwave oven with a weak solution of water and Head and Shoulders shampoo. Just fill a spray bottle with water and add a couple of drops of the shampoo. Head and Shoulders shampoo will get the stink out of anything. Try it! ~ Carol

Related: Can This Microwave Be Saved?



I just read your cleaning procedure for stained pillows. Why not avoid the dirt and stains in the first place? I am aware of how disgusting pillows can become, so I buy waterproof fabric zippered pillow protectors from Wal-Mart (also online here for about $4 each in a 4-pack). They’re inexpensive and also protect your pillows from equally disgusting dust mites. With a pillowcase on top, my pillows look brand new. ~ Rita

Here it is: How to Get Yellow-Stained Bed Pillows White Again



The easiest way remove the odors from silicone (ice cube trays, the gasket on your Instant Pot) is to … bake it! Preheat your oven to 250 F., then set the clean-but-still-stinky silicone items on a sheet tray then into the oven. After about 20 minutes, give them the smell test. If there is still any trace of a lingering odor, return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Provided these items area 100% silicone (that IP gasket is, for sure), this will take care of that lingering stench of garlic and onions. ~ Cate

Useful: Instant Pot Quick Start Guide

Yesterday’s post: Worst and Best Ways to Grill Chicken

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7 replies
  1. Jeannie
    Jeannie says:

    Dishwasher: Not only do I use Jetdry, I also occasionally use Glisten Dishwasher Magic (learned about this product on Everyday Cheapskate). This last product has really made a difference in my dishwasher’s performance; it cleans everything including the plumbing. ( I also learned from that same post to run the tap till hot before starting the dishwasher; that will ensure my dishwasher uses the hottest water.)

  2. Bluefish3846
    Bluefish3846 says:

    Great tips. However, I have a caution on the baking of the silicone. One of the ways engineers test plastics is to artificially age them by baking at higher temperatures. Baking silicone may get the odor out but it will also hasten its age so it may not last as long.

      • Bluefish3846
        Bluefish3846 says:

        Yes, that sounds right. Heating the silicone expands the molecules which releases the odor. Silicone is more heat-resistant than most plastics so my caution is probably overkill but it came to my mind as I read the tip.

  3. Kimberley Hunter
    Kimberley Hunter says:

    Another tip that I’m not sure has ever been published on this blog: the baking soda and vinegar trick works on toilets too. Use it the same way you would use it on a drain. Equal parts of baking soda and vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes, then chase it with a full kettle of boiled water. I have a toilet that’s a little weak sometimes, and this helps.

    • Crystal Blackburn
      Crystal Blackburn says:

      I read (on another website) where someone was replying to a post talking about pouring hot water (boiling even) in a toilet for clogs and for cleaning. The reply was that she had thought it was a great idea until she melted the wax ring between the toilet and the floor.

  4. Jan New
    Jan New says:

    Head and Shoulders shampoo can also be used on dogs with dandruff. It kills the fleas, soothes the coat and makes the dog smell better.


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