How to Remove Icky Sticky Stuff, Home Chef Feedback, and Best Inexpensive™ Steam Iron

I harbor a little-known secret. I only know a lot of the stuff I know because I’ve learned it from my kind and sharing readers. And the longer I do this thing I do, the more I learn.

The wealth of knowledge I have gained from you in nearly three decades of this relationship is awesome. And every day, it seems, I learn something new.

Dear Mary: I highly recommend De-Solv-It. It is a citrus oil-based degreaser and sticker remover that I have used over the past several years. It is non-toxic. Here is a recent example, I purchased a used softcover library book at Half Price Books (a wonderful chain, by the way) which had tape covering the spine and on the cover. I put a small amount on the edges of the tape and allowed it to seep in overnight. The next morning I was able to peel it over pretty easily with no discernible damage to the cover. Thank you for all of the good advice over the years. Ted

Dear Ted: I raced to get me a small spray bottle of De-Solv-It to test before mentioning this find to my dear readers. Wow! You are right about how well De-Solv-It works to remove all kinds of icky sticky stuff (not that I have a houseful of icky stuff needing removal or anything, ha!) I should have opted for the better-value 12-oz. size De-Solv-It from the get-go. This is exactly the kind of product I need in my arsenal of home rescue products. Thanks for this great recommendation.

Dear Mary: Thank you for recommending Home Chef. I have tried many of the home delivery meal kits and we have found that Home Chef is the best tasting and gets high marks from my husband and 9-year-old son. I have also found that it is very easy to stretch a two-serving dinner meal to feed our family of three.

I believe what sets Home Chef apart is their delectable pan sauces. There is always ample sauce to feed more than two adults. I buy beef sirloin steaks in bulk from Costco and freeze the steaks individually. I do the same with chicken breasts and thighs.

Then, when a Home Chef box arrives, I take out an extra steak or chicken piece from my freezer for each meal and add it to the meal kit. I also add an extra potato from my pantry to meals that have a potato side dish. The best part is there is no extra trip to the grocery store. Thanks again for your recommendation. Jennifer

Dear Jennifer: I am so happy to know you are enjoying Home Chef, too. I couldn’t agree more that Home Chef is by far the best option out there—it’s the cheapest to start with (a very good place to start), and you’re right about the portion sizes. And oh, the food—especially the meat, poultry, and fish—so fresh. You mentioned the pan sauces. Makes me feel like a rockstar chef when I can do that, and from scratch!

One last thing and then I’ll end this little love fest—Home Chef, unlike the others, has only a 2-meal minimum requirement. Oh, and one more thing (sorry): I love that I can skip a week or even put the service on hold indefinitely with no problem at all. For anyone wanting to take Home Chef for a test drive, here’s a $30 voucher so you can do that! I think you’ll agree with Jennifer, and me too!

Related: How to Use Meal Kits to Cut Your Food Costs

Dear Mary: Can you recommend a good, relatively inexpensive steam iron? Mine has begun to spit water and ends up soaking the fabric I’m trying to iron. I use distilled water only. Thanks for your help. Betty

Dear Betty: The Sunbeam Steam Master is, hands down, my choice for the Best Value steam iron on the market today. This 1400-watt iron has an anti-drip feature, a non-stick soleplate, and 8-foot retractable cord. While it takes about 8 minutes to fully heat up due to the lower wattage, it produces a constant heft of steam, has a good size reservoir, uses tap water and has an auto-off feature. About $30.

Rowenta DW5080 Focus 1700-watt steam iron is my choice for Best of the Best in the event you want to upgrade. It heats up fast, has 400 micro-steam holes, a high capacity reservoir; uses tap water, has 3-way auto-off and the centered cord makes it ideal for either right- or left-handed operation. I just can’t say enough good things about this iron. It’s a beautiful thing. About $65.

One last thing—not all steam irons are to be used with distilled water. I know it sounds odd because it just makes sense to not fill a steam iron with mineral-rich tap water! But I suggest you read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If directed to use tap water (many do these days), use tap water. Failure to do that can cause harm and/or early death of that appliance.

Related: Best Inexpensive™ Steam Irons

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