Magical Solutions for Challenging Situations

Sometimes it’s the most unusual thing that turns out to be the magical solution for a  household problem. Things like a hairdryer, a bottle of essential oil, or a tube of toothpaste.


Dear Mary: We had a very bad dark pink 7-foot stain in our white fiberglass whirlpool bathtub from previous antifreeze winterizing. I’d tried many things to remove the awful stain, including baking soda, soft scrub, bleach, scrubbing bubbles, and mildew stain remover, among other things.

I was about to give up and live with the long ugly pink stain when I tried non-gel toothpaste. It came off 100%! The tub is beautiful and sparkles again. I don’t know if anyone else might have this issue or a similar one, but I wanted to share this one with you. Gail

Dear Gail: Wow, that’s amazing! Thanks for letting us know. For readers running for the toothpaste to treat their own similarly stubborn stains, let me caution to always test in an inconspicuous place to make sure you will not be making an already difficult situation even worse. That’s just a good idea. And, as always, I’d love to hear from anyone for whom this tip saves the day.

Dear Mary: Regarding Home Chef, my husband is on a strict low-salt diet. I would love to be able to subscribe to Home Chef since I am his caregiver. But HC meals are too high in salt. In addition, anyone with high blood pressure should not eat such high salt meals on a regular basis. There seems to be so much concern for meals for diabetics and gluten-free folks, but low salt meals are not given the same emphasis. Linda

Dear Linda: Have you tried Home Chef? In each HC meal kit are the basic raw fresh ingredients all perfectly portioned to serve two, four. or six, together with the step-by-step instructions including beautiful photos to illustrate every step.

Everything is included in the meal kit except for salt, pepper, and olive oil—the three items that you, the home chef, provide, something that is clearly disclosed. I’m happy about this because not only am I super picky about the kind of salt I cook with (Remond Real Salt), I want to decide how much or how little salt to use. Same with the pepper, and often the oil, too.

The instructions for every HC meal says exactly how much salt to use, but you have complete control over that. If you want low salt, don’t use as much salt. If you want no salt, no salt it is. You have 100% control. That’s just another thing to love about Home Chef.

I can still offer you a this $35 Coupon for your first Home Chef order, should you like to give it a try. I think you and your husband are going to love how this service works, the delicious meals, and that it can truly cut your food costs.

Dear Mary: I have spiders and their nests on the outside of my house. I was wondering if your Safe and Effective Ant Spray would work to kill spiders, too. Thanks! Karen

Dear Karen: Yes, I’m confident that spray will be effective on spiders (and other small creepy things, too) to stop them in their tracks and send them off to spider heaven. Spiders hate the smell of peppermint, so at the very least that is going to send them away. The addition of the tea tree oil and cayenne only helps to seal the deal.

Dear Mary: I am the lucky recipient of a beautiful wood pub table. It has wax stuck to it from people blowing out candles on it. How do I fix this without scraping it with a knife? Thank you, Kathy

Dear Kathy: Try hitting it with the heat from a hairdryer set to Low and hold it there until you can gently peel the candle wax away with your fingers. Once removed, use a soft cloth to buff the area. Wax is good for furniture finishes, so that should help it look even more beautiful!


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11 replies
  1. Bear says:

    Stop demonizing salt. Our bodies require sodium chloride for many bodily functions. In the last century the average person consumed two tablespoons of salt per day. It’s not salt that is killing us, it’s poly unsaturated fats (seed oils).

  2. Priscilla Khirfan says:

    I wonder if Gail’s toothpaste idea would help me. I had a toilet that was dripping from the back. Until I could get a plumber I laid newspaper there to catch the drips. When we removed the newspaper the cream vinyl floor had black smudges from the newspaper. We tried several brands of cleaner including bleach. Nothing phased it. So if anyone has an idea for me I would be so thankful. I will try the toothpaste for now.

    • Cathy says:

      Hi Priscilla. I love Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It gets off all marks and smudges and doesn’t scratch. I’d give that a try. Good luck! 🙂

  3. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for sharing Gail’s tip about using toothpaste for stubborn stains. The grout on the tile floor of my shower was beginning to take on an orange/pink hue. I tried scrubbing with every cleaner I could think of. Then, tried toothpaste, applied just a little bit, then used a nylon brush, results were nice and bright white grout again!

  4. Judy says:

    Mary, I am interested in your reason for using Redmond Real Salt when it is so much more expensive than regular salt or other salts? What makes it such a favorite of yours when you are the Everyday Cheapskate who wants to save money in little and big ways.

  5. Genie says:

    My plumber said I wouldn’t need to call him for plugged kitchen sinks if I just poured boiling water down the drain now and then. I now boil extra water for tea or coffee and pour the rest down the drain. Works well for me.

  6. Kay Jones says:

    I remember my mother using an old towel or washcloth and an iron to remove wax from a table. She just put the towel on the wax and ironed with a low heat until it melted and was then melted into the towel.

  7. labbie1 says:

    Mary, I was excited to try out Home Chef since we travel full time in our 5th wheel and space is at a premium so receiving just the amounts that I need for meals seemed like an excellent fit!
    My husband, like Linda’s above, is on a restricted sodium diet. The sodium content in the recipes is mostly not from the salt and pepper used when cooking the vegetables, etc, but is hidden in the ingredients sent to make the recipes such as Heavy Whipping Cream, Pearl Onions, Red Cooking Wine (Cooking wine is HEAVILY laden with sodium), demi-glace, salted butter, cheese, bread crumbs (check out the sodium in one slice of bread! Yikes!), Sour Cream, chicken is brined, etc. Packaged seasonings are mostly salt (which is why I make my own seasonings such as Taco Seasoning and Fajita seasoning etc) At 1,400-1,600 mg of sodium in the recipe (without the salt used for sprinkling on the meat or veggies), these are definitely very high in sodium for anyone. They also have a fairly high fat content at about 30+gm of fat.
    I thought their veggies and meats were very good quality, but if I just get the meat and veggies and don’t use the rest of the items nor the recipes, it loses something for us and really defeats the purpose of not having to carry larger containers of condiments.
    I made it work by cooking instead of going out for our one meal out for the week so that we could keep the sodium controlled, but that is not a long-term solution for us.
    We also found the portions to be small unless you wanted to add a fresh salad or desert which means you have to go to the store to purchase fresh produce and desert items which kind of takes away from the convenience of home delivery and the thought of not having to go shopping.
    As with anything, Home Chef is not a one size fits all and each person has to evaluate according to their dietary restrictions. For us, the portions, fat and especially the very high sodium content is not going to work, unfortunately.

  8. Cally says:

    I’ve been impressed with Home Chef for the most part. I watch the recipe selections for ways to not add salt to our meals-those with only fresh ingredients, or minor ingredients i could leave out. everywhere the recipe says to “salt and pepper” i only pepper. we do need some salt in our diets and i try to balance it out over the entire day if we use canned ingredients, for example.

  9. Izzyschatzimom says:

    I do agree with Linda in regards to salt content and Home Chef. Yes the main ingredients are fresh vegetables and meats but there are flavor enhancers such as demi-glaces and butter which contain salt. Also such items as pasta sauces and mayonnaise. Of course these items can be worked around. I subscribed to Home Chef upon your recommendation and have been using them for 2 months now. It has been a good experience because I have lost my cooking ‘mojo’ and these meals have helped me create decent meals for my husband and myself. The portions are not overly large but easily supplemented with additional vegetables. We are retired so typically eat a Home Chef meal around 2 p.m. and have something light like a bowl of fruit or small salad later in the evening. Delivery to my door cannot be beat! And the meats and vegetables are nice quality. The recipes are easy to follow and I have tagged several for making again when the ‘mojo’ strikes!


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