Paralyzed by Too Many Choices


Dear Mary: I am looking to purchase a new dishwasher as my 10-year-old GE model is leaking and will cost at least $300 to repair. My husband and I are “light users,” running a full load every four days or so.

We rinse dishes and basically use the dishwasher on the short cycle and it has always worked fine for us. We have looked at many brands, read many reviews, and find that there are pros and cons about each brand. We did go to Consumer Reports for their suggestions and still are very confused. –Jan, email


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Dear Jan: Here’s what I would do if I were you: Determine the price you’re willing to pay for a dishwasher and the top three features you want, for example, Rinse/Hold, Short Wash and must be very quiet.

Go to a Sears store, which now carries the top brands of appliances (you can also shop online at Sears, retail online site, or the Sears Outlet), with your three requirements and color choice. Then listen and pay close attention to what you learn. In the store, the salesman will try to steer you into a higher-end model with lots of bells and whistles you’ll probably never use. Keep going back to your three “must-haves.” Then make the decision, arrange for delivery and installation, and don’t look back.

If you hold out to find the perfect dishwasher at the perfect price, you’ll still be looking next year this time—and driving yourself nuts with indecision.

By the way, I found my LG steam dryer online at the Sears Outlet–the companion model to my new LG Wave Force washer, which I had purchased locally. What a bargain. I had to check daily because Sears Outlet online inventory changes rapidly. But once I found it, I snapped it up in a hurry. Even with shipping from Ohio, it was half the price of buying it locally. I could view a close-up photo of the scratch that sent my dryer to the outlet, and before agreeing to purchase. Even though considered damaged, the dryer came complete with the full manufacturer’s warranty. And once set into place, the scratch is completely hidden. I’m still pumped about that bargain.

Good luck and I hope you are able to make your decision quickly.

Dear Mary: I have several very nice leather purses in light colors. Two are white and the others are beige. I hate to get rid of them as they were quite expensive but they are so dirty that I just can not use them. Also, they are in perfect condition other than the dirt. How can I clean them safely? I have asked at various cleaners but they do not do leather purses–some of them do leather jackets but none of them do leather purses. –Barbara, California

Dear Barbara: Try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge, available in any supermarket or discount department store. Dampen it with water then go to work on those purses. I’ve had excellent results using one of these erasers on everything from white plastic patio chairs to leather shoes, woodwork, and painted walls, too. I wish I knew what makes these erasers work so well. Could it be magic? That being said, I am quite certain this will do the trick for your purses provided the problem is dirt, not wear.

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11 replies
  1. ManateeKnees says:

    I wash my leather purses in the sink with warm soap water (dishwashing soap is fine) after pulling out the liners to get them real clean too. I scrub them inside and outsied with a piece of terry cloth, rinse well then dry upside down on a clothes line with the linings hanging out. This has always worked fine and makes me happy because purses get absolutely filthy with germs, inside and outside.

  2. Spud says:

    I’m not averse to the occasional use of a Magic Eraser (taking proper precautions) but I’d rather try safer products with a little elbow grease first. One such product is sold as “Pink Solution” in Canada. I have used it succesfully on Duradek and many other surfaces to remove stains, including rust and permanent marker.

    I’m not advocating paranoia but, with cancer rates on the rise and a number of victims among my friends and family, why take the chance unnecessarily? Arm yourself with information rather than hearsay, then make your own informed decision.

    Here’s a link to the National Institutes of Health household products database for one of the Magic Eraser products (others can be found by navigating on this site):

  3. raggedyanne says:

    I knew I was ready for a new dishwasher but procrastinated looking for one. Happened across one at a yard sale, Frigidaire, still in the box, all the manuals, everything, for $100. I’ve had it for over six months and it’s perfect!
    About Magic Eraser – I wiped a spot off my painted wall and the paint came right off with the spot – so beware of that!

  4. Terry says:

    I would not recommend Sears to anyone. I have to admit that I had previously purchased several appliances from Sears. However on my last purchase, I was extremely unhappy. I purchased a Kitchen Aid dishwasher from Sears about 11 months ago. I purchased it online and was promised free shipping and installation. When it was delivered I was informed that there was no installation. Later I found out that I had been charged shipping. I called Sears and after a long conversation, was told they would take off the shipping charge. However, if I wanted them to install it, I would need to pay over $100 more. I decided right then and there never to purchase another appliance from Sears.

  5. Spud says:

    Re: Magic Eraser
    It’s important to use gloves when using these. The active ingredient is a frank (known) carcinogen. I would also use them outside and away from any young children. They work well and save a lot of elbow grease but NOTHING is worth risking cancer if precautions are not taken!!!

  6. Sherry Clune says:

    I know several people who love their Fisher-Paykel dishwasher. It’s two drawers so you can wash only the top drawer if you like.

  7. Maria Stahl says:

    Barbara: If the Magic Sponge works for you (and it probably will), you can search “melamine sponge” on eBay and get the same thing in huge bulk orders for much less than the name brand.

    Do be careful: Those sponges seem soft and gentle, but they are very strong abrasives. Start out with a gentle touch when you are cleaning something you’ve not cleaned with one before. It actually sands off the surface. It can quickly take the gloss off leather or vinyl. Some people use them to clean vintage vinyl dolls of years of grime, but it will take the face paint right off in a flash, so go easy!

    • Bidz says:

      Hi Mary,

      For the dishwasher, I would contact the local Seniors’ Centre, where there are always ‘retired’ handymen who are able to fix anything at wonderful prices…….and they just love doing it…..

      Also, for the handbags……..I have a home-care business and use a product called Basic H2. It is an Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate. Some might think it’s a little pricey but for all it’s uses it is the most economical product I have found. Last week I used it neat to clean tennis shoes and they came up New!! this is the Canadian address and # but they will give you the USA #

    • Jan Gunderson says:

      I order my “magic eraser” online as well, but I found it under melanine foam…$9 for 50 and free shipping.


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