An object in his hand

Readers Share Secrets for How to Clean Leather Boots, Save on Hand Soap and More

Every day I learn something new from my clever readers. Take fine leather for example. I think it’s safe to say we’re all aware that Italy is where one would find the best. I’d just never thought about the Italians have superior knowledge for how to care for said leather. While I love today’s first great reader tip, I have to admit that Lysa made me laugh out loud!

REJUVENATING BOOTS. Olive oil removes salt and stains from leather boots and shoes. Shines the leather, too. It’s an Italian thing. Lysa

An object in his hand

GOOD TO THE LAST SQUEEZE. I hate wasting any little bit of a product I’ve paid for. After the toothpaste has squeezed out its last glob, I cut off the tube about an inch from the cap. I can get another 5 or 6 brushings from what remains. Debbie

SAVINGS ON LIQUID SOAP. Those foam pump dispensers are so nice. But they seem expensive for the amount of soap you get compared to the amount of water in the bottle. I save the dispensers and refill about 1/4 of the bottle with liquid hand soap and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Put the top back on and roll the bottle around until the soap dissolves into the water (may take a little time to fully blend the two). Voila! I have a refill bottle of liquid soap that takes me years to use up because I use so little of it to refill a foam dispenser bottle. Kay

CAST IRON CLEAN UP. I love to cook in my cast iron skillet. I have discovered a very easy way to clean the skillet without removing the pan’s seasoning. Basically, I use coarse salt and a little cooking oil in the warm pan. Something magical happens with the salt and the oil. Cooked-on particles lift off the pan, but the oil remains. Using a paper towel, I scrub away, wipe off the excess oil and rinse the pan briefly under hot water. Finally, I dry the pan with a paper towel. The pan retains its sheen and is seasoned and ready to for the next cooking extravaganza. Thank you for Everyday Cheapskate! Marie

POWDERED DIY LAUNDRY DETERGENT. We make our own laundry detergent—the powdered version—because it is easier to store. My husband came up with a great idea for an easy way to grate the Fels Naptha soap bars. We put them in the microwave for about 3 minutes on high. That makes them so much easier to grate; takes only a few minutes. Aimee

DEFROSTING CHAMBER. My freezer, washer and dryer are all in my garage. When it’s time to defrost the freezer, I dump a lot of ice into the washing machine, cover it with a piece of plastic and then pile all the frozen food on top to the ice and close the lid. Keeps everything frozen while the freezer is being defrosted. The ice melts and then I run the machine on spin cycle to empty it. Works like a charm. Helen


photocredit: WikiHow

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4 replies
  1. Thrifty says:

    I got years of use out of a big refill jug of Equate liquid soap by using it in a foaming dispenser. I didn’t remember to buy more so when the last bit was used, I was in a bind. I tried using one of the bottles of body wash I had under the sink and it was perfect. I prefer soap to bodywash in the shower but I have received several bottles over the years. This turned out to be the perfect use for them. Just mix with water as you would the liquid hand soap.

  2. Me says:

    For the foaming hand soap, it’s better to use cheap shampoo to refill….the clear kind, not creamy. Hand soap is usually the creamy type and clogs up the foaming mechanism more quickly than clear. I’ve found that it takes very little, ‘way less than 1/4 of a bottle, to make a nice, soapy foam. With a little experience you will be able to tell if the mix is right just by looking at the color! 🙂

    A big bottle of Equate clear hand soap refill may be cheaper than cheap shampoo, I don’t know, but the key to making the dispenser last longer is to use clear, not creamy, of whatever you use. I was having to throw away the dispensers too often to suit me before I started using only clear shampoo to refill.

    One advantage to the shampoo is that is dissolves into the water more quickly and stays dissolved better (no pooling on the bottom) than hand soap.

    • Me says:

      All good tips here, by the way…the washing machine/freezer defrost one is genius!

      I almost never have anything stuck to the bottom of my cast iron skillet, but if I ever do, I’ll sure use the salt/oil idea. I’ve had mine since I got married…33 years…it is well seasoned!

      Well, I’m off to cut the top off my toothpaste tube! 🙂

  3. crabbyoldlady says:

    Here’s another ‘Italian thing’. I was in Italy in April and purchased a beautiful kidskin coat. The salesman told me to condition the coat with hand lotion. Other sales people had mentioned that but I thought they were joking. I haven’t tried it yet, but if anyone does, I would test it on an inconspicuous place first.


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