cleaning salt stains on leather boot with olive oil

Secrets for How to Clean Leather, Cast Iron, and Lots 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 that the Italians have superior knowledge for how to care for and clean said leather. While I love today’s first great reader tip, I have to admit that Lysa made me laugh out loud!

female hands cleaning black leather boot with olive oil

Rejuvenate leather

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

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 bottle’s water. I save the dispensers, refill about 1/4 of the bottle with liquid hand soap, and fill the rest 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 cleanup

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

Custom floor mats

I wanted floor mats for our mini-van so I stopped by our local car dealership. Boy, was I floored (pardon the pun). I checked a discount department store and while their mats were priced more reasonably, they didn’t fit well. I found a perfect solution by buying clear plastic runner material that is available by the yard at the home improvement center. With a utility knife, I customized the fit around the seat hardware. This saved a lot of money and works beautifully. Judith

M.O.M eliminates odor

I have always had a very strong body odor. It didn’t matter what kind of deodorant or antiperspirant I used, it never worked. Then I heard that regular milk of magnesia worked as a daily deodorant. I tried it, and I’ve been using it for over a decade. I pour a little bit of the store-brand milk of magnesia on a cotton square, pat it on my armpit, and then repeat with the other armpit. A little bit lasts all day. Milk of magnesia can dry out quickly in the bottle, so just add a little water and shake well. Lynda

Powdered 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

Auto cleaner

Use plain old baking soda on a damp rag to remove bugs, tar and anything else from your vehicle. Works great, even on the grill and chrome work. Leaves no residue or odor and won’t harm the paint. I just make a paste with baking soda and water, clean away, and rinse off. Works better than any commercial product I’ve tried. This method even cleans away the cloudy film on headlight covers. Bud

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 of 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

Nothing goes to waste

Our town has two thrift shops that accept worn-out clothes. They remove the buttons and sell those. Then they bag up the clothes and sell them to a “rag man,” who gives them 7 cents a pound. So really, nothing has to go to waste. I’ve begun doing this myself. My kids love the buttons for craft projects, and I use the rags, too. Marcelle

Double-duty salad

Mary’s tip about turning leftover salad into soup (What To Do with Leftover Salad) is genius. My Greek salad from a recent dinner did not end up in the disposal. Instead, it crossed the Mediterranean and changed nationalities—becoming Gazpacho the next night. I did what Mary suggested, tossing the leftovers in the blender and adding a little V8 juice. Betsy

Plastic cuts it perfectly

When I bake brownies, I cut them with a plastic knife when they are still warm. The brownies don’t stick to the plastic knife or roll up when cut, but you have to cut them while they are warm. Sally

Wasp trap

homemade wasp trap v.2We have a lot of wasps in the summer, and commercial wasp traps at my grocery store cost $12.99 each, so I make my own. I take an empty plastic sports drink container, cut the top off just below the point where it tapers up to the screw-on lid, then inverted the top and place it inside the bottom portion and put a couple of inches of orange juice (anything sugary will work) and set it on my deck.

The wasps fly or crawl into the bottle, but can’t figure out how to get out, and eventually die. It works like a charm, and it’s free! When the trap gets full, I toss it and make another one! Linda


First published: 9-27-20; Expanded & Updated 10-3-21



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  1. Carole Cohen says:

    If you can find the wasp nest, to kill all at once: In a spray bottle, put couple of ounces of liquid dish soap (blue dawn works) then fill bottle with water. Shake to mix then spray the hive/nest with the soapy water. Dead wasps will begin to fall from the nest immediately.

      • Guest says:

        I would feel the same way about honeybees. However, wasps are not true bees. Wasps can sting over and over again, and I’ve seen them build nests in porches, grills, and children’s play houses.

  2. Jan McDermott says:

    Re: the foam pump dispensers….I just found out this summer that when the pump wears out I can use an empty bottle dispenser from a Bath and Body foam soap bottle.

  3. Dula Beyer Baker says:

    Wasps eat so many aphids and other small insects. I’m glad I have them as my garden helpers since I don’t want to use pesticides.

  4. Bonnie says:

    I also cut down tubes to get out the last bit, but I find that the product dries out so I do one of 2 things. I either use the cut off part to “cap” the tube if it’s flexible enough, or scoop out the remainder with a mini spatula and put it in a small jar.

  5. Alba says:

    Milk of Magnesia for deodorant? Well, I just ordered a bottle to try that.
    My grandmother used to pour a small amount of M.O.M at the base of her rose bushes – she had gorgeous roses growing in hot hot Las Vegas ! Do you know what in MOM would have made beautiful roses????

    • Lindy says:

      It’s the magnesium salts, just like epsom salt. I use it on all my plants monthly.
      As for MoM as deodorant, I have used it since the 70s. I get refillable roll on bottles and fill with MoM and add about a teaspoon of medicated powder, like Ammens or Caldesene. Look for a body powder with zinc oxide and corn starch. I use a scented one to give a bit of fragrance. It’s a much safer than the aluminum salts in commercial anti persperant. Hubby uses it too and he works outdoors in the south Florida heat. IT WORKS! Give your body a couple of weeks to adjust. Good idea to start the switch during cool weather.

  6. Dianna says:

    I haven’t cut near the top of toothpaste, but I do this all the time with my foundation, lotion, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc products to get every last drop out. I cut near the bottom also, as product that can’t be squeezed out collects there. I always stick the top part into the bottom to keep as much air out as possible. I usually get another 5+ days of product.

  7. crabbyoldlady says:

    I purchased a number of leather jackets, handbags and gloves in Italy. Every vendor told me to use hand lotion on my purchases.

  8. Barbara says:

    Wasp trap: I cannot picture in my mind what this looks like. Could you show a picture of the finished project? A picture is worth a thousand words. I too have a problem with wasps.

    • Victoria Jacobs says:

      Picture a water bottle, the kind that holds just water, as purchased by the case. Empty the bottle. Now, using a knife or sharp scissors cut around the bottle below the point where it begins to narrow to form the lid. Pour a few tablespoons of orange juice, sugar soda, or a sugar/water syrup into the bottle. Now, invert the piece you cut off so the part you would drink from is inside the bottle. The edge of that piece is large enough that it won’t drop into the bottle. You can hot glue the edges or tape them if you want to. The wasps seek out the juice by crawling into the bottle, but they will not be able to get out. Look on Pinterest for examples. If you get a lot of wasps then use a larger soda bottle.

    • Veronica says:

      Me too please! I can’t picture this either … oh wait … so, you cut off the top, then turn the cut piece upside down and plop it into the now-big hole at the top of the bottle? So the bottle stays upright, and only the cut-off top gets inverted. Somehow, I kept thinking I had to “invert” the bottle, then try to reattach the top … then where would the OJ go!

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