Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

Simple Tips to Keep Things Beautiful and Working Well Around the House


With so many restaurants giving kids crayons to keep them occupied while waiting for the meal to arrive, we have had to learn how to remove crayons from clothes that have inadvertently made their way through both the washer and dryer. Melted-on crayon can be removed by first applying WD-40 to the area, working it into the stain with your fingers. Once the WD-40 has begun to break down the petroleum base of the crayon, apply concentrated detergent to remove both the stain and the WD-40. Put back into the washer and launder a s usual. It works like a charm.


So you splurged on some really beautiful — dare I say expensive — sink fixtures for your kitchen or bathroom. Here’s a fabulous way to keep them looking beautiful for many years to come: No matter how water-spotted and dull your tub, shower and sink faucets are, car wax will make them look like new — and help them stay that way. Rub a small bit of auto wax into all of that metal and allow it to dry for a few minutes. Now just polish it away with a soft dry cloth. The wax will prevent new water spots and keep those fixtures sparkling.


Got a shower curtain with a ripped ring hole that makes it sag? Don’t throw it out quite yet. Instead, get out the duct tape and cover the entire hole on both sides. Using a hole punch or craft knife, re-create the ring hole. Now it’s stronger than new, but maybe not so attractive. Not to worry. These days, duct tape comes in loads of colors and even patterns. You may even want to reinforce the entire top strip of the vinyl curtain with a bright color or design and redo all of the holes while you’re at it, not just the torn one.


The intake area of a blow-dryer does more than draw in air to cool the heating element. It also sucks in dust, hair, makeup, hair spray, powder and anything else around it. That’s hard on the motor and can cause it to overheat and burn out. To keep your blow-dryer working for years, make sure to vacuum the holes at the back of the dryer every time you vacuum the floor in that room.


If you use a rollerball computer mouse — one that has a ball that you can see when you turn the mouse upside down — then you need to clean the inner workings at least every month to keep it working smoothly. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for replacements more frequently. Here’s how to clean it:

Unplug the mouse and turn it over. You will see the tracking ball as well as a round ring that holds it in place. Remove the ring by pressing down and rotating it counterclockwise until you can lift it off. Flip the mouse over so that the ball drops out. Wash the ball with warm tap water and mild soap, then thoroughly dry it with a lint-free cloth. Before replacing the ball and ring, look for three small rollers (each about 1/16th-inch wide) inside the mouse cavity where the ball sits. They will likely be covered with built-up dirt. Use cotton swabs or a toothpick to scrape off the dirt. Gently knock the still-open cavity down into the palm of your hand to get rid of loose particles. Then replace the ball and ring cover.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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