Shaving Cream to Clean Upholstery and Other Helpful Reader Tips

I hope you enjoy the following tips from your fellow readers as much as I have. There’s just something satisfying about discovering even the smallest ways to do better while saving time and money.


A clever way to avoid a possible carjacking is to be always aware of what’s going on around you. If you think someone is following you, make four right turns, which will in essence have you driving in a circle. If that suspicious car makes the same turns, immediately drive to the nearest police station, busy store, or service station to seek help. — Tom


Remove a decal or any type of sticker by first softening the adhesive with a hair dryer. Use a medium heat setting for a few seconds until the adhesive softens and the sticker starts to peel. Continue with the heat until the entire sticker peels off easily. — Barb


On standard or manual-shift cars, get into the habit of always pushing in the clutch before starting the engine, regardless of whether the car is in gear. Besides being an obvious safety practice, holding the clutch in while starting the engine lets it turn over just a bit more easily, lessening the power required from the battery and starter motor. — Brad


Before signing a final auto purchase or lease agreement, check it with a magnifying glass. The folks who write up the final agreement often make mistakes. Occasionally, the agreed-upon price gets listed incorrectly, or extras you crossed off get added back in, or a higher financing charge than the one you settled upon finds its way back into the deal. Give the contract a brutal examination. — Marilyn


To clean anything ivory, like piano keys or carved objects, wipe with a solution of 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide and 1 cup water. No need to rinse. — Sheryl


Set aside 15 minutes each day to clean one area of your house. By the weekend, you won’t have much more cleaning to do. — Sylvia


Many metal mesh filters found in range hoods can be removed and washed in the dishwasher on the normal, hot-water wash cycle including regular automatic dishwasher detergent. Wash them as a separate load to provide for plenty of water action. — Haley


To remove rust rings or stains from porcelain fixtures, make a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. Apply a small amount to the stain and gently scrub with an old toothbrush. — Richard


Use brown shoe polish for covering scratches on wood cabinets, shelves, furniture, trim or anything wood. It blends in well even if it is a darker shade. Apply and wipe off with a dry rag. You’ll see! — George


In a pinch use shaving cream as an upholstery cleaner to spot clean small areas. It’s very effective. — Felicia


Narrow-necked, hard-to-clean vases and other glassware will sparkle when you clean them with denture-cleaning tablets. Put one or two tablets into the container and fill with water. Wait a few hours, or even overnight, and then rinse. Sparkly! — Sandra


Consignment shops are everywhere these days and are a wonderful source for previously owned clothing. These shops are cuts above a thrift store and offer wonderful merchandise for a fraction of the original retail. Look for specialty consignment stores just for kids. And don’t be just a buyer, but also a seller. Typically you will share 50/50 with the store’s owner when your items sell. Call ahead to learn of the store’s policies regarding the condition of acceptable garments and other guidelines. — Kathleen


When cooking, keep as much of the surface-unit heat as possible from escaping to maximize your energy usage. Use pots and pans with flat bottoms, and always use a pan that is the same size or larger than the burner. Every little bit counts! — Jack


Rubbing mayonnaise all over the whole chicken or turkey skin will produce a crisp, deep golden-brown roasted bird. Note: Low-fat or nonfat mayonnaise will not produce satisfactory results. — Donna

Got a tip you’d like to share? You can send it to Who knows? You just might see yourself in print in an upcoming column. Please be sure to include your full name, although only your first name will be published. Thanks!

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Mary Hunt

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

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