Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

Stuffies in the Dishwasher, Plus More Great Reader Tips

It’s been such a good week, as measured by my bulging email inbox! I just love to wade through reader mail and clever money- and time-saving tips sent in by my dear readers! Enjoy this small sampling!


I wash my children’s stuffed animals in the dishwasher. I run it on a normal cycle, soap and all (although I use much less soap) and then run an extra rinse cycle. I hang the little critters out to dry on the line after they have gone through the heat cycle, as they are still wet. I’ve only placed these precious toys on the top rack and you need to make sure their eyes and any pieces are well attached, as they can come off during their bath. — Pam


I’ve read that women use mascara to cover gray hair in between touch-ups. I’ve found a better way — I use Just for Men comb-in color. It works great. One tube lasts for months because I use such a small amount at a time. — Shirley


I got this great household tip from a plumber, who happens to be my husband. Dump baking soda down the drain (this can be done with a clogged drain or to prevent the clog) and then follow with apple cider vinegar. This will loosen and eat away any gunk clogging the drains. Allow to sit overnight, then flush the drain with hot water. This is cheaper than drain cleaner and will not harm pipes or septic systems. It’s also safer to have around the house with children and animals. Be your own plumber and save time and money. — Whitney


Put a fresh head of garlic in a plastic sandwich bag and freeze. When you need garlic, just pull off the number of cloves you need and leave the rest of it in the freezer. Let the cloves sit on the counter until thawed enough to chop or press. I’ve stored garlic this way for years. It really does turn out just like fresh and certainly beats the already-chopped garlic you buy in a jar. — Jean


I was always embarrassed to discover I was out of checks when I went to make a purchase. Now I have a system that helps me avoid that inconvenience. When I receive my box of new checks, I tear out one deposit slip from the back of each stack of checks. I then place one of the deposit slips in the new stack, about five checks from the last one. When I get down to the deposit slip, I’m reminded to put new checks in my purse or checkbook. No more embarrassing moments. — Linda


I use landscaping fabric in my yard, but the wire spikes to hold down the fabric can get expensive. Instead, I use wire coat hangers, of which I have a ton. I use wire cutters (I use aviation type) to cut the hangers to the length I want and then bend one end over. Great landscaping spikes! You can make any length and shape you want and it takes about two seconds per spike. I think anyone with reasonable hand strength can do it. — Mike


I have added old, soft T-shirts to my list of things I take to the animal shelter. I prefer to add some polyester quilting when I am sewing the neck, arms and bottom of the T-shirt closed so the animals have some added warmth, but even just old T-shirts work well.

They wash up and stay soft and do not have the loops for kitten’s claws to get caught when they knead it. One more way to help the shelter keep our little abandoned animals warm and cozy without big costs. Our shelter loves these. — Judy

Would you like to submit a frugal, thrifty tip? Please do, making sure to include your full name and email address at tips@everydaycheapskate.com. 

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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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