Helpful household tips

Home made cleaners: We were warned by a friend who has a motor home that the chemicals in the septic system of an RV cannot be mixed with any kind of bleach because it forms chlorine gas, also known as mustard gas, and it can kill if breathed in. They had a sewer leak that got into some carpet and were trying to clean and disinfect the flooring. There are other kinds of cleaners that will not react in this manner.

Plain baking soda sprinkled in the toilet bowl and then sprayed with a little vinegar and scrubbed works pretty well and there are no chemicals to worry about.

You can also mix Borax and lemon juice into a paste. Spread it around and let it set for a couple of hours and then scrub clean. Another plus, Borax is also a disinfectant.

Icy step fixers: Mix a gallon of hot water, 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and 2 teaspoons of dish soap together and pour over icy steps or on a walk. It won’t freeze for several hours.

I use cat litter straight from the box. It’s not harmful to cement or even wood as there is no salt in it and it hasn’t seemed to hurt the grass along the edges much. I also use sand from the children’s sandbox when they were young. Much easier to refill the sand box come spring as deal with a broken hip or leg because of a slip and a fall.

Creepy critter spray: Mix 1/2 cup each vegetable oil, shampoo and vinegar. Mix, spray around windows and doors and, in a couple of hours, there will be no bugs to be found. The gal that shared it with me said it kills flies, mosquitoes and also roaches. I don’t have any of those, but it sure did work on the other bugs that were flying around.

Recycle magnetic knife holder: We found one of those old magnetic knife holders in my grandma’s stuff and my brother brought it home and hung it up in the bathroom. He put the small nail files, nail clippers and some of those little cuticle scissors on it. Sure is easier to find them now. They were in a cardboard box on the top shelf and my parents couldn’t reach it as they are too short, a reader from South Dakota wrote.

Record wallet contents: A friend recently lost his wallet. Somebody picked it up and tried to use one of the credit cards, but he had made a list of all cards, licenses, insurance cards etc. and had already reported them as missing. When the culprit tried to use one, the card wouldn’t work and the thief was eventually caught (in-store cameras are great).

If you have hints or ideas to share, send them to PennyWise, Box 518, Kadoka, South Dakota 57543; or email them to [email protected]. If you send me your name and address, I’ll send you a free copy of the PennyWise Newsletter. Please mention High Plains Journal when you write.