Helpful household tips

Plant watering idea: My grandma taught me to put half of a wet sponge in the bottom of the flower pots when I repot for winter. The sponge absorbs the extra water and the plant can drink it instead of it running out of the pot and you don’t need to water quite so often.

Bicycle seat cover: A reader wrote that her neighbor boy rides his bike to school every day, rain or shine. She said she asked him how he keeps the seat dry on the days when it rains. He grinned and pulled a zip-type plastic bag out of his school book bag. He said he puts it over the seat when he parks it in the bike rack and zips it down so the wind doesn’t blow it away.

She said she asked him if anyone had ever taken it off. He said, “just once!” When he got through “verbally educating” the kid that took the cover off, it hasn’t happened since. The reader was informed that the bike rider is a high school football player of good size and that made a pretty good impression on the unzipper!

Baking soda cleans many things: A reader writes, I use baking soda as a cheap cleaner. I take an old washrag, dampen it and then dip it in a small container of baking soda and scour the insides of my bathtub and shower and scour away. It doesn’t smell, doesn’t scratch the surface and is an amazing cleaner of soap scum and body yuck.

I also use it to take coffee and tea stains out of my cups—glass or plastic, makes no difference. Sprinkle a bit in the damp cup and scour away. Takes it about 5 seconds to clean it like new. And, I do the same to the glass carafe for the coffee pot.

We have always used soda to clean any of our house drains. Put about 1/4 cup of soda down the drain and follow with about a half-cup of vinegar. Close the drain with the stopper until the fizzing stops and then flush it out with a pitcher of clean water.

I clean all of my kitchen appliances with the stuff too—stove top, refrigerator inside and out and the freezer. Use a damp rag, dip in soda and scrub away. Follow up with a wet rag to pick up the soda and the “yuck” and then use a clean, dry rag to finish.

Store leftovers in clean glass jars: I don’t ever buy those cutesy little plastic storage containers. I simply use my clean canning jars or pickle jars, or whatever else I have on hand. I reuse the lids because the contents aren’t going to be sealed anyway. I can always see what is in each jar. No danger of it spoiling because I can’t see in the jar. I never have spoiled food any more and that saves money.

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.