Frugal living

One way to save money is to monitor your use of everyday household products. You can start by accurately measuring, rather than eyeballing a measurement or just simply squeezing, pouring or shaking. For example, you could be using more dish soap, shampoo or condiments than you actually need.

The first reader tip shares ways to be more economical when using certain items.

Use less product: I use baby powder. I’ve taken a piece of tape and covered half of the shaker so less powder is coming out, instead of flying out! Also, some salad dressing bottles don’t have a little hole in the spout. So I’ve popped them out of empty bottles, washed them and saved them for bottles without a hole.  — Ali, Indiana

Reuse plastic drink-mix containers: Shove a container full of plastic grocery bags and place it in your car. You never know when you’ll need a bag. Or, make a mini first-aid kit for the car and fill the container with assorted Band-Aids, gauze, manicure scissors, tape, Neosporin, alcohol wipes, etc.  — Libby, Canada

Save water: It bothered me to waste water going down the drain while waiting for it to get warm for a shower or for dishwashing. So I keep a large pitcher to catch the cold water, which is clean and usable for rinsing dishes, plants and pets. I fill a tea kettle on the stove, a pitcher by the kitchen sink, and a bucket for pets and plants. For every gallon you save this way, you actually save two because you are using it. I save at least 60 gallons a month doing this. I use the largest dirty pan for a dishpan, put in soap and a little water and keep adding the rinse water to it. You save a lot that way, too, and your pan is soaking!  — Jean F., email

Remove moldy smell from towels:

The Vinegar Method

Put your towels in the washing machine, using the hottest water available. Add one or two cups of white vinegar. Do not add detergent, fabric softener or any other products at this time. Run the washer. Leave the towels in the washer and wash the same load again just as you would normally with laundry soap. Again, use the hottest water available. Don’t use fabric softener or any other products. Dry the load in the dryer using a high heat setting. Towels should be thoroughly dry when you pull them out. If they’re not dry, put them back in, or move them immediately outside and hang them in the sunlight.

The Ammonia Method

Put your towels in the washing machine. Add a normal amount of detergent. Use the hottest water available. Do not add fabric softener or any other products. Watch for the rinse cycle and then add one cup of sudsy or clear ammonia. Let the washing machine finish. Move the towels out of the washer immediately. Fully dry the load right away using normal dryer settings, or hanging on the line on a sunny day.

Repeat and soak if necessary.

Smell the towels when you have completed one of the above methods. If the towels are not completely free of a musty smell after the first attempt, try soaking them overnight.

Fill the washer with the smallest amount of hot water necessary to cover the towels.

Add one cup of ammonia. Agitate for a few minutes and allow them to soak overnight. Add non-bleach detergent in the morning, and let the wash cycle complete.  — S.O., Midwest.


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