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Whose Kids Know How to Turn Off Lights? I got a good chuckle when I read today's first reader tip from "Dad." For a split second there, I could hear my own father asking the age-old parent/child question: Don't you know how to turn off the light when you leave the room? MOTION SENSOR …Read more. Make Christmas Festive Without Breaking the Bank As much as I love Christmas, I must confess that there are some things about the holiday season I dread. I always get that heart-pounding feeling that my feet are in the starting blocks and any second I'll hear the signal to start running as fast as …Read more. Of Pet Accidents and Malfunctioning Keurig Machines Dear Mary: I saw in your column a long while back an article about the carpet scrubber (was it Bissell?) and poo-pooed it at the time. Now I am ready to cry UNCLE since I discovered to my horror that one of my cats was shut in a bedroom and peed on …Read more. Like Finding Money You Didn't Know You Had You know the feeling when reach into the pocket of a coat you haven't worn for awhile and pull out a $20 bill? What would it feel like if you pulled out hundreds of dollars? And what if you found money like that month after month? It's not magic &#…Read more.
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Spring Cleaning on My Mind

I am getting impatient. It's been a long winter, and I am so ready for spring. Can you identify? I am not complaining because I know that compared to many who have endured a very long and bitterly cold winter, I've had it easy. Still, I can hardly wait. I promise; spring is coming! And just the thought makes me want to throw open the windows and start cleaning!

Today I have a collection of formulas to help you with just about every cleaning task -- solutions that really work well and will not break the budget.

ALL-PURPOSE FLOOR CLEANER. Mix 1 to 2 cups of white vinegar (depending on how tough the situation is) in a bucket of very hot water. Apply with a mop to any type of floor, including hardwood. No need to rinse, but you will want to wring out the mop often and remove as much liquid as possible to speed the drying time.

CLEANER FOR PAINTED CABINETS. Make a solution of 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of ammonia, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 1 gallon of warm water. Press a hot, damp cloth against grease deposits on painted kitchen cabinets until they soften. Wash cabinets with a sponge and this solution. Rinse off with a clean sponge and water. Wipe cabinets completely dry.

WINDOW, GLASS AND MIRROR CLEANER. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 2 quarts of very warm water. Fill a spray bottle. Rub the mixture on the window using a soft cloth. Follow with a clean, dry cloth to dry and shine the windows.

They will sparkle for days!

CARPET FRESHENER AND DEODORIZER. Sprinkle the carpet liberally with baking soda. Allow it to sit overnight. Vacuum it thoroughly in the morning. Your carpet will be fresh and sweet-smelling with no overpowering "perfumey" smell. Hint: Start with an empty vacuum bag or receptacle because it's going to fill up fast.

WALLS. Combine in a large spray bottle: 1 tablespoon of borax (20 Mule Team Borax is one brand that you will find in the laundry aisle), 3/8 cup of white vinegar, and 1 quart of very hot water. Use this to clean just about anything around the house, including walls and woodwork.

TUB AND TILE CLEANER. Fill 1/4 of a spray bottle with original blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, and add white vinegar to fill the bottle. Shake the bottle to mix it. Spray it on the tub and shower floors and walls. Allow it to sit for up to 1 hour if you have a great deal of soap and scum buildup. Scrub as necessary, then rinse well. Be prepared to be amazed.

I have hundreds more recipes for household cleaners, health and beauty tips, and garden and craft solutions, too. I've compiled them into a booklet called "Cheapskate Solutions." To get a copy, send $6 to Debt-Proof Living, Dept. CS, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. I'll send you a copy right away!

Mary Hunt is the founder of and author of 17 books, including "Debt-Proof Living." You can e-mail her at, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


1 Comments | Post Comment
Dear Mary, I wanted to know the name of the rug cleaner that you recommended. I remember that it was a Hoover brand but am unsure of the rest of the name of the style of rug cleaner. You recommended using very hot water instead of soap when using the cleaner. Please inform me as I would like to purchase one for my home. Thank you. Sincerely, Deb Loucy
Comment: #1
Posted by: Debbie Loucy
Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:10 PM
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