Household Tips


January 30, 2014 3 min read

The following tips are from readers of Creators' "Everyday Cheapskate" column, which is by Mary Hunt.

LAUNDER THE LEATHER. A friend told me she washes her leather purses in the washing machine. I had two light-colored leather purses that were quite dirty and figured I had nothing to lose. It worked like magic, and they have been washed many times since and are still doing great. I have used both Tide and OxiClean. -- Doris, California

SPIN-DRY. I love using a salad spinner as a quick way to get the water out of a knitting project before blocking. Yea, centrifugal force! -- Kathleen, Washington

CARPET CLEANUP. Baby wipes get every stain you can imagine out of carpet! I use Huggies Natural Care (unscented). This works on coffee, chocolate and even blood stains. Baby wipes are cheap, and it takes about two seconds to remove the stain. Example: My little boy fell and cut his head, leaving blood spots on the carpet. He's fine, but the carpet suffered. When the carpet cleaning service couldn't remove the spots, I decided to hit them with a baby wipe. It was amazing. My mom had 11-year-old stubborn stains on her carpet, and the wipes took them out, too. Baby wipes are my carpet spotter of choice because they're so easy to use. -- Annette, Pennsylvania

CANDLE REMADE. I had a peppermint-scented Christmas candle that was inside a metal container. It had been made that way, so you couldn't take the candle out of the container. The wick had burned down to the bottom, making a narrow well, but the sides of the container still had a lot of the candle wax. I didn't want to throw it away, as the container was very festive and the candle's scent was really nice. So I placed the container on an electric candle warmer. (An electric mug warmer would serve the same purpose.) After everything melted, I took out what was left of the wick and replaced it with a small taper candle. I removed the container from the warmer and let the wax harden. Voil?! The remade candle is once again usable. The taper candle provided a new wick and was much easier than trying to dangle a string over the container. -- Lynn B., Texas

NO MORE POKEY SHOULDERS. Caring for cotton knit tops to save their color and prevent shrinking means I partially dry mine on low dryer heat for about 10 minutes and then hang them on a plastic hanger to finish drying. I hate those "pokey" shoulders that result even when using a rounded hanger for that purpose. By accidentally hanging my shirt wrong-side out to dry, the pokey shoulders were reversed to the inside and then smoothed out flat when the shirt was worn. No pressing needed! -- Melanie T., email

"Everyday Cheapskate," by Mary Hunt, can be found at

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