3 Money Mistakes to Avoid

By Mary Hunt

March 3, 2014 4 min read

How to Remove Non-Skid Bathtub Appliques

Dear Mary: Could you tell me how to remove non-skid appliques from the surface of a bathtub? They were applied at least 20 years ago, and they are chipping off because of age, but leaving a residue of adhesive behind. What can I use to remove the adhesive layer? — Carole K., E-mail

Dear Carole:

Try WD-40, the well-known lubricant that comes with a red straw. It works incredibly well to remove old glue left behind by non-slip decals in a tub or shower. It has a number of unique uses, and the ability to remove old adhesive from a shower or tub is just one of many.

Begin by drying the area thoroughly. Apply a liberal amount of WD-40 to the old adhesive, and allow it to soak in for at least ten minutes. Use a plastic scraper to gently scrape away the old non-slip decal adhesive. Apply more WD-40, if necessary, and continue scraping until the area is clean and free from decal adhesive. It should be easy to remove, but the longer it has been in place, the more difficult it will be to scrape away. Normally, it will dissolve that kind of sticky residue on porcelain surfaces.

However, if this doesn't completely do the job for you, I'm going to suggest you go with the mother of all sticky residue removers, a product called "Goof-Off" (about $5.99 for 16 ounces). You'll find it with the paint remover products in stores such as Home Depot or online. It is very strong stuff, but works like a charm. Read the label carefully, and then test it in an inconspicuous place to make sure it does not react poorly with your tub's finish. I have very high hopes that this will take care of your problem. Check goofoffproducts.com to learn more.

Dear Mary: I am dismayed by an article you wrote giving people the impression that they can get rate reductions on their credit cards with just a phone call. Yes, I realize that you stated that, in a study, over 56 percent of those who made the call got their rate reduced an average of 5 percent or better. Well, I called two of my credit card companies. Both answers were exactly the same. "Unfortunately this is the best rate we can offer at this time." My rate on one is 24.98 percent. This is certainly not as easy as you seem to think. — Karen B., California

Dear Karen: Perhaps you gave up too quickly. And did you ask to speak with a supervisor? If you have a bad payment history, they are not going to be very cooperative. But if I were you, I wouldn't give up so easily. Call every day but at different times of the day so you don't keep talking to the same person. By the way, you do realize that a 56 percent success rate still leaves 44 percent who were not successful, right? There are no guarantees here. I'm just telling you what a great number of people have found to be true. Read on ...

Dear Mary: Some time ago you suggested calling our credit card company's customer service phone number to request a reduction in interest rates. I have five credit cards, which I'm trying to eliminate, one of which carries a balance of over $19,000 with an APR of 19 percent. I called them this afternoon, and they lowered my interest rate to 8.99 percent on the spot. That is HUGE. This will save me big money. Thank you so much for the tip. — Wes S., Minnesota

Mary invites questions at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "The Smart Woman's Guide to Planning for Retirement," released in 2013. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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