Pop quiz: What looks like water, is certainly inexpensive, has a pungent odor but is not toxic (in fact, you can drink it if you like), is biodegradable, serves as a useful disinfectant and will repel kitties from your kids' sandbox? Give up? Read on to learn the answer in today's first great reader tip.
SCAT, CAT! Keep cats out of your kids' sandbox by pouring distilled white vinegar around the box once each month. Keep in mind that vinegar will kill some types of grass and other vegetation, so be careful where you pour it. — Sally
CLEAN AND DEODORIZE ICE CHEST/COOLER. Add about 1 inch of water to the bottom of the cooler; drop in 4 Alka-Seltzer tablets; and allow them to sit for an hour. Pour out the dirty water, and then rinse and dry. All odors will be gone, making the cooler clean and ready for its next use. — Claudio
NO AGE LIMIT. At a wedding I attended recently, I witnessed the sweetest thing. The grandmothers served as flower girls. They thoroughly enjoyed their flower-strewing duty as the audience stood and cheered. — Zenda
BOOT FORMS. Roll up a couple of magazines, and stick them into your boots to keep them standing tall between wears. It works great, and the mags can be reused many times. — Janet,
PERFECT RATIO. A mix of 50 percent Kosher salt, 25 percent ground black pepper and 25 garlic powder makes the perfect seasoning combo to fill an all-in-one shaker. — Edgar
RIBBON CADDY. Use multitiered pants hangers to store rolls of ribbon and other kinds of craft supplies that come on spools. With a single glance, you can see your entire collection. Hang this caddy in a closet and it will cut down on the clutter, too. — Candace
SPA-STYLE LOOFAH GLOVES. These are awesome for outdoor window washing and cleaning outdoor furniture. With a quick swish in the soap bucket and a wipe down, the dirt disappears. Then, rinse everything off with a hose. Wear them on one hand or both. Loofah gloves are great for cleaning bathroom counter surfaces, too. — Wilda
MIRACLE WORKER LAUNDRY STAIN REMOVER. Mix together 1 teaspoon Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, 4 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Scrub the stain; let it sit for at least one hour; and then launder. Don't forget to be totally blown away that even THAT stain came out! This is particularly miraculous on baby stains, if you know what I'm talking about. Yes, those ones, and the others, too. — Marcie
(Always test a stain treatment in an inconspicuous place first, just to be sure the fabric is colorfast and the treatment doesn't create a new problem. — MH)
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at [email protected], or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. 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 "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.