DEAR MARY: Is there a way that I can remove a bloodstain from my black and white floral Hawaiian print car-seat slipcover? I hope I can do this without removing the slipcover, which was a bear to put on. Thanks for your help and your wonderful tips and columns. — Leslie
DEAR LESLIE: The best thing I know of that will remove blood — even if the stain is very old — is Soilove Laundry Soil-Stain Remover. It is enzymatic, which means it attacks proteins, which blood is. You can get Soilove at 99 Cents Only Stores in California and Arizona. Or, you can get it online or directly from the manufacturer (800-482-6555).
I can help you get well-fitting slipcovers back on after laundering: Put them on when wet. They will stretch more easily, which will take all the struggle out of the process, and they'll still dry beautifully. I have a large, white sofa with slipcovers. When I bought it, the saleslady gave me that tip, and I am so grateful she did. I wash them in the washing machine according to the manufacturer's instructions and skip the dryer altogether. They go on so easily. Then I smooth out the wrinkles and let them dry.
DEAR MARY: First off, let me tell you I'm a huge fan. I save almost every email and tip I need (or think I will) in a "Cheapskate" folder on my computer. Here's my question: Can I straighten out a warped cast-iron skillet? It's eons old and belonged to my mother-in-law. She always cooked her holiday hams in it. I still do, but I don't like that it's not flat. Any thoughts? — Brenda
DEAR BRENDA: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but cast iron does not warp. It's either uneven because it is cracked, or it warped during the original casting. There is no feasible or practical way to unwarp cast iron. Once so-damaged, it is, for all intents and purposes, irreversible. Even if you could find someone to grind the bottom to make it completely flat, doing so would create thin spots, which would burn the contents, making the skillet useless. I hope this does not affect your fan status.
DEAR MARY: In response to the recent column on waterlogged mobile phones, my son found a mobile phone in our neighborhood lake. My hubby took the battery out and put it in rice for a few days. It actually worked! We were able to boot it up and retrieve the owner's number and return the phone. One key point we've learned over the years is to be patient, and to NOT attempt to turn it on until it is thoroughly dry. — Janet
DEAR JANET: Good advice, and what an amazing story!
DEAR MARY: Your articles appear in our local newspaper. Your advice is excellent and has saved me money. Thank you for making me wiser everyday. At 59 years of age, I have room to learn new things and appreciate your advice. I also have shared your tips with my wife and children, which have saved money for my entire family. Keep up the great work. I love it. — Jerry
DEAR JERRY: How nice to hear from you. Say hello to your family for me! I'm tickled to know the work I do is making life easier for you and your family.
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 Web page at www.creators.com.