Simple Tips to Keep Things Beautiful and Working Well Around the House

By Mary Hunt

December 15, 2015 4 min read

FABULOUS FIXTURES. So you splurged on some really beautiful — dare I say expensive — sink fixtures for your kitchen or bathroom. Here's a fabulous way to keep them looking beautiful for many years to come. Once a month or so, wipe the faucets down with a rag that you have sprayed with a wax-based furniture polish. This will keep mineral deposits from building up and staining or pitting the surface of even the most exquisite fixtures.

DUCT TAPE REPAIR. Got a shower curtain with a ripped ring hole that makes it sag? Don't throw it out quite yet. Instead, get out the duct tape and cover the entire hole on both sides. Using a hole-punch or craft knife, re-create the ring hole. Now it's stronger than new, but maybe not so attractive. Not to worry. These days duct tape comes in loads of colors and even patterns. You may even want to reinforce the entire top strip of the vinyl curtain with a bright color or design and redo all of the holes while you're at it, not just the torn one.

BLOW-DRYER LONGEVITY. The intake area of a blow-dryer does more than draw in air to cool the heating element. It also sucks in dust, hair, makeup, hair spray, powder and anything else around it. That's hard on the motor and can cause it to overheat and burn out. To keep your blow-dryer working for years, make sure to vacuum the holes at the back of the dryer every time you vacuum the floor in that room.

AUTOMATIC POTATO WASHER. When you have to wash a lot of potatoes (like for Thanksgiving, which will be here soon), just put them in your dishwasher — but don't add soap! Set it on a short wash cycle and "air dry." The clean potatoes can go right into the oven or pot.

HAPPY MOUSE. If you use a rollerball computer mouse — one that has a ball that you can see when you turn the mouse upside down — then you need to clean the inner workings at least every month to keep it working smoothly. Otherwise, you'll be paying for replacements more frequently. Here's how to clean it:

Unplug the mouse and turn it over. You will see the tracking ball as well as a round ring that holds it in place. Remove the ring by pressing down and rotating it counterclockwise until you can lift it off. Flip the mouse over so that the ball drops out. Wash the ball with warm tap water and mild soap, then thoroughly dry it with a lint-free cloth. Before replacing the ball and ring, look for three small rollers (each about 1/16th-inch wide) inside the mouse cavity where the ball sits. They will likely be covered with built-up dirt. Use cotton swabs or a toothpick to scrape off the dirt. Gently knock the still-open cavity down into the palm of your hand to get rid of loose particles. Then replace the ball and ring cover.

Would you like more information? Log on to, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. 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, 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

Photo credit: Joe Loong

Like it? Share it!

  • 0

Everyday Cheapskate
About Mary Hunt
Read More | RSS | Subscribe