We keep a jug of vinegar in my husband’s shop where he repairs all kinds of machinery as well as some cars and trucks. Someone told him years ago to soak any rust loose from nuts and bolts with vinegar.  He removes the rusty part, dumps it in the vinegar (in a jar or basin of some kind), and lets it soak for a day or two, depending on how bad it is. He then rinses off the vinegar and most of the rust with clean water and a little wire brush to dig out the remaining rust if necessary.

He dries it off and then puts it into another jar with some plain oil in it before he puts it back where it belongs on the machinery – and it always works! He thought maybe someone else could use this idea too. (tip submitted by CK, IA)


Some folks have been blessed with a lot of rain this summer. The excess dampness can be a problem in basements as they get musty. Mold can form because there is not very good air circulation. A reader wrote that she buys a couple of boxes of plain baking soda and then sprinkles it all over the basement floor, leaving it to sit for a few days before giving the floor a good sweeping. She says that there is no smell – the soda is non-toxic, so even if children or pets get into it, it will not hurt them. It washes off with plain water. (tip submitted by WS, MN)


The Styrofoam trays that grocery stores use to place meats and all sorts of fruits and vegetables also have another use. Place one in the bottom of the plastic sack you line your kitchen wastebasket with. Any ‘liquids’ will be collected on the plastic tray instead of leaking out of the bag and dripping all over the floor when it is removed. The whole works can go directly to the trash. (tip submitted by WN, ND)


Did you know that cooking spray will take all that grease and grime off your hands after working on a tractor or other machinery in the shop?  We didn’t until a friend of ours clued us in. It’s easier on your skin and smells a lot better than other grease removers. (tip submitted by AE, NE)


Don’t toss those used dryer sheets. You can use them to take pet hair off of furniture and clothing. You can use them to remove soap scum off shower doors. Used dryer sheets can be used to clean television and computer screens. They eliminate the static electricity that draws the dust. Put a used dryer sheet in a pan with ‘stuck on’ food, fill it with water, and let it sit all night. Something in that dryer sheet loosens all the crud, and it comes off easily the next morning. (tip submitted by JE, MN)


A small raw potato on the shelf in the fridge will help to absorb those odd odors – it really does work. (tip submitted by WH, SD)


Penny, I don’t know about you, but whenever I have to take a message, I have to go hunt up some paper and a pencil so I can write out – whatever. My son finally said,  “Mom – just take several sheets of paper from that little notepad and staple it to the inside cover of the phone book and hook a pen over the top. That way, you always have a pen to write with, and the paper to write on.” This took all of 2 minutes, and now I can make a note at any time. (tip submitted by JW, MT)


If you can’t read the rain gauge without going outside, try putting a little bit of food coloring in the tube. If the water is colored enough, you can see it from a distance, and if you let it dry in the tube, there will be a little bit of color for the next rain. (tip submitted by SP, SD)