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Everyday Cheapskate: Clever Ways to Use This for That

Mary Hunt on

Dealing with a child in pain can be a difficult experience for everyone regardless the child's age. That's why, as a parent and a grandparent, I so appreciate the hints and tips my readers send to me that help me to be even more resourceful.

ORAJEL NOT JUST FOR BABIES. Our teenage daughter badly stubbed her toe, and we needed to clip the nail. Unfortunately, she wouldn't let us near it because of the pain. My wife found a tube of Orajel and covered the area using a cotton swab. It was like magic. It numbed the area well enough that I was able to take care of things. I would never have thought to use Orajel this way. When you asked for nonstandard product uses, I couldn't help but share! -- Randall

DAWN FOR SPONTANEOUS CLEANING. I keep a bottle of Dawn, an automotive detailing brush and an old toothbrush in my shower. Dawn cuts the soap scum and does not leave a gritty residue. Just don't overdo it, since it can get pretty slippery! -- Laurel

SHOUT OUT THOSE STAINS. I found the best cleaner for my dirty golf shoes: Shout laundry stain remover. It works like a charm, getting down in the creases and crevices to get out the ground-in dirt. My golf shoes are leather, and it has not hurt them or the color. -- Brenda

ERASE THE RED POLISH. Red fingernail polish accidentally spilled on my carpet in a long red streak. A friend told me to use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The polish had already dried, but with a little elbow grease and several erasers, it all came out of my carpet. This is a wonderful product! -- Carolyn

LOOK OFFICIAL TO GET ATTENTION. Take a clipboard with you when you're shopping. You'll get waited on quickly, since sales associates will think you're either a mystery shopper or snooping for the competition. -- LaVonne


PEROXIDE CLEANS UP. I use a 50-50 mixture of peroxide and water in a spray bottle to clean just about everything in my house. It works great on windows, and it freshens my wood cutting boards. On the lip of my sink, it foamed and cleaned up what I thought was rust. And the best part is it's cheap. -- Carol

FOAMING BUBBLES AROUND THE HOUSE. I took my foaming bath cleaner out of the bathroom and started using it on my walls, floors, patio furniture, kitchen surfaces -- basically anything and everything. It cleans it all. When we removed the carpet in the hall, the old vinyl flooring underneath had seen better days. After using the foam on the floor, the dust and carpet fibers came up, and I didn't have to replace the flooring right away. For most surfaces, just spray, wait a few minutes and wipe away the dirt. And it disinfects, too! -- Jennie


Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, 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 webpage at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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