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Everyday Cheapskate: Turn Your Dishwasher Into a Workhorse, Plus More Great Reader Tips

Mary Hunt on

The dishwasher in my house is a workhorse. It does a great job of doing all sorts of things. It cleans dishes, of course, but it also cleans baseball caps and wastebaskets, and it de-crystalizes honey* (yes, you read that right). Now I can add "cleaning refrigerator shelves" to the list.

SPARKLING CLEAN SHELVES. When I clean my refrigerator, I put all the shelves, including the door shelves, in the dishwasher. I run the short cycle, which saves time, and the shelves come out sparkling. -- Emma

DOG HAIR-REMOVAL GLOVES. My Labrador retriever frequently goes places with me and travels in the back of my car. Needless to say, lots of dog hair gets stuck on the carpet. I've tried everything to remove it including sticky roller tape and special sponges, but nothing has worked. Finally, I tried my gardening gloves. The palm of the gloves has a rough, rubbery texture, and they work beautifully. I put on a glove and run my palm along the carpet. The hair piles up in it. -- Kathryn

GRIND THE BEANS IN A JAR. I buy coffee beans even though I don't have a coffee grinder. I use a mason jar and my blender. I add the beans to the jar, screw the blender blade onto the top of the jar and blend. -- Angela

TWO-STEP SWIFFER CLEANING. I cut old towels into pieces that fit as a cleaning pad on my Swiffer. When mopping, I use a spray bottle filled with water and a tablespoon of Murphy's Oil Soap, spraying small areas and mopping as I go. The floor dries very quickly, too. -- Jill

WRAP UP THE BREAKABLES. As a former Air Force wife and quilter, I realized during my very first move that quilting fabric would make for good packing material. I was going to move it anyway, and if I used my own packing materials, I wouldn't have to purchase some from the moving company. I also used our towels, sheets, pillowcases, T-shirts and nightgowns to pack our belongings. It cut down on cost during our many moves. It didn't harm the environment. And the materials were still clean (although wrinkled) when I unpacked. I would suggest to those who want to cut costs on their move to look around their home for soft things that could protect breakables. -- Yvonne

CARPET SQUARES CLEAR THE PATH. I keep carpet samples in the trunk of my car in case I get stuck in the snow (or sand or mud). I simply place the carpet squares in front of the tires and drive right out! -- Joan

*You may have a jar of honey that was once delicious and beautiful but now looks gross because it has crystallized and turned almost solid. Don't throw it out! It's easy to turn into tasty flowing goodness again. Set the tightly closed jar in the top rack of your dishwasher, and run it through a cycle. Let it return to room temperature in the dishwasher. This method produces excellent results. The water spray provides slow, even heating and gentle agitation.


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 Web page at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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