Dear Mary: We are remodeling our kitchen, which means all new appliances. Do you have a suggestion for the brand we should consider? And should we get matching appliances or do more of a mix-and-match to get the best prices available? Also, which type of countertop do you feel is better? We have nine grandkids, so we want everything to be very durable. -- Liz
Dear Liz: With this, I do tend to be rather opinionated. (Ask my husband!) I'd love to weigh in on your situation. I think you will be happiest with your new kitchen when your appliances match -- all the same brand and finish. As for which brand to choose, Whirlpool and GE are two of the top appliance manufacturers in the United States. I'd stay away from Samsung and LG because if the appliances require service (Samsung and LG do, and more often than you'll believe), it's not easy to find a repair shop that will work on them, even during the warranty period. So, if your budget allows, I would go with either the Whirlpool Gold or GE Profile lines.
As for when countertops meet up with lots of kids, I don't think you can beat quartz counters for durability, easy care and beauty. Quartz doesn't stain, doesn't require any kind of sealant and cleans up like a dream. And it's cheaper than granite.
Dear Mary: Thank you so much for your column! This is the first time I have ever read anyone anything not written by a friend or family member, so this is special. I accidentally threw out the column that had the information on Borax for cleaning the garbage disposal. I bought the Borax, but I don't remember how I am to use it. Could you resend that information? Thank you again ever so much for your wonderful advice and information. -- Carol
Dear Carol: Of course! In fact, I was just searching for that column, "The Proper Care and Feeding of a Garbage Disposal," because I wanted to use my new Mr. Scrappy Disposer Brush to get that Borax into all of the cracks and crevices. It's nearly impossible for me to keep everything I write nicely archived in my brain, so I'm grateful for a search function. Here it is again:
Disposal Cleaner. Clean stubborn odors from your garbage disposal by pouring 3 to 4 tablespoons of Borax (like the 20 Mule Team Borax you'll find in the supermarket laundry aisle) down the drain and letting it sit for an hour. Without running the disposal, turn on the hot water to flush the Borax away. Borax is a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer that effectively works on accumulated odor-causing mold and mildew in a garbage disposal.
By the way, columns are archived on EverydayCheapskate.com. There's a search bar in the upper right corner, where you can type in a keyword or search by category.
Dear Mary: I have let my beautiful wooden kitchen cabinets accumulate a greasy, sticky, dirty buildup around the handles and the bottom of the doors. I need a safe cleaner that I can make at home, as my finances are limited. -- Zelma
Dear Zelma: Here's a recipe that will work well to clean up those areas on your kitchen cabinets. And it's cheap because I'm sure you already have the ingredients!
Kitchen Gunk Remover. Bust through hard, dingy layers of old, sticky, dust-grabbing grease with vegetable oil and baking soda. Mix 1 part any vegetable oil with 2 parts baking soda. Apply this oily paste to dirty areas using a soft cloth or paper towel. That ugly, greasy, dirty buildup will begin to soften and disappear. Wipe clean and buff with a soft cloth.
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at email@example.com, 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 webpage at www.creators.com.Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.