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Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything - Formica Restore, Silverfish Relief, Party Pressure

Mary Hunt on

Recently, I reached into the pile known as my mail and pulled out a great question: "How can I restore the finish to an original, classic mid-century modern Formica top table that has some noticeable dull spots?" I have the answer but misplaced the letter. So while I don't know your name, you know who you are, and that's what matters.

Dear Reader: Don Aslett, America's #1 Cleaning Expert, says to brighten dull or scratched laminate, rub it down with Jubilee Kitchen Wax (a venerable product still available online) or a good paste car wax like Meguiar's Gold Class Carnauba. Just follow the instructions on the package. By the way, Jubilee Kitchen Wax is for use on almost anything: cars, boats, bikes, countertops, skis, your glasses, but don't apply it to floors. It's too slick. As I recall from your letter, you are very fond of your table, so if you don't already have one of the recommended products, a $10 investment might be worth the price.

Dear Mary: I have a silverfish problem in my home. Nothing I have tried works. Please help. -- Helene

Dear Helene: Silverfish are such a pesky problem. They're nocturnal, so you won't see them much during the day. And silverfish are so hardy they can go without food for up to a year. When they do eat, they find cardboard and wallpaper to be quite tasty.

An excellent pesticide for silverfish is food-grade diatomaceous earth, available at garden centers or hardware stores. Make certain you purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth, NOT the variety used in swimming pools, which has been chemically altered and will not work as a pesticide.

When silverfish and other crawling insects come in contact with the powdery substance, they dehydrate. Even silverfish cannot live without water.

Apply the diatomaceous earth along baseboards, and beneath and behind appliances. Diatomaceous earth is nontoxic to humans and pets, which makes it an excellent pesticide for indoor use.

Another option is to trap silverfish in small glass containers or baby food jars: Wrap the outside of the glass with masking tape, and set the container upright in areas where you have seen them. Silverfish will climb up the taped surface, fall in and become trapped in the container because they cannot climb smooth surfaces. The trick is finding a way to attract them to the container.

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Dear Mary: I have several friends who sell doTerra, Avon, Mary Kay, Norwex, Tupperware, etc. How can I say no to the party invitations and expensive products that I'd never consider buying in a store without seeming like a cheapskate? -- Feeling Pressured

Dear Feeling Pressured: You've just articulated one of my biggest gripes about multilevel marketing businesses. Distributors are encouraged to turn their friends and family members into their best customers. I think the wise approach is to be completely honest with a response like "I'm sorry, but the funds I have allotted for household items (makeup, candles, clothes, toys, essential oils, decorations, cookie dough, jewelry) are all spoken for. Maybe next time!"

Got a question? You can ask me anything by sending an email to mary at everydaycheapskate dot com (you know how to turn that into an email address, right?). If it's a question I believe will have wide-reaching appeal, watch for the answer in an upcoming post. And feel free to give yourself a uniquely descriptive name, as Feeling Pressured did above!

Resources: You can find resources for the products mentioned above at


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 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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