Oily Rag: The world is embracing the oily rag way

By Frank, Muriel Newman

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Bleach and water will make an old cup look like new. Photo/Thinkstock
Bleach and water will make an old cup look like new. Photo/Thinkstock

World-watchers will be well aware that people-power uprisings are changing society. Less well known is the social uprising happening right here in New Zealand. Oily rag mania is sweeping through the burbs from Kaitaia to Stewart Island, as households are being transformed by people embracing the oily rag way of life.

Stacey from Dunedin has this handy repair tip: "Many service manuals are available free online.

I recently diagnosed and repaired my very geriatric F&P smart drive washing machine by finding the service manual and engaging in a bit of problem solving and DIY. The service manual is different to the user manual you get when buying a machine.

"The service manual is what the manufacturer produces for the repair technicians to use. It can take a bit of puzzling out to work out exactly what it's all trying to tell you, but well worth it to save a technician callout fee.

"And even if you can't repair it yourself, you're in a much better position to tell the tech what they need to know and save them some valuable time, too."

Anne from Auckland has this cleaning tip. "I have found that if you fill a stained mug or cup with water and drop in a generous dollop of bleach and leave it to stand, it cleans the mugs beautifully after about an hour. Rinse it out and wash as normal and there is no bleach taste or smell, just a nice shiny white cup or mug."

With winter on the way, here's a tip from GB from Kerikeri on making firebricks out of recycled material: "I have found that cutting the corners off the bottom of an empty one-litre milk carton and packing in wet newspaper makes wonderful compressed fire bricks.

"As the carton fills I make holes in the sides to allow the water to escape. Compress the wet paper into the carton. These paper bricks last about two hours in a low combustion fire and about an hour in an open fire." Carol from New Plymouth writes, "If you need to keep food cold when travelling by car, here's a tried and true tip. Save the plastic bladders from empty wine casks and fill them with enough water so that they lie flat like a brick and freeze them a few days before travelling. Then pack frozen bladders on your food in the chilly bin and it will stay cold between destinations."

Oily raggers have even come up with millions of ways to use eggshells. An eggshell accounts for about 10 per cent of the weight of an egg and is about 95 per cent calcium carbonate.

Here are some common (and interesting) uses:

Use near whole eggshells to plant seedlings; crack a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Place them in an old egg carton. When the seedlings are large enough to plant out crack the shells and plant. This can add a bit of fun to a children's garden.

Surround plants with crushed shells to deter slugs and snails. This acts as a barrier because these garden pests do not like crossing sharp objects.

For those with chickens, add crushed shell to their food. The calcium helps build strong shells and give them grit to help digest food. The trick is to crush the shells up in tiny pieces.

Place them in a plastic bag and run over it with a rolling pin or something similar (like the family car).

Use as a health supplement for you and your pets. Shells are full of calcium. Crush dried eggshells into a powder and sprinkle over your food. Half an eggshell would provide the recommended daily intake for most people. Add it to dog and cat food too... they need calcium for strong bones and healthy white teeth.

If you have a money saving tip you would like to share with everyone, please send it to us by visiting www.oilyrag.co.nz - or by writing to us at Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

If you have a favourite recipe or oily rag tip that works well for your family, send it to us at www.oilyrag.co.nz, or by writing to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei, and we will relay it to the readers of this column.

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