This week, we have more frugal tips and answers to questions from the oily rag community!
Fay from Blenheim recently asked about whether lavender oil could be used as a flea treatment for dogs. Jeanne from Temuka replied, " I have tried rubbing crushed mint leaves on both my cat and dog, especially along the length of the back and around the collar area. It works a treat. Any herb or plant with a minty or citrus scent works well."
The tip provided by Canny Scot from Christchurch about using WD40 as a stain remover has created quite a debate. T from Tauranga says, "WD40 is a solvent and should be used carefully -- and not in enclosed spaces. Baking soda and vinegar is a safer, greener option."
But WD40 is something Thrifty from Hamilton has suggested to Melsy from Auckland who asked if anyone knew how to remove banana plant sap stains from clothing. "Melsy ... You could try nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. They work for other sap stains. WD40 works on pine sap and may work on banana sap too. WD40 may stain too so be careful and patch test with these remedies first. I remove WD40 stains with good old Sunlight soap. The rest of the stain would be chlorophyll or natural pigments similar to grass stains and can be laundered accordingly. Without knowing the fabric it's hard to make a judgement. I hope this helps."
K.F. from Auckland asked for a tip to remove nicotine grime from china. Thrifty has this suggestion. "Try a solution of 50:50 white vinegar and water. The vinegar will need to be warmed as tar and nicotine develop a hard surface. Alternatively try LA's Totally Awesome Oxygen Orange All Purpose Degreaser available at The Warehouse and some discount shops for about $3 per bottle. Spray on, remove grime with a small brush or cotton ball, and rinse off."
Miriam from Kaitaia has a few cleaning tips: "I use straight washing soda or soda ash in my washing machine -- it works really well and is very reasonably priced. For my dishwasher, I use washing soda and baking soda and citric acid with a white vinegar rinse aid. They both work really well."
Still on cleaning matters, Joan from Masterton asks, "What does one use to clean pewter mugs?" Let us know if you have an idea.
JB from Whangarei has this great tip for leftovers. "If you are a tramper, yachtie or camper, you may want a great compact food solution.
"When my husband was planning a 10-day tramp on Stewart Island, he was concerned about both the weight of his pack and the cost of dehydrated food, so I made 10 days worth of food for him in my dehydrator.
"Every night when we had a meal that was suitable, I dried a spare serving in my dehydrator, and put it into self-seal bags. Some experiments worked, but others didn't! You have to get everything the same size to dry consistently, and it has to be happy to have water added when reconstituting, so risottos, curries and stews all worked well."
Rosemary from Hastings has made this comment about freezing honey. "Honey is already several months old when you buy it in the supermarket and it doesn't matter how long you store it as it is a natural preservative itself." For storage tips, Rosemary recommends visiting www.hiveandhoneyapiary.com/honeystoragetips.html.
In short, that site says, "The best way of storing honey is in jars or containers at cool room temperatures ... Glass jars are ideal ... Always make sure the jars are tightly sealed ... It's not a good idea to store your honey in non-food plastic containers or metal containers because they can cause the honey to oxidize ... and could cause health issues ... If you don't plan to use your honey for a couple of months or longer, you should think about freezing it. Make sure you put it in a container that has extra room, because honey will expand when it freezes. You can keep it in the freezer for a couple of years."
Thank you to everyone for sharing your questions and tips -- please keep them coming! You can send your suggestions and join the Oily Rag mailing list, by visiting www.oilyrag.co.nz -- or you can write to us at Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.
* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Read our wealth of tips at www.oilyrag.co.nz