Posted in Blessings of Habit, Good ol' days, Home School, Homemaking, Inspiring, Recipes, Wisdom, Wives

My Favorite Tips

Save Trips to the Store and Save Money

I cannot overemphasize how we wives need to stick together and help each other.

Candle in the window
Candle in the window (Photo credit: Paul Bowman)

Used to be, home schoolers were odd because they homeschooled.

Now days, it’s just rare to find a mom at home, at all. Like it or not, we live in what amounts to the wilderness days, when women kept homemade candles glowing in windows just to cheer each other at night. How kind we used to be, reminding each other, when the coyotes were howling, that someone else was braving it through that lonely existence, too!

The duty of visiting each other and showing hospitality actually had meaning and value, then. Nowadays, we cannot justify visiting unless someone is homebound. Isn’t that us? How else can we keep home, unless we are home? So here I come, through the wilderness, visiting you with news of tips I’ve learned along the way.

It beats gossip.

Out of laundry detergent? Use about 1/8 cup hand-dishwashing liquid in a full load of laundry. This cleans well, but is not quite as easy on clothing as laundry detergent, so do buy the right stuff when you get the chance. It’s great, though, for those days when all the jeans are muddy and you’re out of detergent. Do not use with bleach, however.

For cleaner clothes and less wear on the washer and use of electricity, wash with the lid open (top loaders, only!) on a shorter, gentler cycle. After it agitates, it will soak. Later, re-run the agitation cycle for a few moments with the lid closed. The cycle will complete as usual and the new level of clean will surprise you.

Rather than waste money on aerosol cans of starch, try starching in the washer. Place all starch items together, for this short time, unless they are terrible bleeders. (Do not put your husband’s white shirts with your new red doily, etc.) Fill with warm water, less than usual for that size load. For medium water level, prepare starch thus: Bring one quart water to boil. Thoroughly stir ½ cup cornstarch into 2 cups cold water. Slowly pour this into the boiling water, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Pour into washer and agitate on gentle cycle. Drain and spin on gentle cycle that does not add much water to the spin. The idea is to eliminate dripping and still leave a goodly amount of starch in the clothing. Drip dry—no dryer, please. Iron using steam and a spray bottle of water to dampen as you go. Starch makes important clothing nice and crisp. I absolutely love what it does for rayon. Sometimes starched clothing fares so well, it is wearable for two days. Collars and yokes pick up less body oil, too, if starched.

Baking soda really does almost anything. I hate to sound like our favorite matron of homemaking, but just try some, in a paste, on your toaster, to see. I even clean ovens with it. I used to think this advice was too hoaky, but it’s for real. Baking soda works just like scouring powder, but is gentler on the item you clean and tougher, if possible, on grunge. I was so shocked when I first learned this. I used to think, “Yeah. Right!” But no more.

To remove permanent ink try hair spray. Rub and launder. If it doesn’t work, hardly anything else will. To remove wax from fabric try ammonia. Get the worst out first, with heating or scraping. It may take a while, but it will dissolve.

More tomorrow. 🙂

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Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

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