By Lowell & Kaye Christie, F47246
Here is quite a collection of tips for the traveler, gathered from a variety of sources. We hope they come in handy. These tips describe offbeat ways to use aluminum foil, coffee grounds, mouthwash, rubbing alcohol, and more.
1. Need a funnel?
Make your own. Tear a piece of aluminum foil from the roll, fold it in half, and roll it into the shape of a cone. If you’re like us and try to hold down the amount of trash you produce, make two funnels: one for edible products, and the other for non-edibles. You can use one, rinse or wash it, and after it dries, fold it flat and stow it away for next time.
2. Clean and polish chrome bumpers
If your car or motorhome has chrome bumpers, try using a crumpled-up piece of aluminum foil to rub off rust, bugs, or bird droppings. Don’t toss the foil yet; just rinse it clean. Then, after you’ve washed the yucky stuff off the bumper, rub it again with the foil to bring up the shine.
3. Clean those pots and pans
A crumpled-up piece of aluminum foil makes an excellent pot scrubber. We wouldn’t recommend using it on Teflon-coated pans or skillets, however.
4. Dental floss does more than clean teeth
Here’s a tip Kaye has used for years. When sewing a button on a heavy coat, use dental floss for thread. It’s a safe bet that the coat will wear out before you need to reattach the button.
5. Deodorize a smelly refrigerator
If you love brewed coffee, here’s a great way to recycle the coffee grounds. When your coach isn’t in use, the refrigerator can certainly produce some strange (and unappealing) aromas. But if you place a bowl full of used coffee grounds on one of the refrigerator’s shelves before you close up the rig, you won’t have an unpleasant experience the next time you unlock the door. Still, there is a downside to this idea. Next time you open the refrigerator, you’ll suddenly need a coffee break.
6. Disinfect wounds
Let’s face it “” we don’t always have everything on hand we might need in an emergency. So next time someone has a laceration or abrasion, use an antiseptic mouthwash to kill the bacteria. Just open the bottle and pour on the mouthwash; or, better yet, after cleaning the wound, soak a piece of paper towel in mouthwash and use it as a soothing compress.
7. Forget to bring deodorant?
Joey Green, who has made a name for himself in books and on television by finding weird uses for brand-name products, recommends dabbing mouthwash under your arms. Any antiseptic brand would work, just so it isn’t brightly colored or has sugar in the ingredients. You also should avoid applying something that really stings, such as Listerine, if you have irritated skin under your arm. Ouch!
8. Disinfect the washing machine
Back when we were traveling full-time, Kaye spent many hours in campground laundry facilities. Back then, it didn’t occur to her to wipe down the washing machines before using them, unless they were visibly dirty. But with what we know today about viruses and bacteria, it might be a good idea. Mouthwash might work for this task, but rubbing alcohol would do a better job, and it wouldn’t need to be rinsed off. Then, when the washers are finished and the clothes are moved to the dryers, clean your hands thoroughly before folding the laundry.
9. Deodorize and revitalize your feet
After a long day of hiking or sightseeing, try this to ease your tootsies. Boil several tea bags in approximately a quart of water for 10 minutes. Pour in enough cool water to make a comfortable soak. Then sit down, relax, and soak your feet until they, and the rest of your body, are resting easy. After the water cools, dry your feet and shake on some foot powder. If your spouse or a friend is around, ask him or her to massage lotion into your feet. (You will, of course, have to reciprocate.)
10. Relieve sunburn pain
Here’s a nifty first-aid trick if you get sunburned: pat your tender, sunburned skin with one or more very wet, cool tea bags.
11. Soothe a sore throat or laryngitis
While we’re on the subject of tea bags, a nice cup of tea laced with lemon juice and/or honey helps to alleviate the pain.
12. Remove salt stains on shoes
Walking along the beach is a great way to enjoy the ocean, but it can do a number on your shoes. One easy way to remove salt stains from your footwear is to wipe them with a cloth soaked in white vinegar. The shoes will look fine again, and you won’t track the salt residue on the floor and furniture of your motorhome.
13. Water your houseplants while you’re on vacation
We’ve used a variety of methods to keep our houseplants healthy while we’re away from home, and this one is a winner. All you need is a bucket and some cotton string or twine. Place the plants roughly in a circle, with enough room in the center for a 5-gallon bucket. After filling the bucket with water, place it on a stool or stand that is tall enough to keep the bucket above the level of the pots. Next, cut several pieces of cotton string that are long enough to stretch from the bottom of the bucket to the bottom of each plant container, plus an extra foot. (The extra string will allow you to wrap the group of strings around a brick or other heavy object that will hold them at the bottom of the bucket.) Using a pencil or some other slim, sharp instrument, push a hole through the soil to the base of the plant container. Getting each strand of string into the hole requires some thinking. We decided that a thicker twine made sense, since we could then poke it with a kabob skewer and shove it down the hole. Don’t forget to close the hole by pressing down on the soil. The water will be absorbed into the string and make its way to your plants.