By Lowell & Kaye Christie, F47246
It’s been some time since we’ve done a traveling tips column, so out came our inch-thick packet of ideas. Here we go.
1. Removing labels from jars
We finally found a great way to remove labels from plastic bottles. Soak off as much of the label as you can and then smear the rest of the label with peanut butter “” yes, peanut butter. Let the oils in the peanut butter soak into the label for a half-hour or so, and scrape off both the peanut butter and the label.
2. Soap residue on your clothes?
Keep it simple; just add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. Then, to avoid smelling like a pickle when you wear your clothes, give the wash an additional trip through the rinse cycle before it goes into the dryer.
3. Scrub linoleum or tile floors
On the day you clean the kitchen, add 1/2-cup of vinegar to each gallon of water in the bucket, and then scrub the floor. It certainly does the job! Then I mix another bucket of vinegar and water to scrub down the tile counters, with the same results. Clean, very clean.
4. Netting scrubbers
Readers may be very familiar with the netting scrubbers available in drugstores and supermarkets. They were intended for use in the bath or shower, but here’s an even better use. Pick one up to wash your dishes. It does a terrific job of cleaning even the most baked-on food in frying pans, and the debris you scrubbed from the dishes and pans rinses right out of the scrubber when you’re finished. What’s more, these little guys last a very long time, even with daily use.
5. Cast-iron skillets
This time you don’t use vinegar, but vegetable oil. If the skillet that travels in your motorhome shows a bit of rust, don’t get out the rust removal products; instead, rub vegetable oil on the rusty spots. Let it stand for 20 or 30 minutes, and then wipe off the oil “” and the spots “” with a paper towel. Once the skillet is clean, you can prevent rust from recurring by rubbing a fine coat of vegetable oil all over it before putting it away. After we applied the oil to our pan several times, it was so well seasoned that it never showed rust, even after being in storage during the winter.
6. Make your own ice pack
If you’re out for the weekend and forget to bring an ice pack, make your own. All it takes is a mixture of one part rubbing alcohol and three parts water in a resealable bag. Pop the bag into the freezer for several hours and you have a slushy, long-lasting ice pack. For extra safety, I like to place a second bag over the first.
7. Dust remover for the TV screen
After dusting, wipe the TV screen with a used dryer sheet to reduce the static that attracts dust to the glass. Dryer sheets are gentle on the surface, so you don’t have to worry about scratching the screen.
8. Baking soda, the all-purpose, all-friendly cleaner
We’ve been using baking soda, with or without water, for years. It scrubs sinks clean, absorbs odors on cutting boards, and is safe. It doesn’t catch on fire or poison the user. And if you’re hungry, you can use it to make biscuits.
9. Do-it-yourself cutting boards “” or, bacon backing put to use
When you finish up a pound of bacon, don’t toss the plastic bacon backing in the trash. Once you scrub off the greasy surface, you have a first-rate traveler’s cutting board. It takes up very little space and lasts a long time.
10. Spoon rest for the stove
This one is quick and easy, and it really does the job. All you need is the plastic lid from a carton of cottage cheese, yogurt, or margarine. We prefer yogurt lids, because they are large enough to hold a spatula or a couple of spoons, plus they’re pretty and easy to wash.
11. Clean the microwave
Mix 1/4-cup of vinegar in a cup of water and heat it in the microwave for five minutes. Open the windows of the motorhome, go for a short walk, and return to wipe down the oven walls with paper towels. Or, pour baking soda on a damp sponge and clean it the old-fashioned way.
12. More life for your pens
Here’s a tip that makes you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” To get longer life from your pens, felt-tipped markers, etc., always store them vertically, with the writing tips down. It’s amazing how well it extends their usefulness.
13. Remove baked-on food
Here’s another tip from the smartest person we know: Lowell’s mom. After she bakes chicken in a glass dish she doesn’t scrub and sweat over the dish to clean it. Instead, she fills it with water, drops in a dryer sheet, and lets it soak for several hours. Now we do the same thing. We simply fish out the dryer sheet and wash the container as usual. It doesn’t get any better than that.