Read more Oily Rag articles by Frank and Muriel Newman
We have been collecting and publishing oily rag tips for twenty years now, and we can’t remember a time when we have received so many letters and new tips from the oily rag community. Our mail bags are overflowing and we have also never had so many members on the oily rag newsletter mailing list – 2804 at last count.
The oily rag boom is probably a sign of the tough times but also a reminder that our down-to-earth do-it-yourself frugal mindset is still very much alive and well. Here are more of the great and sometimes humorous tips sent in by readers.
- P.K. from Te Puke has a tip for cleaning glass fronted wood stoves. “For many years I have cleaned the glass with a ‘window cleaning’ type paint scraper. It is quick and easy. Plastic handled scrapers are available at any hardware store for a few dollars. The special razor blade insert is reversible and replaceable. I use a ‘Stanley’ Brand scraper.”
- Trish from Tauranga has a secret ‘weapon’ against slugs and snails – cucumber! “To keep slugs and snails away from newly planted seedlings, just make a small flat container out of tin foil and put 3 or 4 slices of cucumber on it. The cucumber and tin foil together seem to give off an unnoticed smell that slugs and snails don't like. I put a couple of little holes in the bottom so they didn't collect rainwater. We have a raised garden about 2 1/2 x 3 meters and I used 3 small containers about 12cm x 9cm.”
- J.F. from Kawerau says, “We all shower often and wash lots of shampoo and soap down the drain. The shampoo is perfectly fine to wash the body with and we shouldn't use much (for the sake of our skin, environment and wallet)…so I wash with the shampoo suds from my hair before they are washed away!”
- TB from Blenheim has a cleaning tip. “Annoyed with unsightly stains around the base of your taps? It's caused by calcium deposits in the water. An easy way to get the stain off is to wrap a piece of cloth soaked in vinegar around the tap, after a day or so the stain will wipe off. It’s the acetic acid in the vinegar that does the trick!”
- Jules from Napier recommends growing NZ native spinach. “They are a little known vegetable, it is a vine that is really fast growing, provides huge volumes, keeps weeds down and incredibly delicious. Simply pluck the leaves from the vine and it continues to sprout. Three to four plants will easily keep a family fed for the winter. It grows all year round and is idiot poof!”
- Still in the garden, Denis from Opotiki writes, “Use broken up polyurethane packing in the bottom of your pot plants. It keeps them warm and is lighter when you need to move your large pots.”
- N.P. from Hastings says, “To make dog food (dry) make a vege stew, pumpkin as a base, pasta or rice, boil all together and add garlic – not in the drinking water as dogs will not drink water with additives. Don't ever put onions, leeks into dog stew. The garlic helps with worms and fleas.”
- J.Y. from Dannevirke has other ideas about fleas. “Flea treatments cost a fortune!! What we've done with our two cats is to train them from kitten to be bathed and brushed regularly. We usually only get fleas on them if we go away for a few days (those who feed them don't comb them), but a few vigilant weeks of bathing and brushing sees them right.”
If you have a favourite tip share it with others by visiting the oily rag website or write to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei. The book Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag by Frank & Muriel Newman is available from all good bookstores or online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.
* Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Readers can submit their oily rag tips on-line at www.oilyrag.co.nz. The book is available from bookstores and online at www.oilyrag.co.nz.