If you've ever washed a wool sweater in the washing machine only to have it emerge looking like it might fit a miniature poodle, you know a little something about "felting." It's a process that takes advantage of the inherent nature of wool and other animal hairs to shrink and become "matted" when stimulated by friction (that agitator in your washing machine) and lubricated by moisture (water, especially effective if it's hot).
While you might not have meant to felt that lovely sweater, don't throw it out. Today's first tipster has a great idea for how you can give it a second life.
Felted mitt. I found that felted sweater scraps work wonders when cleaning even the toughest rings from my bathtub. And they make the tub sparkle, too. I made a mitt that fits over my hand, and now the dreaded job of cleaning the bathtub is fast and easy.
- Lynnea, Quebec, Canada
DIY watering globe. I use 2-liter and 24-ounce soda bottles to water my potted plants. These work similar to the "As Seen on TV" "globes." I drill a small hole in the lid, fill the bottle with water and place it upside down in the pot. This has been great, especially when we travel.
- Judy, email
Sponge and cleaner duo. I attach a sponge to each of my cleaner bottles with a rubber band. Because the ingredients and abrasiveness of cleaners vary, it is wise to use the same sponge or rag for each cleaning job. For example, I wouldn't use the same sponge or cleaner to clean my glass stovetop that I use on my bathroom jobs.
- Tracy, Pennsylvania
Caffeine fix. If you make more coffee than you drink, don't let it go to waste. Let the coffee cool down, dilute it with water until you have a full carafe, and use it to water your house or garden plants. They love the extra acidic "fertilizer." In the winter, I use it to keep my herbs happy in the house. In the summer, my peppers just love it.
- Jennifer, Ohio
Golden address labels. After a couple of moves in the past few years, we had a huge supply of outdated return address labels. I decided to spray-paint them and use them to seal envelopes and gifts. I use them on anything that requires tape. For the labels on spools, I rolled them out and sprayed in a long line. For the sheets of labels, I spread them out on news-paper and sprayed. With all that spraying, I used only half a can of spray paint, and the whole project dried quickly.
- Betty, Oregon
Send tips to mary@everydayâ cheapskate.com.