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Common Sense Tips by Chris Levandowski
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• Wander into some poison ivy or oak? Wash all of your clothing ASAP in a good detergent or brown laundry soap and warm water. The poison ivy resin on unwashed clothes can re-infect you.

• Stop poison ivy — wash all exposed skin immediately with lye-based brown soap to remove the plant’s oil.

• Put end pieces of bar soap in a baggie made from old pantyhose; hang it on the outside faucet for after-gardening cleanup.

• Eliminate odors and bacteria: Pop damp kitchen sponges into the microwave for a minute or two or run them through the dishwasher with the dinner dishes.

• Old fashion brown laundry soap gets rid of heavy-duty laundry stains, helps keep pets free of fleas and ticks, and, in solution, battles garden pests.

• Clean those corroded car battery terminals with a strong solution of baking soda and water.

• Cleaning paintbrushes with brown laundry soap keeps them supple and soft.

• Freeze leftover wine in an ice cube tray to use in sauces and casseroles, even meatloaf!
Wrap celery in aluminum foil before storing it in the ‘frig — it’ll keep for weeks.

• Adapters for rechargeable battery-powered cordless phones, cell phones, digital and video cameras, music players, power tools and other electronics draw power constantly. Unplug them when at all possible.

• Appliances and electronics with a “standby” function, remote control and/or digital clock display use power constantly. Consider unpluging them or using a switched power strip.

• Periodically clean the central air’s outside compressor with a garden hose (shut off power at breaker box first!).

• Maintain one foot of clearance between plantings and the central air’s compressor to allow adequate airflow and optimal efficiency.





• Flea-proof the pup! Pour boiling water over two sliced lemons and soak overnight, strain and pour into spray bottle. Spray and rub into the dog’s coat daily — spray the bedding too. Do NOT use on kitty!

• Rather than clay cat litter, look for organic, plant-based alternatives.

• Year-round car-window-washer solvent: combine 1 quart of rubbing alcohol, 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons liquid detergent. It won’t freeze above minus-35°.

• For sparkling clean windows — mix 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol, 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a spray bottle.

• Periodically clean aerators and showerheads with vinegar to reduce deposits and build-up caused by hard water.

• Nail polish remover or lighter fluid easily removes passé bumper stickers.

• Store just-cleaned flat or hollowware silver in self-sealing plastic bags, or wrap with plastic wrap, to slow down or avoid tarnish.

• Wrapping the hot water heater in an insulation blanket increases its efficiency and saves energy.

• Match pot size to burner size and use a lid to heat the contents more quickly — that saves energy!

• Turning off your computer and peripherals every night can save 100 to 400 kWh per computer!

• Swap heat-producing halogen lamps (that can be a fire hazard) and regular incandescent bulbs for compact Fluorescent bulbs that use 60-75 percent less energy per bulb and last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs.

• The R-value assigned to insulation measures its thermal resistance. Higher R-value equals better the insulation.

• Ceiling fans help circulate air throughout the house; run them clockwise in summer and counter-clockwise in winter.