The Non-Consumer Advocate is Getting a Little Tipsy

by Katy on March 17, 2011 · 12 comments

I like household tips. I don’t know precisely what it is that appeals to me, but there’s just something so satisfying about figuring out solutions to everyday problems. I just feel so gol durned smart. There are always going to be products marketed to solve life’s little challenges, (and you’ll find a hilarious number of them in Unclutterer’s Unitaskers Wednesdays) but figuring out solutions without buying a new product will always put a spring in my step.

In search of the cleverest tips, I even polled my Twitter followers and Facebook group.

Some of my favorite tips, as well as a few reader suggestions:

  • When using cooking spray, I always place the pan on the opened dishwasher door. That way any overspray can wash off with the next cycle. Obviously, don’t do this if your dishwasher is full of clean dishes.
  • I use my Cuisinart food processor at least twice a week, but washing it is always kind of a pain in the tuchus. Soaking the bowl can be a challenge because the water leaks from the center hole. However, an empty film canister fits precisely over the center stem piece, making it possible to soak the bowl before washing it out. I store the film canister inside of the white plastic pusher piece. (Any film developing place can give you a canister if you’ve completely switched over to digital.)
  • If two glass bowls get stuck together in the cabinet, (like your Pyrex storage) place the bottom bowl in warm water, and fill the top bowl with ice. This expands one while contracting the other, and the two bowls will easily separate. Plus, you get to feel like Dr Science!
  • If you have a light bulb that broke while still screwed in place, it can extremely difficult to remove. A super ball, (like the kind from a gum-ball machine) placed into the socket can give you enough traction to unscrew the broken bulb. Obviously, use common sense and unplug the lamp first. (I store a super ball in the same place as my lightbulbs.)
  • From @FeathrdFriendsy “Plain white paste style tooth paste is the best silver polish EVER.” (This I already knew, as I bought a super nasty tube of Trader Joe’s toothpaste and have been using as polish silver to save my taste buds!)
  • From Kari DeLong Dahler: “Before you light a candle in a glass holder put a few drops of water in the holder under the candle. When you want to remove the candle it will pop right out.”
  • From Julia Park Tracey: “I save butter wrappers in a ziplock in the freezer so that any time I need to grease a pan (I don’t like cooking spray), I have a greased paper ready. No paper towels, no waste, and then I compost the wrapper after its final use.”

What are your tips to share with The Non-Consumer Advocate community? Please tip us off in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Bonnie March 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

Love the cooking-spray tip! I have been spraying over the sink, but that still has to be wiped up. The automatic feature of the dishwasher approach is fabulous.


Dusti McLain March 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm

After several treatments of over the counter pesticides that didn’t work, I found a tip for getting rid of head lice that worked immediately. Saturate your hair and scalp with olive oil and cover your head with a shower cap. Leave on for at least 2 but up to 8 hours. Comb hair with a lice comb and wash with dish washing liquid. Dry with a hair dryer. Lice have become resistant to the pesticides but they still aren’t able to overcome suffocation. I did this every 4-7 days for 3 cycles and the lice were gone.


Kate in NY March 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Wait – Katy – was it the Trader Joe’s Peppermint Toothpaste with Baking Soda? I tried that recently and literally started foaming at the mouth, it was so completely vile. At least now I know what to do with the nearly full tube.

And my best new tip? Plain old club soda in a spray bottle for cleaning windows and mirrors. It works SO well – and it doesn’t matter if the club soda is warm or flat – something about the potassium citrate in it really does the trick (much better than vinegar, IMHO).

Fun post!


Dusti McLain March 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Plain toothpaste can also get marker off polished wood surfaces without damaging the finish.


Katy March 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm


I just looked and YES it was the peppermint with baking soda! So awful, it was like a childhood dare to put it in my mouth.

Blegh . . . .



Stasie March 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I had a problem with ants last summer. I tried everything, every brand, many environmentally friendly alternatives and finally resorted to major chemicals. What finally worked? I put peppermint oil on cotton balls and put the cotton balls where I last saw the ants. It took care of the problem super quick!


Dusti McLain March 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Wiping you counters down with vinegar repels them as well as cinnamon and pepper. I’ve read that marigolds are supposed to help, also. On the bright side, if you have ants, you don’t have termites. They are mortal enemies.


Megan March 17, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I make all my kids pb&js for school on Sunday night and freeze them. Every morning I pop one in each of their lunch boxes and it is perfectly thawed out by lunch time. It also helps to keep some of their other stuff cold. I hate making PB&J’s everyday.

Also, of course, I get rid of one unnecessary thing from my home every day. Boy, does it make things less crowded and cluttered around here. Oh and I stopped replacing it all by buying new stuff(thanks, non-consumer advocate)> 🙂


Jennifer March 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

To clean my blender I give it a quick rinse then fill it 1/4 with warm water and 1 drop of soap then “blend” the soapy water. Works great.


Katy March 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Ooh . . . this is a good one!



Dmarie March 19, 2011 at 2:44 am

toothpaste works great for getting the soles of sneakers white too!


Ruth March 29, 2011 at 5:03 am

I’ve removed a broken light bulb with a piece of raw potato. You can cut the potato into the right shape to jam it over the sticking-out piece that are left, then unscrew. Kind of fun, really.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: