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Vail Valley Voices: Common items, new uses

In a recent Valley Voices commentary, Warren Miller described how he once used WD-40 to soothe his aching feet after a day in ski boots. And while this practice is not recommended, Warren’s finding piqued my curiosity, so I decided to look into some of the other (safer) uses for WD-40, along with a few other common household items. This is what I discovered.

WD-40: In addition to relieving pain from tight ski boots as Warren Miller described, did you know WD-40 protects silver from tarnishing, removes road tar and grime from cars, cleans and lubricates guitar strings and gives floors that just-waxed sheen without making them slippery?

It keeps flies off cows, cleans chalkboards, removes lipstick stains and loosens stubborn zippers. It untangles jewelry chains and removes stains from stainless steel sinks. Have a tomato stain on a new blouse? Try WD-40. Want you scissors to work smoother? Spray them with WD-40!

This wonder compound keeps shower doors free of water spots, camouflages scratches in marble floors and removes scuff marks from the kitchen floor. It keeps rust from forming on saw blades and other tools and can be used to lubricate umbrella stems, electric fans, and sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles. WD-40 also removes crayon marks from walls; displaces water from a distributor cap (allowing a car to start) and it will remove pricing labels and tape adhesives.

Lemons: Did you know lemons will sanitize a chopping block? (Run a slice of it over the board’s surface) Lemons will also eliminate the browning that occurs when food sits out too long. Just sprinkle apple or pear slices with lemon juice before serving, or squeeze a bit into guacamole and give it a stir. Lemons can relieve a sore throat, too – just cut a lemon in half and skewer it over a medium flame on a gas stove or an electric burner set on high and roast until the peel turns golden brown. Let cool slightly, then mix the juice with 1 teaspoon of honey and swallow the mixture.

Do you want to shine the interior of copper cookware? Sprinkle a lemon wedge with salt, then scrub. Whiten fingernails? Rub a wedge on them. Brighten laundry whites? Easy – just add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the wash cycle of a normal-size load.

Newspapers (like this one) also have a variety of uses. You can deodorize food containers with ease. Just ball up a page or two, put them into the container (lunch boxes?) then seal and let it sit overnight. You can also ripen your tomatoes by wrapping them individually and letting them sit out at room temperature.

Want to dry out a pair of shoes? Place crumpled page or two in them overnight. Out of wrapping paper? Use the comics to wrap a child’s birthday gift, or try the wedding announcements section to wrap an engagement gift. You can also create a home for slushy snow boots by keeping a pile of newspapers near the entryway. When your little snowmen and -women come home, they can toss their winter wear onto the newspaper instead of creating puddles on the floor

Olive oil: Men can shave with it and, ladies, did you know olive oil will remove eye makeup? Just dab a little under the eyes and rinse off with a washcloth. Additionally, many cleaning standbys such as ammonia can dull and even corrode chrome and stainless steel. Olive oil, however, is a safe and effective shining agent.

Want to prevent cat hair balls? Add one-eighth to one-quarter teaspoon to your cat’s food every day. Olive oil is also great for moisturizing cuticles and treating dry skin.

But my favorite item with multiple uses harkens back to days gone by. How many remember their grandmother’s apron? The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material.

But along with that Grandma’s apron also served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children’s tears (and cleaning out dirty ears) and when company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids as well as for picking up dust from furniture in a matter of seconds.

Today the CDC would go crazy trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron, but the reality is the only thing I ever caught from my grandmother’s apron was love.

Quote of the day: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Butch Mazzuca is an Edwards resident.


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