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Don’t toss your old car floor mats

By on January 14, 2011

floor mats

DEAR SARA:

I’m thinking about buying new floor mats for my car, but I do not want to throw out the old ones. Do you have any ideas? — Melissa, e-mail

DEAR MELISSA:

I’d use them in the garage, either for under your car to catch any leaking fluids or as door mats to store shoes or to keep dirt or debris from being tracked into your home. Or keep a couple in your trunk in case anything leaks in your trunk or if you ever are in need of extra tire traction. Wash one and use it under a child’s car seat to protect your seats. Have you tried washing them? Some car washes have mat-cleaning machines. Or take it to a self-service car wash and use the high-pressure hose to wash them. If they have carpet on them, use a scrub brush and carpet cleaner, and then rinse with the pressure hose. You might discover that you don’t need new car mats.

DEAR SARA:

Do you know of any homemade cleaners to clean a brass lamp? — Polly, Pennsylvania

DEAR POLLY:

First, try using a wet toothbrush and buffing with a cloth. If you’re not happy with the results, use vinegar and salt. Add 1 teaspoon salt to 1/2 cup vinegar, and add enough flour to make a paste. Rinse and buff. Or use lemon juice and baking soda, cream of tartar or salt, made into a paste. Please note: This is for nonlacquered pieces. If it’s lacquered, use only a damp cloth.

DEAR SARA:

We were reading your reply about dish washing and adding Lemi Shine to the dishwasher. We thought we would give it a try, but we can’t find Lemi Shine. Could that be a misprint? — Margaret B., e-mail

DEAR MARGARET:

No, it’s not a misprint. It’s manufactured by Environcon Technologies Inc. It’s typically found in the dishwashing-product aisle. You can call the company for information at 888-336-2582. There is a store locator at www.envirocontech.com/products/Store-Locator.html. You can fill out a request form and give it to your local store manager, too. It’s at www.envirocontech.com/Product-Request-Forms/envirocon.html.

DEAR SARA:

I really like your column and enjoy trying some of your ideas. I would like to try to make my own fabric wrinkle release. But in the newspaper the amount of water or whatever liquid I mix with the 1 teaspoon of fabric softener was not mentioned. Could you let me know? Thanks for your help. — Ann G., e-mail

DEAR ANN:

My apologies. Here’s the recipe. Fill a spray bottle (32 ounces) with distilled water. Add 1 teaspoon liquid fabric softener. Shake to mix. Spray the wrinkled garment until it’s slightly damp. Pull to smooth out wrinkles. Hang until dry. It works well as a fabric freshener, too. You can increase the amount of liquid fabric softener up to 1 tablespoon.

DEAR SARA:

I don’t make piecrusts. I buy them frozen. Is there a way to fix broken frozen piecrusts? — Emily J., Indiana

DEAR EMILY:

Let it thaw. You can either use your fingers (wet them) to press it back together or re-roll it. Or brush some melted butter on it and sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar and bake a treat.

photo by sandi solow

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