I read your article on cornstarch and have a question. Will this work on blood that has been washed (but not washed out) and then run through the clothes dryer? If not do you have another suggestion? Thanks for your help. -- Earl A., email


No, this won't work on an older stain. For an older stain, soak the garment in a solution of 1 quart water, 2 teaspoons dishwashing or liquid laundry detergent and 1 tablespoon ammonia. Rinse and then soak in water and color-safe bleach. Then launder as usual. If the stain is persistent, you can try spraying Windex or Saline on it and running through the wash again, or wet the stain with hydrogen peroxide and then sprinkle baking soda on it. You can apply the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda a few times until the stain lifts. Another option is to rub Fels-Naptha on the stain.


Our neighborhood has a lot of outdoor cats. They aren't all feral. I don't even know who the owners of them all are, but some have collars (no tags) and don't seem wild, so I know some are pets. They are always in my yard, on my porch, patio furniture and my car, and I've even seen them outside on my window ledges peeking in! Not only that, but they scare all the birds away from my feeders and they fight at night! Any frugal advice on something to plant to deter them? I don't know why they hang around my house. They're here so often that I worry the neighbors might think these are my cats. I don't want cats doing their business in my gardens anymore and creeping me out in my windows! I own a dog, and he doesn't keep these cats away. If all of this wasn't bad enough, these cats have even left dead critters (birds, mice, etc.) on my doorstep. I don't want to be known as the cat lady! -- Lilly, Illinois


They're all hanging out at your house because many of them are probably not spayed or neutered. Normally I would suggest talking to the neighbors, but you aren't sure who owns all these cats. I suppose you could do some door knocking and at the very least, maybe get a few fellow recruits to help find and talk to the cat owners. You can call animal control. Find out what your local ordinance is regarding cats that are a nuisance. Some cities allow humane trappings of cats. Then they are placed at the humane society. The burden is then placed on the owner to possibly pay a fine or prove the cat is theirs. Sadly, many cat owners think cats are outdoor pets. As far as planting goes, cats don't like the smell of citrus. So you can put citrus peels in your garden. According to, coffee grounds, pipe tobacco, or oil of lavender, lemon grass, citronella and eucalyptus also deter cats. Can you put some sprinklers on a timer or a motion sensor or have a motion-sensor scarecrow? Keep reading in the upcoming weeks. I am sure I will receive a lot of feedback on this, and I'll be sure to share some of the nonviolent ideas. But to protect yourself, don't take any type of aggressive action, and do find out more about your local laws.

photo by nesster