Tips 19


I have worked with postal employees and highway workers for several years now, and the dog repellent they recommend is ...

I have worked with postal employees and highway workers for several years now, and the dog repellent they recommend is to obtain a 3% or less solution of ammonia from your local drug store (chemists). If you sniff test the solution and it’s still too strong dilute it 50/50 with water. Load the solution into a squirt bottle or a small toy squirt gun. This repels the animal without harm – especially if you aim for the nose.

A dog’s sense of smell is so important to it that when the ammonia overwhelms his olfactory nerves, he will rapidly change his mind about attacking, and take his nose elsewhere. He will usually recover fully in 1/2 to 1 hour. I have not tested this on animals, am just passing on what my fellow road workers claim works.

— Robert Chamberlin


I have a small wet/dry vac that I use as a substitute for renting a rug cleaner to spot clean my rugs and furniture. Use soap and water in a spray bottle or just pour it out of a glass on the spot. Rub it in with a brush or your fingers and then suck it up with the wet/dry vac. Rinse the spot with plain water two or three times the same way. It works great. I’ve done this to get juice off of my car seats as well.

— Stephen Foss


Wooden, spring loaded clothes pins are one of the handiest gadgets in the kitchen. They are very cheap and long lasting. I have a couple dozen in use at any one time fastening the open tops of almost any kind of food that comes in a bag. This can be a bag of chips, bread in a bag, the cereal package inside the box, bags of half used frozen foods. Clothes pins are way better than twist ties, rubber bands, and the standard bread bag clip. They can also be used to hang up damp dish clothes, towels, and pot scrubbers. I have a wire rack over my sink that holds many sink related tools, as well as items hung by clothes pins to dry. (This all begs the issue of using them with a clothes line to serve as one of the most basic of solar power appliances to dry damp, washed clothes – a sorely under utilized way to save energy and money, as well as impart a natural fragrance that can’t be beat with any chemical scent.)

— Michael Kuhn


A helpful idea for extending the life of expensive shop-vac filters is to put a layer of (used but clean) pantyhose over the filter when installing it. This will catch most of the large particles and prevent them from lodging deep in the crevices.

— Peter Lovell