Helpful tips for December 2017

Hello there and welcome to our monthly feature of all kinds of tips.
We at the business desk are pleased to bring you our monthly feature of a
plethora of tips that cover a wide range of topics.
All of our tips are designed to help you save time, cut down on your
research, and help you get ahead.
So go ahead and read on.
This week we bring you our monthly tips.
It’s what we do for a living! We help you to help yourself!
From the business desk team at
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Helpful tips for december 2017

In this issue:

General tips
Articles of the day
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary

General tips
Courtesy of the research team at

With the flu season well on the way, just these reminders:
Wash your hands every time you return home.
Remember to sneeze into your elbow.
Cover your mouth every time your cough.
Drink lots of liquids and rest plenty if you fel the flu symptoms coming on.

The importance of water?
Drink at least 8 8 ounce glasses of this natural liquid each day.
Among other things, it helps to flush out your kidneys and moves those
infectious germs along and out of your body.

Here is a quick way to warm up after coming in from outdoors:
Turn on your tap and move it to the hot water.
Then stick your hands in for a few minutes.
Presto! All warm now!

Another tip for staying warm:
Keep your fingers, feet, and head warmly protected.

It is often asked if a plane can take off without a passenger?
Well, here are some thoughts for you.
As long as your luggage has been checked in the hole you will probably not
be left behind if you are late.
Almost all airlines do a head count before take off and if you are not
accounted for then you are paged and sought until your presence is resolved.

Some of the most popular gifts for Christmas and the holiday season?
Believe it or not it is gift certificates.

Okay, and here is a late turkey tip for you if you’re thinking of deep
frying your bird:
Make sure that it is completely thawed.
Remember that oil and water do not go together
So this means that your bird must be completely thawed
Use gloves and mask when cooking.


Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team

My Top Five Favorite Homemade Cleaning Solutions

If there’s one place in your household spending that you can really cut the
cost, it’s household cleaners. The cost of most home cleaning products is
getting outrageous. While I don’t advocate throwing out what you may have
accumulated, I do recommend that in the future you consider making your own
cleaning products from ingredients that are downright cheap.

While I have many recipes, tricks and strategies, today these are my top
five favorites!


Materials: Blue Dawn, 32 or 16 ounce spray bottle, and plain white


1. Pour one cup blue Dawn into a 32-ounce spray bottle (1/2 cup Dawn if
you are using a 16-ounce bottle; 1/3 cup for a 12-ounce


2. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with plain white vinegar. Apply
sprayer top.

3. shake gently to mix.

4. Label bottle.

5. To use: Spray liberally on the areas to be cleaned-tub or shower walls,
doors, floor, fixtures.

6. Allow to sit from 30 minutes up

to overnight, depending on the amount of soap and scum build-up. All of the
offensive gunk and grime will break down and become soft and gooey. 7.
Simply rinse it away.

8. For especially challenging situations (or if this is the initial
treatment) use a sponge or brush to gently scrub the surfaces before
rinsing. To maintain: Spray down the walls and floor of the tub/shower once
a week. Rinse. Admire.


materials: One cup baking soda, 1 cup white vinegar. To


1. First remove the water from the toilet bowl by reaching down behind the
toilet and turning off the water input valve. This is easy. Just turn the
handle clockwise until it will no longer

turn. Now flush the toilet once or twice or until all of the water

(Because you turned the input off, no water will fill the tank.) ‘2.
Sprinkle the baking

soda all around the inside of the toilet bowl.

3. Next pour or spray the plain white distilled vinegar into the bowl.
You’ll get a little bubbling show and even a popping

sound. Great! That’s the reaction you want.

4. Using a good toilet brush, scrub it

down including under the rim.

5. Last, turn the inlet valve back on by turning it

counterclockwise until it stops turning. The toilet tank will fill. Flush to
rinse. Repeat

as necessary. You’ve just cleaned, scoured, deodorized that toilet and also
removed mildew and odors.


Materials: 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (vodka, or gin are good

Substitutes), 16-oz. spray bottle, 3 drops blue Dawn, and finally 5 drops
essential oil


1. Pour 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (vodka, or gin are good

substitutes) into a 16-oz. spray bottle.

2. Add 3 drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid

and 5 drops essential oil (optional, but makes it smell great).

3. Add 2 cups water to

4. fill the bottle.

5. Label and keep out of reach of children.

6. Shake to mix. Label the


7. From now on, use this cleaner to keep your granite countertops
beautifully clean and shiny without wrecking the sealant or causing any harm
to the granite.

Note: Any size spray bottle will work. Simply adjust the proportions to



Materials: This is heavy-duty and will sanitize as well as clean

bathroom counters, floors, sink, glass and mirrors.

Items needed include: one clean spray bottle, rubbing alcohol, white


1. Get a clean spray bottle. Fill it

halfway with rubbing alcohol;

2. Fill the rest of the way to the top with white vinegar.

3. Label the bottle. The ratio is 50/50 rubbing alcohol to white vinegar no
matter the size of the container. The great thing about this cleaner-no
rinsing required.

4. Simply spray, scrub with a sponge or cloth and wipe clean.


Materials needed: One part alcohol (rubbing alcohol is

cheap and available in any supermarket or drug store), distilled water, plus
a few drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, a spray bottle and finally a
microfiber cleaning pad.

Optional, a large surface mop with even bigger detachable microfiber
cleaning pad.


1. Mix One part alcohol to four parts distilled water

plus a few drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid.

2. Mix this up in a spray bottle each

time you clean the floors. Or if you make it up ahead, be sure to label it
well and keep it out of the reach of children. To use: Sweep or vacuum the

3. spray the cleaner in a small area, and scrub well with a cloth or sponge
and immediately wipe the

area dry with a microfiber cloth.

4. The secret is to spray, scrub and wipe dry

immediately. If you do not want to do this on your hands and knees, I
recommend this Hardwood Floor Spray Mop for both wood and laminate floors.
It sprays the

cleaner from its removable bottle that lets you make your own cleaner; a
large surface mop with even bigger detachable microfiber cleaning pad that
swivels for really easy handling. This mop makes scrubbing wood and laminate
floors a breeze.

—From Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate blog, comment!


Three Generic Cleaners Same as Brand Names but
Way Cheaper

By Mary Hunt

Most people are well familiar with the term “generic” when it comes to
drugs, a term referring to any drug marketed under its chemical name without
all the fancy packaging and advertising. We know that by law, for a
medication to be labeled as “generic” for a name branded prescription, it
must be chemically identical to its branded cousin.

Today I want to offer you cheap generic alternatives for these three popular
cleaning products-Bar Keepers Friend, Super Washing Soda and

BAR KEEPERS FRIEND. It’s been years since I learned about oxalic acid.
Sounds scary doesn’t it? Like something in the chemistry lab that could blow
any second. Relax. It’s not what you might think. In fact, if you look on
the back of a can of one of my favorite cleaners, Bar Keepers Friend, you’ll
read: Contains oxalic acid.

That miraculous product that costs about $5.50 for a 12-ounce can is nothing
more than generic oxalic acid. Are you familiar with Zud, another household
and garage cleaner? It too contains oxalic acid.

The minute I learned this generic fact, I went online and ordered a 5-pound
bag of oxalic acid for about $15 (price varies) and marked Bar Keepers
Friend off my shopping list forever. I keep my oxalic acid in a well-marked
little bucket that has a
tight-fitting lid. I use a pint-size mason jar with holes poked in the lid
as a dispenser. What an amazing and versatile cleaner.

ARM & HAMMER SUPER WASHING SODA. One of the ingredients in our
homemade detergent for both standard and HE washers

Super Washing Soda is not easy to find. And when you can find it, it’s
pricey-$5.50 for a 55-oz. box is typical. You can stop looking for it. Super
Washing Soda is a brand name for sodium carbonate (NOT to be confused with
sodium bicarbonate, which is baking soda).
But hang on, it’s gets even more confusing: Sodium carbonate goes by another
name as well: soda ash. It’s annoying that it has two generic names until
you discover when purchased as soda ash, it is much cheaper. Soda ash is
used in swimming pools to keep the pH balance in check. It comes in
quantities from one to hundreds of pounds. It looks, smells and feels just
like Super Washing Soda
because (ready?) it’s the same thing! Look for soda ash as you get ready to
make our homemade laundry detergent, which is fabulous and costs only about
a nickel per load to make.

OXICLEAN. Made popular by its late-night infomercials, basic Oxi-Clean is a
not a laundry detergent but rather a non-chlorine bleach. It releases oxygen
to remove stains, which is evident by the bubbles it makes as the white
powder hits the water.

The active ingredient in OxiClean is a generic white powder substance called
sodium percarbonate. Generic sodium percarbonate is not diluted,
unlike OxiClean, which is only about half sodium percarbonate with balance
filled in with soda ash (see above) and inert fillers.

Since sodium percarbonate is highly concentrated, where you would use 1/2
cup of OxiClean in your laundry, you would substitute with only 2
tablespoons of its generic, sodium percarbonate.

Sodium percarbonate is really cool stuff. It is a highly concentrated powder
that releases hydrogen peroxide. It is easy to use for cleaning, stain
removal, and laundry. Mixing it with water activates it. Sodium percarbonate
has a long shelf life as long as it remains dry.

Sodium percarbonate is best when used with HOT water-such as mixed into the
cleaning solution in a carpet cleaning machine. It is great for cleaning and
disinfecting things like the cat box, the birdbath, bedpans. Mix sodium
percarbonate in hot water, fill your (empty) cat box or birdbath or bedpan,
and give it time to soak. Just like hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate
needs to have time to do its work. Two tablespoons is enough to clean a
whole cat box (filled with
water), or a whole birdbath (filled with water). Just make sure you use hot

Mix sodium percarbonate into a thick paste to use on light colored tile
grout. Let it sit and it will bleach out any stains.

If you think of sodium percarbonate as an alternative form of hydrogen
peroxide, that pretty much covers it. It can be used for most of what
hydrogen peroxide is used for, bearing in mind it is a very concentrated

the only precaution I would give you is that you may be tempted to use too
much sodium percarbonate. It’s easy to sprinkle some on a stain and scrub it
in, when a much less concentrated form would likely do the trick. Go easy
and you’ll be happy with the results.

Bonus: Sodium percarbonate the product you want handy if you need to remove
the orange mystery stains left by avobenzone, which is the active ingredient
in nearly every sunscreen product. Just make sure you treat that stain
before it goes into the clothes dryer, which will set it for all eternity.

All three generics-five pound bag of oxalic acid,

soda ash

and sodium percarbonate-
are available for purchase. Click on the linked words to order them online.
Or if available in your area, check your local pool supply and janitorial
supply stores.

Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate blog

From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
Tips on identifying your suitcase

For a blind person, it is vitally important to be able to describe your
suitcase to the one rendering assistance to you at an airport, train
station, or hotel lobby. Just remember now that some of the most common
colors for suitcases are almost always black, brown, or navy blue. So the
trick would be for you to be able to place a defining mark on your suitcase.

For me, each time I travel I am very sure to memorize the description of my
suitcase. Color, size, type, and yes! I almost always place some sort of
defining identification on it. For example, my initials in large gold
letters. There is nothing worse than not being able to fully describe one’s
suitcase to the one helping you.

I have found myself stuck in such a situation from time to time but I am
happy to report that on the whole I manage to stay away from this pitfall.
I also tell my sighted assistant that the lock to my suitcase can be seen
sitting atop the suitcase close to the handle.

The more that I can do to help out when it comes to making things easier for
sighted help the better and more pleasant my trip will be.

I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.

To learn more about me, visit
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