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 http://www.sterlingcreations.com.
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld
Helpful tips for October 2020
In this issue:
Articles of the day
* Three Generic Cleaners Same as Brand Names but
* Cheap, Money-Saving Winterizing Moves Worth the Hassle
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
* A checklist to let others know
Courtesy of the research team at http://www.sterlingcreations.ca
Scams of the month:
Before giving you our scam tips of the month, here are some very valueable
You need to remember that scams come in the following formats:
As emails, as phone calls both recorded and via a live caller, and o yes!
It can even show up at your door and in your mailbox.
And now they are targeting us through texts being sent to our cell phones.
Before giving you the latest scams making the rounds; we have some do nots
to share with you.
Do not respond to emails that look strange to you.
Do not download attachments from unknown senders.
Do not share your username and password to your online banking and any other
online payments facilities with anyone.
Do not give out any banking or personal details on the phone to unknown
Do not pay any attention to threats from automated phone recordings or from
live persons with regard to your credit card or that you owe money to any
Do not entertain any offers either via email or by phone from senders and
callers offering incredible service packages as they may pertain to cable
and tv services, prizes that you have won, or any sort of any type of
Do not answer the door to unknown callers.
Take extra caution to make sure that the details of your credit cards and
debit cards are fully protected when you make payments at restaurants or at
stores, pharmacies, and elsewhere.
Do not enter your password for Facebook or Twitter in response to a text
request on your cell phone.
The same if you are asked for your Apple ID.
Do not fall prey to a text message telling you that your banking details
have been compromised online.
For our Canadian readers!
Be ware of a phishing email supposedly from RBC telling you that changes are
coming to your business account and asking you to download the attached
Please, delete this!
A strange call from someone speaking a Chinese dialect!
Just hang up on this recording.
This info comes from a study that was done through an American university:
It says that those who refuse to wear masks share the following traits.
They do not have any empathy for anyone.
They are hostile.
They are risk takers.
They are pathalogical liars.
Here is one for the books:
Apparently, those who paint homes and houses for a living should be aware
that they could be affected from by working with paint.
Specifically, their teeth.
What you need to know about the differences between bees and wasps!
Bees buzz when approaching.
Wasps do not.
Wasps die after their first sting.
Wasps also dislike intensely the smell of cloves.
So place a bowl of cloves on the table on our outdoor patio.
A list of some important Pandemic supplies to stock up on!
wet wipes for your counters and dressers,
All purpose cleaning sprays,
Some pandemic tips!
Wash hands regularly when going out and coming in,
wear masks when going out.
A good home made spray?
2 parts water,
1 part pine sol,
1 part bleach.
Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team
Three Generic Cleaners Same as Brand Names but
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,
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
Mary Hunt’s Everyday Cheapskate blog
Cheap, Money-Saving Winterizing Moves Worth the Hassle
That aisle at Home Depot with all the winterizing gear? It’s jam-packed with
overly-expensive stuff that might not do your home any good. Here’s a few
relatively cheap and easy moves you can make to cut
your heating bills.
Lock down your windows
In every home, there’s a trade-off between visibility and insulation
happening around each window. If you’re stuck in an apartment with windows
older than your parents, we’ll suggest a few options,
depending on what you’re hoping for in looks and permanence.
The quickest, cheapest, yet still effective solution for windows you don’t
need to look beautiful is a
bubblewrap application, as detailed by Build It Solar
You’ll only need water and some tape to affix the fun-to-pop stuff to a
window, it still lets light through, and it’s surprisingly good at putting
hundreds of little pockets of air between your warm room and the cold
window surface. Thanks
for the tip!
Affordable and Non-Permanent Winterizing for Apartments
You might have a hunch that your apartment will be all kinds of drafty this
winter, but you’re
You might have a hunch that your apartment will be all kinds of drafty this
winter, but you’re not in a position to start replacing insulation. A
valuable Ask MetaFilter thread offers many temporary heat fixes and
DIY draft fixes.
The question comes from a couple in Nova Scotia who spent a winter packed in
outdoor clothes in a ground floor apartment, yet still felt the chill.
They’ve pulled off the basics that a tenant can get away
with—plastic window covers, caulking, draft dodgers, and the like—but needed
a few more ideas. Some of the more novel answers are easily do-able: pick up
insulated curtains, move big furniture pieces
to outside-facing walls, and using temporary ceiling covers in rooms where
the heat truly seems to escape.
Other tactics, like installing a precise electronic thermostat, might
require some landlord approval or subsidizing, but can probably be
rationalized vis-a-vis energy savings when there’s no tenants present.
Don’t like your windows looking like they were just shipped from NewEgg?
Besides the self-sticking foam insulation you’ll find in every hardware
store (that you should never buy too thick) and weather-
sealing, packing-like tape, they recommend this particularly effective
My favorite (draft blocker) is Mortite caulking cord. Caulking cord is sorta
like that clay you played with in kindergarten that never dried. You can
peel strips of it off the roll and shmoosh it into any gaps
in your window.
Dodge the draft (under your door)
The space under a door is kind of necessary if you want to open it, but it’s
a fairly obvious way for heat to escape one room and float into unheated
areas where it isn’t necessary.
Draft dodgers are the slightly pun-ish name for cloth or insulation stoppers
that fit the space under a door, but still allow the door to open with
The Cool Tools blog points to a neat “Twin Draft
that runs about $10, is easily adjustable for most any door, and is
machine-washable, to boot.
Twin Draft Stopper | Cool Tools
Don’t dig the somewhat utilitarian look of retail draft dodgers? The Not
Martha blog has a picture-packed guide to a
fashionable DIY door draft stopper
full Flickr set
shows how you can pack however much insulating foam you need, cut to size,
and seems to fit a bit more snugly than its commercial brethren.
drafty door | Flickr – Photo Sharing!
Below are 7 additional DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap
Spircelink is below
1. Clean Out Your Gutters
Gutters that are dammed up with leaves can result in ice dams, which can
lead to all kinds of costly outdoor repairs — damaged shingles, roof leaks,
broken gutters, etc. Additionally, if your gutters are clogged up, water
could be falling right
next to your foundation and leads to possible flooding in the basement.
Estimated Cost: Free, as long as you don’t fall off the roof and end up with
a medical bill.
2. Drain Your External Faucets
Water that is sitting in pipes that lead to outside faucets can freeze and
burst, ultimately flooding your basement and leading to possible water
damage and mold problems. Simply close off the interior faucet valves by
turning them clockwise all
the way to the right. Then go outside and make sure that every last drop has
come out of the faucet.
Estimated Cost: Free
Search for drafts around windows and doors on a cold windy day. Place a
tissue paper over the suspected draft area. If the paper flutters, you’ve
probably located the draft. For drafts under doors, you may have to buy a
rubber draft stopper to
place at the bottom of the door.
Estimated Cost: $3/tube (One tube should be more than enough.)
4. Repair Your Shingles
If you have cracked, missing, or otherwise damaged shingles, have them
replaced immediately so that you don’t get roof leaks. Strong winds, falling
tree limbs, and sun weathering can all lead to damaged shingles. You might
as well check
them out while you’re up on your roof cleaning out your gutters.
Estimated Cost: $1/shingle
5. You can Flush Your Hot Water Heater
Any time of the year. Read very detailed directions and view visual
directions at the link below.
How to Flush a Water Heater: 13 Steps (with Pictures)
flush a hot water heater
any time of year, but you might as well throw it in with the other
maintenance work you’ll be doing since you really only need to do it about
once a year. If you don’t, sediment can build up at the bottom of your
water heater and cause it to lose efficiency or even leak.
Simply take one of your water hoses and fasten it to the water faucet at the
bottom of your water heater. Turn off the water heater so that you don’t get
burned by hot water accidentally. Run the hose outdoors, preferably, but if
you can’t do that,
then a laundry tub should be sufficient. Open the valve and let the water
drain out completely, rinsing out the sediment with it.
Estimated Cost: $0.001 for the water
6. Replace Your Furnace Filter
Furnace filters, in a clean basement, can lead to a more efficient furnace
when replaced about every six months. I usually replace mine when I first
turn on the heat and then when I switch over to air conditioning in the
Estimated Cost: $5-$15, depending on the furnace
7. Programmable Thermostat
Most programmable thermostats can be purchased for $30-$70. In a cold
climate, you might be able to save that much in a month alone if you set one
up to be cooler while you are out of the house and at night, and warmer when
you are at
home. And they are easier to install than you may think (half-hour job,
Estimated Cost: $30-70
From the pages of Donna’s diary
A checklist to let others know
It is always a great idea to let someone know where you are going to be at
all times whenever you set foot outside your home. Some may think that this
may be unimportant but if you want to ensure that one can easily find you in
an emergency then here is a checklist.
Include info that contains your flight numbers, airline, and times of
departures and arrivals. If you are travelling by train or by bus, do the
same with regard to train and bus numbers, and travel and departure times.
If you are traveling with someone else then give info on their names as
Give info on phone numbers of hotels, those of friends that you may be
seeing, and most importantly; your own cell phone number and email address
if you are going to have email access.
If you are traveling with someone else then also give their phone numbers
and email address if they are going to have access to email.
Give also details of any meetings that you may be attending. You don’t need
to give out a detailed description of your meetings. Just location and with
whom could be enough.
I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.
To learn more about me, visit
On your next trip you could enrich your down time with some of my audio
mysteries. Take them with you wherever you go!
In the car, on the plane, on the bus or train, at the beach, anywhere!
Affordable, portable, (computer or i device) and you could either purchase
or Subscribe for unlimited access to my library at
and you can now take advantage of our free downloads here.
Follow me on Twitter @accessibleworld and at author_jodhan
And like me on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/donnajodhan and at www.facebook.com/authordonnajodhan