Sunday, May 27, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Floor cleaner survives any budget cuts

I know of several ways you could cut your grocery bill, but you may not want to listen.

Here are some clues. Look under the sink, in the laundry room, and the household supply cupboard. Do you need all of those boxes and bottles of stuff? Better question, could you get along without them, or at least two or three?

Every time I open a roll of paper towels I wonder if my mother would have ever spent the money for such convenience. The same goes for numerous products. Most are disposable and do not add to a greener America.

One excellent example is the fabric softener sheet that we toss into the drier with each load of laundry. When the box runs dry we put them on our shopping list.

Because I only had three more sheets left I checked out the choices in a large supermarket Sunday. There were at least six brands from which to choose, and as many prices. Some brands were earmarked for babies. Most were scented, which can be OK depending upon the fragrance. I chose the cheapest. The store chain brand was $1.85 for 70 sheets. Now I wonder if the national brand priced at $5.39 for 70 sheets would have done a better job or if I could even have saved the $1.85 and let the clothes dry without them?

Walk up and down the aisles where household products are on the shelves and ponder the question. Do I need a micro fiber-dusting mitt or can I dust the house and wash the windows like mother did, with old rags? With all of the convenient products that are throwaways, including dusting cloths, I wonder if people still have rag bags.

Paper handkerchiefs (tissues) are so common it is difficult to find the real thing. Think of the money that would be saved using cloth hankies. I often use one of my mother's hankies and get comments, not necessarily complimentary ones.

I am as guilty as anyone. Consider the kitchen drawer with the boxes of plastic and foil products. Correction: Consider the two kitchen drawers. Once upon a time waxed paper was the only choice in that category, and I believe that Martha Stewart contends it is still the best when working with food. Remember when the first plastic wrap was introduced, and it was so hard to handle we wrapped ourselves in it as much as did the food but we bought it anyway?

My drawer has three sizes of plastic bags to keep varying amounts of food. Some are small enough to hold half an onion or lemon. From the mini size the range goes up to mega-bags that are large enough to store a turkey in the freezer. I have been willing to pay more for zipper-top bags but that may change. I am so taken with the new plastic product that magically seals when you put it over a bowl or casserole that I buy two and three at a time.

Imagine life without aluminum foil, especially in summer, when grill cooks can go through a roll in no time.

Household cleaners require label study. Three that I read carefully were said to do three different tasks - remove mold and mildew, remove hard-water buildup, and remove soap scum. Now if I have all those problems must I buy all three bottles?

While there are some things that I can cut back on, a floor-cleaning product that makes quick and easy work of hardwood floors is a must. I will have to sacrifice somewhere else, perhaps give up chocolate and ice cream, but the Swifter has to stay. You don't need directions to assemble it and there is no sloppy wet mop to deal with.

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