Category Archives: CLEANING TIPS


There they were: a small army of ants, marching across my window sill from the window to the wall.  (This is the first time I’ve ever had to deal with ants!  I guess I’ve been lucky before, considering all the places I’ve lived).  

So, I started thinking about a way to make them not be there that did not involve a shoe or a store-bought spray.  Today, I live ant-free.

Kills and repels ants on all types of surfaces, leaves little residue.

2 C white (distilled) vinegar
2 C water
3 T Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap (or any dish detergent that suits your fancy)
3 T table salt

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into a spray bottle.

Shake before each use.
Thoroughly spray the entire area where ants are, as well as their trail. The ants will die.
Once the ants are dead, use a paper towel to wipe off the sprayed area to remove any residue (and deceased ants). The detergent and vinegar smell will repel ants from the sprayed area.

It is said that the soap makes the spray stick to the ants, thereby increasing the effectiveness of this spray.

Oh, I just can’t stop with one remedy! Here are some others.

1 C white (distilled) vinegar
1 C water

Combine water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
Spray on ants anywhere. Use a paper towel to wipe away residue (and deceased ants).


Essential oils that will kill ants on contact include clove, lemon, peppermint, and tea tree.
40 drops, clove, lemon, peppermint, or tea tree EO
1/2 C distilled white vinegar
1/2 C water

Mix in a spray bottle.
To use, shake the bottled mixture, then spray on the ants (they will die). Also spray in places where ants can enter, to repel them.

1/2 cup of water
15 drops lemon EO
30 drops peppermint EO
30 drops tea tree oil EO*

Combine in a spray bottle.
To use, shake the bottled mixture, then spray on the ants (they will die). Also spray in places where ants can enter, to repel them.
*NOTE: Do not use tea tree oil on surfaces used for food preparation. Instead, use:
30 drops peppermint EO
15 drops lemon EO
1/2 C water


1/4 C liquid castile soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s)*
20 drops of peppermint oil
1 qt water

Mix in a spray bottle. Shake bottle and spray liquid on the ants to kill them. Also spray in places where ants can enter, to repel them.
*NOTE: you can also grate 1/4 cup-worth of a bar of castile soap, and mix it in thoroughly with the liquids, until it dissolves.

CUPRO FABRIC: What is that, and how do you clean it?

I just scored a very nice silky pair of trousers at Salvation Army*.  At first glance, I though I had a pair of Versaces, but it turns out the brand is Verse.  All of the fabric/cleaning  info sewn into the pants was in German, so I had to google.

It turns out that cupro is a fancy “silk substitute” like rayon and tencel are designed to be.  It is made from wood fiber and cotton by-products. (I thought I was holding silk, at first, but I recognize the word for silk in most languages, so then I was fearful about cleaning issues)

No worries. I googled cupro fabric, found out what it is, then I googled “cleaning cupro fabric” and found out that it can be washed and dried in washing machines and dryers.  It can also be line-dried, and dry-cleaned.

Hooray! My Salvation Army score is truly a score! I can wash the trousers, and then hang them to dry.

They fit like they were made for me (when I want to wear cropped pants – that’s always an issue at my height, but with the right pair of shoes, they will be nice “ankle” pants.  (I’m wearing them tomorrow!)

*If you are  reading me from outside New York City, Salvation Army is a Christian denomination which has a mission addressed to the homeless, the poor, and those who are marginalized by drug addiction, prison conviction, or mental retardation (as nearly as I can figure it).  The mission to the poor involves accepting tax-deductible donations of clothing and appliances from the public and re-selling them at prices affordable to the poor (today was family day, so the pants I mentioned, priced at $7.99, cost me $4.00.  I also got an Ann Taylor blouse for $1.50, a Gap shirt for $1.50, and a Chico’s Traveler’s shirt jacket for $3.00).  Since I cannot afford to shop at all, today I was able to get in a serious shopping fix for under $10.00, and still have fancy respectable clothes that I can wear to work . ) We are really lucky in New York City, because rich people do not wear their clothes much, and often donate them rather than clean them. (Everything I scored today bore a dry-cleaners’ tag: nice rich donors!)

If you live in another city, you might find GoodWill (they primarily help disabled people) or AmVets (to help American military veterans)

If you live in another country, I am hoping that your country has something similar, because it really is helpful to be able to buy nice clothes when you have little money.


Useful info on bedbugs from article.

Ridding the home of bed bugs is somewhat similar to the process for ridding the home of lice. All bedding should be removed and washed in hot water. Vacuuming floors, carpeting, and window treatments will also help minimize the degree of infestation. The mattress, box springs and the bed frame should be sprayed with rubbing alcohol in order to kill bedbugs. Be sure to wipe down the frame using hot water followed by a dry cloth in order to prevent the rubbing alcohol from damaging the wood or metal of the bed frame.


While I was looking at Living the Fruity Life, I found this recipe for a natural laundry washing solution.  I want to try it, but my laundromat has front loading washers, so I will have to tinker with it.

The recipe as it was Living the Fruity Life:
“Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of sea salt to washer as water is filling and 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar to fabric softener dispenser (could use downy ball), toss in the dirty laundry, and close the lid”

I am thinking that I should be able to dissolve the salt in the vinegar and pout it in the the detergent slot.  I’ll try that with a load of whites and see what happens.
Stay tuned.