Baby wipes are useful, even if you don't have a baby. They come in a portable container, which is ideal for times when you're on the go. They aren't as abrasive as a washcloth or paper towel, but they are durable. Keep them on your shopping list for a variety of nontraditional uses. How have you used them?
Here are a few suggestions:
Freshen up: Give your face and hands a quick cleanup on a hot day. Wipes are especially helpful during the summer for kids. Think grimy hands or feet after playing at the park, or sticky faces from juicy popsicles. One reader, Rhayne from New Jersey, shares: "I don't wear makeup every day, but when I do, I remove it with baby wipes. I bought a 72-pack of Huggies Natural Care wipes. I have sensitive skin, so I decided to try them. They don't irritate my skin at all or make my eyes sting like some makeup remover cloths have in the past. They also remove waterproof mascara very easily. All I do is wipe my makeup off, rinse my face and dry it, then apply lotion/moisturizer."
Stain removal: Address a food stain quickly and avoid public embarrassment by dabbing it with a baby wipe until you can get home to properly launder it. Works well to clean up deodorant marks on your shirt, too.
Give to teachers: Teachers can use them to wipe desks and clean dry erase boards. They're also useful for quick cleaning of hands before and after snack time.
Around the house: While there are disinfectant cleaning wipes on the market, you can use regular baby wipes for light surface cleaning on walls, microwave exteriors, ceiling fans, mini blinds, faucets, tables, high chairs or counters. They're particularly helpful for small sticky messes from products such as honey, jelly, syrup or hairspray. If you have some dried-up wipes, attach one at a time to your Swiffer mop, spray with cleaning solution of your choosing and mop your floor. Keep some in your car to lightly dust your dashboard, or for cleaning your hands after you pump gas or check your oil.
Clean shoes: Do your dingy shoes need a bit of shining? Use baby wipes to remove light scuffmarks or daily dirt. Another reader, Bonnie from Oregon, adds: "My daughter uses them to clean off her basketball shoes before a game." Wipes work well for light surface cleaning of purses, wallets and luggage, too.
Clean keyboard: Use a baby wipe to clean your keyboard, the top of your mouse, your desk, television remotes or game controllers.
Make your own: For various homemade baby wipes solutions, visit frugalvillage.com/forums/make-yourself/88868-homemade-baby-wipes-2.html, or make your own disinfectant wipes, which are even better for household cleaning. Use washcloths, cotton cloths or a roll of thick paper towels cut in half with the cardboard tube removed. Place them in a container with a lid, such as a plastic ice-cream tub, plastic coffee container or baby-wipes box. For the cleaner, use a two-to-one mixture of vinegar and water or your favorite antibacterial cleaner. Dilute according to your cleaner's label instructions. You can add your favorite essential oils, such as lemon or tea tree. Be careful to label cleaning wipes, and store them in a safe place, away from pets and children.
Dear Sara: While organizing the cupboard, I came across a bag of partially stale marshmallows that got pushed to the back. I only use them to make Rice Krispies treats. Would they still be OK to use? What other recipes/uses are there for stale marshmallows? - Libby, Canada
Dear Libby: For starters, in the future, store your marshmallows in the freezer. Freeze them in an airtight container or a freezer storage bag. They thaw quickly and won't stick together or go stale. If they are already stuck together, add a little powdered sugar to the bag and shake until they fall apart. You can add a bit of moisture to stale marshmallows by adding a piece of bread or two to the bag. Seal the bag and wait a couple of days. I haven't tried using stale marshmallows when making Rice Krispies treats, but since they're only partially stale, I'm sure they'd be fine. You could still use them in hot cocoa, s'mores, in brownie mix or as an ice cream topping. I've heard some people use stale marshmallows for fish bait, too.
Dear Sara: Can I freeze ketchup? - Elaine, New York
Dear Elaine: Yes, you can freeze it. An ice-cube tray would work well (freeze it in the tray and then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag). Ketchup doesn't even need to be refrigerated, although it's recommended to maintain the texture and taste for a longer period of time.
• Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living.
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