Cleaning Mini Blinds, Cloud Art, and Other Country Lore

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ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Want to know an easy way of cleaning mini blinds? Hang them from a shower curtain rod over your bathtub, spray with all purpose cleaner, and wipe them down.

The following housekeeping tips and other bits of country lore were submitted by readers.


Cleaning Mini Blinds

Miniblinds are a very popular window treatment and, like
most people, we were clueless as to how to clean them. We
tried vacuuming, dusting, and wiping them clean with
towels. My wife still doesn’t want to talk about the time I
took them over to the car wash.

Well, here is an easy method that will give these popular
shades new sparkle. Wash them in your bathtub.

If you have a shower curtain with a spring-loaded adjuster
(built to accommodate a variety of shower widths), you’re
halfway there. If you don’t, you can buy an adjustable
shower curtain rod from your local discount store for just
a few dollars. Place the shower curtain rod (minus the
shower curtain) directly over the tub rather than along the
side, and hang the dirty miniblind on the rod using the
round ring holders used to keep the shower curtain in
place. Then just spray the blind with an all-purpose
cleaner and wipe with a sponge. Rinse, and they are like
new again. They drip dry very quickly, but you might want
to place a towel under them after rehanging to avoid water
spots on the floor or window sill.

— Kent David
Vilonia, AR

Cloud Art

You’re invited to attend a showing of divinely inspired
sculpture by universally renowned artists. We are fortunate
to have a local gallery that offers free parking, ample
seating, and standard and reclining viewing areas. Simply
visit an open space from which to view the clouds above.
This work conveys its underlying message simply, yet
eloquently. As with all great art, the feeling is
powerfully portrayed, and since styles vary widely, each
person will have little trouble finding those that have
special, personal appeal.

— Rev. Fred E. Haga
Vancouver, WA

Burglar Deterrents

The old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound
of cure” couldn’t be applied better than in protecting your
home from burglary. Here are nine things you can do now,  for virtually nothing.

1. Never leave a note on your door indicating that you are
not home and will be back shortly.

2. Measure all your windows and sliding glass doors, and
brace them closed with 2″-wide wooden sticks. A single lock
on a window or door is usually not enough. By the way, if
you must purchase a new lock, slide locks are a good bet on
sliding doors and windows; use key-only, dual-side dead
bolts on other doors.

3. Alarm stickers are available from any hardware store.
Place them conspicuously and a burglar will usually not
take the chance.

4. If you have an alarm system for your home or plan to get
one, make sure that you put the outside siren box far up
and out of reach. All it takes is a $3 can of spray
insulation aimed inside the alarm box to prevent it from
sounding.

5. Get an unlisted phone number. Friends will get your
number when they need it, but annoying solicitors and
thieves will not be able to call at random and ascertain
whether you’re home. And don’t leave your number on an
answering machine. People you know already have your
number.

6. You’ve heard it before, but have you done it? Engrave
your name and driver’s license number on anything you want
to keep. That includes expensive tools in the garage. And
if there’s anything at home that makes you particularly
nervous to keep around, fork over a few dollars and get a
safety deposit box. You will positively thank yourself for
the effort later.

7. When buying or selling items in the newspaper or
responding to personal ads, leave only a phone number,
never an address. If a buyer or seller wishes to meet you,
suggest that you meet them in a public place first. A pain?
Absolutely, but the safe thing to do.

8. Always ask service people for their identification
before allowing them to enter your home.

9. Try to use a P.O. box for your car registration.
Mechanics or parking attendants can easily pop open the
glove box and find out a great deal about you. Don’t make
it easy.

–Renato Carter
Tehachapi, CA

Recycled Pop Tops

My daughters and I discovered a fun yet practical way to
recycle pop tops from aluminum cans. Would you believe
fencing? The ring fence is definitely an undertaking (there
are over 90,000 rings on the fence in front of our
property), but it is certainly a pleasant alternative to
barbed wire. We started small, collected gradually where we
could, and built over time. Oh, by the way, the poles we
used were remnants given to us from a logging site near our
home.

–Mike Catalano
Hayneville, AL

Drill Bit Lubricant

When I use my electric drill for shop projects, I extend
the life of the sharpened bit by using lard to lubricate
cutting surfaces. I always keep a can full of hardened pork
fat on my workbench. Then any time drilling metal is
required, I first dip the end of the bit into the lard. It
works far better than any expensive cutting oil I’ve ever
used.

— Alan Pryor
Palo Alto, CA