Freezing Milk, a Natural Sore Throat Cure and More Country Lore

Readers suggest practical ideas for fixing car battery corrosion, uses for frozen milk and how to clean copper with a few common kitchen staples.

| January/February 1986

Readers offer their favorite solutions for common household problems and annoyances.

Sore Throat Cure

My mother used to make up this home remedy every winter, and while it won't cure a cold, it sure will soothe a raw throat and help control coughing. Take a tall drinking glass and put a 1-inch layer of chopped white onion in it. Cover that with about 1/4 inch of sugar and then continue to add layers of onion and sugar until the glass is packed tightly full. Set an old cereal bowl upside down on top of the glass, and then carefully turn the whole thing over so the glass is sitting upside down in the bowl. Put this on a stove top that's hot enough to cause the onion to simmer and dissolve the sugar. The warm liquid will run down the inside of the glass and into the bowl where it can be spooned up easily. — Mel Borden, Sacramento, California 

Stamp Dispenser

I came up with a handy use for those plastic 35mm film canisters. I use a sharp knife or razor blade to cut a 1/8-inch-wide slot from the top of the container to within 1/4-inch of its bottom. Then I just place a roll of stamps inside, with one end sticking out of the slot, and snap the lid on. This makes a dispenser that keeps my stamps both neat and dry. — Bob Hamer, Fresno, California 

How to Clean a Brick Fireplace

To get the bricks of your fireplace clean, use a mixture of equal parts vinegar, borax, and ammonia. It'll remove stains and leave the bricks sparkling. — Dave Barr, Cheney, Washington 

How to Clean Copper

To polish copper without harsh (and expensive!) chemicals, simply sprinkle salt on a cut lemon — even one that's had the juice squeezed out of it will work — and use it as a scrubber. I've found it does a great job of fading any tarnish. — Georgiana Kotarski, Flintstone, Georgia 

Snow Job

A full freezer is a more efficient freezer, right? But what do you do when your winter stockpile starts to dwindle and the empty spaces start expanding? Well, last winter I filled the spare space with bread bags full of light, powdery snow. When summer — and zucchini, and tomatoes, and peas, etc. — came, I needed the freezer space again, so I took the bags out and let all the kids on the block have a snowball fight. The snow had kept its dryness and made for a safe and hilarious way to cool off on a hot summer day. — Judi Rothkopf, Moline, Illinois 

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