Homemade Antiperspirant, Paraffin Paper, Diaper Rash Remedy, and other Country Lore

A homemade antiperspirant, a diaper rash remedy, and paraffin paper as a fire-starting aid were some of the homesteading ideas readers suggested in 1981.

| January/February 1981

  • 067 country lore - boiled clothespins
    Boiling clothespins in salt water is meant to preserve them, not make them edible.
  • 067 country lore - wristlets
    Add holes for your thumbs — and fingers if you want — to turn old socks into new wristlets.

  • 067 country lore - boiled clothespins
  • 067 country lore - wristlets

The following tips were submitted by readers as part of the regular "country lore" feature.   

Homemade Antiperspirant

Mrs. Wilfred J. Hynous—a resident of Northlake, Illinois—likes to concoct her own inexpensive antiperspirant. She simply combines the contents of one large box of baking soda and one of corn starch (as a variation Mrs. Hynous will sometimes add a can of store-brand baby powder, and an additional small box of baking soda, to this basic mix), stores the preparation in a tightly sealed container, and then uses a dab of the powder whenever—and wherever—she feels the need for perspiration protection.

Paraffin Paper

"I live up around Delta Junction in the Alaskan interior," writes reader Dave Fortune, "and I spend a lot of time out hunting, bush camping, and parading around the local glaciers with my dog team ... which means I'm frequently in need of a fast—and completely reliable—fire starter. (Believe me, when you've just finished hanging on a sled that's been racing along a windy river bottom in -20°F weather, you need an easy way to make a quick fire, if only to warm your hands enough to be able to bend your fingers again!) I've tried every flame starter I could find, but the handiest and most reliable burning aid I've found is simply paraffin-soaked paper!

"To prepare a batch of the firemakers, I first cut out two-inch-wide strips of newspaper. Next, I roll each 'ribbon' up tight and secure it with a piece of yarn. I then slowly melt a half-inch layer of wax in a three-pound coffee can, stand all the little paper rolls in the hot liquid, and remove the can from the heat. Presto! The paper soaks the wax up in no time.

"Whenever I need a fire on the trail, I simply tear loose a corner of one of the waxy cylinders, light that ragged end, and have an instant flame that'll last from 7 to 12 minutes. The paraffined rounds work so well that I always keep some in my sled bag and in all my jackets. My wife even carries a couple in her handbag ... 'just' (as she says) 'in case.' "

Diaper Rash Remedy

Galesville, Texan Kathy Smith sent us this tale about the first time she realized that some of the old ways are still the best ways:

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