The title of this Reader’s Digest book, Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things, appealed to me. Ordinarily, I never respond to the many other seductive titles around – usually involving vinegar or grapefruit and weight loss! But given the return within so many days if not satisfied guarantee, and my desire to return to less chemically enhanced ways of living, I succumbed to temptation – again!
I have browsed through the book many times, having a quiet chuckle at some of the tips: “Nail can lids to a wooden floor to plug knotholes and keep rodents out.” Mmmm, very handy, depending on your circumstances – and reminiscent of the various tips in my copy of the CWA Cookbook that my mother-in-law gave me when I married her son, nearly 50 years ago. However I kept the book, because I know from experience that some of the old ways and seemingly strange tips do actually work.
I had occasion to refer to the book few days ago when I was given some wool for the Epping Library Knitting Group. I could smell the mothballs before I saw the wool, and knew that it would have to be washed to get the smell out. But just washing didn’t work, the smell was so strong. So I referred to the book. The index referred me to Mothball odour, removing P79 and this is what it said: If your clothes come out of storage reeking of mothballs, take heed: adding 1/2 cup of bicarbonate of soda during your washing machine’s rinse cycle will get rid of the smell. So I dutifully added 1/2 cup of bicarb – then another – then a note to my shopping list “bicarb soda”. The balls still “reeked” – so I finished the rinsing and put them out to dry. Miracle of miracles! When the wool dried, the smell had gone!
My sceptic’s brain is wondering if the smell would have gone anyway, without benefit of the bicarb, once the wool had dried. There’s only one way to find out – next time I have to wash mothbally wool, I’ll have a control group! 🙂