June 13, 2013 10:49 AM

Cleaning your bathtub can be a chore. To clean your tub with ease, make a homemade cleaner. Use 12 ounces of vinegar (heat it in the microwave) and 12 ounces of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Combine and pour into a large spray bottle. Spray your tub, scrub using a bath puff, loofah or pantyhose stuffed with a washcloth, then rinse. For stubborn buildup, leave the cleaning mixture on for a few hours, then scrub away.

The first reader tip shares another way to clean your tub:

SECOND USE FOR DRYER SHEETS: I scrub my tub out with used dryer sheets. They don’t scratch, and they work well on soap scum. — Trisha, Indiana

KEEP YOUR HOME TIDY: Once I got the house decluttered, I set up household rules. The first rule was training everyone to put items back after they have used them. When it comes to bringing new stuff in the home, there has to be a need and a place for it first. If I want to buy a new piece of clothing, it’s bought knowing that a similar item will be thrown away or donated if still in good condition. I also have a lockbox in my room. If the kids leave something lying around after they go to bed, that item goes in the lockbox and the child can buy it back for $1. If the child doesn’t buy it back after a month, it gets donated or tossed. The item my kids have to buy back the most is homework. The money they pay me goes in the family fun jar. — Peach, North Carolina

USE AN ELECTRIC TEAPOT: The largest drains on my electrical power are those elements that heat. I shut off my huge 40-gallon water heater at the electrical panel. When I need hot water, I use an electric teapot (Aroma brand). It holds 1.5 liters of water, which is enough to do the dirty dishes. The water is boiling hot in just a few minutes. I also have a bucket in the shower to collect the cold water that comes out before the hot arrives. I water my plants on the patio with this water. I bought an electric teakettle for my bath, and I take a sponge bath every other day.

Every other day I turn on the power for my water heater. I take a shower and wash a load of white clothes using the remainder of the hot water in the tank. My monthly electric bills are $100 cheaper than my neighbors’. I also put in a new A/C, new energy efficient windows and metal roof, but I think the water heater idea is saving the most money, and it makes me more conscious of the energy I consume. — Gail S., email

REUSE NEWSPAPER: We use newspaper in our garden around plants to help keep the weeds at bay. It breaks down and helps hold in the moisture. We cover ours with barn cleanings and then with tree mulch. We also tear up newspaper and use it to cover the kitchen scraps in our mulch bins. It helps to keep the fly and other bug populations down. — Laurie, Florida

THIS STUFF WORKS FOR STAINS: While my husband and I were taking the tank off a toilet we were removing, rust from the bottom of the tank splashed on my shirt. I tried rinsing with cold water and detergent, but it didn’t work. I picked up a small bottle of Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover from the local quilt shop and tried it. I put it on the stain and let it sit overnight, washed it the next day and the stain was gone! I am buying a bigger bottle the next time I see it. — Mary M., Pennsylvania

Note from Sara: Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover can be found at stores such as Ace Hardware, Walgreens and Michaels.

Visit for more information.

Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (, a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email

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