By Mary Hunt
I can’t say that I read every label before I put things in my grocery cart, but I do read plenty of them. I like to know what I’m paying for and how much I’m paying per ounce or pound. It’s enlightening. Many times, I put something back on the shelf because I cannot bring myself to pay $20 a pound for crackers or “puffs” or some other expensive item that’s mostly air and packaging, even if it’s on sale.
Math doesn’t lie. If the net weight on some snack item is 1.34 ounces and it’s on sale for two for $4, that sounds pretty reasonable, right? But let’s do the math. I would have to buy 12 boxes to come home with a pound of that product. At $2 a box, that’s $24 a pound. That’s the sale price. Astonishing.
I have to admit that until recently, I never had read the ingredients label on a cleaning product. But Lou Osburn, owner of Nok-Out, says we should.
Start with the safety warning. Lou says that the more serious the safety warning the likelier it is that there are serious risks. Don’t be fooled by the word “natural” on a cleaning product. There are no standards for that word, so it could mean just about anything.
Lou says that if a cleaning product makes you sneeze or your eyes burn, stay away from it. Fragrances may include chemicals that have been linked to illness and allergies. That fancy product may smell great, but that doesn’t make it a better cleaner.
If you are prone to allergies, dust carefully using a cloth dampened with Nok-Out, which has no fragrance or chemicals. It absorbs dust better than a dust mop, which only shakes particles back into the air. Pay special attention to corners, windows, blinds and picture rails. Rinse the cloth often in Nok-Out as you clean.
Vacuuming with a HEPA filter will trap dust inside the vacuum cleaner instead of throwing it back into the room. Keep the windows open while the vacuum is on.
Watch out for mold, Lou advises. Inspect shower curtains and other likely breeding grounds. Remember that Nok-Out is not only an odor eliminator. It kills mold and mildew, too.
Lastly, Lou encourages us to be picky about commercial cleaners. Read the labels closely, and go for products that are free of dyes, masking agents and fragrances.
A cheap solution is to make your own cleaning products from vinegar and baking soda. Need the formulas and recipes? You’ll find them in my jampacked booklet “Cheapskate Solutions.” Send $6, which includes shipping, to Debt-Proof Living, Dept. CS, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723, or go to http://www.DebtProofLiving.com and click on “Bookstore.” You also can call 800-550-3502 during regular business hours Pacific time.
Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books, including her latest, “Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill With a Credit Card?” You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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