By Brie Cadman, DivineCaroline
Something tells me that back in the day (say, pre-WalMart) people didn’t just throw things away because of a slight imperfection or minor scratch. Whether it was the children of the Great Depression or the 1960’s back-to-the-landers, the self-reliant spirit took hold in the form of mending, fixing, and outwitting problems, without relying on fancy new items or chemically-concocted cleaners.
Although superstores offer everything we need and more, there has been a resurgence of do-it-yourself repairs, and the majority of them aren’t new. In an attempt to try to unearth some of these useful solutions, I went searching through my grandma’s book collection. Among her things (and she was a very resourceful woman) were the Farmer’s Almanac, a Reader’s Digest gardening book, and a book (circa 1950) on how to clean everything. In these tombs of knowledge I found some old-fashioned (read: practical and cheap) advice for fixing many modern day domestic problems. None of them requires darning or crocheting (two things I’ll never do), but they are easy, fast, and logically thrifty ways to cure common problems that arise in the domicile.
1. A Smelly Coffee Maker
Normally, an old coffee maker that starts to get a funky, burnt coffee smell would be reason to put it in the “give away” box and get a new one. But just because a drip coffee maker starts to emit something other than coffee aromas doesn’t mean it needs a replacement. Coffee-acid buildup is normal and can lead to a burnt bean smell that isn’t very pleasant. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, an easy to way to get rid of it is to pour white vinegar where the water normally goes and run the machine through its normal brewing process with a filter in. Repeat, but this time let the vinegar sit in the chamber for about a half an hour. Run the cycle and then run it twice through with fresh water. It should smell fresh and clean.
(To clean your coffee pot, see 47 Smart Uses for Salt.)