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Miserly Moms > Columns > Miserly Moms

Ballpoint Ink Stains, Homemade Window Cleaner, Getting Rid of Lice, and Getting Wax Out of Berber Carpet

Q. How do I get ballpoint ink out of a pair of cotton/polyester knit pants? Thanks! -Cindy

A. The best way I have found is to spray the spot with hairspray that contains alcohol. The alcohol in the hairspray dissolves the ink. Plain rubbing alcohol will also work, as long as it is isopropyl alcohol.

Q. What is the best homemade window cleaner? Thanks, Barbara

A. The best solution that I have found is half water, half vinegar. The commercial cleanser manufacturers are bottling this! Spray in on the window and wipe with a clean cloth or paper towel. If it streaks the first time that you use it, then you have a build up of cleansers. Keep cleaning and it will disappear. Never clean a window in direct sunlight; the heat dries the solution too quickly and leaves streaks.

Q. Last year my children had head lice. We spent over $500 on lice shampoos, lice killing sprays, laundry and vacuum cleaner bags. The over-the-counter shampoos didn't work and neither did the home remedies like the olive oil or mayonnaise. Our pediatrician finally gave us a prescription for a lice killing shampoo that did work on killing lice but ran a risk of harming my children. Are there cheaper and healthier ways to get rid of lice? Thanks for your time, ~Alana

A. We have had lice also, and I know what a pain it is to get rid of them! And we never knew where they had come from. But unfortunately, lice are impartial: they like the rich and the poor, the clean and the unclean, the at-home child, and the daycare child. They are passed between people by brushing up against an infested area . . . a coat, a couch, a hat, a brush, etc.

We also try to avoid the harsh chemicals whenever possible. You mentioned several tried-and-true home remedies for killing lice. All of these usually work. If the lice were still bothering the children afterwards, they were probably getting re-infested by something the children kept coming in contact with . . . a rug, a couch, a pillow, a hat, a friend's home, etc.

We have found that lathering mayonnaise on the hair of an infested person works well at killing the lice. It needs to be an oil based mayonnaise, and the hair needs to be completely saturated with it down to the scalp. The hair then needs to be wrapped in a shower cap or plastic wrap to create heat, and left on for at least two hours. To make sure that the lice don't reattach to the person, everything needs to be washed in HOT water and ALL surfaces need to be vacuumed.

To avoid future infestation, some people swear by shampoos that contain tea tree oil. They say that the lice don't like the scent and residue it leaves.

Q. How do I get wax out of a berber carpet? I love candles, and I got a little carried away. Thanks, ~Jill Mooney

A. When I get wax in a carpet, I first pick away whatever pieces I can. Then I cover the rest with a thin cotton towel, a sheet of tin foil, then another thin towel. I then heat up the iron to its highest heat, and place it on the top of these towels. The heat will melt the wax, and the pressure of the iron will draw it into the towel. Keep doing this until it is removed.

Jonni McCoy is the author of "Miserly Moms-Living On One Income In A Two Income Economy" and "Frugal Families-Making The Most Of Your Hard Earned Money!"

Visit the Miserly Moms Website at

Our sincere thanks to Jonni for allowing us to reprint her wonderful work!

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