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Miserly Moms > Columns > Miserly Moms

Green Oven Cleaning, Hem Lines, and Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Q. Does anyone have a homemade "recipe" for oven cleaner? I hate using that awful chemical stuff, and thought maybe someone could help!

-Michael F. Burger

A. There are a few ways to clean tough areas without the chemicals. I use a citrus solvent cleaner that cuts grease very well. You can buy these in most supermarkets now, in the cleansers area, and they are in hardware stores. One brand I like is Citra-Solv.

Another cleanser recipe is to combine 1 tsp. EACH of liquid soap, borax, lemon juice and vinegar with 1 quart warm water. Let this sit on the grease for 30 minutes then scrub.

To avoid the hard work of cleaning baked on grease, wipe the oven after each splattery bake. Cover foods with lids or foil to avoid the messes. Also try low-temperature baking with greasy foods and roasts, which causes less splattering of grease than high-temperature baking.

Q. Do you know how to get the white line and permanent crease out of a garment after letting the hem out? I think I heard to rub salt into the white line to soften it, but I do not want to ruin the garment in case I don't remember correctly.


A. I have never heard of the salt remedy, but I suggest applying white vinegar to the wrong side of the fabric and steam press.

Q. Is it really frugal to make your own spaghetti sauce if you can buy it for $.89? What about Jell-O and pudding?

~Tony Belcher

A. Making your own is usually cheaper, but sometimes the costs are so close that it may be a better use of your time to buy the item instead. Spaghetti sauce does go on sale often and the price is close to homemade. Homemade is around 20 cents cheaper than store bought, if you use the small cans of tomato sauce when they are on sale for 10 cents each. Some people also prefer the taste of their homemade sauce.

To make homemade spaghetti sauce a bit easier, I have included a recipe for a spaghetti sauce mix.

Spaghetti Sauce Mix:
     1/4 cup celery salt
     1 T. EACH dried basil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, salt, sugar, and pepper

Combine and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

To use: Shake mix before use. Combine 1/4 cup mix with 8 ounces of tomato sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes. For dips, add 1/4 cup mix to one cup sour cream.

As for Jell-O, making it from scratch saves a few cents per serving, but I buy the store brand boxes. The price is too close for me to spend the time. Puddings are cheaper when homemade, but again, some people may think that the savings isn't worth their time. Store-bought can cost 25 cents per cup, whereas homemade costs around 15 cents per cup.

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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