Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An Ode to Hot Water: Weed Killer, Anti-Itch & Frugal Spa Treatment

For a Tuesday Tip, I can't say enough about a humble cup of hot water. It's cheap. It's efficient and it has many uses. From DIY spa treatments to low-tech weed-killing applications, hot water has an assortment of money-saving uses. Here's my own collection of hot water tips, with a caution to be careful.

Candle wax cleanup: I light candles every Friday, just before sundown and cleaning up wax from my candle sticks is very easy with hot water. Silver, crystal and brass candlesticks come clean when I run them under hot water for a few minutes. The soft wax just lifts off. Really easy cleanup.

Anti-Itch treatment: My husband, who is a really outdoorsy camping guy, tells me this works. Dab a bug bite with hot water on a Q-tip. This little treatment, he says, draws out bug juice from the bite and provides itch relief.

Me: You sure this works?
Husband: Yeah. I've tried it.
Me: Well, I'm going to say you said it--Thanks

Weed-killing water: I picked this tip up from an anti-pesticide website that's promoting some tool that uses hot water to kill weeds. Allegedly, a small town somewhere in the U.S. uses this technique:

Here's how it works:
"a steady stream of near-
boiling water that kills weeds by melting the waxy outer coating of
their leaves."

This is the link to the full story.

Spa Treatment: When I used to pay for a series of facials at an upscale beauty spa in Manhattan, I really thought I was saving lots of money. If I purchased four facials (a mini-series,) for about $300, the per-facial cost dropped down a lot. I'm serious. If I skipped four meals, the facials felt free.

But then they steamed my face. With a thick fluffy towel over my head, I sat over a large bowl of herbal tea for like 20 minutes. That was about 30 percent of the treatment. (A big Swedish woman tortured my pores for the rest of the treatment)

And even during the height of my Plastic Diva Days, a little voice in my head whispered: "Hey Girlfriend, you can do this yourself. Save the facial money and go shopping!"

The steam-spa facial was easy to duplicate. Insert gourmet herbal tea bag (value: 10 to 15 cents) into a hot pan of water. Go to the linen closet for a large thick towel. Stand over tea-bag mix (chamomile and mint work great) with covered head. Sweat for 15 minutes, then rinse off glowing face with cool water.

And speaking of tea, a cup of tea (green, mint or other herbal flavors) is very relaxing and just cost pennies at home. Hot water can also be used for home brewed French Press coffee made from ground beans or a cup of instant soup. I skip the MSG, by purchasing small packets of organic miso soup powder at health food stores.

Oh and one final tip from the kitchen crew (my husband): For easy-peel tomatoes, just run the fruit under the water, and the skin melts off with a dull knife.


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