Five years ago, we shared a tip about how to prolong the life of a steel wool scrubbing pad by storing it in the freezer between uses.
Evelyn Dreisbach of Schnecksville showed us how the freezer prevents the steel wool from oxidizing. The alternative, leaving it by the kitchen sink to dry, results in a rusty steel wool pad within days that most people throw away.
Some people probably thought it was all a waste of time until they learned that Evelyn had been using the same box of steel wool for 10 years.
Turns out steel wool isn't the only household product whose life can be extended by keeping it cold.
Ed Legg of Breinigsville has a tip for anyone who uses cyanoacrylate, a strong, fast-acting adhesive more commonly known by popular brand names such as Krazy Glue. If you've ever used this stuff, you probably opened the new container, used what you needed, put the cap back on the tube and could never use it again because even the unused portion gets hard so quickly.
"To keep it from hardening prematurely, store it in the refrigerator," Ed said. "It will have a shelf life for years, not months. You won't find it written on the bottle. Hope you can use the tip. Please don't give the manufacturer my name."
Ed advises people with young children not do this. You don't want the kids to get confused and put a little Krazy Glue on their sandwich.
Ed, who gave us a tip last week for prolonging the life of razors by treating them with a little WD-40 between uses, is a wood carver. He's made a beautiful assortment of wood-carved birds, and is an impressive craftsman. When you work with wood, you also work with glue.
Ed got frustrated when he'd use some of this adhesive for a project, knowing he wouldn't be able to salvage what was left in the tube. Even small tubes of this stuff are pretty expensive.
We did some number-crunching in the On The Cheap lab and figure this tip would save the average handyman $276 over 20 years. We assumed you tackled four projects a year requiring such an adhesive. If you use it more frequently like Ed, your savings would be even greater.
You can hear more from Ed about this tip in a video at http://www.mcall.com/onthecheap.
Now for some reader feedback.
David Holstein wanted to address a popular misconception about WD-40 when he read last week's tip about how Ed keeps his razors sharp. The headline on the column said "Well-oiled idea saves money."
"Your headline for extending razor life perpetuates a popular misconception," David said. "WD-40 is not an oil. It is the 40th attempt to create a Water Displacement formulation."
Thanks for setting the record straight, David.
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Make glue last
Cheapster: Ed Legg
Tip: Store Krazy Glue in the refrigerator
Estimated savings: $276 over 20 years