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Monday Q&A | Dyeing Jeans, Glass Storage, and Green Oven Cleaning

Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!

I know you are a fan of dying clothing. I just bought a nice pair of new Eddie Bauer bermuda jeans. I don’t like the light wash. It’s particularly light on the backside seat area – so unflattering. I’m wondering if I could dye them a dark blue jean color. Any suggestions? I’d so appreciate your help. I’m wondering if I should return them or try fixing them.


While I do love to dye clothes, I’m torn on what to recommend to you because dying things is always a bit of an iffy proposition. It’s hard to predict exactly how each piece of clothing will turn out, and so I generally prefer to dye older clothes that have faded, hand-me-downs, or clothes from Goodwill. That way if the dye job turns out sort of oddly, I won’t have ruined anything of great value.

So, if you paid a lot for those jeans, I’d probably just return them. If you got ’em for a steal on a clearance or something, though, you might want to throw them in the dye bucket.

RIT dye bucket

If you do decide to dye your jeans, I’d strongly recommend that you use either black dye or a combo of dark blue and black. When I’ve tried dying denim with just navy blue dye, it has always, always come out with very purple tones.

I do believe you can buy denim blue dye, but I haven’t tried that myself.

Why do you try to avoid using plastic for food storage? In a recent post you said you were using glass mason jars. I have been re-using glass spaghetti jars for leftovers in the freezer. Are mason jars better than the jars I have been using?



Well, I’m mostly concerned about the possibility of the plastic leaching chemicals into my food. It’s not like I think using plastic containers is the most horrible thing in the world, but since glass containers (which don’t leach) are readily available, I prefer to use them.

I also don’t like the way plastic containers stain and absorb smells from food.

I’m happy to tell you that your glass spaghetti jars are just as marvelous as Mason jars (maybe even moreso, since you’re repurposing something!) They’re only inferior if you’re wanting to actually process and can something, but for storage, they’re a-ok.

I love the fact that you clean using all-natural products and avoid chemicals whenever possible. I have a very messy oven and wondered if you had a foolproof way for cleaning ovens without using a strong product like Oven-Off. Whenever I try to use the self-cleaning function my smoke alarms go off like crazy, so I need another solution!


I feel your pain with the smoke alarm. Mine sits right outside of my kitchen, so every time I heat my oven up to anywhere above 400 ° it’s almost guaranteed to go off. Fortunately, it does have a hush button, so I just push that and go on about my business. Do your smoke alarms have anything like that?

Or could you use the self-clean function on a warm spring day when you can open up the sliding glass doors and windows to provide some ventilation?

My ovens have always had a self-cleaning feature, so I’m not very well-educated about alternative oven cleaners. I am very confident that some of my readers are experienced with natural oven cleaners, so I’m going to open up the floor to them.

Have at it, people! If you’ve got some good advice for Misty, leave it in the comments. And feel free to pipe in on any of the other questions as well.


Joshua’s 365 post: Interlaced Stone

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Thursday 18th of April 2013

Forgot about the "green" oven cleaner portion. Best way I found to keep a clean over is not to dirty it in the first place. I have 3 ovens (2 are 6 yrs old & 1 is 4 yrs old) each has been only cleaned once; I felt I had to when we moved from the east coast to the west coast and I was packing them up to move with us. Here's what I used. 1 whole lemon (minus the seeds), pureed in the food processor. scrape into bowl and add a whole lot of baking soda so it is super pasty, then 1/2 C of peroxide, then more baking soda to get it back to being pasty. Apply thickly. Set for at least 2 hrs. Wipe with wet rag, 2 hours later wipe with wet rag again. My method for not getting it dirty in the first place. I keep mine clean by placing an old cookie sheet on the rack under what ever I bake and a dollar store cookie sheet I partially bent in half to serve as a "tent" over top for splatter prone foods. I clean those sheets in the dishwasher.


Thursday 18th of April 2013

I store everything in canning jars. There are only 2 size lids so it makes it easy to find the right one. My dry goods are mostly in 1/2 gal or quart jars. Refrigerated goods are mostly in pint jars. Frozen foods (meats with the marinades) are mostly in quart jars. With the garden and preserving I no longer by foods/sauces so my source of free jars has dried up. But mt fancy olive oil & vinegar jars I've been collecting. I use them to border my herb garden. I dig a hole and stick the bottle in upside down, it is buried about 1/2 way up. Looks awesome when the sun shines through them. I am about 1/8 of the way around the 20 feet garden.

Virginia Dare

Tuesday 16th of April 2013

I have never tried dyeing jeans and I don't know if jeans often have synthetic thread, but if there are synthetic threads in the jeans they may or may not take the dye the same as the cotton threads. I once dyed a khaki colored pair or linen pants in order to hide a stain. Worked great, but all the stitching stayed khaki color! it wasn't bad in that situation--actually looked kind of cool. But a lot of jeans have other fibers woven in them now and so be wary. Like those jeans with the "belly panel" that tucks in where your baby bump was. I'm pretty sure those cross weaves are some other kind of fiber.


Friday 12th of April 2013

Get a pumice stick in the cleaning aisle from walmart and use it along with water and a cloth to wipe the mess off with. Pumice sticks are AMAZING! I used to clean houses and that is what I always used even on the dirtiest ovens.(And there was a lot of those) They also work great for rings around the toilet and lot's of other things.

Kim C

Wednesday 10th of April 2013

Sorry for the confusion. I didn't mean for anyone to think I meant that ovens are coated with teflon. I was just pointing out the dangers of the fumes from self cleaning ovens. And I'm not talking about the first time you use the oven either. It doesn't matter if the oven is 10 years old, there are still dangerous fumes emitted when using self cleaning ovens. I even re-verified this with several friends that are still raising pet birds, a veterinarian and a doctor. Most people aren't bothered by the fumes, but some are. Especially if suffering from health problems. Very dangerous to pet birds and some small animals. Another friend has asthma as do 2 of her children and her doctors advised against using this feature as well. As I said before, I'm not suggesting that anyone else ignore their self-cleaning oven feature. It's just what our family chooses to do. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to buy an oven without this feature anymore so our new oven has it, but we ignore that it does. Teflon pans are another danger altogether.

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