Yesterday I cleaned my oven. My favorite way to do this is to take 3 pairs of old holey socks and cover my hands with them. I just prefer using my hands without bulky rubber gloves. I can get things so much cleaner, have so much more precision, and take less time in each task. But cleaning an oven (or anything else) with bare hands is gross. And then there is the issue of what to do with the greasy rag when I’ve used it. I don’t buy paper towels. Not at all, not for years. They are a waste. I re-use cloth rags and towels for cleaning, when they have retired in their duties as a dish towel or bath towel. So why not use old clothing in the same way? I’m sure many of you have a “rag bag”. A bag of old cloths that are used for dusting, scrubbing, or checking the oil in your car engine. Socks. Mine wear out, directly in the heel or toe and then it’s very uncomfortable to continue wearing them. Right? You too? So let’s put all of these life lessons together. Cleaning with hands, reusing old socks, the greasy oven is gross. Okay. Ready? Layer your hands with one sock, two socks, three socks each. Hey, it’s just like wearing mittens! Spray your oven cleaner (I spray mine 30 minutes in advance so that it soaks into the greasy spills), or get your bucket of baking soda or vinegar water ready. I use a stool to sit on too. Lean in and wipe all of the nooks and crannies, shelves, racks, elements, door, light, top and bottom CLEAN. Remove one layer of sock and throw it away. Or pull the sock down a bit and roll it over to use the opposite side. Take a second or third swipe through the oven with plain water and make sure to catch any drips on the floor. When I am finished, I throw away all of the socks and grease and never look back. I do enough saving, reusing, laundry, and natural eco-friendly tricks. This is one time when I don’t mind throwing something away.

*note: this only works on human cleaning ovens, not self cleaning ovens.

*note: remember to put a layer of aluminium foil on the bottom of your oven when you have cleaned it, to catch drips later on. I made 2 plum pies for Christmas and the drips went beyond the foil and burned onto the bottom of the oven, that’s what started this cleaning spree. I only clean my oven a few times a year, when absolutely necessary.

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There are many other great ideas for use of your holey socks. So before you throw them away, think creatively about how else you might make use of them. Perhaps you can protect your glass holiday decorations when you pack them away. Maybe you can mail a jar of dilly beans in them. Maybe you need one shoved in your car door for wiping condensation off of the windows. Maybe you should fill one up with rice and sew it shut, for a heating pad. I once filled one with crinkly, loud cellophane, for my baby to play with and throw. You probably have three more ideas that I haven’t listed. Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Here’s one last trick we use. Our mailbox is a slot in our front door. It gets used once a day or less by mailman Larry. The other 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day, it lets cold air seep into our house. So we took some old socks, shoved them inside one big sock and stuffed the mailbox closed with it. We know this is tacky. But we did make the effort of making sure it was white, to match the paint. It’s not that bad looking, right? :)

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