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Thompson: Beware of bogus tips from the Internet
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I want to start today’s column by thanking all of you who have been sending me tips. Without your assistance, it would be very difficult to write this column each week. If a tip I receive is not intuitively obvious, I’ll test it for legitimacy. Probably half of the tips I get turn out to be bogus. Here are two that I recently received that fall into that category.

This bogus tip is making its rounds on the Internet. It’s actually a video clip that shows how you can easily remove small dents from your car with a hair dryer and a can of compressed air, (the kind you use to clean your computer keyboard with). The video instructs you to heat the dent with your hair dryer for a few minutes. Next you’re required to take your can of compressed air, turn it upside down and then spray the dent. Like magic, the dent is supposed to pop back into its proper shape. I tested this one on a car dent and I’m here to report that nothing happened. Don’t waste your time. Instead, go see a professional to get that dent removed.
The next bogus tip is a way to remove shoe odor with newspapers. The tip instructs you to scrunch up newspapers and shove them in your shoes. You’re supposed to leave them in overnight. The next morning your shoes should smell as good as new. Baloney. I tested this with several pairs of shoes. Interestingly, the shoes without the newspapers smelled better the next morning. (Tip testing is not glamorous).

Now for some genuine tips ...
Want to make a cool bulletin board? Use acoustic ceiling tiles. You can either paint them or decorate them with cloth.

This great tip came from Debbie Wilson. She puts clean, white paper towels at the bottom of her refrigerator. Why? When you spill a liquid in your refrigerator, (which you will), the refrigerator is designed for the liquid to flow to the bottom and pool up there. Depending on the liquid, you can permanently stain the refrigerator. By putting paper towels in the bottom, you’re reducing the risk of this happening. By the way, the white paper towels are almost unnoticeable against the white interior of the refrigerator.

Want to know if the Georgia county you live in is allowing burn permits? Go to The site has all of the information you need. A number of counties even issue burn permits online through this Web site! (Contributed by Mark Mele).

Want more great tips on how to save water? Go to

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.
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