Save Those Instruction Manuals and Warranties

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



Holiday decorations are ready to come down and the presents will soon be put away. Now, what to do with the volumes of manuals and instructions that came with gifts of electronics and small appliances? Most of us only skim through the paperwork that comes with these items and focus on the information that is important only for its immediate use. Months later, more information may be needed to clean the item, to use any attachments, or to repair it. Use a loose-leaf binder with tabs marked appliances, electronics, furniture, clothing, etc. for storing these papers. Plastic divider sheets can hold warranty papers, purchase receipts, assembly instructions or where to order replacement parts.

Clothing and Linens

Some garments can be cleaned in a washing machine and others must be dry-cleaned. Wash any garment before a first wearing. Often, dyes and chemicals used during the manufacturing process might still be present in the garment. Those with sensitive skin like infants, toddlers, young children or adults with allergies might react to these chemicals.

When you remove a new bedspread or draperies from the package, keep the washing instructions before you discard the wrapping. Bedspreads, curtains, and draperies are washed less frequently and it is easy to forget the proper cleaning methods for them. Make sure you know whether your item should be dry-cleaned before you attempt to machine wash to prevent “bleeding” or shrinkage.

While many items have cleaning instruction tags on them, it is not always easy to read the fine print or to remember the instructions after the tags fade or shred. Sometimes it is better to dry-clean the item even if the manufacturer states that either washing or dry-cleaning is appropriate. Dry-cleaning seems to keep the colors more vivid and help maintain a newer look. Knowing the best care for each item is one way of making sure you get the most value for the money you spent.


When buying an electronic item for the home, read the directions carefully. Light fixtures and lamps often have warnings about the wattage of the bulbs to be used. Avoid exceeding the manufacturer’s instructions. Other items, like a powerful kitchen mixer we bought, come with a warning to “never leave it unattended when in use.” The reason for this warning is that, in this case, the mixer might shimmy off the countertop, despite its solid design and heavy weight. You can be sure I never left the kitchen when it was in use.




January 3, 2018 |

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