- Wet hands often drop bathroom bottles. "Slipproof" your bottles
by wrapping a thin piece of adhesive tape around them.
- Extra shower hooks, placed on the rod inside your shower curtain,
are wonderful space-savers. The hooks can be used for hanging your
shower brush, other toiletries, and hand-washables that can
conveniently drip dry.
- Water displacement is the simplest method of saving water in flush
toilets. Fill two plastic bottles with pebbles and put them at
opposite ends of the toilet tank.
- Make use of leftover soap scraps. Here are three suggestions:
1. Break soap into very small pieces, place in a blender, add water,
and use the "grate" setting to make liquid detergent (ideal for
washing nylons and other delicate items).
2. Make a pocket in a large cellulose sponge by cutting a slot in
the longest edge. Insert soap scraps to make an inexpensive
sudsy sponge for your bath or shower.
3. Put soap pieces in an old pan, add water, and slowly melt
together on the stove. When you have a firm jelly mixture, pour
in into cupcake tins and let it harden into new cakes of soap.
- Forget which garments in your closet need to be mended? Tie ribbons
around the hooks of five or six hangers. The next time you are
undressing and notice a missing button and ripped seam, put the
damaged garment on one of the designated hangers.
- To vacuum beneath dressers that are too heavy to move, simply remove
the bottom drawer. The nozzle on your vacuum attachment will easily
fit into the empty space you have created.
- Many people stack shoe boxes on top of each other in the closet but
hate to get shoes from any of the bottom boxes. Avoid the problem by
cutting out one end - not a side - of each box, then restack them.
You can see what is in each box and can pull out and replace shoes
without toppling the stack of boxes.
- A scorch mark on a white garment can be removed by placing a cloth
moistened with hydrogen peroxide on top of the discoloration and then
ironing over the cloth. Remember, this works only for white
- Clothes will wrinkle if they are not immediately removed from the
dryer. If this happens, wet a towel, wring it out, and toss it into
the dryer with the clothes. Tumble-dry the load for about 4 min. to
get rid of the wrinkles.
- Turn the ironing board around when working on large pieces like
curtains or tablecloths. The iron will rest at the pointed end, and
the board's larger, wider end will provide more ironing surface for
- Run out of distilled water for your steam iron? One taplespoon of
ammonia added to one cup of tap water will result in a fluid that
won't clog up the iron.
- Sandpaper, placed under the pleats of a pleated shirt, will hold the
pleats in place as you iron the shirt.
Living Room and Dining Room
- To fix a cigarette burn in a wall-to-wall carpet, first cut out
damaged fibers with a small pair of scissors. Then cut replacement
fibers from a scrap of leftover carpet. Put a little glue in the
hole, then press in the new fibers and let dry thoroughly.
- Moving heavy furniture over hardwood floors can be a disastrous
experience. To prevent damaging the floor, put crushed plastic
milk cartons under furniture legs. The waxed cartons will allow you
to slide the furniture across the floor. No scratches - and no
- Save money with this homemade furniture wax: Mix one tablespoon of
lemon oil (available at drugstores) with one quart of mineral oil
(available at hardware stores). Use in a spray bottle if you wish.
- To remove indentation marks left by furniture on rugs, hold a steam
iron about 1 to 2 inches over the spot - not on the spot. Then brush
up the nap.
- If sticky dried fruit - like raisins or dates - clumps together, put
it in a warm oven for several minutes. The heat will separate the
fruit. Or steam the fruit briefly over boiling water.
- Test the flavor of a new spice by blending a small amount of the
spice with two tablespoons of butter or cream cheese. Let the flavor
develop for an hour or so, then spread the mixture on a cracker and
taste the results.
- To prevent a berry pie from bubbling over: Cut several straws into
2-in. pieces and insert one piece into each slit in the pie's upper
crust. The juice will bubble up, not over.
- If you have a lot of similar-sized containers, matching the
containers with their correct lids will not be a problem if you
"code" them. Use indelible marking pens to put a line of matching
color on each top and bottom. Or stick with one color and code with
designs (stars, diamonds, or squares), numbers or letters.
- A method to determine the freshness of an egg: Put the egg on its
side in a pan of cold water. A very fresh egg will remain on its
side at the bottom of the water. A very old egg will float to the
top. Don't use it. If the egg is only a few days old, it will stay
underwater but tilt slightly upward. If it is about 1- weeks old,
it will also stay underwater but will tilt to an upright position.
- Garlic skins will come off more easily if the cloves are first held
under hot water.
- A mechanic's oil can (small size) is great for cooking with small
portions of oil: no spills. You can buy one at most auto supply
- Bake a two-flavored fruit pie by building a dough wall through the
center of your pie crust. Fill each side with a different filling.
Just be sure the baking times of the different fillings are the same.
- Rub a piece of lime over a cutting board to kill garlic and onion
- For no-tear onion cutting, put a small square of bread on the tip of
your knife. It will absorb the onion fumes.
- To keep eggshells from cracking when eggs are boiling, add a few
drops of vinegar to the water.
- To clean a copper-bottomed pan, make a paste of salt, flour, and
vinegar. Smear it on, let set for an hour, then wash off.
- Believe it or not, there is a proper way to 'cook' water for use in
a beverage. Put water into an already warm kettle, then boil it
quickly. Remove it immediately for use in tea, coffee, or other
drink. If you let boiling water simmer and steam too long, much of
the good water will evaporate, leaving behind water with a high
percentage of lime, iron, and other "dregs."
- To crack nuts for baking, put them inside a plastic bag and place the
bag on a cutting board or other durable surface. Hold the end of the
bag closed and crack the nuts with a hammer. Put contents into a
bowl and separate the nuts from the shells.
- A good solution to clean crystal glasses and rid them of spots or
streaks: one part vinegar to three parts water. Then let them air
dry on a clean cloth. The mixture is good for all crystal, but if an
item (like a chandelier) is very dirty, it will need several "baths"
to get clean.
- To keep pasta from sticking together - or to the pot - while cooking,
pour a small amount of cooking oil into the boiling water.
- Hate to reach down into the garbage disposal to retrieve an object?
Instead, put floral clay (which you can buy at any florist shop) on
the end of a ruler or wooden spoon, then press the clay down on the
object and pull it up.
- Use colored nail polish to mark quart-measure lines, or dots, on the
inside of a cleaning pail or bucket. Takes the guesswork out of
mixing cleaning solutions, or plant-food solutions, to the proper
- Bunion pads - cut to proper sizes and placed on the bottoms of chair
legs - will prevent scratches on hardwood floors.
- When washing windows, use vertical strokes on one side and horizontal
strokes on the other. This technique makes it easy to see on which
side any streaks remain.
- Before washing walls, wrap a washcloth around your wrist and secure
it with a rubber band. It will stop water from running down your
- Hate paint odors? Cut an onion into large pieces, put them in a
bucket of water, and place it in the middle of the room you will be
painting. Do this before you start painting. It only takes a few
hours for the onion to absorb the odors. Another method to get rid
of paint odors: Add a little vanilla extract to the paint - about
two teaspoons per quart.
- A patch of luminous tape, placed on light switches, makes them easy
to find at night.
- Lost your aglets? (Those are the tips of your shoelaces.) Dip the
ends of the lace into a bottle of clear nail polish and twist raveled
ends together to create a new, durable casting. Or dip the ends into
hot paraffin and follow same procedure.
- An easy way to paint a picture frame: Tack a thin piece of wood to
the back of the frame; the piece should extend about 4 in. over the
edge of the sides. Use the wood extensions as handles when painting
- Here's an energy-saving tip: A single 100-watt light bulb gives out
as much light as two 60-watt light bulbs - and uses only five sixths
of the energy. If you have several low-watt bulbs in a lamp, or
other fixture, replace them with one higher-watt bulb.
- Losing sleep because of a dripping faucet? For temporary relief, put
a sponge under the drip. Or tie a string to the faucet, making sure
the string is long enough to reach the sink; the water drops will
quietly slide down the string.
- A small, open container of vinegar, hidden in a room before a party,
will absorb cigarette odors.
- A pair of pliers can be an invaluable aid in repairing small objects.
After gluing a broken object, put it between the jaws of the pliers.
Hold the jaws in place by putting a rubber band around the handles.
This will hold the item steady until the glue dries.
- If you bathe your dog in the bathtub or sink, put steel wool in the
drain openings to catch hairs and prevent a stopped-up drain.
- Extend the life of batteries and photographic film by putting them in
plastic bags and storing them in a safe spot in the refrigerator.
- Old shower curtains make excellent drop cloths to use when painting.
- Sharpen scissors by cutting six or seven times into find sandpaper.
This method will not be very effective, however, if the scissors are
- A system to guarantee that you will always be on time with birthday
and anniversary cards: Make a list of all the cards that you will
need for six months - or even a year. Buy all of the cards at once,
address and sign them. Finally, in the upper right-hand corner,
where the stamp will be placed - write in the date that the card
should be mailed. Index the cards, according to date, and keep them
in a convenient place.
- Lemon juice is nature's best bleach. A good solution: one cup of
15% alcohol, a drop of glycerin, and the juice of one lemon.
- A scouring pad will last longer if you put it in the freezer. It
keeps it rust-free.
- Toothpaste is a great cleaning agent for cuff links and other
jewelry. It will also remove small scratches from glass-top tables.
- The inside of a banana makes a good emergency shoe polish. Just be
sure to follow up by polishing leather shoes with a cloth.
- Don't throw away old lipstick. Instead, put the lipstick tube in a
warm place until the contents get soft. Then remove the lipstick and
blend it with an equal portion of Vaseline to get homemade lip gloss.
- In the dark, two similar-sized keys on a key chain are hard to
distinguish from one another. Alleviate the confusion by filing a
notch in the top of one or marking one with a small piece of masking
tape so that you can 'feel' the difference.
- Before taking a bad-tasting medicine, put an ice cube on your tongue.
The ice will temporarily freeze your taste buds.
- In cold weather wash the insides of your windows with alcohol to help
prevent frost from forming.
- Salt is a great household cleaner. A nontoxic substance, salt can be
used to scour a sink or cutting board. Also, throw a handful or two
down a sink drain, then pour in boiling water: this salt-and-hot-
water treatment will keep drains from clogging.