Do you have old socks that aren't all rough and "grungy," or
totally ruined? Use them for dusting. Slip one on your hand, or your
kid's hand, spray with "Endust," and away you go. :-) Skip the "Endust"
and use a dampened sock on each hand to dust large-leaf house plants.
you have a large oil spill on the counter or a hard surface floor, try sprinkling
it with corn starch or flour and letting it sit a few minutes. Wipe up with
paper towel and then clean the remaining oil up with warm water and dish soap.
Rinse well. For an oil spill on carpet, sponge up as much as you can, then sprinkle
with flour or corn starch. Let it sit for a while, then vacuum it up. Use "Spot
Shot" carpet cleaner or some similar product according to directions to remove
the remainder of the stain.
Try using nail polish remover on a cotton ball to clean scuffs off
of shoes. Do a sample on an small area that isn't visible (like inside the
shoe if the edge folds over) to make sure that it won't take the color off.
[NOTE: It is a common
myth that baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice can be mixed for a good cleaning
agent. This is not true. Baking soda is a base while vinegar and lemon
juice are both acids. Anyone who has some knowledge of chemistry will know
that mixing a base and an acid will cause them to neutralize each other. This
means that you are actually getting less cleaning power when you mix them
than if you use them separately.]
Try a paste made of equal parts warm water and baking soda to clean tarnished
silverware. (Do not use on aluminum as it will react and turn black.)
sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge to use for wiping scuff marks, stains,
and crayon off of painted walls, tile, laminated countertops, and appliances.
(When using on painted walls, be sure that you are not scrubbing the paint
For removing smells from carpet or upholstery: sprinkle a little
baking soda on an out-of-sight spot of the carpet or fabric. Leave for 15-20 minutes
and then brush or vacuum it off. If the color has not been affected by the
baking soda, then use it on the place that needs deodorizing in the same manner.
vinegar to remove mineral buildup from sinks and tubs, and the like. Saturate
a paper towel or rag with vinegar till it is soggy and place it over the affected
area. Leave it for awhile and then remove it and wipe the area. If
it does not all come off, reapply the vinegar saturated rag/paper towel. Repeat
till the minerals deposits are gone or reduced enough to be invisible. To clean
a shower head, wrap with the soaked paper towel, then cover with a plastic bag
and attatch with a twisty or rubber band. Leave a while then remove and brush/wash
the deposits away, repeating as necessary.
1. For the large family
it may be helpful to have a laundry basket for clean clothes for each member.
The ones that are old enough can pick up their own basket at the laundry
room and be taught to fold their own clothes.
If your family is large or has lots of dirty clothes, you may want to use
a large plastic garbage can for your dirty clothes "hamper."
Protect delicate items by placing in a pillow case and closing the end with
a rubber band before washing.
Help remove odors from clothing by adding 1/3 cup of baking soda to
Cover the top edge of your plastic laundry basket with a strong cloth
tape before it cracks. This way it will last longer.
Never wash protein stains with hot water, since heat sets them and makes
removal later very difficult. If you are ironing something and come across
a stain and are not sure what it is, do not iron it. Try removing it first.
Protein stains would include: blood, milk/milk products, baby formula, egg,
and so on. To remove a protein stain, try rubbing in a paste of water and
meat tenderizer. Allow to sit a few minutes and then wash it out. Do
not put the item in the dryer till the stain is removed to your satisfaction as
the dryer is hot and can set the stain.
Used fabric softener sheets can be used as an ironing cloth.
baking soda in the bottom of the clothes hamper to keep mild dew away.
9. When washing
your shower curtain put several old bath towels in the washing machine with it
to help scrub off the scum.
Try aerosol hair spray for removing ball point ink stains. Spray
spot and sop with and paper towel. Be sure to hold a paper towel on the
opposite side also as ink will bleed through. After removing as much as
possible, wash as usual. Check stain before drying in the drier. If it is
still there, repeat hair spray treatment.
Save sorting time when on vacation by repacking all the dirty clothes in one suitcase
and the clean ones in another bag.
Try adding a cup of white vinegar to your washing machine
when it's in the final rinse cycle. This is supposed to remove detergent
residue from the clothes. This may help anyone in your family that is allergic
to commercial soaps.
pre-treating food stains with ordinary dishwashing soap or shampoo.
Add a cup of salt when washing new towels for the first time. It
will set the color and keep them from fading so quickly.
"...Pour a little ammonia in with the laundry detergent and it'd work like
an activator. I was a fan of bleach and didn't really believe this until recently.
I tried it and noticed that the water got really brown during the wash cycle.
It convinced me! Try ammonia and forget axion and other products. It really will
"lift" dirt out of soiled garments and towels. You can even soak badly soiled
items in ammonia. Just remember this -- never, ever, mix ammonia and bleach together
-- it creates a poisonous gas." J. Lawson
"Another laundry tip I learned from my mother -- mix equal parts of ammonia,
dishwashing liquid, and water in a spray bottle. It works beautifully as a spot
remover for pre-wash. Again, I don't think it'd be wise to spray a soiled area
with this mixture and then use bleach in the water. I think bleach and ammonia
must be used separately." J. Lawson
"The best bleach, of course, is bluing. If you can't find bluing, try laying
white items on the grass and letting the sun bleach them the old fashioned way."
Save your bread bags to put in your diaper bag. Use
them to put used disposable diapers in till you get home or can throw them
away. (You can bag them at home this way also if you want to.) Use
this method for cloth diapers to transport them home to be washed.
2. Have a friend
that's having a baby but already has everything that she needs so you're at a
loss for gift ideas? Give items that get used up -- formula, disposable
diapers (or cloth), baby wipes, baby oil, baby powder, etc.
If you don't like to use rough, line-dried towels on your babies and small
kids, try letting them line dry till just damp and then finishing in the dryer.
If time gets away from you and they end up dry, spray lightly with
water using a spray bottle and then dry, or put in with some other damp things
that you are drying in the dryer.
If your baby has constant diaper rash no matter how much you fight it and you
hang the diapers out on the line to dry, you might try either ironing the diapers
or drying them in the dryer. My mom found she had iron diapers when my
brother was a baby and we were in Ethiopia. Apparently something was
getting in the diapers as they hung on the line that was killed by the
iron. It may be possible that your baby has an allergy to some pollen or
something that is cannot be killed with an iron also, and that you will need to
dry them in the dryer or hang them in the house somewhere.
When you plan a baby shower for someone and they have already received or
purchased most of what they need, ask your guests to bring a frozen meal for the
family along with the preparation instructions. Be sure to have a cooler
on hand for the mother-to-be to take the food home in.
I've found that if baby has bad diaper rash, putting a little Mylanta on
it with a cotton ball helps soothe the irritated skin bringing on instant relief.
Also, Mylanta can be mixed with Desitin and makes a great diaper rash ointment!
-- Jill; Tennessee
To make your own economical diaper wipes, mix 3 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of
baby lotion, and 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo thoroughly in a container with a
tight fitting lid. Cut a roll of paper towels (Bounty Big Roll is best, I've tried
them all) in half, remove the cardboard core and place half in the container.
Put on the lid and tip upside-down until all the liquid is absorbed. Keep out
of direct sunlight. Anonymous
It's a Messy
To help stop the mess when kids are eating popsicles or ice cream
on stick, try poking a whole in a small or large size paper plate and putting
the stick through the whole. This makes a collar that drips have to get
around to get to the floor and clothes. :-)
When kids want to help in the kitchen have them wear an old, adult-size
shirt backward like you would for an art project or painting.
Before handling Styrofoam "popcorn" packing, rub your
hands with a fabric softener sheet.
If you plan to work on a painting job for several days, wrap your paint
brush in some aluminum foil or plastic wrap for overnight to keep the brush and
paint wet. This saves having to rinse things out every night.
5. Remove pet
hair from upholstery by putting on latex gloves and rubbing it over the "haired"
you're moving use paper towels to pack the fragile stuff in. The paper toweling
can be used as it normally would be when you arrive at your destination and you
don't risk getting black from newspapers on your things. Another useful
thing is to pack as much of your fragile stuff as you can in your towels, sheets,
quilting fabrics and the like. Be careful of especially nice fabrics that
you do not pack something in them that may damage them.
Try keeping one or two pieces of charcoal in your tool box to keep house
tools and garden tools from rusting.
Touch up a blemish on your wall paint with a cotton
ball instead on of a paint brush. No wasted paint or clean up.
9. Keep the
tops of clothes clean in storage in your closet. Use an old sheet to cover
the whole rod of clothes, or use old pillow cases with a small whole cut in the
center of the end to cover individual garments.
Keep hair pins, clips, rubber bands, etc. organized in the
bathroom drawer by using a plastic silverware tray.
Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent
ice cream drips.
12. To quickly
clean up the bathroom mirror, wet your fingers, then sprinkle water over the mirror.
Wipe it firmly with the hand towel till the spots are gone and there is no major
streaking. This is not a perfect clean, but it sure does improve the mirror! (I
learned this from my brother. :-) )
1. Listen to preaching tapes, good
music, or "learn-a-language" tapes while you're doing your housework.
Scrape your cast iron pan out thoroughly as soon as you take the food out
that you are through cooking. Wipe out *carefully* with a paper towel. This will
save time in trying to clean out hardened food later, and helps avoid the temptation
to wash your cast iron pans. :-)
Clean up your bathroom a little at time throughout the day when you go
in to use it. If you can't get it cleaned up through the day you probably need
to drink more water. :-)
Shall We Put It?
Perennial Storage Problem
I take cereal boxes, cut the top 1/3 off at an angle,
cover them with the Sunday Morning Comics, or leftover wrapping paper, and use
them to store my magazines. -- Libby M
might also try covering them with contact paper or left over wallpaper.
2. An old clothes hamper
with a hinged lid can be used for a storage place for overshoes, rubber boots,
etc. Paint it to match your porch or hall decor if you want. It is
ventilated so the things can dry.
A hanging pocket-style shoe bag in a hallway or entrance for
storing winter gloves, mittens, scarves, caps, etc. Hang it low enough for
children to store their things in the lower pockets.
Place whole cloves in the pockets of woolen coats, jackets
and in sweater bags when you're storing them. They prevent moth damage and
leave a pleasant, spicy smell. They can also be used in drawers with socks
and everyday work clothes.