Sick and tired of fixing and more fixing, cleaning and more cleaning? Old wives homespun tricks aren’t just for Grandma anymore, and modern technology isn’t just for phones and computers either. Whether 100 years old or newly discovered, check out the simple tricks we’ve found that will make your home cleaner with less time and effort, and therefore your life a whole lot brighter!
Wax On, Wax Off - Keep your stove top clean by applying a thin layer of car wax, then wipe it off. It keeps the food from sticking.
Better Than Mr. Clean! - Anything that sticks easily wipes away with a magic eraser! Don’t know what that is? Now on the market for a couple of years, eraser-like products that get rid of stains you thought you were stuck with for good have become a common household item. For example, Mr. Clean sells a line called Magic Erasers, and Scotch-Brite offers the Easy Erasing Pad ($4.69 for four!). Or if your heroine is Ms. Cheap, try making your own magic erasers by simply buying some melamine foam. Find 30 of them on Amazon for $15.
Clean Your Shower Head - To get rid of built up residue on your shower head, tie a baggy of vinegar around it. Leave it there overnight, and it will clean everything off with no work!
Day At The Bleach - If all your favorite bathing suits are fading, you probably already know the sun is a great bleaching agent, but you’ve probably never thought of it that way! Try placing wet fabrics or plasticware into the sun and it will bleach the stains out for you. By the way, why not take a quick dip in the pool, while the sun is doing that tedious laundry for you?
Don’t Sweat It - Aspirin can remove sweat stains, take the green out of blonde hair in the summer, treat pimples and get rid of dandruff. Wow, who’d a thunk it?
- To remove sweat stains, crush up enough pills with water to make a paste that will cover the stain. Let it set and then wash as usual.
- To remove the green tint that chlorinated pool water leaves in your hair, dissolve 6-8 tabs in water and let soak into hair for 10 minutes.
- For problem acne, make a paste and apply directly to the pimple.
- For dandruff- crush two aspirins and mix them into your normal shampoo (regular shampoo, not the dandruff kind!) you use in the shower. Let sit on hair for a few minutes and rinse away the flakes!
Don’t Forget to Brush Your Toes - To remove stains from nails after wearing a dark polish, scrub nails with a whitening toothpaste and a nail brush. Bet your mom never reminded you to do this one before bedtime.
Nail Shadow - To make your own nail polish, make a little pile of eyeshadow from those broken shadows you never use anymore and mix into clear nail polish.
Red, Green, Yellow, But Never Brown - When you cut up an apple, keep it from turning brown by using a rubber band to hold it together in its original apple shape. So what if your family thinks you’ve lost your mind! To alert them of your return to sanity, dip the pieces of apple into a bowl of fresh lemon juice.
Bounce-er - Try thinking of a Bounce fabric softener sheet as the modern woman’s “mother’s little helper!” Keeping a sheet in your pocket will repel mosquitoes. Place them around your house to repel mice as well. Rub a sheet on your pet twice a week to keep fleas and ticks away (but do not stop applying flea & tick repellent from the vet). Leave a sheet in water-filled pots and pans overnight to loosen caked-on food, then wash as usual.
Sealed With Wax - To get the water spots off of chrome faucets, rub them with a piece of waxed paper after cleaning - it will keep the water spots and fingerprints from sticking to the clean metal.
Clear Watermarked Wood - If you get a water mark on a wooden table, rub the stain with Petroleum Jelly and let sit for 24 hours, OR use Full-fat Mayonnaise and let sit for 6 hours. Then wipe off the excess and polish as usual.
Defeat the Mysterious Knot-Tying Monster - Cornstarch will untangle all kinds of knots. Rub some into the knot in shoelaces, chains, string, necklaces, etc. and watch as it comes magically apart. Take that, sneaky tangling pockets!
Shredded Chicken, Minus the Crime Scene - To make perfectly shredded chicken, simply toss hot/warm cooked chicken into your mixer with the cookie paddle tool attached. Turn it to speed 5 and in about 30 seconds it will have done all the work for you.
First Hot Yoga! Now Hot Vinegar!- Soak old paint brushes in HOT vinegar for 30 minutes and then wash. The old paint will come off and the brushes will be as good as new.
More uses for Chalk - Chalk will remove grease stains from clothes. Simply rub the stain with chalk, then toss in the wash as normal.
Going Bananas? - If you want your bananas to ripen slowly, break them apart as soon as you get home from the store. They ripen faster if kept together at the stem.
Pizza Reheat-za - Reheat leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza for you no mo’!
More For You - To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle them with a generous helping of cayenne pepper. The pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it. My dad doesn’t recommend it for plants you plan on eating though, unless you like a dash of burn with your dinner!
Erasing the Fog - Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. (Don’t worry about the chalk. That’s why you buy a new one.) When your windows fog up, rub them with the eraser! Works better than a cloth, and it’s faster too!!
Re-Conditioning Your Legs- Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.
Drop Like Fruit Flies - To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it with a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!
Can Open It! - Try using a can opener on that impossible-to-open extruded and sealed plastic packaging. Especially useful for electronic gadgets/accessories with those sharp, bent edges that always screw up your scissors! (No, stabbing it with a steak knife will probably not work. You’re much more likely to stab yourself than penetrate that Ft. Knox-approved plastic barrier.)
Rejuvenate Old Mascara - Use drops of saline solution to refresh dried mascara. Add a few drops at a time, until mascara liquefies once again.
Non-stick Candles - Spray the inside of your candle holders with nonstick spray before use so the wax can fall out once the candle is gone.
The Secret Wonders of Marshmallows - Eat a few to soothe a sore throat (the gelatin is what helps), add to a newly opened bag of brown sugar to keep it soft, or stick between your toes for pedicures! Please use different ‘mallows for each activity, though...
Floss: It Really Cuts the Cake - Use unscented dental floss to cut soft cheeses and cakes.
Tape It Off - use Scotch tape or clear Nail Polish to relieve a bug bite. Blocking oxygen from getting into the bite will help stop the itching.
No More Flaccid Flowers - Add a few drops of vodka and a teaspoon of sugar to make cut flowers last longer. Apparently plants live for the same things we do.
And the Many Uses for Newspaper! - Let’s face it. Everyone loves the daily newspaper, the best way to find out which of your local officials, or wanton neighbors have spent the night in the slammer. Some say that no one actually reads them anymore, but if they did, they still don’t read the whole thing. For the sections you don’t care about, you can dampen the paper and use it to keep weeds and odors away. Here’s how:
Place your plants in the ground, and work the nutrients in your soil. Then put down newspapers in layers around the plants, overlapping as you go (many who have done this recommend 5 layers), spray over with garden hose just enough to keep from blowing away (optional if the air is particularly still on the day you do this), cover with mulch but be careful not to tear the paper, and forget about weeds! Weeds can get through some gardening plastic, but they will not get through wet newspapers. Just block out their sunlight.
To absorb odors, just stick it anywhere that you would put a box of baking soda. You can put it in Tupperware, or the crisper bin of your fridge, or in a purse with any lingering leather smells. Great for cakes stored in refrigerators with lots of smelly neighbors.