Monday, May 14, 2007

Household hints

Ketchup, it seems, is good for more than spicing up a meal. It can also be used to clean silver jewellery and guard blonde hair against chlorine damage if rubbed on before swimming, according to a new book of handy hints from Reader's Digest.

The bizarre advice is one of more than 2,000 tips in a compendium of how to put ordinary things to extraordinary uses.

Other tips include using peanut butter to tease out chewing gum stuck in a child's hair and placing marshmallows between the toes for a comfortable home pedicure.

Apples: To remove excess salt from a soup or stew, drop a few apple or potato wedges into the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes then remove the wedges.

Bread: Remove most dirty or greasy fingerprints from painted walls by rubbing the area with a slice of white bread. Cut off the crusts to minimise the chance of scratching the paper.

Compact discs: Use as garden/driveway reflectors. Drill small holes into a CD and screw it to a gatepost or stake. Install several to mark a night-time path to your front door.

Dental floss: Secure a button permanently with this, it's much stronger than thread. Repair outdoor items like umbrellas, tents or rucksacks.

Emery board: Can revive worn out suede shoes. Rub the stain lightly with the board then hold the shoe over the steam from a kettle to remove stain.

Fabric softener: End clinging dust on the TV. Dampen a duster with a little fabric softener straight from the bottle.

Golfing equipment: If a screw won't grip because the hole has become too large, dip the tip of a golf tee in wood glue and tap the tee into the hole. Cut the tee flush with a craft knife.

Hair spray: Preserve a child's art with hair spray to help it last longer. Works well on unstable chalk or pastel pictures as it helps stop smudges.

Ice cube trays: Freeze leftover red or white wine into cubes that can be used later in pasta sauces, casseroles or stews.

Jars: Help your gloves dry out by pulling each one over the bottom of an empty jar. Stand jar upside down on a radiator or hot-air vent to dry in an instant.

Ketchup: Soak silver jewellery in a bowl of ketchup for a few minutes. Use an old toothbrush to work ketchup into the crevices. Rinse and dry.

Lemons: Get rid of tough stains on marble. Cut lemon in half, dip the exposed flesh in table salt and rub it vigorously on the stain.

Milk cartons: Keep drinks cold with ice blocks made from empty milk cartons.

Nail varnish: Preserve important information on labels with a coat of clear varnish. Prevent shirt buttons falling off with a drop of clear varnish on the thread.

Olive oil: Make your own furniture polish with two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice or white vinegar.

Plastic bottles: Create a drip irrigator for plants. Cut a large hole in the bottom of a bottle, then drill two to five tiny (1.5mm) holes in or around the cap. Bury the closed bottles upside down about three-quarters submerged beneath the soil near the plants you need to water, and fill with water through the hole on top. Refill as needed.

Rubber flip-flops: Slip a rubber flip-flop on to your hand and rub carpets and rugs in the direction of the pile. Any pet hair will form into balls for vacuuming.

Salt: Remove watermarks from furniture by mixing a teaspoon of salt with a few drops of water to form a paste. Rub the paste gently on ring until spot is gone.

Tennis balls: For a massage, fill a long sock with a few tennis balls, tie the end and stretch the massager around your back.

Umbrellas: Remove the fabric from an old umbrella and put the handle into the ground for an instant trellis. The umbrella's shape, covered with flowers, will look terrific in the garden.

Vodka: For a quick and easy weedkiller, mix 30ml vodka, a few drops of washing-up liquid and 400ml water in a spray bottle. Apply at midday on a sunny day to weeds growing in direct sunlight. It won't work in shady spots.

WD-40: For fast relief from a bee or wasp sting, spray WD-40 directly on the bite. It will soothe the pain at once.

Yogurt: Put 200ml plain active-culture yogurt into a blender, along with a handful of moss and about 200ml water. Spread the mixture wherever you want moss to grow.

Zips: Stitch a zipped pocket to the underside of your beach towel, just big enough for keys, sunglasses and maybe a few coins.



Blogger Sandi said...

I've used the peanut butter to get out gum in hair thing, but I'm not sure I'd want to rub ketchup in my hair!

May 14, 2007 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Lucy said...

Good tips...thanks!!

May 14, 2007 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...


May 14, 2007 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger lila said...

Those are great tips! I've used peanut butter to remove tape residue from price tag stickers, etc.
this is my first visit to your blog...I'm a Libra too!

May 14, 2007 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger PEA said...

Can I eat the marshmallows after I've used them in between my toes??? hehe Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful tips with us...I had heard about peanut butter being good to remove gum from hair! I'll print out the list and tape it to the inside of a cupboard door so that I always have it on hand! Your little grandson is so adorable...sounds like he had a fun birthday party:-) xox

May 14, 2007 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Meow said...

Those are great, thanks.
There was an email doing the rounds recently, which had heaps of uses for WD-40 ... everyone should have a can of this stuff !!
Take care, Meow

May 14, 2007 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger peppylady said...

great tips

May 15, 2007 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger Ligeia said...

Man, that's what I get for missing my regular reading! I so could have used the WD-40 advice for husband last week!

May 16, 2007 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger "Early Bird" said...

I looked all through this post and nuttin...nada on how to get rid of pesky hedge hogs...sigh!!
Thanks for the tips my friend!

May 16, 2007 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger SiouxSue said...

Wow, those are great tips. Thanks!!

May 17, 2007 at 12:32 AM  

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