Handy Hints

Home & Household

Coffee: Add a dash of water to your sugar prior to pouring your coffee so you don't give it a burnt flavour. 

Avocado test - To test whether an avocado is ripe, flick off the small stalk at the end. If it comes off easily, the fruit is ripe. Alternatively, cradle the avocado in the palm of your hand and apply gentle pressure to the stem end. if the avocado yields to slight pressure, it is ripe and ready to eat. 

Better dressing - A salad dressing made in a blender or food processor will not separate as quickly as one which is simply shaken in a glass jar. 

Capsicum skins - To peel grilled or roasted capsicums, cover them with a damp tea towel. They will cool quickly and the skins will come off easily. 

Cheese-freeze - Parmesan cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer. It never freezes solid, so it can be grated as soon as you take it from the freezer. 

Cooking pasta - to prevent pasta from boiling over and sticking together, add some butter or oil and salt. Always add the pasta to the water after it has boiled, not before. 

De-veining prawns - The quickest and neatest way to de-vein an uncooked prawn is to insert a fine skewer just behind the head, using it to carefully draw out the vein in one piece.

Decorative chocolate curls - Run a vegetable peeler along the edge of a block of chocolate to create quick decorative curls for desserts and cakes. 

Don't over cook fish It's better to take it off the heat and let it continue to cook for up to 2 minutes in the pan.

Find those spices that give Indian food the flavour such as cardamom, cinnamon, fennel and caraway and use them separately to enhance the flavour you like. 

Fried onions - for a beautiful flavour and crisp brown colour, soak your onion rings in milk for 15 minutes before frying. 

Good as new honey - Pure honey easily crystallises or candies. To reliquefy honey, stand the jar, uncovered, in hot water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Or place the uncovered jar in the microwave oven on medium (80 percent power) for about 20 seconds. 

Too Salty - If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato. It absorbs the excess salt for an instant "fix me up."

Juiciest Lemons - To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.

Keep cooked rice - Don't waste leftover rice - it can be frozen for later use in patties, fried rice and other dishes. 

Keeping herbs fresh  - Keep herbs fresh by placing stems in a jug with a few centimetres of water; cover tops with a plastic bag; tie bag in place and refrigerate. 

Keeping ripe bananas - There's no need to waste an oversupply of ripe bananas. You can freeze bananas, unpeeled, sealed in an airtight container or freezer bag. Simply thaw before mashing for use in banana cakes or muffins. 

Leftover Wine - Don't throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes or zip lock bags for future use in casseroles and sauces. 

Make self-raising flour - To convert plain flour into self-raising flour, add two teaspoons of baking powder to each cup of plain flour. Adding one teaspoon of cream of tartar and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate, of soda to one cup of plain flour gives the same result. 

Vegetable Storage - Most vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator to preserve freshness.
Exceptions include potatoes, sweet potatoes, mature onions, hard-rind squashes, eggplant and rutabagas, which keep well in cool rather than cold storage. Tomatoes should be refrigerated only after they are fully ripe and only for a short time.

No-waste tomato paste - To prevent mould forming on top of your tomato paste, pour a thin film of oil over the surface of the paste to stop air reaching the surface. Alternatively, freeze paste in level-tablespoon portions in ice-cube trays. When the paste is frozen, transfer to a bag and seal tightly.

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs - to prevent eggshells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling. 

Stained Plastic - Prevent your Tupperware staining by spraying with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in beetroot, curries and tomato based sauces. 

Lime leaves - Put fresh kaffir lime leaves in the freezer to store them and take a few leaves out when you need them. They will stay fresh in the freezer.

Scorch-proof skewers - To stop bamboo skewers from scorching and splintering, soak them in water for one hour before use. If using a marinade high in sugar or honey, thread meat after marinating. 

Stop Celery Wilting - Wrap celery in aluminium foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks. 

Potato chips and biscuits - Stop leftover potato chips and biscuits going stale by rolling the packet down tight and securing with a clothes peg. This preserves crispness for at least a few days.

Storage for Fresh Vegetables - If the crispers are full, store vegetables in plastic bags or plastic containers to prevent moisture loss.

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Meat - Take your meat out of the fridge for about an hour before BBQing. Your meat will be more succulent as a result.

No Mess Veges - When peeling vegetables put a colander in the sink to catch the scraps, you can lift straight up with much less mess!

Alleviate oven cleaner smells - reduce the unpleasant smell left from oven cleaners by baking some citrus peelings on a low heat. 

Beer Glasses - to prevent a flat head on your beer, wash glasses in hot water with baking soda or salt. Rinse thoroughly in hot water to which you've added a couple of drops of vinegar. Do not wipe glasses, leave to drip dry instead. When dry store your beer glasses in the fridge.

Broken glass - Break something glass in the kitchen and nothing to pick it up with? Use a piece of bread to pick up the fragments.

Brighten stainless steel - sinks, pots, pans etc by using a damp cloth soaked in vinegar. Your stainless steel sinks will shine if you rub them hard with a wad of crumpled newspaper!

Calcium in kettles - add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the kettle and half fill with water, turn on but not to boil then let vinegar mixture sit in kettle for a couple of hours. Calcium deposits should be loosened and rinse out with water if not scrub gently with a scourer to loosen remaining calcium.

Clean kitchen tiles - Clean first and then apply furniture polish. If you buff the tiles to a shine, grease will not stick to them and they'll be easier to clean in the future.

Clean stains - from laminex kitchen benchtops by rubbing with a thick paste of bicarb soda and water. Leave for 1 hour then wipe off. Also good for stains on white stoves. 

Clean oven - Clean your oven whilst it is still warm (not hot!) and grease will come off more easily. 

Ovens - Reduce oven cleaning time by lining the bottom of your oven with aluminium foil cut to size. The foil catches drips and grease and can be easily replaced when dirty

Cleaning an Electric Frypan - To clean the outside of the pan heat for a few minutes, unplug, then turn pan upside down on newspaper and then spray the base with a commercial brand of oven cleaner (in a well-ventilated area). Rub with steel wool and wipe over with a damp sponge. 

Cleaning your blender is much quicker if you fill it about a third with hot water and add a couple of drops of your washing detergent, then turn it on!

Flowers -Cutting an inch off the bottom of the stems and adding a little bleach in the water will keep your flowers longer because the water is cleaner. Change water every day.

Garlic & onion smells can be removed from your chopping board by rubbing with a cut lemon.

Glass kettles come up like new when you boil water and teaspoon of boracic acid.

Burns - Keep an aloe vera plant in the kitchen to treat minor burns. Break off a piece of the fleshy part and apply the juice to the area. 

Steel wool - Prevent steel wool from rusting by placing it in a jar of water mixed with half a teaspoon of carb soda. Change the mixture once a week and the steel wool will last much longer.

Stains - Remove baked on stains from glass baking dishes by soaking in a strong solution of borax and water. 

Glue - Remove sticky marks left from labels on new glasses and dinnerware by rubbing with some methylated spirits  Or use eucalyptus oil to help remove stubborn labels and label residue from your glassware. Simply rub on, leave for a short time and should then come off easily. 

Tea & coffee stains - Remove from cups and mugs by cleaning with a dampened cloth or toothbrush dipped in either salt or bicarbonate of soda or  Fill cup or mug with water to which a small squirt of Domestos has been added. Leave overnight then wash and rinse well.

Pantry moths - Repel by keeping an open packet of Epsom salts on the shelf.

Non Sick - Stop food sticking to pots & pans by bringing vinegar to the boil in it before first use. 

Stubborn marks on lino - can be removed by rubbing with kerosene and steel wool. 

Stuck-On Food in Pots, Pans, and Casserole dishes - :Fill the pan with water and place a fabric softener sheet in the water. Allow the pan to soak overnight. The food will wipe right out!

Weevils - to prevent weevils in flour and grains put a bay leaf in the packet. 

Valuable & fine glassware - When washing , line the sink with an old hand towel to help prevent slipping and chipping. 

Woks - Your wok will last longer and stay newer looking if you keep it smeared with cooking oil when not in use. 

Brass - Polish with a paste of vinegar and salt. Rinse well with water and buff with soft cloth.

Curtains - Always use a curtain dry cleaner when having your curtains cleaned to avoid shrinkage problems due to over heating.

Leather - Brighten dull leather furniture by rubbing with half a lemon or stale beer. Polish with a dry cloth. 

Burns on carpet - For light burns on woollen carpets, rub over the affected area with a fine sandpaper to remove the brown singe marks. Wash the area with shampoo and warm water and a few drops of vinegar, then rinse away. Before attempting to remove marks from synthetic carpets, contact the manufacturer. 

Candle holders - if you have wax stuck to votive candle holders, place them in the freezer the wax will chip right off. To prevent it sticking in the first place by putting a little water in the holder before you put the candle in.

Candle wax - to remove wax from carpeting or other fabric, first scrape away the excess then place a brown paper bag over the wax and run a warm iron over the bag, the wax will melt right into the bag. Continue moving the bag around as you pick up the wax so you are always using a clean section. If a little grease stain remains on carpet, sprinkle with baking soda and allow to sit overnight before vacuuming.

Carpet stains - try baby wipes, they are miracle workers for anything from motor oil to blood, or shaving cream is a good all-purpose spot remover for carpets. 

Air Con - Clean all filters in your air-conditioning unit annually for effective household environmental control as it can reduce or eliminate airborne particles. 

Clean glass - windows & mirrors easily with a piece of crumpled newspaper. The newspaper does not leave lint and minimises streaks.

Cleaning canvas awnings, blinds & umbrellas. For general cleaning, salt water is excellent, scrub with a strong solution of salt and water. To remove mildew, spread a mixture of soft soap, starch, salt and lemon juice over the canvas and leave in the sun to dry. 

Cleaning glass in picture frames - never use liquid as moisture can seep through, instead use methylated spirits applied to a rag or piece of paper towel which evaporates quickly.

Copper - Rub over with vinegar on a cloth, rinse off, then buff with a clean, soft cloth. 

Dogs urine smell in carpet - to remove the smell of dog urine from carpet, sprinkle a 500g packet of bicarb soda over the spot. If a very large area use 2 packets and sprinkle thickly over area. Leave for 24 hrs before vacuuming up. 

Dusting artificial flowers - put into a large paper bag containing salt and give them a good shake. 

Eliminate Kitchen Cooking Smells by placing a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the grate of the exhaust fan and on the globes of your overhead lights. If you have a light over your stove place some on that too. The heat from the cooking and the globes will release the scent and reduce the cooking odours. It is safe to use of fluorescent lights also.

Finger Marks - Remove dirty finger marks from walls using a pencil eraser. 

Freshen heavy curtains by adding them one at a time to a tumble dryer on delicate mode with a damp towel.

Furniture dents in carpet - to make the carpet stand back up after moving a piece of furniture, place an ice cube on the spot. As it melts, the piles will go back up

Grease and Oil - To remove these stains from furnishings, sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on the stain. Rub in well until the oil is absorbed. Vacuum off powder.

Jewellery - make your gold and silver jewellery sparkle by cleaning with a small amount of toothpaste on a toothbrush, rinse under water.

Kitty Litter Odours - keep the kitty litter fresh smelling by sprinkling baby powder in the litter.

Mattresses - to clean musty mattresses, sponge with a solution of 5 drops of tea tree oil to one bucket of warm water. Take mattresses out into the sun to dry and air.

Microwave Ovens - Place damp paper towels in your microwave and turn it on high for 10 seconds. This makes your microwave easy to clean.

Pewter - Polish with the outer leaves of a cabbage and then buff with a soft cloth. 

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Smelly bins - Sprinkle 1/4 cup each of borax (a natural mineral found in the laundry aisle) and bicarbonate of soda into the bottom of the empty bin.

Red wine on carpet - pour some (cheap) white wine on the red wine stain. The proteins which cause the stain are the same and it will neutralise the red in the stain so you now have a white stain which you can clean up as normal. 

Ballpoint pen marks - Remove  on wood or painted surfaces with distilled white vinegar. Simply dab with a clean rag soaked in vinegar until mark comes off.

Remove sticky tape from varnished wood doors and furniture by spraying with window cleaner, leave for a while and tape will come off with no tell tale marks.

Rust - To remove rust from a stainless steel sink, soak overnight in a paste of cream of tartar and water.

Sheets - Stitch a thread in the centre top of your sheets, blankets and bed spreads and line these up with the centre of the bed head for a perfectly neat bed every time.

Tarnished Silverware - Line a baking tin with aluminium foil. Fill with water and add 1 tblspn. of baking soda per 2 cups of water. Heat to 150 degrees. Lay silverware in pan, touching aluminium foil. Watch the stains disappear! 

Scratches - To hide scratches on furniture rub a wax crayon of the same colour on the furniture, you'll never see the scratch. 

Venetian blinds - Clean aluminium and plastic Venetian blinds by hanging them up somewhere outside against a flat, vertical surface. Sponge with mild detergent and then gently hose them down. For timber blinds wipe the slats with household cleaner.

Walnut furniture - Small scratches can be removed from walnut surfaces by rubbing over scratch with a raw walnut kernel broken in half.

Washing Pillows - When cleaning mattresses and bedding, always check the manufacturer's care label first. In the case of pillows, chances are it can be thrown in the washing machine. Place two or three pillows in the machine, making sure to distribute evenly around the agitator. Use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent. To dry, place in the dryer along with a clean pair of sneakers to keep them from bunching up. To give them a fresh scent, use a couple of fabric softener sheets.

Marks on Wood - White Heat Marks and Water Rings on Wood Furniture: If the wood has a good finish (don't try on bare wood), mix equal parts of baking soda and regular white, non-gel toothpaste. Lightly dampen corner of a clean, soft white cloth with water and dip into the paste. With circular motion gently buff the marks for a few minutes. Wipe area clean, and buff to a shine. Follow with furniture polish. (If rings remain after buffing five minutes or so, they may have penetrated the wood; you might have to refinish the piece). If that doesn't work, dip a cloth in vegetable oil, then in cigarette ashes, then rub it over the mark. Another method is to rub real mayonnaise onto the stain, allow to sit overnight, then wipe with a dry towel. 

Shed smell - Get rid of that shed smell by cutting an onion in half and leaving it on the shed bench. Tie a scarf around your mouth to avoid inhaling harmful odours and dust. 

Roses - Recently planted roses must be kept well watered for the first few months and probably through the first two summers. Roses need good, regular, deep watering, not occasional light sprinkling. Water is preferable in the morning to reduce the risk of fungal disease and flower damage. 

Clean soil stained hands after gardening by rubbing some olive oil and sugar between your palms. 


Great flower fertiliser - place your banana skins just below the surface of the soil - they rot quickly and supply calcium, magnesium, sulphur, phosphorous, sodium & silica. 

Garden pests & diseases - Most scale insects can be sprayed with Malascale, a mixture of Malathion and White Oil, which is not overly toxic. Sudden die back of plants is usually caused by root rot. Remove and destroy the plant. Then, improve drainage before planting a rot resistant variety.

Grafting plants - Begin by placing the understock plant and the new top close together. Use a scalpel to cut a 2.5cm long strip of bark from both plants then tie the stems firmly together with budding tape. Remember to remove suckers below the graft before they take over the ornamental part of the tree.

Ground coffee as fertiliser - Save the coffee grounds from your percolator or plunger as fertiliser for your garden. It is high in nitrogen and particularly effective for your rose bushes. 

Water saving - Water your garden early in the morning for best results. That's because evening watering encourages fungal disease and watering during the day is less effective due to increased evaporation. And remember, too much fertiliser makes lawns thirsty and healthy ones use less water than sick ones. 

Indoor Plant Care - To refresh a favourite plant simply re-pot into a larger container using a good quality potting mix. But remember, most indoor plants die from over fertilising and lack of sunlight. So use a nine-month slow release fertiliser and make sure plants receive lots of indirect natural light. 
 - Keep the leaves on your indoor plants looking green & healthy by rubbing them with castor or mineral oil.
 - Keep your indoor plants out of draughts and away from cold windows at night time unless protected by
   heavy curtaining.

Kill grass and weeds in paving cracks and driveway by spraying with a mixture of water and vinegar or salt water. Be sure to keep away from plants you want to keep alive though!

Protect lettuce from bugs -Plant radishes amongst carrots and lettuce, they help mark the row of slow germinating carrots protect from bugs

Safe snail repellent - sprinkle sawdust around the plants, snails will not crawl over as it sticks to them and is safe for pets and young children.

Save seeds from plants before they fall to the ground by slipping an old pantyhose leg over the seed head while the seeds ripen, and as they fall they'll be collected in the toe. You can then hang the hose in the shed until you need the seeds.

Save the pot water when you boil eggs to water your plants, it is full of nutrients. Let it cool down first.

Save your empty egg cartons to start your spring seedlings in.

Save your left over tea and tea leaves from the tea pot as a fertiliser for your garden. Tea is especially good for roses, azaleas, violets, hydrangeas and even parsley and passionfruit. Loosen the soil and sprinkle the leaves around the base of the plant. 

Stop blooms turning brown on gardenias & camellias  by sprinkling with salt.

Turn potted plants around regularly to stop them leaning toward the light. 

Mosquito bites - Apply toothpaste to  to relieve itching. 

Burnt your tongue - Sprinkle a few grains of sugar on the sore spot to alleviate the tenderness.

Pill stuck in your throat - Eat a banana to dislodge it, the soft bulk of the fruit will move it along. 

Home made cough remedy - Boil a lemon in a cup of water, remove lemon, cut in half an extract juice. To the juice add 1/2 a cup of honey. Take a teaspoon at a time as required. Stir well before each dose.

Burns - Keep an aloe vera plant in the kitchen to treat minor burns. Break off a piece of the fleshy part and apply the juice to the area. 

Relieve pain from wasp sting by soaking affected area in ice water to which a couple of drops of Dettol have been added. 

Sand fly bites - Brown Vinegar to douse skin when the bites appear. 

Emergency numbers - Teach your kids your own phone number and numbers for a close family member from an early age by getting them involved in making the call. Practice with them to 'call grandma' or 'call home'. Have emergency numbers written somewhere at your child's height, 000 along with visual representations of fire/police/ambulance placed on the fridge will help to familiarise children with these numbers should they ever need to use them. 

Storms - Unplug your modem from the phone line during electrical storms as a lightning strike could damage your entire computer and corrupt valuable data.

Car accident - Be prepared, keep a disposable camera, notepad and pen in your glove box, this comes in very handy if you're unfortunate enough to have an accident. 

Battery terminals - Clean build up from  with a teaspoon of bicarb soda mixed in a litre of hot water. 
Put Vaseline on your battery terminals to avoid corrosion. 

Car scratches - Repair scratched or marked surfaces on any vehicle that are not too deep, by applying some Brasso to a soft, clean cloth and rub effected area in gentle, circular motions until removed.

Showers - To remove mildew from a shower curtain, rub baking soda on the curtain before washing in 
                normal  way, or 1/2 a cup of household bleach diluted in 5 litres of water
                Rub lemon juice over the mildew stains, add non-iodised salt and let it dry in the sun; then wash. 
                Soak the curtain in a solution of chlorine-based bleach, Then scrub of mildew with a brush. Rinse 
                Bicarbonate of soda can be used to remove mildew from small areas.
                Clean glass shower doors and screens with sponge dipped in white vinegar.
Clean Bath - Brighten up a porcelain bath which has yellowed, by rubbing with a solution of salt and 
                turpentine

Cleaning Grout - 1. Apply neat Domestos onto the grout and leave for about half an hour, then rinse off. 
Brighten white grout by squeezing denture cream onto a wet toothbrush and scrubbing the grout. Rinse well. To whiten grout, apply white shoe cleaner over it, then wipe off excess.

Drain Freshener - To freshen drain, pour 1/4 to 1/2 box of baking soda down the drain, add 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Cover drain tightly for a few minutes and flush with cold water

Reduce bathroom odours by placing an opened box of baking soda behind the toilet! 

Remove hair dye stains on baths and basins with a mixture of peroxide and cream of tartar. Make a paste and cover the stain. Allow to dry before washing off. 

Chewing gum in children's hair - dab with a cloth soaked with eucalyptus oil, gum should come out without tears. 

Play dough recipe - 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup salt, 1 tablespoons baby oil, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, food colouring. Method: Mix together in a saucepan, heat gently stirring all the time, when dough has good consistency, take it off the heat and allow to cool. Makes about one margarine container full. 

Removing bandaids from a child's skin without tears is easy if you soak a piece of cotton wool in baby oil and rub over the tape. 

Sick Smell - When travelling with a baby take some bicarb soda with you in a small zip lock bag. Should your baby be sick, simply sprinkle clothes with the soda. Brush off when dry and odour will have disappeared.

Eyebrows - Alleviate discomfort when plucking your eyebrows by smoothing baby teething gel over the area to numb the pain

Avoid razor burn - after shaving your legs by moisturising beforehand. While shaving cream is the most popular method, try prepping your leg with hair conditioner for a few minutes before shaving. It will hold moisture on the leg longer and provide a very smooth shave.

Beautiful lips - When you brush your teeth before going to bed, brush your lips as well and then apply lip balm. The brushing removes dead and dry skin, and the moisture keeps them feeling and looking soft.

Brittle & flaking fingernails - mix 2 level teaspoons of gelatine into 1/2 glass of fruit juice or cold water. Drink at once and repeat daily for at least 6 weeks. You should see a dramatic improvement in your nails after about 2 months. 
 - massage cod liver oil which is rich in vitamin A, into cuticles and nails. After three months, nails will be stronger and cuticles smoother

Eye Cream - For a cheap home made eye cream apply unscented castor oil around your eyes before you go to bed. Many plastic surgeons use this on their patients after surgery. 

For an instant face lift - beat an egg white and apply it to your skin. Leave on for about 10 minutes and rinse off. Your skin will be tighter and appear firmer.

For puffy eyes - Soak two tea bags then place them in the freezer for a few minutes, place on eyes & lay back & relax! Or, grate a raw potato, mold it into a mushy pack, and put it on your eyes and lids for 10-20 minutes. The potato starch will help smooth eye-area skin and ease away puffiness. 

Bad Breath - Get rid of onion & garlic breath by chewing some fresh parsley with vinegar on it. 

Make-do hair spray - Getting ready for a big night out and realise you're out of hair spray? Try dissolving a tablespoon of sugar in a glass of hot water, wait till it cools and then put into a spray bottle. It's effective and environmentally friendly too!

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Red Spots - Minimise redness of spots on your face by soaking a piece of cotton wool in eye drops and holding on spot for 20 seconds. 

Nail polish will last longer if you keep it in the fridge.

Nicotine stains on fingers can be removed by rubbing with nail polish remover.

To relieve lower back pain sleep with a pillow under your knees to take the pressure off your lower back and have a good nights sleep. 

Tired eyes - Use some cold cucumber slices on your eyes at the end of the night to relieve tired eyes. An oldie and a goodie

Blood stains - soak garment in cold water and detergent when stain is fresh, DO NOT soak or wash in hot water as this sets the stain. 

Clean up old belt and shoe buckles with an old toothbrush and tooth paste. Just wipe off with a damp rag and the buckles will shine like new!

Clothes storage - When storing clothes away at end of season add a bar of your favourite soap to the box or vacuum sealed bag. When unpacked, clothes will be sweet smelling. 

Coffee stains - for new coffee stains soak in 300ml of water with 15g of borax. Rinse and launder as normal. For old stains, sponge with water, rub glycerine into the stain well and leave for 30min, then rinse and launder as normal 

Grease stains - On work wear try sprinkling talcum powder on the stain, repeat until all grease is absorbed, then launder as normal. 

Gum on Clothing - use egg whites to remove gum on clothing. Brush egg white on onto the gum with a toothbrush. Let sit for 15 minutes then launder the items as normal.

Help prevent black colours from fading by adding a few drops of vinegar to the wash!

Ink Stains - Rubbing alcohol is the best way to remove ink stains from clothes - dab a little onto the ink it usually disappears.

Itchy woollens - add 2 tablespoons of vinegar in final rinse when washing to make woollens less itchy.

Lipstick stains - rub a little petroleum jelly on the stain and wash as normal.

New bath towels - more absorbent by soaking them in a bucket of water with two handfuls of Epsom salts for 24hrs

Revive old leather bags by rubbing with bees wax. Not only will it give your old bag a new lease on life, it will revive the leather and prevent wearing.

Sharpen sewing needles - by stitching through a piece of sandpaper. 

Soiled Shirt Collars - Take a small paintbrush and brush hair shampoo onto soiled shirt collars. Shampoo is designed to dissolve body oils.

Sticky Iron - clean whilst hot by running back and forth over a sheet of paper on which you have sprinkled a generous amount of salt. 

To Clean an Iron: Remove stickiness from the base of the iron by applying rubbing alcohol to a cloth, then wipe over the base of the iron.

Yellowed clothing - soak in water to which a packet of Epsom salts has been added.

Natural Inspect Repellent - for a non-toxic insect repellent (safe for kids and sensitive skins) mix a small portion of Dettol with baby oil. Don't mix a lot as a little goes a long way. 

Tent pegs - always losing them? paint the ends a bright colour, this makes them easy to spot and also avoids, other people 'borrowing' them....

When hiking - prevent feet blistering by rubbing your feet with methylated spirits for a week before hand.

Cat hair on furniture - a few mothballs in the cushion of a chair will keep cats off. If you brush your cat regularly it will shed less hair around the house! 

Escaped Bird - if a pet bird escapes, close the curtains and the lights. it is likely it will stay still in the dark until you can reach it.

Fleas - fleas hate mint. Placing mint under pet mattress, mats & carpets helps keep the fleas away. Replace often. 

Fleas in carpet - Remove fleas from household carpet by sprinkling over both dog flea powder and carpet deodoriser. Leave on overnight and vacuum up. The deodoriser leaves carpets smelling clean and neutralises the smell of the dog powder. Empty your vacuum cleaner bag immediately and spray with flea kill to prevent any eggs which have been vacuumed up hatching. 

Fur Balls - roll a ball of margarine slightly larger than a marble and administer to your cat, stroke their throat to force down, this will usually releases fur balls.

Give your pets a dry shampoo with bicarb soda. Rub it well into their coats to remove odours and leave a great shine.

Paint smells from a newly decorated room by leaving an onion cut in half in the room. 

Avoid paint splatter on window panes by coating pane with undiluted liquid detergent and allowing to dry for a day before painting. If splatters do occur they will wipe off easily. 

Hardened paint on paintbrushes - can be softened by placing in a container of hot vinegar for 30 minutes.

Loosen tight screws in old wood by dripping a little vinegar on their heads. When the vinegar penetrates the thread they will be easier to unscrew. 

Repair an imbalanced ceiling fan by clipping a clothes peg midway along the leading edge of each blade, one at a time then turning the fan on to a low speed to see if the added weight stops the wobble, when successful, replace the peg with adhesive-backed lead-weighted tape.

Squeaky Floorboards - use talcum powder in the cracks between floorboards to stop squeaks. Fix loose floorboards that squeak with a hammer and use a nail punch to drive down nails. If this doesn't work, drill holes next to the nails and fix boards with counter-sunk headscrews.

Stiff windows - apply surf board wax where sash rides in the channel. 

Stop doors squeaking by either dripping some olive oil onto the hinges, sprinkling with talcum powder or rubbing with dry soap.

Stop nails bending when nailing into wood by lubricating first by driving nail through a cake of soap. If you have a tendency to oily hair you can also try rubbing first through your hair. 

To remove wallpaper add a good tablespoonful of baking soda to a bucketful of water or hot water containing vinegar. Dip a paint roller or large sponge into the solution and soak the paper thoroughly. After a couple of applications the wallpaper should peel off easily.

Identify your luggage with something unique. If you're suitcase is a common design and colour, decorate it with a large sticker or piece of brightly coloured ribbon tied around the handle.
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