Saturday, April 3, 2010

Still More Helpful Household Hints

In the kitchen:
The dishwasher isn't leaving your dishes pristene and spotless. Try pouring a packet of powdered lemonade mix into the detergent cup and run the dishwasher while it's empty. The citric acid cuts through the deposits of hard water rust and iron that are clogging the water jets. To get rid of a cloudy film that sometimes appears on your "clean" dishes, add 1 cup of white viengar to your rinse compartment and run through the full cycle, the acids in vinegar break up soap deposits allowing the dishes to rinse cleaner and preventing the buildup of dingy film.

Cleaner cookware:
If you have food burned on to your skillet, pour in some CocaCola to cover the bottom and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for a few minutes and the acids and carbonation in Cola break down grease molecules and stubborn cooked on foods, releasing them from the cookware's surface. When the pot cools off, put it under running water to rinse the gunk away.

Shine copper with ketchup. If your copper or brass cookware is looking a little old, squeeze some ketchup onto a a cloth and rub it onto the surface, then rinse. The acids in the tomatoes and vinegar bond with the molecules causing the tarnish which then wash away with water. They will look like new. Worchestershire sauce works also. NOTE: I tried this on some old copper bottom pots at my Dad's house and the ketchup method didn't do a darned thing for them. Perhaps they are speaking only of new cookware.

Pet hair removal and deodorizing around the house:
Keep the kitty litter fresher smelling by adding a layer of baking soda on the bottom where everything will naturally seep to. Your kitty will thank you for a nicer smelling toilet.

To remove pet fur from the couch, put on a pair of rubber gloves, run some water over the outside, shake and then run the gloves over the couch. The moisture will cause the fur to ball up and the rubber gloves easily pick it up.

Pet hair tends to gather on baseboards and heating units, if you run an unused dryer sheet over them, the sheet will pick up the existing hair and leave a coating on the baseboards etc that prevents future hair buildup.

Shedding - a year round problem at my house - according to Julia Szabo, author of Prety Pet-Friendly, says that in the cold months, add a drop or two of olive oil in your pets food and it will almost eliminate shedding. The reason is because, just like your own skin, your pet's skin also becomes dry in the winter so it releases hair more easily and flakes more, causing more allergy inducing dander to be in your home. The olive oil gives your dog the essential fatty acids that smooth and moisten skin, reducing the shedding issues.

Another method of picking up pet hair is to spary a cloth with hairspray and run it lightly over pet haired areas. The hair will stick to the rag for easy clean up.

Happy Plants:
Don't toss out that flat club soda. Give it to your plants! The mineral rich soda will keep their leaves nice and green and the plants will grow faster.

Our fine feathered friends:
There are plenty of birds that hand around during the winter months. Here are some "bird-friendly" treats and a way to clean up some stuff in the kitchen!
1. Eggshells. They are rich in calcium and are good for the birds digestion. Crush them up and place near other food you put out.
2. Stale cereal. Crush up the bigger stuff and put it out for the birds. Try to avoid giving them the high sugar stuff though.
3. Stale bread. Tear it up into pieces and toss it out for the birds to eat.
4. Water. Leave some water out for the birds. Especially in the winter when things are frozen, the smaller birds will have a difficult time finding safe, non-frozen, water. Use a dark colored, shallow bowl and leave it out in the daytime. The dark color will absorb heat and help keep the water thawed. Bring it in at night.

Winter help - outside the home:
Keep slush, snow and road debris off your headlights with car wax. The wax has water repellents in it and will help to keep these things from collecting on and covering up your lights.

Ice proof your windows with vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water and spritz it on all you car windows at night. In the morning, they'll be clear of icy mess. The acetic acid in the vinegar raises the melting point of water preenting water from freezing. If you wake up to an already frozen car, just spray on the mixture and watch the ice melt.

Fog proof your windshield with shaving cream. Shaving cream contains many of the same ingredients that are found in commerical defoggers. Just spray some on the inside of your windows and wipe it off with paper towels. The cream creates a protective film on the glass that prevents fogging. (works on bathroom mirrors too - for those who like those hot steamy long showers, but need to use the mirror right afterwards!)

De-ice your car locks in seconds with hand sanitizer. The hand sanitizer has to be at least 60% alcohol. Sanitizers with less won't work - and they don't sanitize much either. Anyway, put a little gel on your key and some on the lock and the problem of a frozen lock is solved. Commercial de-icers main ingredient is generally alcohol (not the drinking kind), which is also the main ingredient in Hand Sanitizers.

Squeak proof and streak proof your windshield wipers. Use rubbing alcohol or ammonia to wipe off your wipers. These are solvents that can cut the buildup of grease and grime on your wipers and make your view much clear and operation less noisy.

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