Wednesday, March 04 , 2015

Watch How to Fix a Sticky Iron

Hate ironing? If the underside of your iron tends to stick to your clothes when you use it, try this trick. Wait until the iron is cool...that's important! Then put some baby powder on a cloth and coat the iron's bottom. Once it's coated with powder, turn on the heat and watch the powder disappear. At this point, the iron should no longer be sticky. To be sure, test the iron on an inconspicuous part of any delicate garment that needs to be pressed. It should glide over silks and other delicate, catchy, clingy fabrics—with the greatest of ease!

Tuesday, February 24 , 2015

Take Your Delicates for a Spin

You finally got around to hand-washing that lacy top or silk scarf. Now, after all your careful handling, the last thing you want to do is wring out the garment, which could ruin the delicate fibers. Here's what to do instead…

Give your hand-washed gentle wear a drying headstart by swirling them around in a salad spinner (you might want to designate a spinner just for this purpose). Once the excess moisture is removed, they'll dry a lot quicker when you hang them up.

More help with your laundry…


Friday, February 20 , 2015

Detox Your Dishcloths

Dishcloths and sponges often harbor a stale smell that just won't go away, even after running them through the washing machine or dishwasher. Old sponges you can throw out, but dishcloths are made to recycle. Here's what to do…

Soak your dishcloth (or sponge, if you're not quite ready to throw it out) overnight in a solution of one cup hot water (we like to boil the water first), one-half cup white vinegar and three tablespoons table salt. This amount is enough to soak one eight-inch square dishcloth…double up the portions if you are soaking more than one cloth. In the morning, rinse out the cloth with warm water. The cloth or sponge should be stink-free and ready to clean!

More ways to disinfect…


Wednesday, February 18 , 2015

Better Than Woolite for Fine Washables

Did you forget to restock your Woolite? Here's what to use on your fine washables—it's cheaper and works just as well, and there's a good chance you have both items on hand.

You can wash washable silk with shampoo. But make sure its first ingredient is water, not oil. Add about a capful to a basin of tepid water, and swish the silk item around for a few minutes. In another sinkful or basin of rinse water, add a capful of hair conditioner to soften your silk. Don't soak or wring out. Instead, drip-dry out of the direct sunlight. See Texere Silk for more.

You can do the same with other fine washables (lace, knitwear, etc.), except feel free to soak the item for a good 10 minutes. Then gently rinse the garment (adding your favorite, fragrant hair conditioner to the rinse water, if you'd like) and drip-dry.

Think about it…the amino acids in shampoo and hair conditioner make hair clean and soft, so they should make your delicate garments clean and soft as well.

Thanks to LifeHacker.com for help with this tip.

More help with your laundry…


Tuesday, February 10 , 2015

Easy Glide-Off Rubber-Glove Trick

It's good to wear rubber gloves when cleaning or washing dishes, but sometimes they can be a pain to take off. The thin rubber loves your hands! Here's what to do to make rubber gloves a breeze to remove…

If you’re having a hard time taking off rubber gloves, hold your gloved hands under cold running water. The gloves should slide right off.

And next time, before you put on the gloves, sprinkle a bit of baking soda or talcum powder on your hands or into the gloves.

More handy household help…


Wednesday, January 28 , 2015

Remove Lipstick Stains from Napkins

At your last family party, you put out some nice table linens. But you didn't want to tell your sister-in-law not to wipe her mouth…and now you have lipstick stains all over your napkins! Here's what to do…

For lipstick marks on a cloth napkin, put several layers of paper towels under the stained area. Wet a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and press down on the stain. Do that a few times to blot up as much of the lipstick as possible. Then launder the napkin as usual.

More help with stains…


Thursday, January 22 , 2015

Renew Your Leather Purse

If your leather jacket, boots, handbag or luggage (time for warm-weather travel!) looks dingy from winter weather or storage, here's a way to make it shine…

Separate two eggs, saving the yolks for a delicious pudding. Dip a clean, dry cloth into the egg whites and lightly coat your leather surface. Let the egg sit for three minutes, then wipe it off with a slightly damp cloth. Then buff immediately with a soft, dry cloth. You can also use this egg wash on your leather upholstery. It'll smile back at you!

More ways to keep leather looking great…


Wednesday, January 21 , 2015

A Trick to Iron Sleeves

Does anyone love to iron? We sure don’t…especially the weird parts, like sleeves! We know you can buy special ironing board attachments to accommodate sleeves, but that’s just one more awkward thing to fold up and figure out where to store. Here’s an easy way to iron sleeves…

Slide a small rolled-up towel into the sleeve. Use a thin linen dish towel for your delicate wear. Now you can iron these appendages without creating a terrible-looking sleeve crease.

More help with your wardrobe…


Monday, January 12 , 2015

Handy Cure for Sweater Pills

Your favorite sweater accidentally got mixed in with the regular wash, and now it's covered with woolen lumps and pills. Do not throw it out! Here's what to do…

Gently rub the surface of your sweater with a pumice stone (yes, that thing that smoothes out rough heels). You might need to (carefully!) clip big pills with scissors, but the stone will detach the rest without harming the weave. Your sweater will look as good as new!

Thanks to Julie Edelman, author of The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time (Ballantine), for help with this tip.

More help with your woolens…


Tuesday, January 06 , 2015

Watch Our Trick to Get Rid of Flies

Mr. Buzzy and his little buddies are back. But I know his weak spot! Flies are repelled by the herb thyme—so if you want to force them outside, fill a plant mister with a cup of thyme tea. With kettle and measuring cup, brew a teaspoon of dried thyme in an eight-ounce cup of just-boiled water for five minutes. When it cools, fill a spray bottle and spray the window frames, countertops...wherever and whenever the flies tend to congregate. It is safe and nonchemical! You can use it every day, if need be—it's free of chemicals and harsh smells. But flies hate it and will think twice before sneaking inside your home!