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Tuesday, October 22 , 2013

Nonbleach Mildew Remover

Dark patches of mold can creep up on the walls of your bathroom, especially if you don't have a strong fan sucking out the steam created by daily baths and showers. You can get rid of it with strong bleach or other harsh disinfectants, but those products can take away the paint along with the mold! Here's how to get rid of the black in the corners of your bathroom: Add one cup of lemon juice and one cup of table salt to one gallon of hot water. Mix well (the salt does not have to dissolve completely). Use this solution to wipe the moldy and/or mildewed areas thoroughly. Wipe completely dry with a clean cloth.

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Monday, October 21 , 2013

Acupressure: A Pill-Free Cure for Insomnia

YAWN! Not getting enough sleep is exhausting. Most people have trouble sleeping every once in awhile. If you just can't catch those Zs and you hate the groggy morning-after feeling you get from sleeping pills, try this acupressure trick. Just before you go to bed, press the center of the bottoms of your heels with your thumbs. The easiest way to do this is to lie on your back (on a carpeted floor is best) and bend your knees, using your right hand on your left foot and left hand on your right. Press as hard as you can without cramping your hands. Keep pressing for at least two minutes—up to four minutes is even better. You should feel yourself starting to really relax, with tension leaving your body. Ease into bed for blissful zzzzzzzs.

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Friday, October 18 , 2013

Deodorize Your Microwave

You clean and clean your microwave, and it still has a funky smell. Odors often work their way deep into the mechanisms, where no amount of scrubbing can remove them. Try this homemade microwave deodorizer: Put a whole lemon peel or about four or five small lemon wedges (including the rind) or one tablespoon of vanilla extract in a microwave-safe bowl that can hold at least four cups. Add one cup of warm water and two tablespoons of baking soda, and mix well (the baking soda doesn't have to be completely dissolved). Then put the bowl in the microwave and heat it until the water boils. (Microwave wattages vary, but usually about two minutes will do the trick.) Let the cooked mixture sit in the microwave for at least 20 minutes as it cools down— the longer it stays in there (up to 12 hours), the fresher the smell. Also, don't forget to clean the ceiling inside your microwave, where many splatters reside unseen.

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Thursday, October 17 , 2013

Silence Embarrassing Stomach Noises

Does your tummy rumble at the wrong times? The best way to stop your stomach from gurgling at that midmorning meeting (or anytime) is to eat a small banana and drink a glass a water right before showtime. If you forgot your banana, here's what to do: Put a little acupressure action to work. With your thumb, draw tiny circles, massaging the area halfway between your breast bone and navel. Do it for about 15 seconds. The spot that you are stimulating is a direct link to the brain's appetite control center (the hypothalamus). It should give you a temporary full feeling and stop the rumbling until you can get some food.

More quick fixes for everyday aches and annoyances...


Wednesday, October 16 , 2013

Homemade Cure for Hives

That annoying itch on your arm, leg—anywhere there's skin—could be hives. These pale red or white bumps often appear in response to stress or a minor allergy—from food, medicines, insect stings or the sun. Don't be alarmed! Hives usually disappear almost as fast as they appear, but if yours are hanging around with that annoying itch, here's what to do: Combine three tablespoons of cornstarch and one tablespoon of vinegar (white or apple cider is fine). Mix well, and apply the paste to the bumps. As soon as the paste becomes crumbly, apply more paste. Your hives should be gone in a day or two.

More natural help for your skin...


Tuesday, October 15 , 2013

Stuck-On Food Solution

Sometimes just soaking the pot in soapy tap water doesn't get the almost-burned-on gunk off your pots. You need to pump up the volume! Here's what to do: For most types of cookware (we don't advise that you do this with clay or cast-iron cookery), fill the gunked-up pot or pan halfway with water and add one or two tablespoons (depending on the size of your pot) of liquid dish detergent. Put the pot back on the stove, and bring the water to a boil. Then shut off the heat and let the pot soak until the water cools completely. Rinse out the water...and the previously stuck food will come off as you rinse. Whatever is left should sponge off easily. If it doesn’t (as in, the food is really burned on), refill the pot or pan with warm water and mix in two tablespoons of baking soda. Repeat the boiling/cooling/rinsing/wiping process.

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Monday, October 14 , 2013

Carrot Cure for Warts

Warts are caused by one of the many versions of the Human papillomavirus (HPV), which infects through broken skin or the mouth (like when you bite the nails). No one knows why some people are more warty than others, since the virus is ubiquitous and comes in contact pretty much with everyone. That HPV just loves some people more than others! We don't know anyone who loves having warts, and some medical cures are harsh and ineffective. So here is one of our many home remedies to make them disappear: Finely grate a small, peeled carrot (use the small holes on your grater), and combine with one teaspoon of olive oil. Put the mixture on the wart(s) for a half-hour once a day. Your wart should be gone within a week. Carrots are packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, which fight viruses and help heal skin.

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Friday, October 11 , 2013

2 Cures for Clumpy Sugar

Both brown and white sugar can get lumpy and hard as a rock, but for different reasons. Brown sugar contains molasses, which means it has a higher moisture content (than white sugar) and that keeps it soft. Once you open the package, the moisture begins to evaporate and you're left with a brick of brown sugar. White sugar clumps up from excess moisture and humidity. Here's what to add to your sugars to keep them user-friendly...

To prevent brown sugar from hardening, after opening the package, put in a strip of orange zest (about one inch wide and three inches long...with some of the white part is OK) or a few whole prunes—both retain moisture without crumbling in your sugar. After you add your peel or prunes, close up the package securely, then store it inside a resealable plastic bag in your cupboard or pantry.

To keep white sugar from clumping up, put a few whole salt-free saltine or soda crackers in whatever kind of container you use to store your main sugar supply. Keep them to the outer edges of your container so that you don't get cracker crumbs in your coffee.

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Thursday, October 10 , 2013

A Cure for Cloudy Glass

This tip comes courtesy of Tracy, who asked us on Facebook: “How do you clean cloudy glass stains?” That's a great question and a common problem, especially in the dishwasher. Here's what to do to fix it: If you usually wash dishes by hand and you have a batch of cloudy glassware, fill an empty plastic liquid dish-detergent bottle with one part dish detergent, one part white vinegar and three parts warm water. Shake it a few times. Use a little on a soft sponge (don't use an abrasive scrubber on glassware) to clean each glass and rinse well. Your glasses should sparkle immediately! This is a great mixture to use every day for dazzling dinnerware.

If you keep pulling cloudy glasses out of your dishwasher, you probably have hard water and/or a dirty dishwasher. Place a dishwasher-safe bowl on the bottom rack of your empty dishwasher and fill with a cup of white vinegar. Place the cloudy glasses on the top rack and run a full cycle without detergent. This will clean your dishwasher and your cloudy glasses. We've also found that using gel dishwasher detergent can leave a film on glasses. Try using powdered detergent only, and use a little less than the recommended amount.

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Wednesday, October 09 , 2013

A Proper Cleanup of Cat Barf

One thing cats do well is throw up, which is always a lovely thing to clean. If you licked the hair off yourself all day, you'd barf, too! Speaking of which, the most popular form of cat throw-up is the hairball (or log), and the easiest way to clean that off your sofa or carpet is to just let it dry (tell your housemates to watch their steps), and simply lift or scrape it away (dry). Don't use liquid cleaners on a hairball barf— those will smear the hairball goo into your carpet.

If the barf is not a ball- or log-shaped clump of hair, but an icky liquid or food-based slime, here's what to do: Carefully blot up the excess throw-up with a rag or paper towel, taking care to rub as little as possible into your rug. Then mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one-half tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. This will make a thin, spreadable paste. Spread this paste over the barf spot, covering it completely (double the mixture if needed). Let sit until dry (two hours to overnight), then vacuum. The barf goo should come up with the dried baking soda paste. If the cat barf is on a delicate or patterned material (such as an Oriental rug...yikes!), please test this paste on an inconspicuous area, since hydrogen peroxide can yellow some materials.

More help with tricky cleanups...