The simplest, oddest and most effective housekeeping tips passed down from moms, grandmas and great grandmas everywhere
It’s true that with age comes wisdom—and that's proven true with our problem-solving mothers and grandmothers. They seem to have a solution for everything in the household, from best practices for baking a cake to curing a sick family member. So, we asked our editors and a few friends what household hacks they've learned from their No. 1 ladies and compiled a list of the ones you need to know.
(Note: Before trying any of these tips, be sure to spot-test first.)
1. Take wood furniture from dull to shiny: Mix 2 cups olive oil with the juice of 1 lemon, dip a soft cloth into the mixture and then work the damp cloth into the wood to polish the pieces.
2. Easily remove soap scum and food stains from your kitchen sink: Sprinkle your sink with baking soda, and use a partially squeezed lemon wedge to scrub it down. Rinse out the sink, and it'll shine.
3. Get the gunk out of textured surfaces and in between tiles: Grab an old toothbrush and dip it into a mixture of bleach and multi-purpose cleaner. Scrub the crevices, and the dirt and grime should disappear.
4. Make your clothes softer: Add a splash of white vinegar to the washing machine and your clothing will feel extra soft when dry.
5. Remove pen and ink stains from your upholstered sofa: Dab (don't rub!) the spot with a Q-Tip dipped in rubbing alcohol, and the stain should lift right up.
6. Get your bed sheets crisp and hotel-like without spending hours ironing them: After washing your sheets and before they're fully dry, take them out of the dryer and fold them into a manageable rectangular size. Run the iron across the top layer, avoiding the fold, and they'll look fresh and smooth in mere seconds.
7. Easily wipe away soap and water stains from glass shower doors and windows: Sprinkle a dryer sheet with water, then scrub away the built-up residue. They'll look brand new.
8. Get streak-free mirrors: Use a paper towel dampened with a mixture of 50 percent water and 50 percent white vinegar to clean mirrors, and dry them with scrunched-up newspapers. They'll look clear as day.
9. Make your kitchen and bathroom faucets sparkle: Polish your hardware with a dime-sized amount of toothpaste, and buff them with a soft cloth. They'll beam.
10. Painlessly remove stains from the oven: Has the food in your casserole dish overflown into the oven? Before the stain dries and hardens, cover it with a heap of table salt to soak it up. Once the oven has cooled, wipe it away with a warm, damp sponge.
11. Remove scuff marks from white walls: Make a paste of equal parts baking soda and water, and apply it to the scuff. Let it dry, and then wipe it away gently with a clean cloth.
12. Remove grease stains from the carpet: Pour cornstarch over the grease and let sit for about 15 minutes. Once the grease has absorbed, vacuum the cornstarch (and with it, the stain!) away.
13. Make tea-stained napkins, tablecloths and doilies usable again: Don’t toss them—tea-stain them. Add five black tea bags to a bucket of hot water, and let them steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, add the linens, and let them sit until they reach your desired shade of brown.
14. Remove tea stains from bone china: Add a splash of vinegar to the dish, and use a rag dampened in water and dipped in baking soda or salt to rub out the stains.
15. Brighten your whites: Add the juice of one lemon to a laundry bucket filled with three litres of hot water. Add white garments to it, and let them sit for two hours. Let them dry in the sun, and they'll shine bright.