When the bread is gone, don’t throw out the empty plastic bag! Instead, you can reuse it in a bunch of ways around your home you probably have never thought about. Here are my Heloise Helpful Hints:
1. Put the bread bag into a gym bag and you can use it to hold a wet swimsuit until you get home.
2. Pop a bag into a tote bag or large purse to dispose of a small, dirty diaper when you are our and about.
3. Line a coffee can, next to your kitchen sink, with this bag and it will collect and contain the wet garbage from cooking and make it less messy and easy to toss out.
4. Carry several of these when you travel or walk your dog. You can use it to pick up and then dispose of the droppings.
Salt is a household staple with a zillion uses. Aside from seasoning food, it’s cheap, safe, mildly abrasive/scrubbing cleaning agent. Here are some of my favorite Heloise Hints you can use to clean instead of using harsh chemicals:
1. To sop up salad-dressing drips on garments or red-wine stains on a tablecloth, pour salt on top of the stain to absorb the liquid. Put the tablecloth or garment into cold water and rub the stain. Use an enzyme detergent in the hottest water safe for the fabric, soak for 30 minutes and wash as you normally do.
2. To remove stains from a coffee mug, sprinkle the bottom with lots of salt, add a little cold water and swirl around several times to scrub off the stains.
3. To clean a stained narrow-necked vase, pour in a half-cup or so of rock salt, along with a squirt of dish soap and then fill with cool water. Cover the top and shake well. Rinse and it should look great.
4. To eliminate too many suds in the bath or sink, sprinkle lots of salt over the suds and they will magically disappear!
You may not realize it, but an enormous amount of the dust in our homes, we actually track it in from the outside. So, there are many steps (pun intended) you can take to prevent it from getting inside:
1. Put doormats in front of every entrance into your home. Ask everyone to wipe their shoes on them, before they come inside.
2. Sweep off all dirt and debris from sidewalks and driveways on a regular basis. The less there is, the less tracked inside.
3. Vacuum often around all the doors (especially the ones used the most) and windows.
4. Window fans can pull dust inside. Be sure they are covered during long-term non-use.
5. Get air purifiers with HEPA filters to help catch dust particles. Do check to see how often they should be changed.
Your kids will use their computer while eating or drinking or with sticky hands, just like adults! Of course, the keyboard will get grimy. So, here’s how they can clean it when it is dirty and disgusting!
1. First, turn off the computer and unplug the keyboard.
2. Put down a sheet of newspaper or open a large plastic bag. Turn the keyboard upside down and shake carefully, so the gunk or crumbs or food debris will be dislodged and fall out into the bag or onto newspaper sheet.
3. Take a small, new or clean paintbrush, or even toothbrush to wipe out the remaining crumbs and who knows what!
4. Use a very lightly dampened cloth (you can use rubbing alcohol or even white vinegar) to wipe over the keys to clean them.
This is a wonderful long time favorite Heloise reader idea for sharing at family gathering. If you are celebrating a big anniversary, everyone one can participate in bringing a part of this Friendship Celebration Cake.
1. When you send out the invitation this kind of special family event, ask each guest/family to bake a small square of their favorite cake (you can include the specific size you want). And they can decorate it as a tribute to the family member being feted at the party.
2. When guests arrive, take each piece and put it together to create a big celebratory patchwork cake!
Oh no! When you see a favorite family photo adhered to the glass, this can be a tough thing to remove. First, before you try to unstick it, take a picture of the photo through the glass or scan it, if possible. You then will at least have a copy, just in case. Here are the steps to take to attempt to get it out without damaging the photo:
1. Place the frame and photograph (or just glass and picture) into a plastic freezer bag (but don’t let it touch anything) and put it into the freezer for a day or so, but do not close it shut, leave the bag open to allow the moisture to evaporate. Then you should be able to carefully and very slowly lift the picture from the glass.
2. Do not try this with one-of-kind or antique photos; instead contact a photo conservator or restorer.
3. To prevent this from happening, when you frame a photo, it should be matted, so the picture won’t touch the glass.
Buying computers, smart phones, readers, gaming equipment is expensive and so is repairing them. To make them last longer, it’s important to clean and care for them regularly, but we also know that accidents do happen. Heloise here with how to protect that costly equipment.
Think about getting computer or laptop insurance, along with phone insurance through your phone carrier. Some policies might offer replacement coverage, but read the fine print very carefully to find out if it covers accidental damage. Then, double-check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if guaranteed accidental damage coverage or loss is included.
If dry-cleaning all of your garments has become too expensive for your budget, here are some Heloise alternative hints you can take to clean and freshen your clothing at home in lieu of taking them to a cleaner:
1. Buy and use a home cleaning kit to FRESHEN, which will also remove light stains or odors.
2. Steam a dry-clean garment, when it only needs to be pressed or is slightly wrinkled.
3. Hang clothing in the bathroom, when it’s steamy, to remove wrinkles and freshen. A traveler’s trick from way back!
4. Let garments “AIR OUT” before putting back into the closet. You can hang them outside or near a window to remove many odors.
It just happens when you cook. Food gets burned onto the base of the cooking pot and it looks and smells terrible. It also can be hard to remove without damaging the surface of the pot. Here is a Heloise safe and cheap way to get rid of the gunk.
Baking Soda to the rescue! Just add 3 tablespoons of baking soda in enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Then, simmer this on the stove until you see the crud starting to come up off the bottom. Remove the water and use some elbow grease to scrub off what remains. Bonus? The pot will shine again.
Baking soda is one of my absolute favorite handy products. It’s an essential and environmentally (plus kid and pet) safe product to have at home. Inside of shoes stinky? Sprinkle baking soda inside to absorb the bad odors. Click here for more baking soda hints at my Website: www.Heloise.com.
If you are having a gang over to watch football, here’s a colorful and cheap recipe to feed a big group. Popcorn is always a big hit and this recipe is different and tasty.
Tri-Color Festive Popcorn
24 cups popped popcorn
3/4 cup butter or margarine
9 tablespoons light corn syrup
11/4 cups packed light brown or granulated sugar
3 packages (4-serving size) of cherry, lemon or lime gelatin
1. Put 8 cups of popcorn in a large bowl. Heat 1/4 cup butter or margarine and 3 tablespoons of corn syrup in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 package of gelatin. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour syrup over popcorn right away and toss to coat.
2. Spread the coated popcorn on a shallow foil-lined baking sheet in one layer and bake for about 10 minutes, but watch it very carefully to ensure it will not burn. Let cool, remove from sheet and break into small pieces.
3. Repeat this twice again and use a different gelatin flavor. Make layers using half of each color in two large bowls. Glass bowls will make it look festive!