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“Housekeeping ain’t no joke.” Louisa May Alcott, Little Women 1868

Chores are an inevitable part of everyday life, but no where is it written we have to like them! A rather fascinating aspect of our routine tasks is the fact that so many of the tips that make them easier are very “low tech.” We were reminded of a “golden oldie” titled “Little Things Mean A Lot” when someone tossed the following useful information into our mailbox.


  • Spray bothersome flies or bees with hair spray and they will take a quick dive.
  • Spray Tupperware with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces so stains won't seal in.
  • Before refrigerating celery, wrap in aluminum foil and it will keep for weeks (or keep it in an airtight container in cold water in the refrigerator).
  • To remove crayon marks from walls with little effort, use a damp rag dipped in baking soda.
  • To remove permanent marker on appliances/counter tops (e.g., store receipt purple ink), use rubbing alcohol on a paper towel.
  • Before using S.O.S. pads, cut each pad in half with scissors. They will be used up before they rust and start to smell. As a bonus, the scissors get sharpened!
  • To cure a headache, cut a lime in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
  • To remove bloodstains from clothes, pour a little peroxide on a cloth and wipe off every drop of blood.
  • Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for inside windows, so you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean.
  • Don't wash windows on a sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.
  • Spray a bit of perfume on the light bulb in any room to create a lovely light scent in each room when the light is turned on. Place fabric softener sheets in dresser drawers and clothes will smell freshly washed for weeks. Also works for towels and linens.
  • Candles will last much longer if placed in the freezer for at least 3 hours prior to burning.
  • To clean artificial flowers, pour some salt into a paper bag and add the flowers. Shake vigorously and the salt will absorb all the dust and dirt, leaving your artificial flowers looking like new!
  • To easily remove burnt-on food from a skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on the stovetop.
  • Sealed envelope? Put in the freezer for a few hours, and then slide a knife under the flap. The envelope can then be easily opened and also resealed.
  • When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
  • Use empty toilet paper rolls to store appliance cords. It keeps them neat and you can write on the rolls what appliance each belongs to.
  • When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness.
  • When opening brand new jars, instead of banging a jar of jam, pickles, etc., with a knife until it loosens up, use the nutcracker. It adjusts to the size of the jar, and a simple good twist pops off the lid!
    OR: If the jar is to big for the nutcracker, place a teaspoon under the lid to the right of the little indent on the lid and pry up to loosen.
    OR: Buy a gadget called a "Jar Pop" at a kitchen specialty store.
  • Don't throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
  • To sooth the itch from mosquito bites, apply soap on the area for instant relief.
  • Ants, ants, ants everywhere? It's said they never cross a chalk line, so get out the chalk and draw a line on the floor or picnic table legs or wherever else ants tend to march.
  • Use spray air freshener to clean mirrors. It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.
  • When you get a splinter, reach for the Scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the Scotch tape over the splinter, and then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily. For deeply imbedded splinters, tape a fatty square of bacon over the entry point and leave overnight.
  • For icy doorsteps, put Dawn dishwashing liquid in warm water and pour over steps. (The steps won't refreeze.)

Five uses for Alka Seltzer:

  • To clean a toilet, drop in two tablets, wait 20 minutes, brush and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china.
  • To remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two tablets.
  • To polish jewelry, drop two tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes.
  • To clean a thermos bottle, fill with water, drop in four tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary).
  • Clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz white vinegar. Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.

And, would you believe these uses for Bounce and Coke?

BOUNCE...the stuff you use in your dryer:

  • Repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season.

  • Eliminates static electricity from your television screen. Since Bounce is designed to help eliminate static cling, wipe your television screen with a used sheet of Bounce to keep dust from resettling.

  • Dissolves soap scum from shower doors. Clean with a used sheet of Bounce.

  • Freshens the air in your home. Place an individual sheet of Bounce in a drawer or hang one in the closet.

  • Prevents thread from tangling. Run a threaded needle through a sheet of Bounce to eliminate the static cling on the thread before sewing.

  • Eliminates static cling from pantyhose. Rub a damp, used sheet of Bounce over the hose.

  • Prevents musty suitcases. Place an individual sheet of Bounce inside empty luggage before storing.

  • Freshens the air in your car. Place a sheet of Bounce under the front seat.

  • Eliminates odors in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of Bounce at the bottom of the wastebasket.

  • Collects cat hair. Rubbing the area with a sheet of Bounce will magnetically attract all the loose hairs.

  • Eliminates static electricity from venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resetting.

  • Deodorizes shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in your shoes or sneakers overnight so they'll smell great in the morning.

And now, Coca-Cola:

  • To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet. Let the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean.

  • The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

  • To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

  • To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

  • To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

  • To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan; wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for a sumptuous brown gravy.

  • To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of Coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.

  • It will also clean road haze from your windshield.

“Housework hassles go on, are never resolved, and will probably extend into the afterlife (“Why am I the one who takes the clouds to the dry cleaners?” Marni Jackson, The Mother Zone 1992