Monday, September 21, 2009

Household Tips with Brandi

I love a good household tip, especially when it works. So, here are a few of my tried and true favorites. (None of these are my own ideas--they're all things I've learned from others, who I'm sure learned it from someone else).

1. Stuck on food? Fill the dish or pan with warm water and dish detergent. Add a dryer sheet. Let it sit for about an hour and the food will rinse away.

2. Use Windex (or, you know, the 99 cent generic version) to clean carpet stains. Just make sure you use the blue stuff. The other varieties don't work and can actually make bigger stains. I can't remember who told me this tip--someone in Maryland. Anyway, less than a week after getting the tip I had to put it to the test. It was the morning we were moving here to Georgia. The movers had come and gone, the van was packed. The house was empty except for a few last minute things on the kitchen counter. I cleaned the house the night before and we went to bed, ready for the housing inspection at 9 the next morning. We woke on moving day to find that Amelia had gotten up in the wee hours of the morning, come downstairs, found the red Sharpie we'd used to label boxes and decided it would be fun to color all over our beige carpet.

Our carpet steamer was already on its way to Georgia. Most of my cleaning products had been used up and thrown away. The inspector was coming in less than an hour. But I had a bottle of Windex and a rag and I remembered the tip. It worked like a charm. It took every bit of red permanent marker off the carpet, and with very little effort.

3. Use dental floss to sew on buttons. They'll never fall off again. (And they'll smell minty fresh!)

4. Hate cleaning the top of your refrigerator? Once it's clean, cover it with plastic wrap (the press 'n seal type is best). Then every few months peel it off and lay a new sheet. You'll never have to wash a dusty, greasy mess up there again.

5. Don't throw away old beat up cookie sheets and muffin tins. Clean them well, then spray paint them your favorite color (use a glossy spray paint made for metal for best results). Cookie sheets make great serving trays and muffin tins make great organizers.

6. If you're going to fry something particularly greasy, you can cover the rest of your stovetop with tin foil so you have fewer grease spatters to clean up. Important note: If you're out of tin foil, do not use wax paper as a substitute. I nearly burned down my kitchen that way.

7. Speaking of wax paper, my kids' all time favorite craft is to collect leaves in the Fall and then I iron them between two sheets of wax paper (place a towel between the paper and the iron). The heat seals the sheets of paper together, and it looks like stained glass with suspended leaves. They're really pretty hung in a window.

8. If you're going to put red sauce in a plastic container, spray it with cooking spray first. That'll stop it from getting that orangey red stain. Admit it--you have at least one piece of plastic wear stained orange in your cupboard.

9. If you want to eat fish but hate the fishiness of it, soak it in milk for a few hours before cooking.

10. Cheap hairspray (Aquanet is best) will take ink out of clothing. Generously spray the spot then wash as usual. Rubbing alcohol usually works, too.

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