Here are a few good ideas I have learned over my lifetime that have proven to be useful:
1. NEVER PUT POTATO SKIN PEELINGS DOWN THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL.
I never knew this until it was too late one year. We were hosting family for Thanksgiving and I’d peeled a thousand potatoes and, as usual, put the skins down the garbage disposal. That morning, a holiday of course, our waste pipe clogged up, and we couldn’t use any running water until Paul had unclogged it, which turned into an all-morning affair.
When I related this to my mother (who was not up here for the holiday) she said “Don’t you know? You NEVER put potato skins down the garbage disposal.” And I asked why not, and she said because they are filled with starch which, when mixed with water, turns into paste! And if you have those sitting in pipes and don’t run the water long enough, that starchy paste will build up in the pipes and eventually will clog – kind of like cholesterol and arteries, I suppose.
I did not know that.
2. ALWAYS RINSE THE SHAMPOO OUT OF YOUR HAIR WITH COLD WATER.
I never did this before one day, while I was at work typing Radiology reports at Salem Hospital, and my coworker, Debbie, and I were discussing hair. She was dating a hairdresser at that time, and I told her that I could never seem to get my hair shiny clean after washing it, that I thought the soap wasn’t getting rinsed out enough or something. She said “You always have to use COLD water to rinse at the end.”
When I asked her why, she just said “Well, when you are washing your dishes in the sink and you have a big sinkful of soapsuds, what do you do to get rid of them?” And I said “I run the cold water.” Bingo. Cold water makes soap disappear.
3. USE OLDER EGGS FOR BOILING AND PEELING – MUCH EASIER TO PEEL THAN FRESH EGGS.
I heard this straight from Martha’s mouth (Stewart, that is) on a TV show she used to have. She was making something with boiled eggs and was calmly peeling them while talking, and she mentioned that if you use older eggs for boiling, the membrane that exists just inside the shell is different than it is in fresher eggs, and when the egg is boiled, it separates away from the cooked white part much easier. So use your older eggs for boiling.
4. FILL YOUR KITCHEN SPONGE WITH SOAP AND, UNDER RUNNING WATER, SQUEEZE IT AND WRING IT OUT OVER AND OVER TIL THE SUDS ARE ALL GONE.
This sounds so logical that I can’t believe I never did it before I’d been married (first time) for a few years. We were visiting some friends for dinner one night and Kathleen, our hostess, was cleaning dishes as we sat at their kitchen table chatting over glasses of wine. She stood at her sink squirting soap into the sponge and squeezing it out, running it under hot water, squeezing more, and over and over – she must have done this 40 or 50 times before the soap was all out of it. She told me it stays much cleaner that way.
5. TO KEEP YOUR STAINLESS STEEL SINKS CLEAN AND SHINY, USE EITHER MAYONNAISE OR BABY OIL TO WIPE THEM DOWN
The first time I heard this, I said “Ick, mayonnaise to clean a sink?” So I tried using the baby oil and wow! it worked great.
After that, I went ahead and did try the mayo and that worked great, as well. I guess it’s the oil in both products that works. I tried it on our little stainless sink at work one day, and my boss thought I was brilliant!
6. BOIL A KETTLE WITH VINEGAR IN IT TO SANITIZE THE POT.
This is probably quite obvious to everyone but I thought I’d add it. I use an electric tea kettle each day to boil water, and I tend not to empty it out or really clean the inside too often. I have found that if, once a week, you fill it up and then add about a quarter cup of plain white vinegar to the pot and let it boil away normally, the insides will get sparkly clean and you won’t have to scrub. Just don’t forget to rinse it out a few times before refilling it for the next use.
7. Last but not least, 4 USES FOR A KETTLE FULL OF BOILING WATER ALL AT ONCE:
You can do all four at the same time when you are making your cuppa in the morning:
a) Obviously use the boiling water to make your cuppa.
b) Put your kitchen sponge that has dried up from the night before into the sink, squirt a blob of dish soap onto it and very slowly pour boiling water over it until it is saturated, and leave it there for the morning. Any germs will be killed off by the time you come back to squeeze it out.
c) Keep a little cup on the windowsill or near your sink and a little bottle of fragrant oil (I like lavender oil) and each morning, pour some boiling water into the cup up to the top and add about 7 or 8 drops of the oil to the top of the water. All day, whenever you go into that kitchen area, the room will smell heavenly. I change the water and add 7 or 8 drops each day. (I also do this with a tiny vessel in the living room).
d) If you, like me, have a glass or ceramic electric stovetop in the kitchen, you know that things get stuck on it and you really need to get out that glasstop cleaning stuff (the white pastey stuff) which is a whole project in itself, and first thing in the morning I want to have it be cleaned up fast because I’m not really awake yet.
I just take my trusty teakettle with the boiling water and I pour a small amount onto the top of the stove. The edges are slightly higher than the surface and it holds the boiling water nicely. I then just let it sit and eat into any stuck-on stuff and just wipe dry with a dish towel or paper towels.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll probably think of more things later, but I’ve wanted to get these down here for ages, so now it’s done.
I am not a clean freak. If I had my druthers, I’d never clean anything. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s true. I begrudgingly do clean essential things, however, I believe I was born into the wrong era and probably should have been a cave-woman or something. Dirt on the floor surfaces is a way of life for me, mainly due to the dogs who coexist here with us, so I don’t think I would have minded having a dirt floor like in the olden days.
I would love to hear any of your ideas for better living around the house.