Housekeeping Hints

1. A paste of butter and cigarette ashes do a good job of removing white water marks on wood. Spread onto the spot and rub with a damp cloth.

2. To prevent damage to delicate clothes when washing them inside a washing machine, place the garments inside a pillowcase and wash on the gentle cycle. This can help you save a great deal of money on dry cleaning. You can also freshen up wool sweaters in this way-it will actually do far less damage than trying to wash them by hand, since they will go through a spin cycle in the pillow case and not lose their shape due to the weight of the water in the wool stretching the fibers.

3. To remove crayon marks from your walls, try using a small smear of toothpaste on the marks. Leave it to stand for a minute, then rub off with a clean cloth.

4. Regularly set aside a time each year to clean out storage areas and take stock of what you have. Either keep it, or put it aside for a yard sale and/or charitable donation, or sell it on eBay. In this way you can keep your house clutter-free and easier to clean.

5. Make your own kitchen air freshener for the holidays. In a saucepan, bring a small amount of water to a boil and add cinnamon sticks and orange peel. Simmer under a low fire, and let the homey scent fill your kitchen. This will also work well with cloves instead of the cinnamon. For a fresh scent every day, use any discarded orange or lemon rinds you might have.

6. Do you have a child who wets the bed? Or a pet who has soiled his and you’re tired of washing the dog bed all the time? Remove nasty urine odors on mattresses with borax. Dampen the affected areas with cold water, and sprinkle borax over them. Rub the borax vigorously over the affected areas and let dry. Then brush off the remaining powder and it should be much fresher and cleaner.


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Top Tips for Handy Home Repairs

1. When fixing a backed up toilet, remember that oval plungers or augers are generally better than the bell shaped ones because they can push more air without creating a vacuum. Handy hint: Try pouring a quarter of a cup of dish washing liquid into the bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes. Boil a saucepan of water. Pour it into the toilet at the end of 15 minutes. Plunge GENTLY to avoid any splashing or excessive bubbles. It should clear up the clog easily without any need for a plumber.

2. Always plan ahead before you replace or buy light fixtures. Location and cleaning are factors that you should always consider. Oddly shaped lights placed high up are very hard to clean and will get dark and dingy over time, darkening your room. A tall Swiffer feature duster can help, but they do cost money, so keep things simple and spend less time cleaning.

3. If repaired cracks are an eyesore for you, use brush-on resurfacers, which will help even out the area and enable it to look like new.

4. Use a thin-bladed utility knife instead of a pencil to draw a saw line when you are working with wood. Scoring the surface of the wood makes sawing easier, and yields a more precise measurement than the pencil mark.

5. Get into the good habit of “Cleaning as you go.” Just as with cooking, in which dirty pots and pans piling up can start to limit your ability to work safely and sanely, clean as you go when you are doing DIY as well. A work area that is cluttered with tools and other items will make you more prone to accidents. Be alert for cords that can trip you up, blades and other sharp instruments that can nick and cut and caustic chemicals that can harm the skin and the eyes.

6. You can repair carpet troubles without having to replace the whole rug. Vacuum stained portions of carpet before repairing. Trim carefully with a sharp knife or scissors. If the damage is deep, cut out the piece using a sharp carpet knife, and replace with one the same size that you cut from a covered area of the rug that no one will see, such as under a piece of furniture like the sofa. Patch it in place with double sided carpet tape.


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The Best Ways to Clean the Air in Your Home, Part 1

When it comes to pollution, we often think about the air outside our house or apartment, picturing smog and exhaust fumes from cars and trucks. But the truth of the matter is that a great deal has been done to curb harmful emissions from factories and vehicles.

If you are subject to allergies, have you ever stopped to think about the quality of the air in your home?

If you have not had a good spring cleaning yet, now is the time to start thinking about not only improving the cleanliness of your carpets, curtains, counters, and other surfaces, but the air in your home as well.

The Need for Clean Air

Air is a mixture of elements including nitrogen and oxygen. The unique mix provides us with fresh air to breath into our lungs to help us feed all the cells in our bodies with nutrients through the oxygen in our blood stream.

Trees take in the carbon monoxide we breathe out and turn it into the oxygen that we need to breathe in. it is a symbiotic relationship that has kept life thriving on this planet for billions of years, until of course we started to de-forest our planet.

When it comes to clean air in your home, you really can never have too much of it. Most people don’t think about the air that they breathe in their homes, but they might be polluting it far more with their own habits than any factory or car exhaust. Polluted air can fill the lungs with particles that can predispose us to certain illnesses and other health problems if we are not careful, including asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

The air passes through our nasal passages, our sinuses, down the back of our throat, all the way down to our lungs. If you find yourself coughing or sneezing more than usual, it could be seasonal allergies, but more than likely, it will actually be the air quality in your home.

If you or any member of your family suffers from respiratory problems, you might want to consider the best ways to purify the air inside your home.

(Continued in Part 2)



Saving energy this winter in your home

Even though oil prices seem to be dropping at the moment, why pay more than you have to? And, you might also want to consider global warming.


There are a lot of myths about being energy efficient in the home. Here are a few myths versus facts. The more you learn, the more you can save.


So stay warm this winter with these handy hints and tips.



Furnace filters work no matter how long they’re in use.



Replacing or cleaning old filters can reduce dust and save 5% in heating costs.



Keeping drapes and blinds closed keeps in heat.



Opening up drapes and blinds on windows facing the sun lets the sun in, heating your home for free. Southern exposures will catch the sun pretty much all day.



Fireplaces are great sources of warmth in the winter.



Fireplaces pull heated air out of the house, so use it sparingly and be sure the damper is closed when it’s not in use.



Humidifiers add moisture to the air, making it feel cold.



Moister air feels warmer, so by adding a humidifier, you can set your thermostat lower, to help you save money.



Only experts can tell if your outer doors have air leaks.



Place a piece of paper between the door and frame and shut the door. If you can pull the paper out without tearing it, you should weather-strip around the door to keep the heat in and the cold out this winter.