Uses for mundane things

  • Salt
  • Rub salt on fruit stains while still wet, then put them in the wash.
  • For mildew spots, rub in salt and some buttermilk, and then let dry in the sun.
  • If you spill wine or fruit juice on your tablecloth, pour salt on the spot immediately to absorb the stain.
  • Apply a paste of salt and olive oil to ugly heat rings on your table. Let sit for about an hour and then wipe off with a soft cloth.
  • To improve your iron, sprinkle salt on a piece of paper and run the sticky iron over it a few times while the iron is hot.
  • To restore some of the color to faded fabric, soak it in a strong solution of salt and water.
  • Mix a tablespoon of salt into the water of a vase of cut flowers to keep them fresh longer.
  • A mixture of salt and vinegar will clean brass.
  • Salt on the fingers when cleaning meat or fish will prevent your hands from slipping.
  • To kill unwanted weeds growing in your driveway or between bricks and stones, pour boiling salt water over them.
  • For perspiration stains, add enough water to salt to make a paste, then rub into the cloth. Wait for an hour, and then launder as usual.
  • Cover spilled eggs with salt, then wipe clean with a paper towel.
  • To freshen smelly sneakers (or any canvas shoe) sprinkle their insides with salt. Wait 24 hours for the salt to absorb the odor, and then shake them out.
  • Pour salt directly onto a grease spill and come back to it later.
  • A new broom will last longer if you soak the bristles in hot salt water before using it for the first time.
  • Stainless steel can be cleaned by rubbing it with a gritty paste of two tablespoons of salt mixed with lemon juice. Rinse well and pat dry with a soft cloth.
  • Rub two to three tablespoons of salt onto the stains inside your glass vases, and then scrub clean with a damp bristle brush.
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon salt to one cup water) to relieve a sore throat.
  • Sprinkle salt on carpets to dry out muddy footprints before vacuuming.
  • When silk flowers get dusty, put them in a paper bag with several tablespoons of salt and shake gently for two minutes to clean them.
  • Refresh household sponges by soaking them in cold salt water for ten minute
  • Vinegar
  • Bring a solution of one-cup vinegar and four tablespoons baking soda to a boil in teapots and coffeepots to rid them of mineral deposits.
  • A solution of vinegar and baking soda will easily remove cooking oil from your stovetop.
  • Clean the filter on your humidifier by removing it and soaking it in a pan of white vinegar until all the sediment is off.
  • Vinegar naturally breaks down uric acid and soapy residue, leaving baby clothes and diapers soft and fresh. Add a cup of vinegar to each load during the rinse cycle.
  • Saturate a cloth with vinegar and sprinkle with baking soda, and then use it to clean fiberglass tubs and showers. Rinse well and rub dry for a spotless shine.
  • To remove chewing gum, rub it with full-strength vinegar.
  • For a clean oven, combine vinegar and baking soda, then scrub.
  • Clean and deodorize your toilet bowl by pouring undiluted white vinegar into it. Let stand for five minutes, then flush. Spray stubborn stains with white vinegar, then scrub vigorously.
  • Clean windows with a cloth dipped in a solution of one part white vinegar and 10 parts warm water. This works for dirty TV screens, too!
  • For brunettes, rinsing hair with vinegar after a shampoo makes hair shinier. Use one-tablespoon vinegar to one-cup warm water.
  • Soak paint stains in hot vinegar to remove them.
  • To clean drip coffeemakers, fill the reservoir with white vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly by brewing two cycles with water before using.
  • To remove bumper stickers from car chrome, paint on vinegar and let it soak in. Next, scrape off the stickers. Decals can be removed similarly.
  • Rid your refrigerator and freezer of bad odors by cleaning the insides with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, then wiping dry.
  • Apply full strength vinegar to mosquito or other insect bites to relieve the itching. (Caution: Do not do this if the affected area is raw.)
  • To remove smoke odors on clothes, hang them above a steaming bathtub filled with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.
  • To prevent mildew, wipe down surfaces with vinegar.
  • Place a vinegar-soaked brown bag on sprains to ease pain and aid recovery.
  • Use a sponge dampened with vinegar to clean shower curtains.
  • To remove salt and water stains from leather boots and shoes, rub with a solution of 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup water. Wipe over the stained area only, and then polish.
  • To loosen a stuck jar lid, hold the jar upside down and pour warm vinegar around the neck at the joint between the glass and the top.
  • Rub cider vinegar on your skin to repel insects.
  • Lemon Juice
  • For a sore throat or bad breath, gargle with some lemon juice.
  • Clean discolored utensils with a cloth dipped in lemon juice. Rinse with warm water.
  • Toss used lemons into your garbage disposal to help keep it clean and smelling fresh.
  • Use one part lemon juice and two parts salt to scour chinaware to its original luster.
  • A few drops of lemon juice in outdoor house-paint will keep insects away while you are painting and until the paint dries.
  • Remove scratches on furniture by mixing equal parts of lemon juice and salad oil and rubbing it on the scratches with a soft cloth.
  • To make furniture polish, mix one part lemon juice and two parts olive oil.
  • To clean the surface of white marble or ivory (such as piano keys), rub with a half a lemon, or make a lemon juice and salt paste. Wipe with a clean, wet cloth.
  • To renew hardened paintbrushes, dip into boiling lemon juice. Lower the heat and leave the brush for 15 minutes, then wash it in soapy water.
  • To remove dried paint from glass, apply hot lemon juice with a soft cloth. Leave until nearly dry, and then wipe off.
  • Rub kitchen and bathroom faucets with lemon peel. Wash and dry with a soft cloth to shine and remove spots.
  • Fresh lemon juice in rinse water removes soap film from interiors of ovens and refrigerators.
  • Create your own air freshener: Slice some lemons, cover with water, and let simmer in a pot for about an hour. (This will also clean your aluminum pots!)
  • Fish or onion odor on your hands can be removed by rubbing them with fresh lemons.
  • To get odors out of wooden rolling pins, bowls, or cutting boards, rub with a piece of lemon. Don’t rinse: The wood will absorb the lemon juice.
  • Save lemon and orange rinds to deter squirrels and cats from digging in the garden. Store rinds in the freezer during the winter, and then bury them just under the surface of the garden periodically throughout the spring and summer.
  • After a shampoo, rinse your hair with lemon juice to make it shine. Mix the strained juice of a lemon in an eight-ounce glass of warm water.
  • Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of salt to make a rust-removing scrub.
  • Before you start to vacuum, put a few drops of lemon juice in the dust bag. It will make the house smell fresh.
  • Get grimy white cotton socks white again by boiling them in water with a slice of lemon.
  • Clean copper pots by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing the cut side with salt until the salt sticks. Rub the lemon onto the metal, rinse with hot water, and polish dry.
  • Suck on a lemon to settle an upset stomach.
  • Baking Soda
  • Add baking soda to your bath water to relieve sunburned or itchy skin.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to a burn or an insect bite for relief.
  • Clean your refrigerator with a solution of one-teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda into the opening of your clogged drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.
  • To remove perspiration stains, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub paste into the stain, let it sit for an hour, and then launder as usual.
  • If you crave sweets, rinse your mouth with one-teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a glass of warm water. Don’t swallow the mixture; spit it out. Your craving should disappear instantly.
  • Add a pinch of baking soda to boiled syrup to prevent it from crystallizing.
  • To remove pesticides, dirt, and wax from fresh fruits and vegetables, wash them in a large bowl of cool water to which you’ve added two to three tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles.
  • Gasoline and oil odors can be removed by putting clothes in a trash bag with baking soda for a few days before washing them.
  • Lay down barrier of baking soda under sink-pipe openings and along basement windows to keep carpenter ants, silverfish, and roaches from invading. Roaches eat the baking soda, dehydrate, and die.
  • A light baking soda paste on a damp cloth will remove bugs and tar from cars without damaging the paint. Let paste sit for a few minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.
  • To remove stains from your coffee and tea cups, wipe them with a damp sponge dipped in baking soda paste.
  • Keep your rubber gloves dry and smelling good by sprinkling baking soda inside them. They’ll slip on more easily too!
  • Sprinkling baking soda on your front steps will provide traction and melt the ice. Unlike rock salt, kitty litter, or sand, it won’t damage outdoor or indoor surfaces or shoes.
  • Boil two inches of water in a pan with a burned bottom, turn off the heat, then add half a cup of baking soda. Let it sit overnight. In the morning it will be easy to clean.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda on the bottom of your toaster oven to eliminate the burned smell from drippings and crumbs.
  • A paste of baking soda removes red sauce stains from plastic.
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