Share your nifty household tips here!

My best discovery is how great dishwasher detergent works on all kinds of hard-to-get-out stains.

[list=1]
[li]A lasagna dish. You soak it, scrub it, stick it in the dishwasher. It’s still dirty. Solution? Fill it with hot water, add a little (about a teaspoon) dishwasher detergent and let it sit overnight. Next day, it’s clean. Never fails.[/li]
[li]A greasy stain on your favorite shirt. Solution? Pour a little water on the stain, sprinkle some detergent on it and let it sit for ten minutes or so. Throw it in the washer with your regular detergent and voila! the stain is gone.[/li]
[li]Hi Opal![/li]
[li]Your stovetop is yucky. No amount of scrubbing will get the burnt in food off. Solution? You guessed it, wet it, sprinkle detergent on it, let it sit for a while and scrub away. But wear rubber gloves.[/li][/list=1]

Your turn!

Soda, thanks for starting this – just in time for spring cleaning. (Sigh.)

You know about Swiffer, the dust cloth you attach to a handle gizmo, it picks up dust bunnies and cat hair, etc.

The wet Swiffer (for mopping floors) works great on walls and ceilings, and when it warms up, I’m gonna try it on the outside windows.

Latex paint sets pretty damn quick on fabric and cloth. If you happen to get caught painting your house in your tuxedo again, and spill a bucket of paint on yerself, immediately:

  1. Remove the offended garment and head over to a utility sink.

  2. Fill said sink with warm water -no soap!-

  3. Dunk offended garment in warm water, and slowly work garment in the water to loosen and dissolve the paint.

Warm water will “cut” the paint and dissolve it. Just rinse it once or twice again, to make sure 99.8% of the paint is out of the garment.
Jello-shot stains on your rug can also be gotten out with most get-based shaving creams. Don’t ask me how it works, I just know that it does . . .

Coca-cola or Pepsi can also dissolve the corrosion on car battery terminals. It will also clean up some rust and other corrosion. Just slowly pour out a little onto the posts, and watch the magical bubbling action as your posts get clean!

Tripler

Don’t get married, don’t have kids, and don’t take on any roommates. Boy, will your house stay cleaner! :wink:

Never mind how it works, how did you discover this? (I assume you meant gel-based.)

Marry a neat-freak:)

These are my Poor Housekeeping tips:

  1. Toothpaste will polish silver. Handy for when you want to use a silver serving dish, and it’s never occurred to you to buy silver polish. (regular tooth PASTE, not those fancy schmancy gels)

  2. For the next time, wrap all silver items in Saran Wrap and they won’t tarnish. They will be nice and shiny when you unwrap them for the next holiday.

  3. Dinner guests ringing the doorbell, and the kitchen is a disaster area? Put all dirty dishes in the oven, so you have some counter space to make cocktails. Make mental note to self to remember where you put all the dirty dishes.

Polish your bathroom mirror with shaving cream, and it will not fog up when you shower.

After using dryer sheets twice in the dryer, use them for cleaning cloths. They don’t unravel like paper towels, and have a slightly abrasive action that works well, especially on porcelain bathroom fixtures.

Kick-ass glass cleaner:

8oz Ammonia + 16oz rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. (Add water if the smell is knocking you out.)

Cleans everything but painted surfaces, and leaves an amazing shine. Cheap, easy, powerful.

Homemade laundry soap recipe here: http://forums.thathomesite.com/forums/load/saving/msg070223443642.html?87

Quite the money saver, and works well (for me anyways…there are various troubleshooting and additive suggestions at the link, so you can monkey around with it until you get something that works for you.)

Lastly…if you don’t have a ScumBuster yet – dude! Those things ROCK! It’s a must-have for anyone with a grimey shower door!

I’m not saying that my shower door is grimey… but what is a ScumBuster? I mean… SHOULD my shower door ever get grimey, it sounds like something I would want to have around… where can I get one? quickly?! :smiley:

Please, for the love of God… come over to my house and clean! I have all the cleaning supplies on hand, really I do.

Cleaning fluids the likes of Formula 409 or Fantastik absolutely kill ants and roaches (they just piss off spiders). I’ve got my own theory about why, nevertheless it’s cheaper than using some nasty pesticide and after all, it’s something you were going to spray on the counter tops anyway to clean them. And in stream mode, you can nail the buggers from 10 or so feet away.

And, as long as I’m here, it just isn’t worth it to try a major cleaning of a shower curtain - just buy a new one.

How fast is that thing supposed to spin? Mine seems so glacial–true, it scrubs “Faster” than I could with my bare hand. But I thought this would have some power to it. Not like a dremel tool or my Oral-B toothbrush, but faster than this slow turning. And it doesn’t matter how long I charge the battery stick.

Sorry for the hijack, but I had no idea I had a scumbuster fan right here on the board. Wonders never cease.

My tip is to always have an empty storage bin available at all times so if company comes on short notice, you shove all the mail, papers, random crap into the bin and hide it away.

Credit where credit’s due: I got this one out of Hints from Heloise:

How to clean your microwave, especially if there is nasty crusted-on goo in it: Fill a coffee mug with water. Nuke it on high for 5 minutes, so it boils. Don’t open the door when it’s done–leave it in there for another 5-10 minutes. The crud will wipe right off.

It was a time honored secret bestowed upon me from Alcoholics past, delivered in a strange mystical ceremony known as “The Day After the Party in the House”.

Tripler

Once a month or so I just toss mine in the washing machine (cold water/delicate cycle) with some laundry detergent. Comes out fine! Obviously this is better w/ cloth shower curtains but I’ve used it on fairly sturdy plastic ones too. (Really cheap, thin ones will shred, but oh, well; THEN you buy a new one.)

Veb

[li]Really grotty fry pans (except aluminum types) can be tidied up quickly with oven cleaner. I clean them in my bath tub and spray hot water over them first. The extra heat increases the action of the oven cleaner. This will work on the outside or inside of the pan. It will strip off the seasoning of the pan’s inside so use with caution.[/li]
[li]Save money on your dish washing soap. Mix a few tablespoons into a cup or two of hot water and dip your scrubber into that as you wash the dishes. Most dish soaps are so concentrated that a lot of it is wasted when you wash.[/li]
[li]If you experience water spots on your glassware or some other material has dried onto them, try CLR™ brand cleaner. This is one of the few recent products that really seems to work. It will also remove some of the most stubborn buildups from porcelain surfaces as well.[/li]
[li]To clean out glass vases and other narrow-mouth vessels, first pour in a few spoonfuls of rice. Add some non-grit cleanser (Bon-Ami™) and water. Then swirl the rice and cleanser solution to abrade off any interior deposits.[/li]
[li]Turn new blue jeans inside out when you wash them and they will not fade as fast. Cold water washing helps this as well.[/li]
[li]To remove pet hair from a carpet scuff your feet in a backwards direction to ball up the fur. Shoes with a significant tread will do the best job. This method can work better than some vacuum cleaners.[/li]
[li]To stop candles from smoking after they are blown out, continue to blow upon the wick after it is extinguished. The moving air will burn out the wick faster and eliminate the smoke[/li]
[li]To dust complex surfaces, employ an unused paint brush from the hardware store. Different sizes for various shapes work quite well.[/li]
[li]For longer life with your video tapes rewind them just prior to viewing. The play mode spools out the tape very slowly and the uptake is the most gentle. Fast winding stretches the tape and shortens its life span.[/li]
[li]To oil door and car lock mechanisms, merely apply a small drop of oil to the key and run it into the lock a few times while cycling it.[/li]
[li]Cover wet paint brushes with plastic wrap and store in the freezer to keep them flexible for the next day’s use.[/li]And some food tips:
[li]Roll citrus fruit under your palm on a cutting board prior to juicing to increase the yield.[/li]
[li]Lightly toast bread before making French toast with it. The bread does not get quite as soggy and has a better flavor.[/li]
[li]To completely cook the whites of sunny side up eggs, throw a spoonful of water into the hot pan with the cooking eggs and cover tightly for one minute.[/li]
[li]Get a rare cooked steak to brown during the short broiling time by smearing it with a pat of butter before cooking.[/li]
[li]To peel garlic easily, when cutting off the root and tip, pull up on the clove so that the knife begins to break away the skin.[/li]
[li]For a more flavorful roast chicken rub the interior with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder. Rub the outside with the same spices as well and dot with butter before roasting.[/li]
[li]To impart a nice golden color to your chicken fried steak or other breaded foods use a teaspoon of paprika in the dredging mix.[/li]
[li]For the most delicate breading on cutlets and fish use crumbs made from fresh bread. Remove the crusts first and shred into medium to large crumbs.[/li]
[li]Use white pepper in your clear broths and pale sauces to avoid any discoloration of them.[/li]
[li]A single clove of garlic will make a potato salad into a whole new dish. The same applies to ceviche and other salads. You should not be able to taste the garlic.[/li]
[li]The juice of one lemon added to a quart of orange juice will give it a better than fresh flavor.[/li]
[li]A pinch of sugar will round out the flavor of an oil and vinegar or vinaigrette salad dressing.[/li]
[li]Stop puddings from forming a skin on top by pressing a sheet of plastic wrap onto the surface before it cools. For the best chocolate pudding make sure to add some extra vanilla and a pat or two of butter.[/li]
[li]Wash your grated potatoes and dry them thoroughly before frying to get the best hash browns. For crispy home fries boil the whole potatoes only ¾ of the way. Complete cooking them when they fry. Be sure to salt the potatoes as they cook for the best flavor.[/li]
[li]Whipping cream will stiffen faster if the beaters and bowl are chilled in the freezer beforehand. Add any sugar or vanilla at the very end of the process.[/li]
PS: Soda, do you have a recipe for fiske frikadeller? I am dying to find one and hope you might be able to help.

The solution to white underwear: never sort whites and colors, and learn to love grey underwear.

The solution to food stuck to pans: Stop cooking on the stove. Use the microwave.

Solution to wine stains on the carpet: rearrange furniture.

Dust on top of bookcases: Pile old magazines on top, and dust is never more than a month thick.

Oil stains on driveway: Watch where you step.

Shower covered in Calcium, lime, or Rust: Use “CLR”.
Shower covered in Soap film: No cure. Tough it out until moving day and lose the deposit.

If you have mold problems in your bathtub:

In a pinch, use Listerine. It will kill mold. Dab generously onto the mold, wait, then scrub off.

It’s better to use bleach. The new clorox “dry” bleach works really well for me. I sprinkle it in the tub and rub with a wet sponge. Be sure to wear a rubber glove! The bleach granules kill the mold, and are also abrasive and help scrub it away.

If you only have regular bleach, put a little in a disposable bowl (such as a buttertub) and add warm water. Wearing a rubber glove, sponge the bleach water onto the mold. Then sponge bleach water on the entire interior of the tub/shower. This kills spores and it’ll take longer for the mold to come back. Mild mold will already be clearing up at this point. For tough mold, put on more bleach water, then scrub with an abrasive cleaner. DO NOT use a cleaner that has ammonia in it. Bleach and ammonia mix together to make chlorine gas, which is poisonous.

Toss your shower curtain into the washing machine. Put in 1/2 to 1 cup of bleach and some laundry detergent. Fill with hot water. Turn machine off and let it soak a while. (This is only if you have a lot of mold. If you only have small spots, you don’t need to soak.) Run washer on gentle cycle.

You can wash your bathmat in the washer as well. Eventually it will start to wear out, so always use the gentle cycle. I used the regular cycle once and my mat disintegrated! There were bits of plastic in the washer, and I had to use the ragged, barely joined pieces until I could buy a new one.

Or, mix 1 part dish washing soap and 4 parts water in a spray bottle and keep near the sink.

Thank you! I hate uncooked egg whites!

Some sugar will also round out the flavor of a tomato sauce, which sometimes can be a bit acidic.

Not off the top of my head. I don’t really care for fiskbullar (as they’re called in Swedish). I’ll see what I can find. Or maybe Flodnak knows? It’s popular in Norway too I think.

Great tips everyone! Keep 'em coming!