useful household tips

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I'm cleaning out my inbox, and came across one of those "forwarded from umpteen friends" emails that I'd gotten back in '99 (yes, I have over 4000 messages in my inbox, and many are from years ago...). This one was worth saving, and it occurred to me that I should put it here in my "google-able outboard brain" so I could find the tips again if I needed them. I have no idea who the original author is; leave a comment if you know, and if I can verify it I'll add the attribution.

TIPS FOR A LIFETIME (or at least an afternoon)

1) Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

2) Use a meat baster to "squeeze" your pancake batter onto the hot griddle - perfect shaped pancakes every time.

3) To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

4) To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.

5) Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispies treats in the pan-the marshmallow won't stick to your fingers.

6) To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.

7) To easily remove burnt-on food from your skillet, simply add a drop or two of dish soap and enough water to cover bottom of pan, and bring to a boil on stove-top - skillet will be much easier to clean.

8) Spray your Tupperware with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces - no more stains.

9) When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead - no white mess on the outside of the cake.

10) If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato - it absorbs the excess salt for an instant "fix me up".

11) Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator - it will keep for weeks.

12) Brush beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.

13) Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it back up.

14) When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness.

15) To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water. If it sinks, it is fresh - if it rises to the surface, throw it away.

16) Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

17) Don't throw out all that leftover wine: Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

18) If you have a problem opening jars: Try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

19) Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers. Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.

20) To get rid of itch from mosquito bite: try applying soap on the area, instant relief.

21) Ants, ants, ants everywhere ... Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march - see for yourself.

22) Use air-freshener to clean mirrors: It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.

23) When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape over the splinter, then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

24) NOW Look what you can do with Alka-Seltzer: Clean a toilet - drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush, and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china. Clean a vase - to remove a stain from the bottom of a glass vase or cruet, fill with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. Polish jewelry - drop two Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immerse the jewelry for two minutes. Clean a thermos bottle - fill the bottle with water, drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets, and let soak for an hour (or longer, if necessary). Unclog a drain - clear the sink drain by dropping three Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain followed by a cup of Heinz White Vinegar Wait a few minutes, then run the hot water.

6 TrackBacks

Weblogger Liz Lawley posts an interesting list of 24 tips and tricks for the home which includes using a marshmallow to prevent ice cream cone drips, freezing leftover wine into cubes for future use in sauces and removing splinters with... Read More

A collection of 24 great household tips.... Read More

useful household tips (mamamusings via LifeHacker) 24) NOW Look what you can do with Alka-Seltzer: Clean a toilet - drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush, and flush. The citric acid and effervescent action clean vitreous china. C... Read More

#21 Ants, ants, ants everywhere … Well, they are said to never cross a chalk line. So get your chalk out and draw a line on the floor or wherever ants tend to march - see for yourself.Elizabeth, from the always worthy Mamamusings blog, posts her fun ... Read More

Hack your House with these useful household tips.... Read More

My faves are #3, #6, #11, #15, #19 Link: mamamusings: useful household tips. However, #17 makes no sense. Read More


These are the types of things that should be mentioned in a Freshmen seminar class :-)

Some of these tips have been presented as being by Martha Stewart and juxtaposed against "Real Women's" solutions:

You should pass this by the folks at Cooks Illustrated. They'll test any kitchen theory. For example, they tested the "juicier citrus fruit" theory and found it really didn't matter.

Ancarett, thanks for the link--very funny!

Good suggestions, though at least one of them is demostrably wrong (the ant-over-chalk one).

Be sure to look at your referrer logs a month from now and see what kind of weird queries lead people to this list. You'll be amazed...

Jack, many of these have already appeared in Cook's Illustrated! No need to send them what they already published. :-)

Great tips - thanks for sharing them.

"all that leftover wine"? Ha! Now there's a tip I don't need...

But if you convert it to a more general case, it's pretty good. In particular, freeze your egg whites when you use the yolks in custards, etc. Whites will keep for quite a while, and you can use them in plenty of stuff. And if they start getting a little old, just make some scrambled eggs.

Cool tips. Can't wait to test that peeled potato to "unsalt" a dish.

By the way, could you help a poor french-speaking european by telling him what a "meat-baster" is? :-)

"Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away." ...and will instantly be replaced with piercing screams as the lime juice gets in your eyes.

Just kidding ;)

Anyway, some interesting stuff there, I liked Ancarett's link to the Martha vs Real Women thing, too!

Good intentions, but a few comments.

I've tried using a meat baster for pancakes, and that turned out horribly. It was entirely the wrong consistency, and the baster didn't hold enough.

The "unsalt with a potato" is a myth. The only real way to compensate for oversalting is to add more of everything else.

In "What Einstein Told His Cook" (which I found to be not very well written, but full of interesting tidbits), Robert Wolke recounts a large experiment he did with squeezing lemons and limes. He found that rolling or microwaving didn't help unless you were squeezing by hand. If you're using a juicer or squeezer or reamer, you'll get pretty much all of the juice. If you have to squeeze by hand, roll them and then microwave for 30 seconds.

Oh, also, on the subject of leftover wine - it's bad luck to open a bottle of wine if you're not going to drink the whole thing. For cooking, where you only need a little, there is now perfectly decent boxed wine readily available for very little money. It's cheap, you can use as little or as much as you need, and it lasts easily as long as it'll take to go through the whole box. I tend to buy Almaden; Black Box is also good. At $15 for 5 liters, I don't use anything else for cooking now.

It's not fantastic drinking wine, but in a pinch, it's very much "okay", and perfectly passable for filling in the gaps between whole bottles.

I tried the pan trick last night on a messy pan with olive oil and baked on garlic and little salmon bits. Worked like a charm!

Really? The ant one doesn't work?? I thought I'd found a cure then. With spring on it's way I'm just waiting for the little line of ants to appear. Evil ants...

Gonna give a few of the others a try, mind :)

Actually, if the chalk doesn't work with ants (don't ask me, I honestly don't know), I have a few solutions I use myself:

1: leave instant grits out in small piles. The ants will eat them, go drink water... and explode. You might be cleaning up ant-bits for a while, but it helps discourage them from invading your kitchen.

2: If that fails, use windex. We call it the vile blue gunk from doom in my family.. watch where the ants are makin' their rounds, spritz with some windex. Not only will it poison the ants, but it also gets rid of the ant trails.

Neither of these are permanent fixes, but they help.

I cook with a lot of garlic and my frige would hold that garlic smell from leftovers...and it would get into all the other foods in the refrigerator. I know everyone says use baking soda to absorb odor, but that never worked for me. New (I think it's to me anyway) refrigerator deodorizer called Odor Gobbler. Works great!

Here is a tip, I find very useful. When you feel like throwing-up, just take some cumin seeds & chew them. Or, drink some freshly squeezed lime/lemon juice,that should work too.

Leftover Wine?

Don't throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

very interesting
I did some tips and it really worked
thanks for these interesting tips

If you have ants, I heard its crayola chalk not just any brand. I have never tried it but I ran into a man in the store who swears by it.

Need help removing wax from carpet....

please someone...what kills those giant bees that eat there way in to the window sills of the house, there is a dust you can buy for 100. dollars but i reawd some thing that said you could spray them with hair spray or fingernailpolisj remover or

How to clean a brushed nickel faucet?

To remove wax from your carpet use an electric iron and a old rag or towel that you can throw away...put the rag over the wax and iron on top of it, the rag will absorbe the melted wax... repeat this until you have removed most of the wax..then a shampooing should remove any remaining residue

hiya i was jus wonderin how to get a sctracthed computer disk to work again as i really valued this disk and wud very much want 2 play on it again i wud appreicate with any help i get many thanks leah xxx

please can you advise me on the following
Can you freeze wine in a box and drink once thawed out.
want to freeze some to take away on a camping trip. thought if we froze it, it would have less chance of getting warm and been spoilt. please reply asap. thank you for takin the time to read my question.
Love n laughter
Rachel. x

These tips brought back memories of Hints to Heloise. I was not the primary cook when my first husband was alive and often burned some pans. I have used the "boiling soap" trick a few times. I never knew that nonstick spray would keep tomatoes from staining my Tupperware. I can remember having a fever as a kid and my grandfather putting potato peels in a cloth on my forehead. He always said when the peels turned black the fever was gone. More than once he was right!

Well, this is my first time visit your site, very nice and interesting. Wonderful unique article that never i read before. Thank you for sharing

can i use your tips to be published for my magazine ?
tks ghalib

I've had some real problems getting dried garlic out of a press that's been sitting overnight on the side.

Soaking it in water with some bicarbonate for just a few minutes gets it shifted quickly.

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on February 2, 2005 4:23 PM.

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