FOOLPROOF BACON. The easiest mess-free way to cook bacon with the least amount of shrinkage is low and slow in the oven—365 F for 30 minutes.
HEALTHIER, GREENER HOUSEPLANTS. Whether you’ve got a green thumb or not, you probably want your houseplants to thrive. Watering plants with club soda is better for them than plain water as it contains phosphate and other nutrients that enrich the soil and promote growth.
CLEAN A WINDOW BLIND CORD. The pull cord on your window blinds used to be white. Remember that? Here’s a quick and easy way make it that way again:
Raise the blind so that the maximum amount of pull cord is exposed. Next fill a strong gallon-sized zip-lock type bag about half way with a 50/50 mixture of water and liquid bleach (or liquid detergent if bleach makes your nervous). Gather up the pull cord and place it in the bag. Carefully twist the top of the bag and secure it closed over the cord using one or two clothes pins or chip clips. Allow to remain this way overnight. In the morning, carefully remove the bag and wipe down the cord with a dry towel.
Caution: This is likely a two-person job. Make sure you well protect the floor below this project just in case you encounter any spillage. This is a little tricky but works so well it’ll be worth the extra effort.
FREE FERTILIZER. Spent coffee grounds work great as fertilizer and insect repellent in the garden. Plants such as rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens and camellias that prefer acidic soils will especially appreciate the leftovers from your morning cup—decaf or regular. Not a coffee drinker? Ask the baristas at that coffee shop down the street to save some for you.
DIY WRINKLE RELEASE SPRAY. You can spend $7.99 for a bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser, but why would you when you can make it yourself for a couple of pennies?
Pour 8 ounces distilled water into a spray bottle. Add 1 teaspoon liquid fabric softener and 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol. Apply sprayer tightly, and shake well. Set spray pattern to fine mist. Spray the offending wrinkles with a fine mist then smooth out the wrinkles with your hand. This spray will dry quickly and wrinkles will be gone.
GENTLE SCRUBBING CLEANSER. Make your own gentle scrubbing cleanser that’s eco-friendly and costs very little, using just three ingredients.
Mix 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 tablespoons liquid dish detergent like blue Dawn and enough white vinegar to make a smooth paste. Use to clean the stove top, sinks, bathtub, shower walls—any place you need some gentle scrubbing power but do not want to run the risk of scratching the surface.
KIDS IN MUSEUMS. Want to visit museums with your children but avoid the boredom and tears? Head to the gift shop first and buy postcards of the museum’s most famous works. Create a treasure hunt in the museum for these masterpieces. Send the postcards or add them to your trip album.
FORMICA FACELIFT. If you can’t replace the Formica counters that you think are out of date, consider painting them. There are several methods that you can use.
Consult a good paint store or check your local home improvement center. Products such as Counter-top Transformations by Rust-Oleum or Giani Granite Paint will update your look for a reasonable cost.