Simple Tips to Keep Things Beautiful and Working Well Around the House

FABULOUS FIXTURES. So you splurged on some really beautiful—dare I say expensive—sink fixtures for your kitchen or bathroom. Here’s a fabulous way to keep them looking beautiful for many years to come.

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Once a month or so, wipe the faucets down with a rag that you have sprayed with a wax-based furniture polish. This will keep mineral deposits from building up and staining or pitting the surface of even the most exquisite fixtures.

DUCT TAPE REPAIR. Got a shower curtain with a ripped ring hole that makes it sag? Don’t throw it out quite yet. Instead, get out the duct tape and cover the entire hole on both sides. Using a hole punch or craft knife, re-create the ring hole. Now it’s stronger than new. But maybe not so attractive. Not to worry. These days duct tape comes in loads of colors and even patterns. You may even want to reinforce the entire top strip of the vinyl curtain with a bright color or design and redo all of the holes while you’re at it, not just the torn one.

BLOW-DRYER LONGEVITY. The intake area of a blow-dryer does more than draw in air to cool the heating element. It also sucks in dust, hair, makeup, hair spray, powder and anything else around it. That’s hard on the motor and can cause it to overheat and burn out. To keep your blow-dryer working for years, make sure to vacuum the holes at the back of the dryer every time you vacuum the floor in that room.

AUTOMATIC POTATO WASHER. When you have to wash a lot of potatoes (like for Thanksgiving, which will be here soon), just put them in your dishwasher—but don’t add soap! Set it on a short wash cycle and “air dry.” The clean potatoes can go right into the oven or pot.

HAPPY MOUSE. If you use a rollerball computer mouse—one that has a ball that you can see when you turn the mouse upside down—then you need to clean the inner workings at least every month to keep it working smoothly. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for replacements more frequently. Here’s how to clean it:

1) Unplug the mouse and turn it over. You will see the tracking ball as well as a round ring that holds it in place. 2) Remove the ring by pressing down and rotating it counterclockwise until you can lift it off. 3) Flip the mouse over so that the ball drops out. Wash the ball with warm tap water and mild soap, then thoroughly dry it with a lint-free cloth. 4) Before replacing the ball and ring, look for three small rollers (each about 1/16th-inch wide) inside the mouse cavity where the ball sits. They will likely be covered with built-up dirt. Use cotton swabs or a toothpick to scrape off the dirt. Gently knock the still-open cavity down into the palm of your hand to get rid of loose particles. 5) Replace the ball and ring cover.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • eveh

    Thank you, Mary. The end of my shower curtain no longer dangles like an unwanted participle. It’s always the end hole on my curtains.

  • Janis Hill

    While it sounds like a great tip, I wouldn’t recommend anyone wash their potatoes in a dishwasher. While we do use our dishes after a rinse aid has been used I really don’t think I want to eat food that has been rinsed in Jet Dry, Finish or other rinse aids.

  • Gehugh

    Washing your potatoes in the dishwasher? Really, is this before you peel them or after you peel them? What a waste of energy and water. Use a little elbow grease. You know you don’t have to scrub them before you peel them. I’m talking about russets. Careful with the potatoes you buy, too. You don’t want to purchase the ones down river fom the Hanford, WA plant.

    • ABC

      I guess she meant either for baking or boiling whole. I don’t boil mine whole for mashing, I peel them.

      I’m with Janis….it seems to me (I could be wrong, of course) that there would be too much detergent residue left in the dishwasher to be putting potatoes in there. I know I wash my dishes in there, (ha), but I guess I’m thinking the detergent would slide off of dishes but stick to and/or be absorbed by potatoes.

      But if I were going to do it, I would set it on “Rinse Only” cycle instead of any wash cycle, to avoid having the Jet-Dry released. I mean, I’m assuming it doesn’t release any Jet-Dry on the Rinse Only cycle.

  • Karen Halstead

    Just another way to keep that blow dryer intake clean. I take dryer sheets that are used, in fact I’ll let them run through a few loads of laundry to make sure there isn’t waxy softener left on them, then I’ll cut them into quarters which are about the size of the intake area. I then take the end cap off the intake area and place one under the cap and replace the cap which holds it on there. It works just like a “filter” that you change every few times you use the blow dryer. I used to go through blow dryers every 6 months or so and figured out they were getting plugged and burning up. Since I started using my filter concept it’s been years since I’ve had to buy a new one and my intake area looks brand new.

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