One Big Handy Coaster

I have a can of lacquer thinner that I keep handy for one purpose: To clean up any kind of paint spills on carpet, tile or clothes*. It works well, but it is a pain, to tell you the truth. And now it dawns on me. Why not do something clever to prevent the spills in the first place? Yeah, I like that a lot better.

PAINT CAN COASTER. When I am doing a painting job, I always glue a paper plate to the bottom of the paint can before I open it. That way I can pick up the can whenever I need to move it and I know that the paper plate will catch all the drips and spills. Sam


DE-SALT THE SAUCE. If you find that your tomato sauce or soup is too salty, just add a little brown sugar. It will neutralize some of the salty taste. Janet

NO-STICK BEATERS. Before you use your electric mixer, spray the beaters with some non-stick cooking spray. It will keep the batter or frosting from clinging to the beaters and clogging them up. Sarah

FREEZING BREAD. Whenever I freeze bread or bagels, I always add a dry paper towel to the inside of the storage bag before slipping it in a freezer. The paper towel soaks up the extra moisture and the bread stays fresher longer once defrosted. Carolyn

SOFTEN HANDS. Here’s a fast and easy way to soften hands: Squirt 2 tablespoons inexpensive lotion into your hands. Add a generous tablespoon of sugar, and rub the concoction all over your hands. The sugar exfoliates your hands and the lotion softens them. Rinse with warm water, wash the solution off, and apply a fresh coat of lotion. Soft, smooth hands for pennies! Brooke

EXTRA BUTTONS. If you buy an outfit that comes with extra buttons, sew them onto an inside hem of the clothing item. If you lose a button, you won’t have to go searching through your junk draw or sewing box for a spare one. Janine

CLEAN CAR. I used to pay someone to detail my car but discovered that baby wipes will clean nearly anything off every surface and not leave a streaky, cloudy residue like the cleaners the pros use! I have taken grease off the headliner and from the door interiors, cleaned all the textured places and the seats with just one baby wipe. Not only are they gentle, they’re cheap. Just store some in your car–if you stick the container in a zip bag, they won’t dry out with the heat of the interior. Bambi

OPEN SODA BOTTLES. Use a nutcracker (the cheap squeeze kind) to grab and turn open the tops on twist-top glass soda bottles—it’s a snap! Sue

PLAY DOUGH. When I make play dough, I color it by adding a packet of unsweetened drink mix (Kool-Aid type) instead of food coloring. The colors are vivid, and it has the added plus of a fun smell—the kids love it! Just add this to the dry ingredients when you are mixing and let the fun begin! Mary

* Just in case you’re wondering, here’s how to get latex paint out of just about anything including carpet―even if it’s old and dried up. Saturate the stain with lacquer thinner (not paint thinner, not mineral spirits or anything else you might be tempted to substitute—you must use lacquer thinner), applied with a clean white cloth so there is no chance of transferring the color from the cloth to the item to be cleaned.

Allow it to sit for a few moments to soften the paint so you can scrape, blot and or scrub it out with the application cloth.

Depending on how old the paint stain is, you may have to repeat a couple of times, but it will come out without leaving a bigger problem in its wake. I don’t know why this is such a favorite tip of mine. Maybe because it’s such a dramatic rescue for a sloppy painter such as myself.

Caution: Lacquer thinner is highly combustible, so don’t wad up that cloth and throw it in a bucket. Instead allow it to air dry, then launder appropriately.


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  • PJ

    Be careful with the No Stick Beaters tip, while it may work well for some things, make sure the recipe that you’re making isn’t going to be affected by the extra oil you’d be introducing. A shot of non-stick spray may not seem like much, but if you’re trying to beat egg whites it will make a difference. 🙂

  • CAJ

    Using sugar to soften hands…the same thing works for greasy hands. When hubby comes in greasy, put a small pile of sugar in his hands then add a few drops of dish detergent.’

  • Irpag

    I like the lacquer thinner tip. Please, though, you can’t emphasize enough that the used rag can catch fire on its own. Put things outside to dry out. A contractor doing renovations in an office building in our city failed to do this. Overnight the saturated rag caught fire, setting several floors of the skyscraper on fire. The entire building was condemned, and sat vacant for many, many years while the lawyers argued over whose responsibility it was to pay to tear the building down. The whole block suffered from the hulking vacant building. One careless mistake. Just be extra, extra careful with the thinner as you use it.

  • Anne Shelton

    The link for lacquer thinner above takes you to Kool Aid 🙂

    • Josh Hunt

      Anne thanks for letting us know about the link. It is fixed now.