ReUse Repair and Reduce Household Bills
Uncommon Uses
For Common
Household Items
Loads of
© Karen MacKenzie 2005
First Printed: 2005
All rights reserved. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not in
part or in entirety, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out,
transmitted, or circulated in any form of binding, storage, recording, copying,
electronic media or other, without the prior permission of the author.
DISCLAIMER: The Author and Publisher have taken care to ensure
that the information is correct at the time of publication. However, no
claims are made and no liability is accepted for use or misuse of the
information contained. This book is written as an initial information
source only, subject to current knowledge and research findings. It
should not be used to diagnose existing medical conditions or medical
conditions which may arise in the future. The information contained
should not be used to clean items without a patch test, some surfaces
may be damaged by natural solvents. Cutting and reusing packaging
or items not used as intended by the manufacturer may result in injury,
health and safety practices must be adhered to at all times. Further
information should be sought from relevant practitioners or
manufacturer’s guidelines in the case of proprietary brands. Money
Making Schemes are subject to all current trading laws, information
can be obtained from a local Tax Office and Trading Standards office.
Food should be consumed within manufacturer’s guidelines.
The information should be used only at the reader’s own risk.
ISBN: 1-900 806 04 5
A-Z How to ReUse Ordinary Household Items-------------Aluminium Foil--------------------------------------------------Baby Wipes-------------------------------------------------------Bakeware---------------------------------------------------------Balloons-----------------------------------------------------------Banana Skins-----------------------------------------------------Basting Syringe--------------------------------------------------Beauty Tips-------------------------------------------------------Bedding-----------------------------------------------------------Belts---------------------------------------------------------------Beer----------------------------------------------------------------Bicarbonate of Soda---------------------------------------------Bottles---See Plastic Bottles 102------------------------------Bread--------------------------------------------------------------Broom Handles--------------------------------------------------Candles------------------------------------------------------------Cardboard Tubes-------------------------------------------------Carpet & Carpet Underlay--------------------------------------Carrier Bags .... See Plastic Carrier Bags---------------------Cat Litter----------------------------------------------------------Cereal Boxes-----------------------------------------------------Charcoal-----------------------------------------------------------Clothes Pegs------------------------------------------------------Cleaning Tips----------------------------------------------------Coffee Grounds--------------------------------------------------Coffee Tins-------------------------------------------------------Cooking Oil---See Vegetable Oil 120------------------------Cork---------------------------------------------------------------Cornflour----------------------------------------------------------Crayons-----------------------------------------------------------Deodorant Bottles-----------------------------------------------Dental Floss------------------------------------------------------Denture Cleaning Tablets---------------------------------------Egg Cartons------------------------------------------------------Egg Shells--------------------------------------------------------5
Elastic Bands-----------------------------------------------------Essential Oils-----------------------------------------------------Fabric Conditioner-----------------------------------------------Filters--------------------------------------------------------------Fire Alarms-------------------------------------------------------Fizzy Drinks------------------------------------------------------Florist’s Foam----------------------------------------------------Food Colouring--------------------------------------------------Food Containers-------------------------------------------------Food Tips---------------------------------------------------------Freezer------------------------------------------------------------Garden Canes----------------------------------------------------Garden Hose------------------------------------------------------Gardening Tips---------------------------------------------------Glycerine----------------------------------------------------------Greaseproof Paper-----------------------------------------------Greetings Cards--------------------------------------------------Hair Dryer--------------------------------------------------------Hair Grips---------------------------------------------------------Herbs & Spices---------------------------------------------------Ice Cube Tray----------------------------------------------------Inner Tubes-------------------------------------------------------Jars-----------------------------------------------------------------Jumpers-----------------------------------------------------------Junk Mail---------------------------------------------------------Kitchen Towels--------------------------------------------------Lemons------------------------------------------------------------Lemon Juice --See Vinegar 121-------------------------------Magazines--------------------------------------------------------Milk Cartons & Milk Bottles-----------------------------------Miscellaneous----------------------------------------------------Money Makers---------------------------------------------------Money Savers----------------------------------------------------6
Nail Varnish------------------------------------------------------- 98
Neck Ties---------------------------------------------------------- 99
Newspapers-------------------------------------------------------- 99
Orange Peel-------------------------------------------------------- 101
Paint Rollers------------------------------------------------------- 101
Plastic Bottles----------------------------------------------------- 102
Plastic Carrier Bags---------------------------------------------- 105
Plastic Containers------------------------------------------------- 106
Plastic Lids-------------------------------------------------------- 106
Plastic Spray Bottles--------------------------------------------- 108
Polystyrene Packaging------------------------------------------- 108
Quick Fixes-------------129---131---135---143---157---170---183
Rubber Gloves---------------------------------------------------- 109
Salt------------------------------------------------------------------ 111
Soap---------------------------------------------------------------- 112
Solvents------------------------------------------------------------ 141
Stain Removers--------------------------------------------------- 139
Sticky Tape-------------------------------------------------------- 112
Tights & Stockings----------------------------------------------- 113
Toothpaste--------------------------------------------------------- 117
Tubing---See Garden Hose-------------------------------------- 76
Twigs--------------------------------------------------------------- 117
Typist’s Correction Fluid---------------------------------------- 118
Tyres---------------------------------------------------------------- 118
Vegetable Oil---See Cooking Oil 51--------------------------- 120
Video Cases------------------------------------------------------- 121
Vinegar------------------------------------------------------------- 121
Washers------------------------------------------------------------ 126
Washing-up Liquid----------------------------------------------- 126
Wax Crayons------------------------------------------------------ 127
Wire Coat Hangers----------------------------------------------- 127
Wood Ash--------------------------------------------------------- 128
Quick Fix Beauty Tips--------------------------------------- 183
Bath Time---------------------------------------------------------Body Care----Sunburn 190-------------------------------------Cleansing---------------------------------------------------------Shaving------------------------------------------------------------Eye Soothers-----------------------------------------------------Face----Toner 191----Wrinkles 192---------------------------Hair Care----Setting Lotion 190-------------------------------Hand Care--------------------------------------------------------Tooth Whiteners--------------------------------------------------
Quick Fix Cleaning Tips------------------------------------- 135
A-Z Cleaning Savers ------------------------------------135-142
Stain Removers--------------------------------------------------- 139
Solvents------------------------------------------------------------ 141
Quick Fix Food Tips------------------------------------------- 157
A-Z Food Savers------------------------------------------
Quick Fix Gardening Tips----------------------------------- 170
A-Z Gardening Savers------------------------------------
Quick Fix Health Tips---------------------------------------- 143
A-Z Health Savers----------------------------------------
Quick Fix Money Makers----------------------------------- 131
A-Z Making Extra Cash----------------------------------
Quick Fix Money Savers------------------------------------ 129
Electric & Gas Savers-------------------------------------------- 129
Steam Clean and Save Money---------------------------------- 130
Water Savers------------------------------------------------------ 129
In England alone we have to dispose of over 20 million tons of
municipal waste in landfill sites every year. Can you imagine the
waste mountains that could poison the earth in 100 years?
And what about the energy and artificial chemicals that are
expended in making all these disposable items, most of which will
never break down safely in the environment?
Have you ever thought about all the items that you personally throw
away? Well, it has been published by the Department of
Environment, Food & Rural Affairs that statistically over 500kg of
waste per person, in England, is collected every year. Isn’t it time
you thought about the consequences of this?
Have you ever seen a fish tank that is never cleaned
out? It gets dirtier and dirtier until it is unable to support
life and the fish are poisoned in their own waste. It may
seem like a strange analogy, but a fish tank is a
microcosm of the environment and a perfect example
of how waste can build up if there is nothing there to
deal with it. It is a fact that the industrialised world is
running out of safe places to dispose of its waste.
We really do need to act now! Before it is too late.
Okay, in an ideal world we would place a ban on pollutants and
industry would work with only environmentally safe chemicals.
Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms Ideal would boycott all artificial and
petrochemical by-products from their lives and would recycle
everything, including their own biological waste. But, this is far
from an ‘Ideal’ world, and realistically, an industrialised society
would not allow this to happen, there is too much money, and
power, at stake.
Introduction (Cont.)
You really do not have to belong to the ‘Ideal’ family to make a
change for the better. It is not suggested that you become one of
those brave families who reject modern society and refuse to
purchase any plastics or commercial products. But you can make a
difference if you reuse some of this packaging instead of polluting
the environment with it, and the things you cannot reuse you can
take to a recycling bin. Can you imagine the beneficial effects it
would have on the environment if everyone just took a little time
to utilise their waste products every week? And it is very easy to
do. So don’t wait until your neighbours do it, take control now. It
could even save you a lot of money on your weekly shopping bill!
Please ask yourself if you really need all those household cleaners. Or could you simply make your own
with ingredients you already have in your cupboards?
This book will show you how you can start to make a difference
right now. And, as you use this book, you will probably begin to
see how you can use more and more things without adding to the
waste mountain that is set to blight our children’s lives.
Remember: ‘reusing’ will save you so much money on your
weekly shopping bill that you cannot afford not to do it. And, you
will be doing your bit to help the environment for future generations.
How to ReUse
Ordinary Household Items
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
Blackout and Insulated Curtains
Line your curtains by sewing strips of aluminium foil between the
curtain and liner. The foil acts as an insulator and a blackout. If
applying foil to curtains that are made of a thinner material, be
careful not to scrunch them up when opening or closing.
Boot Insulator
Using an insole as a template, cut out a couple of layers of tin or
aluminium foil. Place under insoles to insulate the boots and make
them warmer in winter.
Cabbage and Carrot Collars
Cut out rings of foil, make a small hole in the centre, just enough to
take the stem of a cabbage or carrot plant (ring doughnut shaped)
and place around cabbage or carrot plants, to deter cabbage root fly
and carrot fly.
Celebration Decorations
· Cut strips of foil and staple them into interlocking rings to
form a long silver chain, this can be used for bunting at
celebrations such as Christmas, weddings, Divali, etc. NB:
Small foil rings 1cm x 6cm made into a long chain can be
draped over a Christmas tree in a spiral from top to bottom.
Using an ordinary drinking glass as a template cut out rings
of foil. Place at least six rings in a pile, fold in half and stitch
or staple along the fold. Open out into a ‘sphere’ shape and
attach a piece of cotton in a loop to hang up. Use for tree
decorations etc. NB: small spheres using 2p pieces are also
very effective.
See - Pest Repellents – below.
Aluminium Foil
Cocktail Stick Holder
Cover a strainer or half a white cabbage with foil and push
pineapple, cheese, cocktail sausages on sticks through the foil. It’s
great for children’s parties.
Cooking Aid
· Soften up those bread rolls: take newly baked rolls from
the oven and place immediately in foil and they will become soft rolls.
· Keep the heat in cooked foods by wrapping immediately in
· To keep pizzas or pies from burning around the edges by
covering the edges with foil. Cut out a small ring from the
middle of the foil so that the middle of the pizza or pie is
allowed to cook normally.
Damp Stop
If you have an area of damp and need a quick cosmetic fix, paste
a piece of aluminium foil over the damp patch, make sure it is
covered with a 15cm overlap. Then wallpaper over the foil and
your wallpaper will be protected from the damp patch.
Electrical Interference
If your electrical goods are so close together that they cause
interference, which manifests as a snowy appearance on screens or
a crackling sound, putting a ‘pad’ of aluminium foil between them
may alleviate the problem.
Flower Power
I don’t know about you but I am hopeless at flower arranging. For
an inexpensive way to make flower arranging easier, save up your
foil sweet wrappers or odd bits of foil. Roll them between your
fingers and palms and store them in the bottom of a vase. When
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
you have flowers just add water to the vase and the flowers will be
supported by the foil spheres. Much easier! And they look very
attractive in a glass vase too. Discard after use and begin again.
Heat Intensifier
Cover thin heat-proof boards with foil and place behind the
radiators, this will reflect the heat back into the room and not be
absorbed by the wall. It will save quite a bit of money over the
course of a year.
Hot Water Bottle Warmer
Don’t you just hate it when your hot water bottle has gone cold. Just
wrap the hot water bottle in aluminium foil before putting on the
cover and it will remain warm for longer.
Ice Lolly Catcher
Put an ice lolly into a moulded piece of foil before you give it to a
child, the melted ice will drip into the foil, and if the lolly breaks
the foil will catch it.
Don’t forget, you can reuse your
ironing foil in other applications.
Ironing Mate
Place a piece of aluminium foil on your ironing board and iron your
clothes. The heat reflects back and the ironing takes less time and
on most items you won’t need to iron the other side.
Oven Liner
Don’t you just hate cleaning your oven? But, now you don’t have
to, when you line it with aluminium foil. This works with the grill
pan too. It saves hours trying to scrub them clean or using harsh
chemicals. NB: Do not line non-stick surfaces in the oven, it may
scratch them.
Aluminium Foil
Painting Partner
Fold the foil a few times so that it has one long straight edge. Place
this butted up against a window frame, doorjamb, skirting board
etc. to protect the unpainted surface. Fold the opposite side over
tightly to form a handle, and it will be easier to keep the straight
edge butted up against the painting surface.
Pan Scourers
Scrunched up aluminium foil will clean your pans and bakeware
beautifully, but remember not to use it on non-stick or easily
scratched pans!
Pest Repellents
The celebration decorations (page 13) made out of aluminium foil
are perfect for draping over crops and protecting seedlings. They
can repel both insects and birds.
Planting Pots
Use up your old aluminium foil by making plant pots: cut into
25cm x 14cm rectangles, wrap around a deodorant can, with 3-4cm
protruding at the bottom of the base. Press foil into the base and
take off the can, you should now have a ‘pot’. Cut down 2cms from
top in 1cm strips to form a fringe around the top. These will act as
light reflectors and protect your new seedlings from draughts.
Don’t forget to poke some drainage holes in the bottom.
Fill with a little gravel in the bottom, top up with potting compost
and use for potting up seedlings, place in clean seed trays. Raise the
fringe slightly to reflect the light onto seedlings and protect delicate
stems from cold draughts.
Present Perfect
So you have just gone out and bought a brilliant present but have
forgotten to get any wrapping paper. Just cut a sheet of aluminium
foil and wrap in hi-tech silver. You can even cut out pictures from
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
magazines or old greetings cards and stick onto the foil for an
individual ‘designer wrapped’ present.
Silver Cleaner
Did you know that a few strips of aluminium foil can be the ideal
silver cleaner? Not many people do! But, if you line a bowl with
aluminium foil, crumple a few bits and add to the bowl with hot
water and dissolved washing soda, the chemical reaction between
the aluminium and soda will clean all your silver. Do make sure
that your silver touches the foil at some point in the cleaning
process. The best thing about this is that you do not have to use
harsh chemicals and it cleans in all the little intricate places normal
rubbing misses. Rinse well, dry and buff with a soft, clean cloth.
NB: This must be pure ‘aluminium’ foil and not tin foil or kitchen
foil or it will not work.
Office Wipes
Baby wipes are great for cleaning keyboards on computers, word
processors and calculators. They are also good for keeping hands
from becoming sweaty when typing.
Aluminium Bird Scarer
Old aluminium plates and dishes can be used as a bird deterrent
when threaded on a line and hung around pea or bean plants etc.
Corn on the Cob Holder
A ring jelly mould or angel cake tin (with a hole in the centre) is
ideal for holding hot corn on the cob steady as you slice off the
kernels of corn. Just pop the cob in the centre and cut. If the cob is
Bakeware / Balloons
too slim, wrap the bottom in a few layers of unbleached, food
quality kitchen paper.
Desk Tidy
An old 12 slot fairy-cake tin or muffin tin is ideal for holding paper
clips, elastic bands, erasers, drawing pins, blue tak, tacks, etc. It can
be fixed, with a screw and washer, to the underneath of a desk top
or shelf, or can be simply placed in a drawer. If fixed, it can be
swiveled out when needed and hidden away when not. Ideal for the
shed, garage or office.
Bandage (Finger) Protectors
Pop a long thin balloon over your bandage or hurt finger to protect
it from moisture, especially when putting hands into water.
Flower Transporter
Have you ever cut flowers and wished that you could take them to
a relative or friend a few miles away without them wilting? The
ideal solution is to put some water into the bottom of a balloon
followed by the cut flowers. If necessary put an elastic band over
the stems and balloon to keep it in place and make sure that you
stand it upright during the journey. You can also use the same
method to arrange flowers in a non-watertight vase or unusual
receptacle. No one will ever know your secret.
Hand or Foot Warmer
Put a little warm water in a balloon, tie the top and slip into the
palm of your hand (and put some stretchy gloves on), or inside a
pocket. It will keep your hands warm when you have to go outside.
It can also be used slipped just inside wellington boots, and very
good slipped inside gloves when handling snow or ice. Remember
to tie the top tightly.
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
Hat Saver
An inflated balloon will help to keep your hat from losing its shape.
Place the hat over the balloon when storing.
Ice Packs
Going on a picnic and need larger ice packs that last longer? Just
fill a balloon with water, leaving space for it to expand further, and
freeze. Do not use the water to drink.
Mouthpiece Cover
Slip a balloon over the mouthpiece of a musical instrument to keep
it free of dust. Wipe before use.
Noisy Balloons
Before blowing up balloon add few rounded lentils or small dried
beans, place the balloon on a piece of elastic and bounce it off your
hand for a very noisy time.
Compost Starter
Banana skins added to the compost heap adds much needed
nutrients, and helps the compost to rot down more efficiently.
Shoe Cleaner
If you need a quick shine for your shoes use the inside of a banana
skin and buff with a clean, soft cloth.
Silver Cleaner
A mashed banana skin makes a good silver cleaner.
Potato Food
When planting seed potatoes add a couple of banana skins to the
soil around the potato, they will help to feed the growing plant with
essential nutrients such as potassium etc.
Basting Syringe
Keep a spare basting syringe / turkey baster for using around the
house. Use a different coloured baster for culinary use.
Batter without Splatter
Any type of runny batter can be sucked up by a basting syringe and
deposited quickly and easily in relevant cooking tin/pan. Pancakes,
drop scones, brandy snaps, muffins, etc.
Candle Power
Fill a glass candle or oil lamp with lamp oil using a basing syringe,
but make sure that the syringe is not used for drinking water or
culinary use afterwards.
Flower Water Changer
Quickly and easily change the water in your vase without moving
the flower arrangement by using a turkey baster to first siphon the
dirty water out and then squirt clean water back in.
Fill a Water Reservoir
It is difficult to fill the water reservoir in steam curlers, straightening irons, steam irons, etc. Not any more! A basting syringe is the
ideal way to make sure that filling steam appliances is no longer a
Liquid Lifter
Any spilled liquid can be quickly siphoned up using an ordinary
turkey baster. Raw egg can be particularly difficult to clean up,
with a baster it is easy.
Pet’s Water Bowl Filler
Ever wondered how to change a pet’s water bowl without opening
their cage door? A basting syringe is the answer. It siphons up the
old water and then you can fill the water pot with fresh, clean water
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
again using the washed siphon. It’s great for changing the water of
birds that are liable to escape whilst the door is open.
Seedling Waterer
A turkey baster can be used to water seedlings, by dribbling the
water in between the vulnerable plants without damaging them.
Siphon without Sucking
Anyone who has tried to siphon liquid from a fish tank or fuel from
a fuel tank will know that it is not nice when you get a mouthful of
the liquid. With a basting syringe it is much easier to do. Just place
the syringe at the end of the siphoning tube, squeeze to make sure
of an airtight fit, and start off the siphoning process with the baster,
not your mouth.
Duvets and Pillows
Old duvets and pillows can be washed and used as pet beds, if you
don’t want them, try your local animal sanctuary, they may be very
pleased to have them.
Old sheets with no holes can be used for a variety of household
Before painting, lay an old sheet over carpets to stop any
Old sheets make ideal dust covers for furniture, while away
on holiday or while decorating.
Use old sheets to catch hedge clippings, they can be folded
and dragged to the compost heap for emptying.
Bedding / Belts
Use an old sheet under a picnic blanket to protect it from
grass stains.
Use an old sheet to wrap around a natural Christmas tree
before taking it outside. It catches the falling needles.
Throw an old sheet over plants to protect them from
overnight frosts.
Pin an old sheet up in the greenhouse to protect plants from
direct sunlight.
Belt Holder
Use one old belt to hold all the rest.
Coat Hanger Holders
Keep old belts, punch more holes down the strap and use for
storing coat hangers. Fit the buckle over hook and hang the belt
hanger holder on rail. They take up less space in the wardrobe.
NB: Use a belt hanger holder to hang several light blouses or shirts.
Door Hinge
A piece of old leather belt makes a handy door or gate hinge, until
you can buy one from the DIY shop. Just fix a small piece to the
door jamb and to the door.
Pet Collar
Take a belt you don’t use and cut it down to size, put holes in the
appropriate places and use as a collar for your pet.
Pet Lead
In an emergency a belt makes an impromptu pet lead.
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
Clean Wooden Furniture
A small amount of beer on a clean cloth will clean wooden furniture.
Just rub over with a moistened cloth and buff with a clean, lint-free
Gold Shiner
Place gold jewellery in beer for 30 minutes to bring out the natural
lustre. Do not use on plated gold.
Hair Styler
Yes it’s true! Beer and lager are great hair stylers, they work as well
as styling gel, but you have to love the aroma. Towel dry hair and
sprinkle on the beer or lager. Comb through and set into style or put
into large rollers. Dry as normal.
Slug Killer
Save all your yogurt pots, especially those with reusable lids. Cut a
small hole in the centre of the pot lid (just enough for the large slugs
to get through); half fill with beer. Bitter is the best and replace the
lid. Dig a small hole in the soil, place the yogurt pot in so that the
lid lip just rests on the top of the soil. Place out at night and collect
in the morning and dispose of.
Bicarbonate of soda is a natural, gentle alkali, it is perfect for
cleaning, getting rid of bad odours and for softening the skin. Small
culinary tubs of bicarbonate of soda (yes, it is even safe to eat) can
work out very expensive so it is best to buy the kilo bags, they are
much more cost effective. Washing soda is much stronger and
should not be substituted for use on the skin, it can, however, be
used as drain and sink cleaners, and as a laundry booster.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Air Freshener
In an atomiser or plant mister, dissolve 3-4 teaspoons bicarbonate
of soda in a pint of warm water, add two drops of lemon essential
oil, shake well and finely mist around the room. A drop of tea tree
oil can also help diminish airborne viruses, which is especially
beneficial for cold and flu germs.
Add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to a glass of tepid water,
stir well and drink. Do not use more than once a day, if symptoms
persist see your GP.
Ant Bites
Some plants and insects such as bees, ants and nettles have an
acidic poison. Soak the area in a strong solution of bicarbonate of
soda. Or soak tissues in solution and apply to area.
Ash Tray Deodoriser
Add a few teaspoons of dry bicarbonate of soda to an ashtray.
This will help to keep cigarette fumes to a minimum.
See bicarbonate of soda deodoriser.
Bad Breath Remover
Dissolve one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda a glass of warm
water and swish around mouth or gargle, then spit out. NB: Bad
breath may be a sign of an illness or tooth decay, if you have
consistent bad breath, see your doctor or dentist.
Balloon Inflator
You know what it’s like, the celebration is happening in a couple
of hours and you’ve lost the balloon pump. After a few attempts
at blowing up the balloons your throat hurts so much you know
you won’t be able to continue. Fret not, help is at hand. In a large
glass bottle, add a few teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, splash in
some vinegar. Immediately put balloon over the bottle neck and
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
hold in place. When the balloon is inflated, take off the bottle, put
on another balloon quickly, and then tie the first balloon. When
finished or the reaction has subsided, don’t waste the solution. Pour
into a spray bottle, add water and a squirt of biodegradable washing-up liquid and use as a surface cleaner. You’ll need a few bottles
of surface cleaner after the party!
Bathroom Cleaner
Dissolve one heaped tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda in 500ml of
warm water in a large spray bottle. Dribble in a tablespoon of white
vinegar, 3ml tea tree oil, 2 ml lemon oil, and a squirt of biodegradable washing-up liquid. Mix well and use as required. Spray onto
bathroom surfaces and wipe with a clean, damp cloth. For more
soiled areas, spray, allow to stand for a few minutes and rub with a
plastic washing-up scourer (do not use scourer on easily damaged
surfaces). Always abide by manufacturers cleaning instructions.
Bath Salts
In a pretty airtight container/jar add a few handfuls each of bicarbonate of soda and sea salt, a couple of teaspoons grated nutmeg or a
couple of halves of nutmeg (whichever you prefer), a couple of
cinnamon sticks and or a vanilla pod, and a few drops of your
favourite essential oil such as ylang ylang. (You can even add a few
sprigs of fresh rosemary.) Shake well to incorporate all the aromas
and leave for at least a couple of weeks to marinate. Shake a
handful of the salts into a warm bath, taking care not to add the
whole spices. NB: Finely grated citrus zest can also be used, if you
do not like them floating in the bath, add whole dried zest for a
couple of weeks, discard and renew often for a lovely citrusy aroma
that compliments the spicy nutmeg or rosemary.
Bath Soak
Add a couple of tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda and soak away
your worries in a relaxing bath. Or see bath salts above.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Bath Tub Cleaner
For tough stains, spray the bath with your bathroom cleaner (page
25), sprinkle a sponge with a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate
of soda and rub over the surface of the bath. Bicarbonate of soda
is a gentle abrasive, but it may damage cheaper plastic surfaces,
so always patch test a small area initially.
Bee Stings
Bee stings have an acidic poison. Soak area in a strong solution of
bicarbonate of soda.
Bicarbonate of Soda Deodoriser
Many applications in this book call for a dry deodoriser to be used
around the home. If you buy your bicarbonate of soda in large kilo
bags, empty the whole packet into a clean, dry, ice-cream
container. Add some whole spices or dried herbs such as mint,
nutmegs, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, dried lemon or orange
zest etc. and store until needed. Use the ‘scented’ bicarbonate of
soda in applications that require a fragrance.
Bin Deodoriser
Wash out bins with a strong solution of bicarbonate of soda, 2
tablespoons to every pint of warm water and a squirt of biodegradable washing-up liquid. When finished, tip the solution out of the
bin, straight down the drain.
Brush and Comb Cleaner
Once a week, soak your hair-care items (non-electrical) in a
solution of bicarbonate of soda to remove the chemical hair
styling products. 1-tablespoon bicarbonate of soda in a pint of
warm water with a squirt of biodegradable washing-up liquid. If
you do this to coincide with cleaning out your kitchen waste bins,
you can use this same solution to deodorise your plastic bins, tip
into drain after use, to help keep drains smelling fresh.
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
Car Interior Deodoriser
Sprinkle the upholstery and vacuumed carpets with bicarbonate of
soda or fragranced bicarbonate of soda deodoriser. Leave for 20
minutes, rub well in, then vacuum up the excess powder. It will also
deodorise your vacuum cleaner at the same time. Do not use on
damp carpets or upholstery.
Carpet Cleaner/Deodoriser
Vacuum your carpets to remove surface grime, and sprinkle on
bicarbonate of soda or fragranced bicarbonate of soda deodoriser,
take a soft bristle brush and gently brush the bicarbonate of soda
into the pile, leave for 20 minutes, then vacuum up the excess
powder. It will also deodorise your vacuum cleaner at the same
For stubborn odours or grubby carpets, mix sugar soap and
bicarbonate of soda, half and half, and rub well into the pile with a
soft brush. Leave for 20 minutes, then vacuum well. If you empty
your vacuum straight away into the bin it will help to cut down on
bin odours. Do not use on damp carpets, and check for colour
fastness on a small area before cleaning the whole carpet.
Ceiling Gum?
Mix bicarbonate of soda with a little white glue to form a paste. Fill
in the small cracks in a ceiling.
Cupboard Freshener
Take an empty, clean, yogurt pot and put in a few teaspoons of
bicarbonate of soda. Add a few strips of dried citrus zest and place
in cupboard as a deodoriser. Replace every month, but do not just
throw away, it can be used in applications such as bin freshener or
carpet deodoriser or drain cleaner.
Curtain Freshener
In atomiser / plant mister, dissolve 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
in half a pint of warm water, add strips of citrus zest (optional).
Bicarbonate of Soda
Close the curtains and finely mist all the surfaces, but do not
saturate. Leave the curtains closed (opened out) for at least 5 hours.
Dental Soak
Soak dentures overnight in a solution of bicarbonate of soda (2teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda in enough water to just cover the
dentures. Rinse well before use.
Dishwasher Powder
Run out of dishwashing powder? Don’t worry! A couple of tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda is an effective substitute.
See Vinegar – Dishwashing Rinse
Drain Cleaner
Just sprinkle a scoop of bicarbonate of soda around drains and wash
down with a jug of warm water mixed with half a cup of vinegar.
The resulting effervescence will clean the drain a treat. It is a good
way of using up the bicarbonate of soda from other applications i.e.
wardrobe or drawer freshener.
Drawer Freshener
Place a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda in a small plastic
bag and tie the end. Prick the bag all over with a pin, so that the air
can get in but the powder cannot spill out. Leave in the back of
Dry Pet Shampoo
You know what it’s like when people walk into your home and ask
where the dog is, before they even know you’ve got one! To stop
those characteristic doggy odours it is necessary to bathe your pet,
but sometimes it’s not convenient. So what do you do? Easy… a
dry bath. Just put some bicarbonate of soda (and mixed dried herbs
– optional) into a sugar shaker and shake all over the coat, rub well
in, leave for a few minutes (if possible) and brush out.
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Dry Shampoo
Need a quick shampoo? Haven’t had time to wash your hair? Don’t
worry! With bicarbonate of soda to hand you’ll always have the
answer. Brush it through your hair and it will soon feel clean.
Facial Scrub
If you have very sensitive skin then this is not for you. It’s a pity,
because it really does invigorate the circulation, and gets rid of dead
skin cells too. Use your normal cleansing routine, add a teaspoon
of bicarbonate of soda crystals to your facial wash or soap and
gently rub away those fine lines and dead skin cells.
Fire Extinguisher (minor)
Keep a lidded container of bicarbonate of soda by the cooker. If you
see the start of a minor fire, just douse it with the bicarbonate of
soda, by throwing it onto the flames. If it is a serious fire, don’t try
to tackle it, get out of the house and make sure everyone does the
same. Why not have a quick fire drill today, then everyone knows
what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure that you have plenty
of fire alarms around the house.
Flask Deodoriser
Next time you put your flask into storage, make sure that it is clean
and dry, then sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda into it and store.
Keep your floors sparkling clean by washing them with a
bicarbonate of soda solution and a little biodegradable washing-up
liquid. Use 4 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to half a gallon of
warm water and wash as normal. A few drops of your favourite
essential oil can be used to fragrance the floors i.e. lemon or pine.
Foot Soak
Put a couple of litres of warm water in a bowl and a tablespoon of
bicarbonate of soda. It helps to soften the skin.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Fresher Socks
After washing, rinse socks in a strong solution of bicarbonate of
soda and allow to dry. It will keep feet fresher all day.
Fresh Fruit Preserver
Place the fruit you need to keep fresh in a large plastic bag. Add a
tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to half a cup of water in a large
basin and place inside the bag. Add a tablespoon of citric acid, then
wait for the bubbling to subside. Close the bag. The bicarbonate of
soda and citric acid give off carbon dioxide, which keeps the fruit
from ripening. NB: stored fruit contains less nutrients than fresh
fruit that is allowed to ripen naturally.
Fridge Freshener
Take an empty, clean, yogurt pot and put in a few teaspoons of
bicarbonate of soda; add a few strips of dried citrus peel and place
in the refrigerator to help deodorise the interior.
Fruit De-acidifier
When cooking fruit, add bicarbonate of soda (about two teaspoons
to a pint of liquid), it will neutralise the fruit acid and you will not
need to use so much sugar to sweeten it. NB: Bicarbonate of soda
will also diminish vitamin C content.
Fruit & Vegetable Cleaner
Bicarbonate of soda in a bowl of warm water with a squirt of
biodegradable washing-up liquid will help to clean the fruit and get
rid of pesticide residues from the fruit’s skin.
Fruity Fizz Bath Bombs
In a mixing bowl combine the following:
4 teaspoons citric acid
1 tablespoon powdered full fat milk
1-2 tablespoons icing sugar
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5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 dessertspoon of salt
1 teaspoon dried citrus zest
Mix all ingredients together, add a few drops of Jojoba and your
favourite essential oil. Mix to incorporate the oil into the ingredients, adding more oil as necessary. Form into spheres or push into
small shapes,. Place on waxed paper to dry for 24-48 hours. Store
in a pretty airtight container. Every time you run a bath drop a
couple of the bath bombs in the water and watch them fizz. You can
also use the recipe as ‘fizzing bath powder’, just add 1-2 tablespoons to your bath.
Furry Toy Dry Cleaner
Place the furry toy that needs cleaning in a large plastic bag.
Sprinkle on bicarbonate of soda or your specially made bicarbonate
of soda deodoriser. Make sure that the surface of the toy is covered
and rub well in. Seal the bag and leave overnight. Brush the toy and
pat well to remove the bicarbonate of soda and either hang on a
washing line or a clothes airer for a few hours.
NB: Keep plastic bags out of the reach of children.
Grease and Oil Stain Remover
Bicarbonate of soda is very good for removing grease, oil and
petrol stains from the garage floor, paving slabs or drive. Sprinkle
onto the stain, add salt and some washing-up liquid. Scrub well and
wash away with a hosepipe (it will also help to keep weeds from
growing in between paving slabs). If there are plants near to the
area omit the salt.
Hand Cleaner
Put some liquid soap into the middle of your hand, add a dessertspoon of bicarbonate of soda and rub well into both your hands,
rinse and repeat, if necessary.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Keyboard Cleaner
To keep your keyboard clean, rub the keys with a solution of
bicarbonate of soda diluted in warm water after every use, or at the
end of the day. Make sure that none of the solution runs down
between the keys, and dry or buff with a soft dry cloth after
Kitchen Cleaner
Dissolve two heaped tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in 500ml
of warm water in a spray bottle. Carefully dribble a tablespoon of
white vinegar, a tablespoon lemon juice, 3ml tea tree oil, 2ml
lemon oil, and a squirt of biodegradable washing-up liquid. Mix
well and use as required. Spray onto kitchen surfaces and wipe
with a clean, damp cloth. For more soiled areas, spray with the
kitchen cleaner and sprinkle on bicarbonate of soda, rub with a
cloth or scourer (but not on delicate surfaces).
Lampshade Cleaning Pad
Cut a circle of gauze approx. 15cm. Mix a tablespoon of sugarsoap
with a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and place in the middle
of the gauze circle. Gather up the gauze and twist so that the
powder is trapped in the middle, secure with string or an elastic
band. Rub the ‘pad’ over a lampshade to clean the surface. Brush
off the excess.
Laundry Booster
Add a tablespoon of washing soda or bicarbonate of soda to half
the amount of washing powder that you normally use.
Lunch Box Deodoriser
Soak lunch boxes in a solution of bicarbonate of soda (1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to 1 pint of warm water). If storing
lunch boxes, sprinkle with dry bicarbonate of soda, replace lid and
store. When you come to use the lunchbox again, the bicarbonate
of soda can be used for other applications. Rinse and dry.
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Mattress Dry Cleaner
Sprinkle on bicarbonate of soda or bicarbonate of soda deodoriser,
brush well in and allow to stand for a couple of hours, then vacuum
the mattress.
Mildew Spray
To make a anti-mildew spray for your roses, mix 30g of bicarbonate of soda with 250ml milk and 4 litres warm water, mix well.
Spray often during the growing system.
Nappy Soak
Make a strong solution of bicarbonate of soda (add 4 tablespoons
of bicarbonate of soda to every litre of warm water and some soap
flakes) and soak for a couple of hours then launder and dry as
Oven Cleaner
Put rubber gloves on, sprinkle the cold oven with bicarbonate of
soda. Soak a pan scourer sponge with white vinegar and rub the
powder over the oven surfaces, leave for 20 minutes and rinse off.
Repeat as necessary. If the oven is very soiled the racks may need
soaking overnight in a strong solution of vinegar and bicarbonate
of soda. NB: do not use on non-stick surfaces.
Pan Scrub
Add 4 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda to a pan with burnt food
stuck to the surface. Add 4 tablespoons vinegar to the pan and
abrade with a long handled pan scrubber. Add enough boiling water
to cover the burnt areas, replace the lid and leave overnight. Rinse
in the morning. Repeat if necessary. NB: For stubborn stains bring
the bicarbonate of soda liquid to the boil and allow to stand.
CAUTION: Do not use soda on aluminium pans, use vinegar or
lemon juice instead.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Always check manufacturers instructions on cleaning before
using any cleaning agents near your pan.
Personal Deodorant
Dust under arms with a teaspoon of powdered bicarbonate of soda
mixed with a teaspoon of white cornflour on a powder puff.
Use excess on feet.
Pet Bed Deodoriser
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda or bicarbonate of soda deodoriser onto
your pet’s bed and allow to stand for at least 20 minutes. Brush or
vacuum off the excess.
Plastic Container Deodoriser
Soak plastic container(s) in a solution of bicarbonate of soda (1
tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to 1 pint of warm water). If
storing them, make sure that they are dry, then sprinkle with dry
bicarbonate of soda, place lid on and store. When you come to use
the containers again, the bicarbonate of soda can be used for other
applications. Rinse the container before using.
Play & Moulding Clay
Mix together the following ingredients:
2 cups bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of white cornflour
1¼ cups distilled water (approximately)
add to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat right down
and simmer, stirring all the time until very thick. Add food colouring if necessary and cool. Kneed until pliable. This can be air-dried
or stored in a polythene bag for a couple of days. If air-dried the
surface will need to be protected with a sealer or it will degrade in
damp weather.
NB: Put through a potato ricer or form into small balls and dry.
They can be used in potpourri (coloured with food colouring); in an
ashtray sprinkled with lemon, orange or peppermint essential oil to
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freshen the room; or even in the cat litter tray if you run out of cat
Play Paints
Mix together the following ingredients:
2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons white cornflour
1 teaspoon salt
Mix to a paste with a little water, add natural food colouring. Cook
in a saucepan until thickened. Cool and use. To dry, pour into
small bun tin moulds and bake in a very slow oven. When dry store
in an airtight container. To use, place a colour block in a small
container, such as a yogurt pot or an old bun tin, dip paintbrush in
water and rub over the block and paint your paper with it. These
are ideal for use by small children, but do not leave unsupervised.
Powder Puff
In your usual powder bowl add one part bicarbonate of soda to five
parts white cornflour, mix well and dust body with powder puff.
NB: The ‘powder’ can be fragranced with a whole vanilla pod or
a couple of drops of essential oil, store in airtight container for a
couple of weeks for the aroma to impregnate the powder.
NB: Refill an empty powder bottle or sugar sprinkler and use.
Scouring Agent
Mix together equal quantities of salt and bicarbonate of soda,
sprinkle on surfaces that need a scouring agent and rub with a
damp scourer.
Septic Tank
Cleaning the toilet, drains and sink with bicarbonate of soda on a
regular basis will make your septic tank less acidic, which means
less smelly.
Bicarbonate of Soda
Shoe Deodoriser
Sprinkle the inside of shoes with dry bicarbonate of soda or
bicarbonate of soda deodoriser. Just before use, empty the contents
of the shoes into the bin or down the drain.
Silver Cleaner
Add a few tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda or washing soda to
a bowl of warm water, tear a few strips of aluminium foil and
crumple it up and place in the bowl. Add the silver, make sure that
it is completely covered with the water. The chemical reaction
between the soda and the aluminium foil will clean all the covered
silver. NB: This must be pure ‘aluminium’ foil and not tin foil or
kitchen foil or it will not work.
Sink Cleaner
Sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda around the sink and down the plug
hole. Spray on a mix of 50:50 lemon juice and water. Scour the
surface with bicarbonate of soda powder and rinse well.
NB: make sure that the surface will not scratch before scouring.
NB: Do not use soda around an aluminium sink.
Sponge Freshener
Dissolve 1-2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda on a damp sponge,
leave for 20 mins, rinse well. It will leave the sponge smelling
fresh and clean. To zap bugs, microwave sponge 1-2 mins and cool.
Sport or Gym Bag Deodoriser
Sprinkle the inside of the bag with dry bicarbonate of soda, rub into
all the surfaces with a soft dry cloth and leave for 20 minutes.
Vacuum up all the powder and use the bag or store it away for
future use.
Stain Remover
Mix a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with a teaspoon of white
vinegar, add a couple of drops of tea tree oil and a squirt of
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biodegradable washing-up liquid. Rub well into the stain, allow to
stand for a few minutes then launder as normal. Always patch test
on non-colourfast or delicate fabrics. This may damage the fabric
or colour.
Sweeter Fruit
A couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda stirred into stewing
fruit will cut down on the amount of sugar needed to sweeten it.
NB: it also cuts down on the Vitamin C content of stewed fruit.
Teacup Cleaner
Use dry bicarbonate of soda on a damp cloth to clean inside a
heavily stained teacup or teapot. Don’t forget the teapot spout,
sprinkle with dry bicarbonate of soda and clean with a damp bottle
Teapot Freshener
Add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to the teapot and pour on
boiling water, allow to stand and rinse well. If the teapot has a few
stains, brush around the inside surface with a stiff brush. If badly
stained use teacup/teapot cleaner above. When finished pour water
and bicarbonate of soda down the drain, it will help to keep the
drains fresh too.
Tooth Cleaner
When cleaning teeth put toothpaste onto brush and sprinkle on a
couple of pinches of bicarbonate of soda, clean teeth as normal. It
whitens teeth and helps to cut down on the acidic compounds that
occur naturally within the mouth. If left the acid can eat its way into
healthy tooth enamel.
Upholstery Dry Cleaning Pad
Cut a circle of gauze approx. 15cm. Mix a tablespoon of sugarsoap
with a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and place in the middle of
the gauze circle. Gather up the gauze and twist so that the powder
Bicarbonate of Soda
is trapped in the middle, secure with string or an elastic band. Rub
the ‘pad’ over your upholstery or small carpet, to clean the surface.
Brush or vacuum off the excess. NB: You can use the foot of a pair
of tights instead of gauze.
Vase Deodoriser
Sprinkle on a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and fill vase with
warm/hot water, allow to stand for at least 30 minutes and discard
water. To keep vases smelling fresh make sure that they are dry,
then sprinkle a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in the bottom before
Wardrobe Freshener
Place a pot of bicarbonate of soda in the corner of the wardrobe to
absorb smells. You can sprinkle them with essential oil of your
choice to fragrance the area too. Don’t worry if pot gets knocked
over, you can rub the bicarbonate of soda into the base of the
wardrobe and vacuum up, it will help to keep the floor fresh.
Waste Deodoriser
Sprinkle a few teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda onto the contents
of the bin at night. It will help to keep bin odours down. When
emptying the bin wash it out with a solution of bicarbonate of soda
and dry with kitchen towel before replacing liner.
Whiter Socks
Presoak socks in a solution of bicarbonate of soda and launder as
Windscreen Cleaner
A strong solution of water and bicarbonate of soda, with a little
vinegar in it will help to clean your windscreen, especially if bugs
and bird droppings are stuck to it. Use a non-scratch plastic scourer
to get rid of stubborn debris.
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See Plastic Bottles, Page 102
Coffee Grinder Cleaner
Putting a few crusts in your coffee grinder will clean the grinder.
Discard the crumbs, and rub around grinder with soft cloth and a
drop of vegetable oil.
Oil Painting Cleaner
Gently rub over an oil painting with white bread to remove dust.
Suede Cleaner
Use a piece of stale white bread to clean suede.
Wallpaper Cleaner
Rub the crusts from a loaf of white bread carefully over wallpaper
to gently remove finger marks, crayon marks and grease.
Garden Dibber
Slightly sharpen the end of a wooden broom handle or old spade/
garden fork handle and use as a garden dibber. Ideal for planting
small plants and seedlings.
Double Your Wardrobe Space
Use a broom handle and two rod sockets i.e. towel rail ends
(available from DIY shops) to put an extra rail in kid’s wardrobes
or to hang shirts.
Candles / Cardboard Tubes
Door Hinges
A little melted wax on hinges will have them opening and closing
like new.
Pin Holder
Pins or needles can be stuck into tea lights or small candles to keep
them from scattering and getting lost. The wax not only keeps
them safe it stops them from sticking into fingers and also helps
them glide through the material.
Squeaking floorboards
Melted candle wax dribbled onto joists under squeaking floor
boards should sort out the problem.
Cardboard tubes are in plentiful supply in most people’s shopping.
Kitchen towels, toilet rolls, foil, greaseproof paper, wrapping
paper, crisps, and sweet containers all come with free, very handy,
cardboard tubes and lids.
Button Store
Small sweet tubes with a base and a lid are ideal for storing
buttons, and if you stick a button to the outside of the lid they will
be very easy to find when needed.
Cable Holder
Fold the cable of any appliance and carefully lodge into a cardboard tube, it will help keep the cable from unravelling when
storing or traveling. No more tangled cables when you come to
unpack them.
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Coat Hanger Cover
Cut a tube lengthways and cover the bar of a coat hanger. Tape over
the cut, and hang a pair of trousers over the tube, they won’t crease
across the leg.
Ornament Protector
Slip your favourite ornaments into paper tubes when moving house,
it will keep them safe.
Paper Posters
If you need to send important papers through the post, or just
protect them, slip them into an appropriate sized paper tube and seal
the ends.
Pencil Store
A sweet tube with a lid and a base is ideal to store pens and pencils.
Plant Tubes
Cut the tube into 3” lengths, place on a seed tray and fill with seed
compost, sow the seed in the middle and when the plants grow they
can be planted straight out in the garden.
Seedling Protector
Place a cardboard tube around young plants to protect them from
wind damage.
Sock Tidy
Cut the tubes into lengths that fit upright in your sock draw. Push
socks in pairs into the tubes. It will keep them tidy and easy to find.
When you have just one sock, it is easy to just push it into a tube
and push the matching one on top when you find it.
Teapot Spout Protector
Slip a tube over a teapot spout before packing it, it will protect it
from damage.
Carpet & Carpet underlay
Car Mats
Cut some squares of carpet from the good bits of an old carpet or
use remnants and cut to size. They make ideal car mats and will
protect the original carpet from soiling and damage. Don’t forget
the boot!
Carpet protector
Take an off-cut from your carpet and cut to fit under sofa, table,
chair legs and castors etc. In fact, anything that is not easily moved
and just sits on the carpet. It will protect your carpet from being
Cat Scratching Box
Line a strong box with carpet and stick firmly down with double
sided tape. You can also line a sturdy greaseproof or foil inner tube
with carpet and stick down the centre of the box. Your cat will love
scratching them, and leave your soft furnishings alone, hopefully.
Comfort Sole for Wellingtons
Take the left and right insoles from a pair of your old footwear to
use as templates. Cut out a ‘sole’ from carpet off-cuts or underlay
and use to line your wellingtons or boots.
Easier Painting
Stick a square of sturdy pile carpet to a wooden block of wood, it
makes painting floors, sheds and fences a lot easier. Just dip the
block into the paint to load the carpet, rub off excess on the edge of
the container and rub over the surface area to be painted.
NB: To paint underneath the fence, gate or door, apply paint to a
piece of old carpet and pull backwards and forwards to coat the
underside of the item.
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Exercise Mat
Use a piece of carpet underlay to cushion yourself when exercising
on the floor.
Hanging Basket Liner
Keep the off-cuts of carpets or carpet underlay and use to line
hanging baskets (patterned side facing inwards). Fill with potting
compost and plants as usual.
Machine Cushion
Place a piece of carpet or carpet underlay under machines that
vibrate to cushion them and reduce noise. It can be used under
washing machines, dryers, printers, etc.
Puppy Comforter
Put one piece of carpet in your dog’s bed when she has got puppies
(one for each puppy). When the puppies go to new homes send each
off with a piece of carpet to put in their new bed. The familiar smell
of the carpet will ensure that the puppies settle down quicker in
their new homes.
Rocking Chairs
Glue strips of carpet underlay to the rockers, this will stop the chair
ruining the finish on wooden floors or tiles etc.
Tyre Unsticker
Line your car boot with carpet, it protects the boot and if you ever
get stuck in the mud or in snow, some pieces of old carpet under the
wheels should have you unstuck in no time. It is also invaluable if
you ever have to change a tyre, you can kneel on it and keep your
clothes clean.
Weed Suppressor
When making a gravel or chipping path through the garden or lawn
lay a strip of carpet or underlay on the base. This will stop the
Carpet / Cat Litter
longer rooted weeds taking over and make it easier to weed. It can
also be used as a mulch in between rows of plants, not only will it
be easier to walk on, it cuts down on weeding.
Wrist Rest
Roll some carpet into a comfortable size, tape into position and use
as a wrist rest whilst typing.
Fuller’s earth cat litter should be used, preferably unperfumed,
without additives.
Ashtray Freshener
Fuller’s earth makes a brilliant ashtray freshener; it can even be
dyed with food colouring to match the decor. Sprinkle on a few
drops of essential oil or potpourri freshener and leave in the ashtray.
Book Ends
Take two lidded triangular-shaped sandwich containers, which are
available in most large supermarkets. Fill with coloured cat litter
(or gravel) and seal the lid to the base. This is very important
because of the contents. Place on a bookshelf (well away from the
Clean-up with Cat Litter
Any liquid spills can be cleared up by sprinkling with cat litter,
leave to soak in and brush or vacuum away.
Cupboard Fresheners
Put 2 tablespoons of cat litter into a small plastic bag, sprinkle on
favourite essential oil or potpourri freshener and knot the bag, prick
the plastic all over with a pin to release the fragrance. Place in the
centre of a round piece of lacy material (or cut a large ring from a
net curtain) and draw up around the bag, tie in place with a ribbon,
allowing a loop for hanging up. Hang in cupboard or wardrobe.
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Refresh every month, by reusing the material and discarding the
bag and filling a new one with cat litter and essential oils.
Flower Arranging
Half-fill a clean, dry, vase with white-coloured cat litter when
arranging artificial flowers or dried grasses. It will keep the vase
stable and the flowers/grasses in place. In a glass vase it can be
coloured with food colouring to compliment the arrangement or
Shoe Fresheners
When storing shoes or trainers in a wardrobe, the sweaty feet smell
can penetrate the clothes and the whole area. It is very easy to stop
this happening. Fill the feet of an old pair of socks with cat litter,
which has been sprinkled with your favourite essential oil, sew or
tie the tops to prevent spillage and place in the shoes, boots etc.
Magazine/ Document Holder
Take a cereal box and cut the top off, then cut off one of the top
corners in a triangular wedge shape. Cover the box with wrapping
paper or wallpaper and store your papers or magazines in it.
Postal Boxes
Open an empty cereal box down the glued side and open up the
flaps on the top and bottom of the box, turn the box inside out and
glue or tape the side and bottom flaps, to form an ‘inside-out’ box.
Put in the items to be mailed and seal. Write the address on the plain
surface (that was the inside of the box), put on stamps and post.
They are ideal postal boxes. Parcel tape around edges for security.
NB: any small box can be used as a postal box.
Charcoal can be purchased in many supermarkets for use on the
barbeque. Make sure that you only purchase pure charcoal and not
ones that have been treated with chemicals or have been processed.
The best thing is that once you have used the charcoal around the
home it can then be used on the barbeque.
Damp Stop
Pure charcoal will absorb excess moisture in the air so is ideal for
areas and items that are prone to damp.
A cupboard that has a tendency to smell musty can be
‘sweetened’ by adding a bowl of charcoal to it. You can fill
the feet and part of the leg of a pair of stockings with
charcoal and hang it in the cupboard. Refresh every month
or when the cupboard starts to smell damp again. Do not
discard, use the charcoal for the barbeque.
Books and clothes are particularly vulnerable to damp, a
charcoal filled bowl or stocking, stored in the same area,
will help to keep them safe.
Caravans that are shut up for months on end need a few
bowls of charcoal stored around and in the rooms. And,
you can use the charcoal during the season on a barbeque.
Store tents or gazebos away with a few bricks of charcoal,
wrapped in absorbent kitchen paper to keep them fresh.
Charcoal in a vase of cut flowers or when trying to root
cuttings will keep the water sweet.
Shoes or boots will store better if they have charcoal inside
them. Fill a sock or the feet of a pair of tights with small
pieces of charcoal and knot the top. Just pop them into the
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footwear and when you come to wear them again they will
be fresh and clean.
A bowl or bricks of charcoal in appliances that are not being
used for over a week will keep them from smelling musty.
NB: Remember never throw away your pieces of charcoal, they can
still be used on the barbecue.
Bag Pegger
When you have had enough crisps, sweets or snacks, just twist the
packet top shut and peg it into place. They will keep fresher for
Finger Saver
Grab hold of a nail or tack with a clothes peg and you will be able
to hammer it in safely, instead of hitting your fingers.
Shopping List and Pen Holder
Fix 2 clothes pegs to the back of your kitchen door, or kitchen
cabinet door, about 7cms apart. Cut some junk mail envelopes up
into rectangles and use the two pegs to hold them in place, put a pen
into the fork of the two pegs. When you are cooking and you run
out of something you can quickly write it down on one of your
notes. When you come to do your shopping just unpeg the note and
take it with you.
Wall Pegs
Fix clothes pegs to a wall, the end of your desk, shelves, etc. And
you will have a handy clip to hang papers or useful things from.
Ash Remover
Empty the moist grounds from your coffee pot onto the ash in the
grate and it will stop the dust from rising as you clean it out.
Bad Breath?
Just suck a coffee bean.
Carrot Saver
When thinning out carrots replace the soil and sprinkle used coffee
grounds on top, it will help to stop the carrot root fly from detecting
the carrot patch.
Floor Perfect
When brushing wooden floors the dust usually rises and settles on
surfaces. If you empty the moist coffee grounds or tea leaves from
a teapot onto the floor first and brush the floor as normal the dust
does not rise and the floor colour deepens.
Furniture Restorer
Grooves or nicks in dark wood furniture or floors can be easily
restored by mixing instant coffee powder with melted candle wax.
Dribble into the area, remove excess with the tip of an absorbent
kitchen towel and allow to set. Polish as normal.
Hair Highlights
Coffee gone cold? Don’t worry! Pour strong black coffee through
brown or red hair to give added highlights.
Handy Hint
Mix coffee grounds with a little soap or moisturiser and rub over
hands and thighs to get rid of dry skin. The caffeine may even help
to remove areas of cellulite.
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Musty No More
Cut the foot from a pair of tights or stockings and fill with used, dry
coffee grounds, hang in musty cupboards or rooms to remove the
smell. You can even store them in washing machines while not in
use. But do be careful to remove them when doing a wash or they
will stain whites and light coloureds.
Sink Cleaner
Pour coffee grounds down the sink add a squirt of washing-up
liquid, followed by boiling water. It really does help to clear the
sink pipes of grease and foul smells.
Slug Repellent
Emptying coffee grounds around plants is said to repel snails from
attacking vulnerable plants. The snails do not like the coffee or the
gritty texture of the grounds.
* Coffee grounds are also good for your outdoor plants.
750g or 1kg coffee tins are ideal for use around the house. Most
come with an extra plastic lid. If you only need the tin, never throw
the lid out, some uses need two lids.
Camping Essentials
Take coffee tins filled with camping essentials i.e. toilet paper,
tissues, matches, camera, and anything that should not get damp.
Charcoal Store
Take an empty coffee tin and punch pea-sized holes in the bottom.
When you have finished with your barbeque, carefully drop the hot
charcoal into 1-2 coffee tins stand on three house bricks arranged
in a triangle and douse with water to stop them burning away (stand
well back to avoid splashes and steam). The ash should drain away
Coffee Tins
into the soil, while the unused charcoal remains in the tin to be
dried and used another day.
Paint Brush Like New
Use an empty coffee tin to restore or keep paint brushes. One coffee
tin is ideal for 4 small brushes, 2 medium brushes or 1 large brush.
Cut a cross (4 or 2 as required) in the snap on plastic lid. Push the
handle through the underside of the lid making sure that the bristles
are just above the bottom of the tin. Pour in cleaner or restorer and
leave brushes to soak. When finished, wash brushes well, massage
in a little washing up liquid and store in an identical, clean, dry,
coffee tin in the same way.
Paint Holders
A Coffee tin can be used to store surplus paint. Or when two people
are painting a room, the paint can be halved. If you have two lids to
the tin (a metal and plastic one), the plastic lid makes an ideal brush
scraper. Just cut it in half and place the half lid back onto the tin.
Every time you dip your brush into the paint you can scrape off the
surplus on the cut lid and, with a bit of luck, the other half will snap
fit onto your friend’s paint tin too. Store the surplus paint in the tin
with the metal airtight lid in place.
Pet food Store
During the summer, when you have a half empty can of pet food
left over, just pop the whole can and biscuits into a coffee tin, close
the lid and store in the refrigerator. No more smelly dog food cans
evident when you open the door. When you feed your pet, just take
out the can and mix the dog food with the biscuits in the coffee tin
and empty into the dog’s food bowl. As simple as that!
Seed Sprinkler
A coffee tin with two plastic lids is ideal for keeping and using lawn
seed. Punch holes in the bottom of the tin so that it looks like a
sieve. Place a lid over the perforations to seal. Fill the tin with grass
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seed and lawn sand, mix well. Seal the top with the extra lid and
store in a cool, dark shed. When you find a bald patch on your lawn
just take the tin out, take off the bottom lid and sprinkle over the
bald patch allowing the seed and sand to fall over the area. Keep
watering the spot well. Replace the lid and store remaining seed in
the shed until needed again.
Wall Storage
Fix the bottoms of some coffee tins to the wall of office, shed or
garage and use as storage tins to keep bits and bobs.
Wool Tidy
If you are using several balls of wall to knit a garment. Put them
into a clean, dry, coffee tin and thread each strand of wool through
a specially punched hole in the plastic lid. Your wool will remain
clean and tangle free.
See Vegetable Oil page 120
Chamois Soft
Keep your chamois leather soft after washing by rubbing in a little
vegetable oil.
Door Hinges
To keep door hinges opening smoothly and quietly squirt with a
little vegetable oil. Wipe excess away with a soft cloth or some
kitchen towel.
Easier Locking Locks
Spray a little cooking oil through the keyhole of locks on doors,
padlocks and car door locks etc. it makes them easier to open and
may even stop them freezing up in winter.
Cooking Oil
Grate Great
Rub a little olive oil over the cheese grater before grating cheese
etc. it will be much easier to clean.
Great Grate
Shine your fire grate and tiles with some vegetable oil on a duster.
Lawnmower Blades
Keep lawnmower blades rust free by wiping over with cooking oil.
An oily rag rubbed over the body of the mower will keep the
paintwork clean too.
Non-Stick Spade
Coat your spade with cooking oil before you begin and whatever
you are digging, snow or soil, will slide off the spade without
Oily Rag
Make your own oily rag, by sprinkling a strong duster with oil until
it is ‘damp’ but not saturated, and keep in an airtight tin. Remember
to return it to the tin after each use. When soiled, just wash in hot
soapy water and replace the oil. Several oily rags can be kept in tins
and labeled for different uses.
Paintwork on cars and even electric tools can be kept clean by just
wiping over with an oily rag. Buff with clean cloth to remove
Chrome can have a lovely sheen if wiped over with a clean oily rag.
Garden tools
After each use, wash garden tools, dry and wipe over with an oily
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Pet’s Coat Shiner
Add a few drops of oil to your hands, rub hands together and lightly
stroke your pet all over, then comb the oil through their fur.
Pet’s Fur
Vegetable oil is great for helping you to de-matt your pets fur. Just
soak the area in oil for at least 20 minutes and gently slide the fur
apart. It makes getting sticky buds and burrs out of the fur much
NB: If you do have to cut the fur, remember, it looks better to cut
it vertically instead of horizontally. Never use pointed scissors.
Pet Food
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to add ‘good fat’ to your dog’s diet.
Try cod liver oil too, especially for older dogs.
Rubber Supple
The seal on car doors and boots will have a much longer life if you
rub over often with cooking oil. It will keep it from freezing up in
the winter too.
NB: Also try this on your fridge and freezer, keeping the rubber
seal supple may also prolong its life.
Shoe and Boot Shiner
Rub over shoes and boots with a little vegetable oil on a soft cloth,
for an instant shine. Buff with a clean cloth to remove surplus.
Sticky Stuff Remover
Adhesive on plates, ornaments, even apples or sticking plasters can
be removed by rubbing in a little cooking oil and then wipe away.
Tar Remover
Soak the tar in a little vegetable oil for 30 minutes to soften it, mix
some salt and washing up liquid and rub into the tar and wash.
Repeat if necessary.
Cooking Oil / Cork
Top Models Recommend it!
Yes, it’s true. Forget expensive creams and lotions, after a bath rub
in some vegetable cooking oil. It’s great for dry skin and for
avoiding stretch marks too!
See Quick Fix Beauty Tips page 183.
Wooden Utensils
New wooden utensils should be soaked overnight in olive oil,
wash, and dry with an absorbent kitchen towel. Wipe with oil after
every washing. This will keep wooden utensils, boards and bowls
in good condition.
Appliance of Silence
Cork tiles under appliances that tend to vibrate i.e. washing
machines, tumble driers etc. will make them less noisy. Try this on
your freezer and refrigerator too.
Bathing Beauties
Isn’t it annoying when the bath plug chain comes loose? Just thread
the chain through a large cork from a jar or make a hole in the
centres of a few wine corks and thread the chain through. Knot it at
the top so that it is fixed to the cork/s and you will never loose the
end of the chain again. It will be floating on top of the water.
Make your own coasters. Take a flat pickle jar lid and a cork tile.
Using the lid as a template cut a ring out of the tile. Cut to fit inside
the lid. A ready made, professional looking, coaster that no one will
ever know you made yourself. Unless of course you can’t help
telling people!
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Cork Protectors
Cut out small squares from a cork tile or slice a cork from a wine
bottle into rings. Stick these pieces on the following items:
Corn holders: they can give a painful prod when stored in the knife
draw. Not if you store them stuck into a whole cork!
Knitting Needles: Are you fed up with knitting needles making
holes in your knitting bag or the knitting continuously falling off
the end? All you need do is store your knitting away with the needle
points stuck into a whole cork.
Knives: Store knives safely by sticking the points into whole corks.
Needles and Pins: stuck into a whole cork are easier to use and safer
to store.
Ornaments: Sticking small pieces of cork onto the bottom of
ornaments will make them less likely to slip off onto the floor. And
will protect delicate surfaces from being scratched.
Paintings: stick cork on the back of a frame to allow the air to
circulate and to protect the wall from wear.
Place Mats: small pieces of cork fixed underneath a table mat will
give extra protection from hot dishes.
Scissors: sharp scissors are safer stored and transported with their
ends wedged into a whole cork. This is especially good for little
nail scissors when taking on holiday etc.
Skewers: store several sharp skewers with the points stuck into a
whole cork.
Drill Thrill
If you need to monitor how deep the hole should be drilled, just fix
a cork onto the drill bit to the depth you need and you can be sure
of drilling to the right depth.
Fish Tank
A cork tile under a fish tank will protect any surface it is standing
Floor Saver
If you have an annoying hole in your new wooden or cork floor,
just take some pieces of a wine cork, mix with glue and floor stain
and push into hole and allow to dry. Trim off any irregular pieces
that jut out. Press some wax polish into any irregularity and buff.
Lid Handle
Have you any lids where the handle has broken? Just find a cork
with a knob on the top, make a hole in the centre to take the lid
handle screw and fix it to the lid. Now you have a new lid handle
that will not get hot when used.
Notice board
Cork tiles stuck onto a wall makes a handy notice board.
Pan Trivet
Collect a few wine corks, cut them in half lengthways and stick
them to a piece of plywood cut to a size that would comfortably fit
the base of most of your pans and ovenproof dishes. Cut ‘feet’
rings from a whole cork and stick to the underside. Now you have
a cork trivet ready to use.
Table Protectors
Cork tiles covering a table under the tablecloth will give extra
protection against hot oven-to-tableware, without the need to cover
a pretty tablecloth with tablemats.
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Ant Repellent
Find out where the ant’s entrance is and sprinkle the area with
cornflour, the ants should not use that way in again. Now you have
to find all their little entrances and your house will be ant free
without nasty poisons.
Athlete’s Foot Preventer
If you leave your feet damp after washing or having a shower it can
contribute to Athlete’s foot. Sprinkle cornflour between toes to
prevent it.
Avocado Ripener
Bury unripe avocados in a bowl or bag of flour and they will ripen
Bed Maker
When the nights are hot and sticky, sprinkle some fragranced
cornflour onto bed sheets and they will feel cool and never stick to
you again.
Dry Hair Shampoo
Cornflour can be used in between washing your hair. It will remove
excess grease and keep hair clean until it’s time for washing again.
NB: fragranced ‘talcum powder’ substitute can be used on the hair
too. See below.
Easy Fit Rubber Gloves
Sprinkle some cornflour into rubber gloves before putting them on
and they will fit much easier.
Festive Snow
Mix cornflour with a little water to a thick paste, dab onto
Christmas tree or festive decorations to look like snow.
Festive Window Paints
Mix cornflour with a little water to a thick paste, fix festive stencils
to a window and, using a stencil brush, apply the cornflour mix.
After festive season, just scrape away.
Grease Decrease
If you have ever dropped oil onto your carpet you know that it is
very hard to get out. Just sprinkle liberally with cornflour, rub well
into the carpet and hoover. You can also use the same method on
furniture fabrics too.
Grease Remover
If you have splattered grease onto your clothing, pat on some
cornflour and rub the grease spot away.
Liquid Absorber
Any spilled liquid can quickly be absorbed with cornflour. Sprinkle
over, rub well in and vacuum up.
Playing Card Shuffler
Playing cards often get stuck together, which makes shuffling them
very difficult. Just sprinkle them with cornflour and they will be
like new.
Playtime Fun
See Bicarbonate of Soda / Play and Moulding Clay, page 34.
See Bicarbonate of Soda / Play Paints, page 35.
Spray Starch
Mix 2-3 tablespoons cornflour in a plant mister with a little water,
make up to 400ml with water, shake well and spray white clothes
that need starching. Iron as usual. Adding floral water to the water
reservoir will give clothes a nice fragrance too.
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Squeaky Floor Stopper
Brush copious amounts of cornflour through squeaky floorboards,
they may need a couple of applications, but it does eventually stop
the squeak.
Sunburn Soothe
Mix cornflour and a plain yogurt to a paste and spread over areas
of sunburn.
Talcum Powder Substitute
Make your own talcum powder without the talc, which is a known
carcinogen. Use cornflour instead. Add a few drops of your
favourite essential oil or a whole vanilla pod, to fragrance the
Wet Sand Remover
It’s nice to stroll along the beach or watch children playing in a
sand pit, but afterwards the sand can be quite a nuisance. The best
solution is to rub some cornflour into feet and areas that are coated,
and the sand will just fall off and can be vacuumed up quickly or
left to just blow away in the wind.
Faded Hemlines
If you have a faded hemline and need to take the garment down,
just iron the cloth, and colour in the faded part with crayon of the
same colour. The warmth from the ironed fabric should make it
easier to apply the colour. The colour will need to be applied after
each wash.
Furniture Grazes
Just find a crayon or felt pen that matches, and colour over the
Crayons / Deodorant Bottles
Ornament mend
Mend your ornament with glue, allow to set, then just colour over
with a permanent ink pen. If the ornament is just chipped, match the
pattern of the ornament on the chipped piece with a permanent ink
pen. Glaze over with some clear nail varnish, if necessary. It will
be as good as new.
Shoe Scuffs
Use a crayon or a felt pen over the problem area and apply a little
polish and buff gently with a soft cloth
Giant marbles
Remember that the clean roller-ball from a deodorant bottle can be
used for children’s games like marbles (don’t give to very young
children, because they may try to swallow them).
A family in the UK, recently scooped the top prize in a
national lotto draw by writing the numbers on plastic balls
and putting them into the tumble dryer. After a cold spin
cycle a ball was picked out and the number was recorded.
Flower Arranger
The roller balls from deodorant bottles can be used inside vases to
keep the flowers in place.
Glue Roll-on
Carefully remove the ball from a plastic deodorant bottle. Wash
well and dry. Fill with glue, or a flour and water paste (for small
children), and replace the ball. They will have a lot of fun without
the glue spilling over everything.
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Light Pull and Jewellery Keeper
Carefully remove the roller ball from a roll-on deodorant bottle and
use for another application. Make a hole in the lid and thread the
light cord through and knot. Unscrew the lid and safely place in
small items of jewellery. It makes an ideal light pull and you’ll
always be able to find your jewellery in the morning.
Quaint Paint
Carefully remove the ball from a plastic deodorant bottle. Wash
well and dry. Fill with coloured poster paint or a flour based water
paint (for small children), and replace the ball. They will have a lot
of fun painting their roller-ball pictures and there will be no messy
paint brushes or water pots to clear away.
Sun Lotion Roll-on
Carefully remove the ball from a plastic deodorant bottle. Wash
well and dry. Fill with suntan lotion, and replace the ball. It is easier
to apply and will not spill. Don’t forget to change the label.
Beads Lead
Restring your favourite beads onto dental floss, you will never lose
them again. Remember, it is best to have a catch / fastener that will
break in an emergency.
Cookie Crumbles
Not any more! Get them off that baking sheet with dental floss.
Easy Cheesy
Restring your cheese cutter with plain dental floss, no one will ever
Dental Floss / Denture Cleaning Tablets
Layer Cake
Tie a piece of plain, thin dental floss around a couple of wooden
spoons and use it as a cutter to layer cakes, cut through scones,
buns, etc. too.
Nice Slice
Tie a piece of plain, thin dental floss around a couple of wooden
spoons and use it as a cutter to slice cakes. Where a knife cuts
down and dislodges the layers, this cutter will make the perfect
slice. Use it for tarts, flans etc.
On the Mend
Use thin dental floss for any strong repair work on coats, bags,
shoes, trainers etc.
Clean Flasks
Drop a denture cleaning tablet in some water in a flask and leave
overnight. Pour liquid down toilet after use to keep it clean.
Cut Glass
Your little cut glass ornaments will benefit from standing in warm
water with a denture tablet added. But be careful of any stuck on
adornments, it may loosen them.
A denture cleaning tablet is ideal for cleaning out bottles, decanters
and even vases.
Sparkling Jewels
Drop a denture tablet in water with your jewels and fizz them
clean. It may damage plated or cheaper surfaces.
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Toilet Bowls
Help to remove limescale from your toilet by dropping a denture
cleaning tablet into the cistern, or into the toilet bowl water.
Delicates Safe
Use empty egg cartons for transporting any small delicates. Keep
them closed with an elastic band.
Desk Tidy
A small egg tray with paper clips, drawing pins, etc. in, is ideal to
keep on the desk. It can be placed inside a draw when not in use.
Festive Decorations
Store your precious baubles in an egg box. Place an elastic band
around to keep the lid closed and they will keep safely for many
Charcoal and a few dry twigs placed into a cardboard egg box and
sealed is an ideal portable firelighter. Great for camping or trips to
the beach. Just place egg box in the middle of the fire or barbecue
and light the box.
Golf Tidy
Store golf balls in an empty egg carton and you will never have to
rummage through your bag looking for spare balls.
Ice Cube Trays
Need some large ice cubes for packing around food? Just fill some
plastic egg trays with water. Remember: If the ice cubes have to
come into contact with food or drink, sterilise the egg trays with a
cold, liquid, baby-bottle steriliser first.
Egg Cartons / Egg Shells
Paint Holder
Plastic egg cartons or great for holding poster paints for your
budding artist. Use the lid for mixing too!
See bicarbonate of Soda / Play Paints, page 35.
Taco Holder
Sterilise a plastic egg carton with a cold, liquid, baby-bottle
steriliser and dry well. Turn upside down and use as a taco holder,
it is great for keeping tacos steady and upright while you fill some
Coffee Grounds
Add crushed eggshells to your coffee grounds in the filter paper of
your percolator (eggs stamped with the little lion mark are amongst
the safest to use). It really does take all the bitterness of the coffee
beans away.
Liquidise eggshells with water and pour into your compost bin to
add much needed minerals to your compost.
Glass Clean
Liquidise white vinegar and eggshells together, soak stained glassware or crockery in the liquid overnight.
Plant Food
Liquidise your eggshells with water and use as plant food.
Especially good for flowing plants, ferns and tomatoes.
Remember: Don’t waste the water after boiling eggs (or
vegetables), allow to cool and water your plants with it.
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Flower Arranger
Put an elastic band over your wrist. Group up a bunch of flowers in
your hand and loosely pull the band over the stems. Immediately
put the flowers with the elastic band still in place into a vase and
straighten the flowers so they look nicely arranged. Fill with water
as usual. NB: Adding a teaspoon of sugar to flowers and changing
water every other day, helps to make them last longer.
Paintbrush Scraper
Put a large elastic band around an open paint tin (top to bottom) to
act as a scraper for your paintbrush. Paint tins with a handle can
support an elastic band fixed across either side of the handle.
Out-of-date essential oils should not be used on the skin, but they
make very good household maintenance and cleaning products.
Cable Safe
Is your cat or dog prone to playing with electrical cables? For their
own safety, just mix some eucalyptus oil with vegetable oil and
smear it along the area where they usually start chewing. It should
deter them from going anywhere near. Keep an eye on them though
initially, they may love it!
Carpet Freshener
For a nice aromatic welcome, sprinkle a few drops of essential oil
onto carpets when expecting guests. NB: always patch test a small
piece, some essential oils may damage cheaper man-made fibres.
Furniture Polish
Take a clean duster and sprinkle with essential oil and a few drops
of carrier oil i.e. olive oil, almond oil etc. store in an airtight tin and
Essential Oils
use as necessary to polish furniture. Wash and renew the oil when
the duster is soiled.
Garden Furniture Restorer
Add a few drops of essential oil to teak oil or make your own oil
with 100ml olive oil or almond oil and a teaspoon of essential oil.
It can also be used to oil any unpainted wooden items in the garden
from rose trellis to fences. And, add a few drops to hinges to keep
them free of rust.
Garden Tool Restorer
Old spades, forks, blades, shears, lawnmowers etc. often become
rusty and useless; liberally apply an essential oil that is also a
solvent, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil and abrade away the rust
(only works on light surface rust). Next time you use the
implement, remember to rub over a few drops from a mixture of
100ml carrier oil i.e. olive oil or almond oil and a teaspoon of
essential oil. This will help to keep them free of rust.
Hinge Oiler
Add a few drops of essential oil to the hinges of doors or gates to
keep them working perfectly.
Hoover Freshener
Add a few drops of essential oil to the bag of the hoover, it will
keep it smelling fresh.
Oil Painting Cleaner
Do not use this on your *expensive paintings; make sure that you
always patch test a small area (hidden by frame), if any damage
occurs do not use on the whole painting. Add a few drops of tea tree
oil to a soft cloth and lightly rub over the surface of the painting. It
will remove grime and help to keep the paint from becoming too
dry. *Seek the advice of a restorer, but tell him about tea tree oil!
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Peaceful Picnic
Citronella oil sprinkled over the ground around your picnic area
should keep wasps at bay. You can place a bowl or cup with a little
warm liquid in the middle of your picnic blanket (tea or coffee) and
add some drops of citronella, it should deter those flying pests. But
remember not to drink it!
Rust Spot Remover
Dab on some tea tree oil and rub into area. Abrade and buff.
Shoe Polisher
With a kitchen towel, wipe a few drops essential oil over shoes (that
are normally cleaned with shoe polish), for a quick aromatic shine,
it also helps to remove surface grime and light scratches too. NB:
Olive oil or cooking oil can also be used for a quick shine.
If you use citronella oil on shoes just before going out, it will keep
the gnats and flying pests away.
White Ring Remover
White rings on polished wood furniture can be removed with
essential oils that also act as solvents i.e. tea tree oil and lavender
oil. Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to the tip of a
duster and rub round and round the ring with slight to medium
pressure. Repeat as often as necessary. It may take a few minutes
but it will work eventually. It all depends how deep the ring is and
how long it has been there.
Car Freshener
A sheet of fabric conditioner will freshen the air in your car if
placed under the front seat.
Fabric Conditioner
Cotton Untangler
Run a needle and cotton through a sheet of fabric conditioner to
eliminate the static cling on the thread before sewing. The thread
is less likely to knot up as you sew.
Deep Clean Baked on Food
Place a sheet of fabric conditioner in a pan that needs deep
cleaning. Fill the pan with water, let it sit overnight, and sponge
clean in the morning. The antistatic agents seem to weaken the
bond between the food and the pan while the fabric softening
agents soften the baked-on food.
NB: Ordinary liquid fabric conditioner can also be used. Just put
a measure into the pan
Hair Today
Use a used sheet of fabric conditioner to gently rub over your hair
to prevent flyaway hair.
Heating Vent
Get rid of nasty odours by putting a sheet of fabric conditioner in
a heating vent.
Longer Lasting Furniture Polish
Take a teaspoon of fabric conditioner mix well with half a teaspoon of vegetable oil, apply to a clean duster and use instead of
your normal furniture polish when polishing wood. It eliminates
excess static, which means that you will not need to polish the
woodwork so often.
NB: The sheets of fabric conditioner that are used in a tumble
dryer can be used to polish furniture. It will also reduce the static
that attracts dust to the polished surfaces and will mean that you
will not have to dust so often. Magic!
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Moth Repellent
Hang a sheet of fabric conditioner in your wardrobe, or place in
draws to repel moths and to fragrance your clothes.
Nylon Cling
Eliminate static cling from tights and underskirts. Rub a damp, used
sheet of fabric condition over the outside of the garments to reduce
the static cling.
Pet Hair Collector
Rub the pet hair covered item with a sheet of fabric conditioner. It
should magnetically attract all the loose hairs.
Repel Insects
Thread a sheet of fabric conditioner (one that was used in a tumble
dryer) around the band of your hat or through a belt loop. It will
repel flying insects when you go for a walk in the countryside.
Shining Floors
Add a cup of fabric conditioner to a bucket of water when mopping
the floor.
Shoe or Trainer Deodoriser
Place a sheet of fabric conditioner in your footwear overnight. They
smell great in the morning.
Shower Screen Cleaner
A sheet of fabric conditioner that has been used in your tumble
dryer is ideal for cleaning soap scum from shower screens.
Suitcase Store
When you use suitcases just once a year, they can get quite smelly.
Place an individual sheet of fabric conditioner inside empty luggage before storing away.
Fabric Conditioner / Filters
Television Screen Cleaner
The static from televisions makes the dust cling to the screens. If
you clean the screen with a sheet of fabric conditioner it will
reduce the surface static.
Venetian Blind Cleaner
Wipe the blinds with a sheet of fabric conditioner to prevent dust
from settling due to static.
Video Nasty
Get rid of dirty videos by rubbing over the case with a sheet of
fabric conditioner.
Waste Bin Freshener
Place a sheet of fabric conditioner at the bottom of a waste bin, it
is particularly useful in bathroom or kitchen bins.
Egg Separator
Take a paper cone-shaped coffee filter and cut the bottom off, so a
small hole is exposed. Crack an egg into the filter and the white
will drop through leaving the yolk in the filter.
Fat Filter
Use a coffee filter to filter gravy before you thicken it. The liquid
will quickly filter through while the fat stays in the coffee filter
Ice Lolly Catcher
Put an ice lolly into a coffee filter before you give it to a child, the
melted ice will stay in the filter and if the lolly breaks, the filter will
catch it.
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Icing Easy
Take a paper cone-shaped filter and cut a small hole in the bottom,
insert an icing nozzle and fill with icing, close the top and ice cake.
At the bottom of a large outdoor plant pot put a used coffee filter
with the coffee grounds still in it. The filter will stop the soil from
clogging the hole and discourage earwigs, woodlice and other pests
from entering the pot via the drainage hole.
Splatter Matter
Place an oil filter or a coffee filter (depending on size of dish) over
a dish while cooking in the microwave, it will stop food splattering
around the oven.
Taco Holder
A new coffee filter is the right shape for holding a messy taco while
you eat it. For a taco party, dip the filters in different coloured food
colouring and allow to dry. You can make some very colourful taco
holders and be the envy of your friends.
Window Pain
Take the pain out of smear-free panes by rubbing a new coffee or
oil filter over the glass after cleaning it.
Wine Clear
If you break a cork into a bottle of wine, filter the wine through a
coffee filter.
Dog Trainers
An old fire alarm can be used as a dog trainer. Puppies do not like
loud noises, so when they start any antisocial behaviour, a quick
press on the fire alarm button should serve to chastise them.
Fire Alarms / Fizzy Drinks / Florist’s Foam
NB: Only use an old fire alarm that has a button tester on the top
that can be pressed to sound the alarm. Do not take a fire alarm out
of service to use as a dog trainer.
Flower Feeder
Fill a glass vase with stale carbonated lemonade or similar drink,
the sugar in the drink makes perfect flower food. You can also
co-ordinate the colour of the fizzy drink with your décor (when
used in a glass vase), or add your own food colouring to clear drinks.
Cola Restorer
Cola is particularly good for restoring metals that have been subject
to alkali build up, such as battery terminals. Just soak and see the
difference. Rinse well and pat dry.
Brass Shiner
Soak brass in cola to bring it up like new. (Not to be used on coated
brass or ‘brass’ that should not be cleaned with metal polish).
Washing Machine /Dishwasher Cleaner
A litre of fizzy drink and 1 litre of cheap vinegar should be allowed
to stand in appliance for a couple of hours, then run through cycle
on economy wash.
Cutting Starter
Use old pieces of florist foam for rooting cuttings, just push cuttings into the foam and keep moist, but not wet. A weak solution of
plant food mixed with a pinch of hormone rooting powder can also
help the cuttings to root. When cuttings are rooted just pot up or
plant out with the foam still around the root.
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See Ashtray Freshener (Cat Litter page 44)
See Bookends (Cat Litter page 44)
See Flower Arranger (Cat Litter page 44)
See Flower Feeder (Fizzy Drinks page 72)
Most processed food now comes in very handy plastic containers
that can be used to store and package many items around the home,
garage and greenhouse. Please be sure to wash the packaging
carefully, especially raw meat containers, which should be
sterilised with a ‘Milton’ type cold-water bottle steriliser before
use. Ice cream cartons with lids are especially useful. Only ‘food
quality’ plastic should be used to store food.
See also Plastic Bottles p102 and Plastic Containers p106.
Booklet Supports
The plastic triangular sandwich containers found in the fresh sandwich refrigerated units can be utilised as booklet/leaflet supports on
a bookshelf. Discard the lid and place upright (at right-angles), flat
against the shelf and the wall, fill with the leaflets, magazines or
booklets, it will keep them neatly and discretely upright on any type
of bookshelf.
Mini Greenhouse
Make your own mini greenhouse with plastic trays. You will need
two shallow black plastic trays and one clear plastic tray. Prick one
black tray to provide adequate drainage, use the other black tray as
a drip tray to catch any moisture from the seed tray. Fill the seed
tray with good quality seed compost, place in the drip tray. Plant
the seeds and place the clear plastic tray on top to form a domed
greenhouse. It’s perfect for growing seeds on a windowsill.
Food Containers / Freezer
Potpourri Holder
Make some holes in a plastic container and fill with potpourri, they
are ideal fragrancers to slip into drawers or small spaces.
See Plastic bottles page 102.
Seed Trays
Many of the tray type of food containers can be utilised in the
greenhouse or on a windowsill as seed trays. For the windowsill, it
is better to use two trays, one pierced to let the excess water drip
away from the seeds/seedlings and one whole to use as the drip
tray. Just fill with pierced tray with a good quality seed compost
and plant as directed on the packet.
See Plant Pots, (Newspapers page 99).
Water Reservoirs for Planters
Use a tray type of food container as a water reservoir in the base of
containers and hanging baskets that are packed with plants and get
a good deal of direct sunlight. Add gravel, broken crockery or
polystyrene bits to the base of the planter. Place the container (do
not pierce) on top of the gravel, make sure that it does not fill the
space entirely, it should have a gap around each edge to allow
excess water to drain away. Fill whole thing and container with
potting compost and plant as usual.
Did you know that your freezer can do more for you than preserve
Al Fresco Eating
When dining outside with cold food, freeze water in shallow
plastic cartons and place under serving plates. This will keep the
food cool and fresh.
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NB: It may also help to freeze serving dishes beforehand (but do
not use frozen servers for salad leaves or they may get frost bite,
chill them in the refrigerator instead it will help to keep the leaves
Better Batter
When making Yorkshire puddings, allow batter to stand for 20
minutes inside the freezer, your puddings will rise and rise.
Drink Coolers
Unwaxed lemons can be sliced and frozen on a plate and put into
the freezer. When frozen, transfer to a resealable plastic freezer box
or bag and use as necessary. Pop a slice of lemon into drinks and
teas for an instant, delicious lemon, cooling effect.
Fresher Spices
Spices are much fresher if used straight from freezer. Powdered
spices do not freeze solid and can be easily used straight from the
Glassware Saver
If glasses stick together after they have been washed, just stick
them in the freezer for an hour and they should come apart easily.
Instant Puddings
Freeze fruit, fruit juice (with or without alcohol), or sweetened
black coffee. When needed, just liquidise for an instant granita. Can
be used as a starter, slushy drink, or as a light dessert served with
Longer Lasting Candles
Keep a bag of candles in the freezer, they last longer, drip less and
you will always know where to find them in an emergency.
Freezer / Garden Canes / Garden Hose
Superb Herbs on Tap
Chop fresh herbs and put 1-2 teaspoons into compartment on ice
cube tray, add water to cover herb and freeze. Just put frozen cubes
into a freezer box or bag to store and use as necessary. Pop into
soups, sauces or dishes whilst cooking or defrost and use as
Vegetable Peelers
1. Freeze garlic in individual cloves and peel easier under a
warm tap.
2. Freeze large tomatoes, then run under a cold tap, all the
skin will crack and be really easy to remove. Defrost,
before frying or just pop into a stew or sauce.
3. Keep root ginger in a bag in the freezer, when needed just
grate some into a recipe.
Reusable Paint
When storing half-used paint, stand a length of clean garden cane
in the middle and seal with the lid. When the lid is removed, pull
out the stick and the paint skin will come with it, discard the skin
and use the cane to stir the paint.
Cable Tidy
If you have a lot of cables hanging from a computer or TV
equipment, to stop them getting tangled up, make a slit down one
side of a garden hose, cut air holes along the opposite edge and
slip the cables inside.
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Cable Tracker
Small pieces of hose pipe are ideal to use in the shed or out in the
garden for keeping cables on track. Cut 7cm lengths and make a
slit lengthways and diagonally across the length of hose. Fix these
along the area where you need the cable to run. It can be along a
skirting board, underneath a shelf or along the back of a work
bench etc. Next just slip the cable into the lengths through the
diagonal slit and they will keep them secure.
NB: they can also be used to keep the cable safe on drills, lawn
mowers etc. Just fix the hose to your belt or an old pair of strong
work trousers and the cable with trail safely behind you. Fix the
hose at regular intervals down a wooden ladder or glued safely to
the side of a metal ladder and the cable can be trailed safely down
the ladder and will not trip you up. If you happen to drop the tool
it can slow its decent and, in most cases, can even stop it from
falling to the ground.
Carrier Bag Handles
Cut a small length of hose pipe (10cms) and cut it down lengthways, keep it in your handbag. Next time you go to the supermarket or on a shopping trip, put two carrier bags inside each other,
fill with groceries and slip all four handles inside the length of
hose. You now have a strong carrier that won’t cut into your hands
and, if you happen to drop it, it is less likely to spill the contents
all over the floor.
Flower Bed Waterer
See Gardening Section pages 170-182
Handle Grips
See Gardening Section pages 170-182
Hinge Emergency
A piece of garden hose fixed to the post and a gate or door will act
as an emergency hinge if a hinge has snapped.
Garden Hose
Lawn Perfect
Bury some lengths of old hose (which has had some holes cut into
it) underneath your new lawn. It is much easier to water it by
coupling up the old hose to your new hose or outdoor tap. Much
more efficient and cost effective than a lawn sprinkler.
Skipping Rope
A piece of thick rope knotted about 15cms from each end, then
knotted again to keep a piece of ‘hose’ handle at both ends, makes
an ideal skipping rope. The hose allows the rope to turn freely and
the knots keep it in place.
String Thing
String is without doubt one of the greatest inventions. Where
would we be without it? There is a problem with it though. When
it is used to tie things and is pulled tight it can cut into the item
and your hands. The solution is simple! Just use an old piece of
hose on the points where it is likely to dig in and it safely and
securely holds it in place. Try it when you are tying in plants,
around trees, saplings and shrubs. Fly that kite safely with a piece
of ‘hose’ handle. Impromptu string dog lead needs a ‘hose’
handle. Etc. Etc. In fact it is so useful with string, why not keep
lengths of hose ready cut, and store with your string?
Swing Time
Thread the chains of a garden swing through hose pipe to make it
easier and safer to grip.
Tool Safe
Sharp tools in a shed or garage are always a danger. But not if you
cut a length of hose to fit the blade. Slit the hose lengthways and
slip over the sharp edge to keep it covered. It can be used for
hoes, knives, blades, saws, etc.
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Glycerine is a by-product of animal or vegetable fat processing. It
can also be a by-product of the petrochemical industry. You should
be sure which you are buying, because it is not always clear on the
Freezer Clear
After defrosting your freezer, wipe area over with glycerine and it
will be easier to defrost next time.
Glass Clear
Put a few drops of glycerine onto a clean lint-free cloth and rub
over windows or mirrors to stop them steaming up
Hand Cleaner
Rub into hands and rinse. For a more anti-bacterial hand cleaner
add 1 drop of lemon or tea tree essential oil for every 5ml glycerine.
Nice Icing
Add some drops of glycerine to keep your icing soft.
Soften Fabrics
Add glycerine to final rinse water. A shower curtain can be kept
supple if glycerine is added to final rinse water.
Sore throats
A teaspoon of vegetable glycerine can be used instead of sore
throat medicine.
* Add lemon juice for tonsillitis
* Add a mashed clove of garlic and put through a fine mesh sieve
for use as an expectorant.
Stain Remover
Rub glycerine into mustard, grass, food stains and launder.
Greaseproof Paper / Greeting Cards
Icing Magic
Fold a sheet of greaseproof paper into a cone shape and snip off
the end. Fit it with an icing nozzle and it makes a very good icing
No More Plasticisers
Plastic bags can release plasticisers into food. These chemicals are
hormone disrupters and can cause damage to your body in the
long-term. Always be sure to wrap food in greaseproof paper
before putting it into plastic bags or wrap. The food never needs
to come into contact with the harmful plastic.
Tracing Paper
Your children will have hours of fun tracing their favourite
characters from books with greaseproof paper.
Bag Tags
Use distinctive birthday or Christmas cards and cut a small tag
about 10cms X 7cms. Write name and address (or selected details)
on back and completely cover with sellotape. Punch a hole in the
card and strengthen with more tape or use hole strengtheners.
Thread through some strong string and attach firmly to luggage.
You will be able to see at a glance where your luggage is with such
distinctive markers.
Christmas Tree Decorations
Angels, robins, decorated Christmas trees make ideal Christmas
tree decorations. Cut around each suitable item, attach a ribbon
and hang on the tree.
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Post Cards
The front from greetings cards make ideal postcards.
Present Labels
Cut out shapes on the greetings cards, punch a hole through the top
and thread through narrow piece of ribbon. Ideal for labeling
Clean Flowers
Use a hairdryer on low setting to gently blow the dust from plastic
or artificial flowers.
Come Clean
A hairdryer on a low setting can be used to clean little intricately
carved pieces such as ornaments, furniture, picture frames,
pelmets, etc.
Fire Starter
Forget a set of bellows! A hairdryer on a gentle setting will fan the
flames of a newly lit fire. NB: It is safer to position the dryer the
other side of a wire fire guard so that it and you are protected from
sparks or falling wood.
Frozen or Blocked Pipes
A hairdryer can be used to thaw frozen pipes. It can also be used
to unblock pips that are gummed up with grease. NB: be careful
not to damage plastic pipes or sealant with too high a heat.
Holiday Drying
Wash undies on holiday and blow dry them with a hairdryer. Also
works well with thin, lightweight tops etc.
Hair Dryer/Hair Grips / Herbs & Spices
Remove Plasters
Plasters are easier to remove if you go over them with a hairdryer
to soften the adhesive. Make sure that the heat setting isn’t
uncomfortably high.
Nail Holder
Hold a nail steady with a hair grip while you hammer it in. It will
save your fingers if you miss.
Page Saver
Isn’t it maddening when you are half way through a book and the
book mark drops out? But if you had placed a hair grip over the
page, it won’t mark the book and will keep your place safe.
Flower Arranger
Fresh herbs add greenery and fragrance to a flower arrangement.
They are easy to grow and save you money, because you will not
need to buy as many flowers. Mint, fennel (especially bronzed leaf
fennel), chive flowers, tall sprigs of basil, rosemary sprigs,
tarragon, etc. all look nice in a flower arrangement.
Fresh Pomander
Chopped fresh herbs in warm water make a lovely fresh pomander
to fragrance a room.
Pet Off
Sprinkle cayenne or chili powder on patches where a dog or cat
defecates and you don’t want them too.
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Squirrel Scare
If you don’t like squirrels taking food from the bird feeders just mix
the seed with cayenne. The squirrels don’t like the taste, but the
birds don’t mind it.
Herb Savers
When you have too many herbs (including chives) in the summer,
regular harvesting will keep them from going to seed. Chop them
and store in ice cube trays, freeze and put into plastic bags. They
are invaluable for popping into soups and sauces.
Sauce / Gravy Pots
Left over sauces or gravy can be stored in ice cube trays, frozen and
put into a freezer bag. They are ideal to add body to new sauces or
Sow Your Seeds
Make a few holes in the bottom of each cube to allow drainage. Fill
with seed compost and plant a seed in each one. When the seedling
grows a second pair of leaves transplant the whole cube to a larger
Vegetable Keepers
Save any chopped vegetables (cooked or raw) in little ice cube
trays, when frozen put into a plastic bag. Add to soups or liquidise
with sauces.
Roof Rack Band
Use an inner tube from a bike on a roof rack to hold things in
place (like a large elastic band).
Jars / Jumpers
Storage Solutions
Fix jar lids to the underneath of shelves in a shed or office etc.
using a screw fixing. Fill the jar with light objects and replace the
jar onto the fixed lid. The jar hangs from underneath the shelf and
is easily assessable. It is an ideal storage solution.
NB: Jars can be attached underneath kitchen shelves or under
kitchen units to store pasta, rice, spices etc. It has the added
advantage that if you are cooking, you only need one hand to
twist the jar away from the top.
Vase inside a Vase
If you have a lovely decorative vase, but it is too big for the
flowers you have, just slip a glass jam jar into the vase and
arrange the flowers in the jar and fill with water.
Carrier Bag Dispenser
Detach the arms from old jumpers, long-sleeved blouses or
cardigans, they make ideal carrier bag dispensers. Just make a
loop at the widest end to hang on a hook, then stuff the carrier
bags in, and take out from the smallest end when needed. NB:
don’t forget to keep the buttons from these old garments, they are
very useful for replacing buttons on your clothes.
Wrap a soft, old jumper around an old broom and use it to dust
polished floors, or reach cobwebs from the ceiling.
Hanging Basket Liner
Old Jumpers make very good hanging basket liners, just line your
hanging basket and fill with a good compost. If you detach the
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sleeves before using you can even use the arms in the carrier bag
dispenser, above.
Shopping Lists
Cut up envelopes from junk mail into squares and use for shopping
lists or notes.
Seed Collectors
Inside most junk mail envelopes are smaller envelopes, they are
perfect for collecting seed from plants in the autumn. Use old seed
catalogues for planting information. Write the details on the back
of envelope and stick a picture of the plant on the front. Your seeds
should last at least 3 years if stored in a cool dry place.
Iron it off
To remove grease or wax crayon from a carpet or clothes, cover
with a couple of layers of kitchen paper and apply a hot iron.
Banana Storage
The tubes from kitchen rolls can be used for transporting bananas
for a picnic or school lunches, just cut tube to size.
Carrot Store
If you need to keep carrots, wrap individually in kitchen towel and
store in a cool place.
Postal Tubes
Send papers through the post by rolling up and placing inside a
kitchen roll tube. Tape the ends to keep papers in, label, stamp and
Fragrant Garbage Disposal
Freeze all your lemon or citrus peel in a large bag. When your
garbage disposal gets a bit smelly, throw in a few pieces of citrus
peel and it will fragrance the whole room.
Grease Destroyer
Lemon Rings will clear grease from a cooker top. Just place a slice
over the grease and a few hours later it will just wipe away easily.
*For stubborn grease spots, half a lemon dipped in salt will scour
away burnt on food and grease, allow to stand and wipe away.
Ivory Cleaner
Clean pieces of yellowing ivory with a piece of lemon dipped in
Microwave Cleaner
Put a couple of slices of lemon in a basin, add a cup of water and
microwave on high for 5-10 minutes. Wipe out the inside of the
microwave with a soft dry cloth or absorbent paper. It has an added
bonus of making your kitchen smell fresh too.
Natural Flea Repellent
Save all your squeezed lemon halves in the freezer, when you have
about 5-6, simmer them in a litre of water for 45 minutes. Turn off
the heat, put a lid on the pan and leave overnight to steep. When
cold spray the liquid onto pet, avoiding eye area. If irritation occurs
discontinue use.
Sink and Draining Board Cleaner
The end of a lemon dipped in salt will clean a stainless steel sink
and restore the shine.
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Use it for stainless steal pans and cutlery to.
Smelly Hand Cleaner
A slice of lemon or a squeezed half rubbed over hands will make
them smell lemon fresh.
Stainless Steel Cleaner
Run over stainless steel with a surplus squeezed lemon half and
buff with a cloth.
Tooth Whitener
A slice of lemon rubbed over teeth will help clean away stains.
Secret Writing
If you write on a plain piece of paper with lemon juice, the writing
will be invisible. Just expose it to light (sunlight or hold it just
above a light bulb) the writing will appear again.
See Vinegar page 121.
See Lemons page 86.
Plug Identifier
Cut out pictures from magazines of appliances and stick to the
corresponding plugs. You will always know which plug is which.
See Plastic lids page 106
See Plastic bottles page 102
Milk Cartons / Milk Bottles
Bird Feeder
A large plastic milk bottle makes an ideal bird feeder. Cut a large
hole in both sides through the middle about 4cms above the base.
In between the base and the hole thread a skewer or a long
chopstick through to act as a perch, on both sides of the feeder. Fill
the base with suitable bird feed or peanuts and hang on the eaves
of a shed, or a tree etc. Now sit back and watch the birds landing
on the perch and feeding. You can put another one up with water
in, but don’t forget to change it regularly.
Carrier Bag Holder / Dispenser
Wash and dry an empty 3-litre plastic milk bottle. Cut a hole in one
side about 6cms in diameter and fill with plastic bags. You can fix
the bottle to a door or hang up the dispenser on a hook
Freezer Pack
Fill a sterilised plastic milk bottle with water (but not right up to
the top). Freeze and use in your ice box as a large freezer pack,
and, if you need it, you have cold water ‘on tap’ for your journey.
It will save a fortune because you won’t have to buy bottled water.
Mix and Store Batter
An empty plastic milk bottle is ideal for mixing and storing batter
just put all the ingredients into the bottle and close lid. Shake very
well to mix all the ingredients or mix with a long handled salad
fork. Just pour out into the pan and store what is not needed for up
to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Pen Holders
Cut the top off an empty milk carton, wash and dry well, cover
with tin foil, wrapping paper or stick on some material. It makes
an ideal pen store, for the kitchen or desk. It won’t break if you
drop it, and if it does, you could just make a new one.
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Play Scoop
If your child has a sand pit, this is a must. See scoops below, but
make sure that there are no sharp edges on the cut sides, go over
them with sandpaper until they are smooth and safe for a child to
use. Give your child different sized scoops to play with. They can
take the lid off and watch the sand trickle through.
NB: A large play scoop is ideal for picking up small toys or lego
bricks etc.
Pooper Scooper
A small plastic milk bottle (250ml-500ml) can be made into a
handy disposable scoop (just like a pooper scooper). Cut a wedge
diagonally from underneath the handle to the bottom of the base on
the opposite side. This is the front of your scoop (the bottle top
should be at the opposite end, behind the handle). A small milk
bottle is ideal to scoop dog poos when going for a walk. Either
place into a plastic bag or dispose of it into a bin. Larger bottles
make scoops for cat litter trays (one to scoop clean litter and one to
scoop used litter), and even to clean out rabbit pens etc.
A sterilised plastic milk bottle can be made into a handy scoop. Cut
a wedge diagonally from underneath the handle to the bottom of
base on the opposite side (leaving the bottle top on, behind the
handle). A small milk bottle can be used to scoop dry food stuff
such as breakfast cereals, dried beans, flour, dry dog food etc. Use
one for potting up plants or use to scoop washing powder. Larger
scoops are great for keeping in the cupboard and scooping up small
items or food that has been accidentally dropped.
NB: sterilise with a cold (baby bottle) steriliser for food use.
Sugar Pourer
A sterilised dry plastic milk bottle is ideal to keep sugar in. You can
easily get a teaspoon in the top or it is easily poured out onto a
spoon. No more spilled sugar or ripped bags.
NB: sterilise with cold baby bottle steriliser.
Milk Cartons / Milk Bottles / Miscellaneous
Waste Disposal?
Keep a couple of clean, empty milk cartons under the sink, they are
perfect for disposing of broken glass (or keep plastic milk bottles
with lids for disposing of old cooking oil). You can even use
cartons when cooking dinner or lunch, keep one (fully opened) on
the kitchen top whilst preparing food; you can just dispose of any
waste quickly and easily without having to keep going to the bin.
Discard immediately after food preparation, do not leave ‘full’ on
kitchen top for any length of time.
Apple Peel / Aluminium Pan Shine
Boil some cooking apple peel in an aluminium pan to restore shine
to aluminium pans.
Apples / Potato Preserver
Place two green apples in newly opened bag of potatoes, it will
keep potatoes fresh.
Avocado Skins / Moisturiser
Use old avocado skins for rubbing onto knees or elbows, they help
to clear dry skin.
Avocado Skins / Slug Traps
After using the avocado skins as a moisturiser (above), you can put
them out in the garden to trap slugs. Check often and dispose of
any resting slugs as necessary.
See Melon Skins (Miscellaneous), below.
Blue Tac / Quick Decorating filler
When decorating, quickly fill small nail holes with blue tac and
paint or paper over.
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Broom Handle / Window Lock
Use a broom handle or an appropriately sized piece of wood to
secure sliding doors or windows. If you lay it in the track of the
opening frame, it will completely stop the door from opening. Cut
it 10-15cms short and it will allow the window or door to be opened
slightly but not enough for anyone to enter. When you need to open
it fully, just lift the wood away from the track, it’s as simple as that.
Bubble Bag Envelopes / Safety Wrapping
Save all your old bubble bag envelopes in an old carrier bag. When
you need to send a parcel or at Christmas (when packaging fragile
presents/items) you will find them invaluable. Just take an envelope
and pull it apart at the seams, so that you have two halves. Either,
separate the ‘bubble’ material from the paper and use as a wrap, or
roll the half into a sausage shape (bubble side out) and tape, then
use as a wedge to keep the contents of a parcel or box safe.
Bulldog Clips / Handy Hangers
Plastic bulldog clips are ideal for clipping a tea towel or towel to a
kitchen hook (with a hole in the handle the clip just slips over a
hook while holding the cloth in place). They are great for holding
shading in a greenhouse or for holding bubblewrap insulation over
plants in greenhouse or against walls.
Cashew Nuts / Dairy Free Cream
Grind cashew nuts with a little water and serve as a pouring
dairy-free cream.
Chalk / Damp Stop
Save all your small odd pieces of chalk. Put them into an old pair
of clean tights and cut off the desired length. Hang them up in dark
closets to stop the damp.
Children’s Glow Stars / Light switch Finder
Glow in the dark stars are very good for attaching to light switches.
When going into a dark room or cupboard you will always be able
to locate the light switch, straight away. They can also be used on
the stopcock under the sink, in an emergency it is easier to find. Or
paint the entire light switch, bathroom light pull string, stopcock
etc. with glow-in-the-dark paint.
Cloth Remnants / Sumptuous Wrapping Cloth
Use cloth remnants cut to size to sumptuously wrap special
presents, and tie with a satin bow. Flimsier cloth looks better if
you starch it well before wrapping up the present.
Comics / Children’s Wrapping Paper.
Use pages from comics or the comic style supplement from your
newspaper, to wrap up presents intended for children.
Cotton Reel / Clamp
Slip a long, thin, nut and bolt through two cotton reels to make an
impromptu clamp. Ideal for small jobs.
Cotton Wool Drawstring Bag / Wet Stuff Carrier
Keep the handy drawstring bags that cotton wool products come
in and use for carrying wet face flannels or wet bathers when on
holiday or visiting swimming baths.
Gravel / Flower Holder
Put a couple of handfuls of washed gravel in the bottom of a vase,
it makes it much easier to hold the flowers in place. Once dried,
gravel can be used for arranging fresh, dried or artificial flowers
or grasses.
Eyebrow Pencil / Instant Hair Colour Patch
Have you ever been getting ready to go out, when you notice that
your roots/grey hair are showing through? Don’t despair! Rub
some eyebrow pencil (that matches your shade) onto your fingertip, then rub your finger over the offending area (try to follow the
natural flow of your hair) to blend it in with the rest of your hair.
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Make sure that you wash your hair well, before colouring, or it will
act as a mask and the hair in that area will not take up the colour.
Freezer Shelving / Greenhouse Shelving / Shed Tidy
Take the wire shelves / baskets from old fridges and freezers, they
are perfect for use in the greenhouse and cold frame. They make it
easier to move or store newly potted-up plants and seed trays, or
they can be used for stacking trays and even for shelving. You can
use the baskets to create more space for potted plants by suspending
them from the greenhouse frame with garden wire. A seed tray in a
basket can be topped with a shelf on which another seed tray can be
placed, it doubles the space in your greenhouse. Or you can line
them, fill with a good quality potting compost and use as planters.
Guttering Hooks / Wallpaper Holder
Fix three semicircular guttering hooks to your pasting table. They
hold the roll safely and you can draw off as much as you need.
Hair Dryer / Dust Mite Destroyer
Dust mites can cause a very nasty allergy in susceptible people, but
it is surprisingly easy to get rid of them. All you need is a hair
dryer! Just set the dryer to the highest heat setting and once a week
go over your mattress and surrounding carpet.
Ironing Board Cover / Oven Cloths or Mitts
Use the good bits from an old padded ironing board cover to make
heat resistant squares suitable to remove hot dishes from the oven.
If you are more adventurous you could cut out 4 mitten shapes and
sew two together to form a mitten, repeat with the other two, for a
pair of mittens. Remember, the cover must be padded to stop the
heat from reaching your hands, or why not use double thickness,
just to be on the safe side.
Iron / Renew Playing Cards
If your playing cards look the worst for wear, just iron them with a
hot iron, between 4 sheets of kitchen towel (2 sheets each side).
Sprinkle with cornflour and stack until all have been ironed, place
a heavy book on the deck and allow to cool overnight. Brush off
surplus cornflour.
Leather Dog Lead or Belt / Garage Tidy
A length of strong leather nailed across a shed or garage wall makes
an ideal holder for tools. If the spaces between nails are just a few
inches it makes an ideal small hand tool holder.
Melon Skins / Slug Catcher
Place empty melon skins around the garden on top of the soil, in the
morning collect, and humanely dispose of, the sheltering snails.
Microwave / Potpourri Refresher
To refresh potpourri stand half a cup of water in the middle of a
dinner plate, arrange the potpourri around the edge and microwave
on high for 30-60 seconds. Sprinkle on favourite essential oils
when cool. To clean the potpourri, sprinkle in some bicarbonate of
soda (before refreshing with essential oils), stir/mix in vigorously
taking care not to damage any fragile parts and then sieve away the
soda, using a medium/large mesh sieve.
Nail File / Seedling Separator
A metal nail file makes an ideal seedling separator. The curved end
can hook a small seedling and help to repot it.
Nappy Pins / Pinning Fiddly Clothes to Clothesline
Keep old nappy pins they are great for pinning fiddly clothing, such
as strappy dresses, T-shirts and underwear, to a washing line,
invaluable on a windy day.
Net Curtain / Stencil
Use a pretty net curtain as a stencil. Fix to the object i.e. a tray, wall
covering, tablecloth (using fabric paint), box, even a window! Then
spray or stencil the appropriate paint over the net curtain. Leave to
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dry and peel back the net. The pretty pattern will be ‘etched’ onto
the item.
Nuts / Scratch Remover
Break a peanut, pecan or walnut in half, rub the cut side into the
scratch. Ideal for polished wood such as mahogany.
Paint Brush / Duster
Use a soft paint brush, shaving brush or baby’s hair brush to clean
in hard to reach areas or in crevices.
Paper Tablecloth / Wrapping Paper
If you need to wrap a large present a decorated tablecloth comes in
very handy!
Pizza Cutter / Free Over-Painted Windows
If your windows are stuck because they have been painted shut,
take a pizza cutter and run all around the windows in the grooves
and cut those windows open.
Plastic Ring Holders from 4-6pack of Cans / Planting Frame
Place a 6 or 4 ring plastic drinks can holder over a growing plant to
hold shoots together (but not too tightly compacted), it may be
necessary to use more than one on a growing shrub. The four
corners can be attached to canes for added support. Also fix
together 10+ plastic holders to make a trellis as on page 180.
Shoehorn / Seedling Planter
An old shoehorn makes a very good trowel for planting out seedlings. It is also very good for easing out potted plants from their
Software Boxes / Postal Boxes
Next time you buy software, keep the box; just open up and turn
inside out, then fix back together and glue or tape. They make
excellent postal boxes for small gifts and books, and are safer than
sending in an envelope. Item given by Jan Nicklin, Staffordshire.
Stainless Steel Spoon / Hand Cleaner
When you have been peeling onions or garlic or skinning fish your
hands carry the odour for hours; a quick way of clearing this
offensive pong is by putting them under a running cold tap, whilst
rubbing every part of your hand with the back of a stainless steel
Super Glue / Button Keeper
Put a very small spot of super glue on the cotton, holding buttons
onto fabric. It is unlikely that you will ever lose them through
loose thread. NB: cover garment with paper to avoid accidental
splashes while using glue near fabric.
Skate Board / Shelf
Do you ever wish that you had a good place to store the skate
board? Well why not make it into a temporary shelf in his room!
Just put up a couple of shelf brackets and hang the skateboard on
the wall. It’s easily assessable when needed. You could even try a
surf board shelf.
Tea Tree Oil / Nail Varnish Remover
Add 50 drops (2.5ml) tea tree oil to a teaspoon and fill the teaspoon
with vodka or other alcohol i.e. gin or surgical spirit. (Keep away
from children, fire and polished surfaces). Dip in cotton wool and
place onto the varnished nail. Wait for a couple of minutes and
start to rub off the varnish. This will ensure that you do not come
into contact with the harmful chemicals and vapours in
commercial nail varnish remover.
Tennis Balls / Pillow Fluffer
Place freshly laundered feather pillows in the tumble dryer. Add
some tennis balls and dry. The tennis balls make sure the feathers
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in the pillows do not clump together. When nearly dry, take the
pillows out of the dryer and plump them by hand to ensure that the
feathers are not clumping, return to the dryer and finish the drying
Toothpaste Tops / Door Stop
Some toothpaste tubes have large 3cm tops that unscrew from the
tube and with a hole in the middle, which is perfect to put a
woodscrew through to fix to a wooden skirting board.
Toothpaste lids / Shelf Supports
The small toothpaste tops can be used to hold up shelves. Just fix
them into the four corners with a screw in each and rest the shelf on
Tumble Dryer Sheets / Storage Freshener
When packing away blankets or the seasonal duvet fold with a
tumble dryer sheet in the middle, they will smell fresh and clean
when you come to unpack them.
Washers / Handy Hang-ups
Old washers, as long as they are still quite strong, can be used to
hang up any item they can easily be attached to (either by glue or
sewn onto fabric etc.) Towels, bath mats, cushions, books, etc.
Washing Machine Drums / Stylish Planters for Free
When you scrap a washing machine or tumble dryer, ask someone
to remove the drum for you, they make very stylish steel planters.
Either line the base and sides with inside out carpet/underlay or
place a large pot inside. They look great on the patio.
Water / Juicier Poultry
Before cooking poultry, immerse the carcass in a large bowl or
bucket of water for a few hours or overnight. Cook as normal. NB:
be careful of bacteria from raw carcasses. The water should be
Miscellaneous / Nail Varnish
disposed of safely and any spills and bucket should be sterilised.
Wash hands well after handling carcass.
Wax Candle / Smooth Drawers
If drawers stick or squeak when opened, run a wax candle along
the runners.
Wire Baskets from Freezers and Refrigerators / Cupboard
Keep the baskets from your old fridge or freezer, they can be used
in cupboards, airing cupboards or wardrobes to store clothes,
groceries or tin cans to free up some space in your kitchen cupboards and bedroom closets.
Lace Saver
Fraying laces can be saved by painting the frayed edges with clear
nail varnish and quickly wrapping around cotton or wool in the
same colour (or near match). Remember to wrap the cotton or
wool tightly and finish off by painting the end to stop it unravelling.
Tights/Stocking Saver
As soon as you notice a small hole or tag in your tights or stockings, quickly paint with a small amount of clear nail varnish, all
around the area. The emergency repair will stop embarrassing,
unsightly ladders.
Paint Touch-up Bottles
Keep all your old nail varnish bottles, when you next do a paint
job, fill the nail varnish bottle with the paint and keep until the
finish needs a touch-up. You have the paint and brush at the ready
to do the repair.
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Stop Rust
When your car paintwork is chipped, dab on some nail varnish
remover to stop the chip becoming rusty and spreading along or
through the bodywork.
Glasses Case
Cut the larger end from an old tie and hem the thinner end. Pop your
glasses into the tie. If you put a loop on the end (or sew on a
washer) it’s easy to hang up and easier to find your glasses.
Knitting Needle Holder
Cut a length from the thin end of a tie that is about 3cms longer than
your needles. Hem the bottom and attach a press stud to the
opposite end of the inside of the holder. Now you have a colourful
knitting needle case that will safely store your needles.
NB: If you have one of the old wider kipper ties, they make a great
umbrella holder, just make up as described above.
Pen Holder
Cut a length from the end of a colourful tie and make up a holder
as in ‘Knitting Needle Holder’ above.
Cake Saver
When baking a cake that has to be in oven for over an hour the best
way to stop the cake getting a hard crust is to wrap a newspaper
‘collar’ (approx. 4 sheets thick) around the cake tin and overlapping
the top. Either fold the top down or place a piece of greaseproof
paper on top. Fasten with a piece of cotton string and bake as normal.
Take two complete sheets (4 numbered pages) from the newspaper
and starting at a corner, roll up into a long sausage shape. Wrap the
rolled up newspaper around your hand as far as it will go and tuck
in the remaining 7cms (approx.) to lock the whole ‘firelighter’
together. When lighting fire put two sheets of crumpled newspaper
on the bottom layer (this is the layer that is lit to start the fire off),
with about a dozen ‘firelighters’ on top, then some twigs and coal.
You will have no problem lighting your fire ever again. NB: if the
coal or twigs are damp you will need more fire lighters.
Masking Strips
Strips of damp / wet newspaper stuck down the edge of a window
pane should stop any paint from going onto the glass. It is easier to
remove than masking tape.
Cut strips of paper up and soak in water, tip onto the garden
compost. Use the paper in layers in between a few inches of
vegetable kitchen waste. Newspapers can also be used to line a
trench before planting potatoes.
Paper Pots
Cut strips of newspaper approx. 25cms x 14cms. Take one strip and
wrap lengthways around the bottom of a spray aerosol can i.e.
deodorant etc. with an overlap of approx. 4cms. Fold the overlap
into the concave aerosol can base to form the pot. Take off, fill with
seed compost and arrange in a seed tray with other filled paper
pots. Plant individual seeds as per instructions on packet. When
ready plant the seedling out into the garden, no need to discard the
Potato Store
Wrap potatoes in newspaper to keep them from going green, they
will also last longer. NB: If you have to store a few kilos of
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potatoes, put them in a strong cardboard box with newspaper
between the layers and cover with more newspaper.
Newspaper is ideal for lining wire or plastic vegetable racks to stop
the potatoes going green from light exposure.
Shoe Stopper
Stuff crumpled newspaper in wet leather shoes, pack it in very well,
and they will keep their shape as they dry out.
Remember to save all your orange or citrus peel in a bag in the
freezer. It really does come in handy. Try to use organic oranges as
normal oranges are usually coated in a chemical wax to keep them
looking good.
Ant Repellent
Liquidise orange peel (from 4 oranges), cucumber peel and 2
teaspoons cayenne in 1-litre water. Pour over the ant’s nest.
Bath Vinegars
Orange zest in vinegar on the side of the bath in a fancy jar looks
good and makes a nice refreshing bath.
Dried citrus zest is an ideal addition to the potpourri bowl.
Fluff Remover
Wrap sellotape (sticky side out) around a clean paint roller (without
the paint pad) and roll over clothes to remove fluff and hairs.
Paint Rollers / Plastic Bottles
Hanging Wallpaper
Use a paint roller to apply wallpaper paste to the walls and to the
back of wallpaper, it is much quicker than using a brush.
Smoothing out Wallpaper
A clean, dry paint roller is invaluable for getting rid of air bubbles
from wallpaper after hanging it.
Window and Mirror Cleaner
Lightly spray a 1-part vinegar to 4-parts water mix over the
windows and rub over with a crumpled newspaper, for a really
professional shine. It’s great for getting grime off windscreens, but
try not to get any on paintwork. If you do, rinse off straight away.
See Plastic Lids from Containers page 106.
See Also Milk Cartons / Bottles page 87.
Advent Calendar
Cut the tops from 25 plastic bottles, so that you still have about
4cms of the plastic bottle with the colourful screw lid still in place.
Take a large piece of hardboard and cut it in the shape of a
Christmas tree and cover it with shiny green paper. Next, cut tabs
around each bottle, then you can either slice corresponding holes
into the hardboard and fit the tabs through and sellotape on the
back or open the tabs out, as you carefully squash the bottle against
the hardboard. Tape the tabs into place with double sided tape and
cover with a ring of tinsel around the bottle neck to hide the tabs.
When you have stuck on all 25, unscrew the tops and place a little
wrapped present in each one. Return the tops to the bottles (which
look like Christmas tree lights). In permanent ink write a number
1-25 on each bottle top. The Advent calendar will last many years
and it is a nice alternative to the chocolate ones.
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See Plastic Bottles - Plant Bells, below, to use the 25 bottle bottoms.
Candle Holders
Cut the bottom off a plastic bottle and fill with coloured sand or just
ordinary sand from the beach, or cat litter (fuller’s earth) that has
been coloured with food colouring. Place your candles in the
middle of the sand and press down, so the sand safely holds the
Door Knob Holders
When you need to paint anything fiddly like new door knobs, place
them in bottles to hold them while you paint. Fill the plastic bottle
with water or sand to keep it stable.
Funnel Vision
Cut the bottom off plastic bottles and discard the top. They make
excellent disposable funnels.
Plant Bells
Cut the bottom off a large plastic bottle and use as a plant bell. They
are ideal for protecting small plants, such as cabbage plants from
the weather. Just sink deep into the soil, enclosing the plant inside.
At night close the bell by putting on the screw top; in the sun or
during the middle of the day, make sure that the top is actually
open. In strong sunlight it is best to take the ‘bell’ away altogether
or the plant may become too hot.
NB: Bottle bottoms can easily be used, (see Advent Calendar)
especially in an emergency when there is a threat of frost. Just cut
some air holes in the top and place over the tender plant or seedling.
Plastic Bag Dispenser
Fix a wide-neck plastic bottle to your kitchen cabinet door. Take
your freezer or sandwich bags out of their box and push up into the
neck of the bottle. It makes a handy dispenser especially when you
Plastic Bottles
are busy and you need a bag quickly. You can use different bottles
(and label them) to take different bags. Bags that are attached at the
bottom can be threaded through an appropriately sized hole in the
bottle’s lid. It will make them much easier to pull out.
Potpourri Holder
Make some holes in a plastic bottle and fill with potpourri, they are
ideal fragrancers to slip into cupboards or wardrobes.
See also Food Containers.
Seedling Waterers
A large plastic bottle makes an ideal seedling waterer. Pierce the
plastic lid to resemble a watering can ‘rose’. It is possible to do this
with a drill, but use a vice for the top and keep hands well away.
Pierce the body of the bottle about 4cms down from the top with a
small sharp dibber or similar. Half fill with rainwater and leave in
greenhouse. Water the seedlings gently when necessary
(remember to keep the ‘air hole’ on the bottle to the top, when
watering to allow a gentle stream of water through the rose). The
water will be the right temperature, if left to stand.
Shrub or Tree Oasis
When planting a large shrub or sapling use a plastic bottle filled
with gravel to help to keep it watered. Take a plastic bottle, discard
the top and cut off the base. Put in a few lager pieces of gravel in
to ‘clog’ the ‘neck’ of the bottle and smaller pieces to fill to the
edge of the base. When planting, sink the whole bottle into the
ground near to the roots and make sure that the base is the same
height as the soil level around the newly planted shrub/tree. When
watering, water straight into the ‘bottle’ and you will know that it
will reach the roots.
Slug Traps
Take a large plastic bottle, a lemonade bottle is perfect, and cut the
top third off carefully with a sharp knife or a sharp pair of scissors.
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Discard the bottle cap and turn the top around so that it is facing
into the base and place inside the bottle and staple or clip all the
way around to hold the two parts together. Either sprinkle in some
slug pellets or beer into the base and half bury in the soil or place
bricks on top of the trap so that it does not blow about in the wind.
This is the only safe way to use slug pellets, the poison does not
sink into the ground and it is away from wildlife. When it has
caught a few slugs, discard in the bin and make a new one.
String Holder
Use a bottle that is adequate for the size of string you are using. Cut
off the bottom and fix upside down to the shed or garage wall. Pop
the string in the top and thread the end through the bottle neck. It is
easier to use and you will always know where the string is when
you need it.
Vase Within a Vase
A plastic bottle with the top cut off makes an ideal container to slip
inside a large vase. The flowers and the water are contained in the
smaller ‘inner’ and on the outside the flowers look nicely arranged
and no one will ever know. If the inner needs stabilising, either put
pebbles, or sand between the inner and outer vases. NB if you use
the container in a glass vase, filling both the outer and inner vases
with water to make the inner plastic bottle vanish in the haze.
Car Waste Bin
A supermarket carrier bag can be the perfect ‘bin’ when taking the
kids on a long trip.
Free Bin Liners
Use the plastic bags from supermarkets as bin liners; the handles
can be used as ties.
Plastic Carrier Bags / Plastic Containers / Plastic Lids
Nappy Disposal
Use free supermarket carrier bags as emergency nappy disposal
bags when out and about. But please take the nappy home or put
in relevant bin for disposal. There is nothing worse than a full
nappy bag sitting in the middle of a supermarket car park.
Postal Sacks
Plastic carrier bags make ideal postal bags especially for clothes
or material, just turn them inside out, tape and label.
Caution: Do not use ordinary plastic non-food containers with
food. Plastic should always be food quality if used to store food.
See also Food Containers Page 73
Freezer Supporter
If you fill plastic containers (with a space at the top to compensate
for expanding ice) with water and place in a part empty freezer it
will help the freezer to run more efficiently. NB: You can use the
frozen containers to keep food chilled while on the table. Just
place plate or bowl on top of it.
Sink Plunger
Small, strong, flexible cartons from decorating filler can be used
as an emergency sink plunger. Place over the outlet and push
firmly down with the heel of your hand.
Also See: Food Containers page 73.
Carpet Saver
To stop castors or furniture damaging your carpet, find comparable size matching lids and place under the castors or legs of your
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Citrus Saver
A plastic lid from a food container can store half a citrus fruit, place
the cut side down on the lid and place the whole thing inside a food
quality plastic bag. This keeps the citrus half better than just placing
inside a plastic bag.
Egg Cups
The large tops that are on fabric conditioner bottles can easily be
used as an egg cup. This is especially good for children who tend
to break the china ones.
Measuring Cups
Translucent tops from fabric conditioner or liquid detergent bottles
make ideal measuring cups for use in the garage or garden. Put
10ml of water in, mark the line with a permanent ink pen on the
outside of the lid, now mark 20ml, 25ml, 30ml if possible. This
type of measure is invaluable when measuring feed or weed killer
in the garden. Most products have an integral lid / measurer but
when you use these you will either get some of the product running
down the bottle after use, or, if you wash it out, some water will get
into the bottle and contaminate the product. It is much better to
have a measuring cup for feed, one for treatment washes and one
for weed killer, all colour coded for use.
Paint Stopper
To stop paint dripping off your paint brush onto your hands take a
large plastic lid and cut a X-shaped slit into it and push a paint
brush handle through it. The drips fall onto the lid, not your hands.
Plastic Bag Stoppers
Small plastic lids from fruit juices or milk bottles are ideal. Carefully cut a cross (X) in the sterilised lid and keep in the cutlery
draw. When you come to close a plastic bag, take a bottle top and
pull the twisted top of a bag through the cross to firmly seal.
Plastic Lids / Plastic Spray Bottles / Polystyrene Packaging
NB: If the item is to be frozen you can write the date and contents
on the top with a pen suitable for freezer use.
NB: Use different coloured tops for labeling freezer bags, red tops
for meat, green for vegetables and blue for fruit, and so on. You
will always know at a glance where the type of food is.
Most antibacterial products and kitchen cleaners come in handy
spray bottles that can be reused when the product has run out. Make
sure that they are thoroughly washed out with soap and water,
before using.
Tomcat Stopper
Next time you catch your tomcat spraying in the home, take a spray
bottle filled with water and just spray him back. It will stop this
annoying habit. Never allow children to do this.
Air Freshener
Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to 250ml of warm
water and two teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda. Shake the bottle
well and finely mist the room as necessary.
Ironing Mister
When doing the ironing, sometimes the steam just isn’t enough, a
spray bottle is invaluable to make up the moisture your clothes need.
Bean Bag
Save all your polystyrene packing from goods (crumble the larger
pieces) and pack into a very large floor cushion cover or make a
cube from old material by sewing six squares together (size according to taste) pack the polystyrene into the cube and use as a stool.
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Beany Toys
Instead of expensive stuffing, when making stuffed toys use the
polystyrene packing from goods, some polystyrene is already in
‘bean’ sized pieces, if not, crumble the larger pieces before use.
Pet Bed
Use two squares of strong material, sew along three edges and pack
with polystyrene beans, sew up fully. It is best to make a separate
cover for your pet so that it can be washed often.
Plant Pot Drainage.
Instead of using broken crocks etc., use pieces of polystyrene in the
bottom of plant pots or tubs to allow good drainage.
Plant Duvets
Plants can be damaged by frost, even when inside the greenhouse,
so why not make some duvets that can be thrown over the plants to
protect them during the night? All you need is a plastic bag or some
old bubble wrap taken from padded envelopes, fill with polystyrene
and tape or knot. When a severe frost is expected, just cover the
plant or build up several duvets around the plant/s.
Cleaning Gloves
Use a pair of woollen gloves over your rubber gloves or a pair of
fleece lined rubber gloves turned inside out. Put on the gloves and
spray with the appropriate cleaner or polish, then use the gloves to
clean and polish between slatted blinds or louvre panels. Fleece
lined rubber gloves can be used to wash very soiled blinds, just turn
gloves inside out and dip into 50:50 water and vinegar with a squirt
of washing-up liquid and use your fingers in the gloves to apply
gentle pressure to the slats while cleaning.
Rubber Gloves
Gardening Gloves
An old pair of rubber gloves makes the perfect cover for protecting
your hands while gardening. They are effective in stopping your
hands getting stung by nettles when weeding.
NB: Latex gloves are great for potting or planting, they keep your
hands looking great and are not as thick or heavy as rubber gloves.
NB: Latex or rubber gloves can also be used inside ordinary
gardening gloves to protect hands.
Finger Puppets
Cut the fingers off old rubber gloves and give them to children
aged 4+ to make their own finger puppets.
SEE tool belt below.
Stop Gardening Tools Slipping
Slip cut fingers from an old rubber glove over the handle of
gardening tools. When you prop them up against a door, wall or
shed, they will not slip down.
Ironing board feet
If the Ironing board has lost its rubber feet, cut the fingers from an
old pair of rubber gloves and fix around the bottom of the leg to
stop it damaging the floor.
Pet Hair Remover
Put on a pair of rubber gloves and gently rub your fabric upholstery. Pet hairs will just roll themselves into a ball for easy removal.
Rubber Bands
Make your own rubber bands by cutting an old rubber glove into
Tool belt
An old glove with the fingers cut out can be attached to a belt and
used as a tool belt.
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Add a few tablespoons of salt to a bath, it softens the water and will
also help to keep wounds clean.
First Aid Wound Wash
A salt wash is ideal for cleaning wounds. Just put 1-2 tablespoons
salt in warm water and wash the area with cotton wool swabs.
Midwives used to recommend salt baths after giving birth.
Ice Defroster
Sprinkle salt onto paths or onto built up ice in the freezer, salt water
has a lower freezing temperature and will either help to defrost the
area or keep it from freezing.
Slug Killer
Slugs on paths or the driveway can be killed by sprinkling them
with salt, it will also keep the weeds down. NB: Keep salt off soil,
or it will spoil it for planting and will kill the plants. Discard the
snails in the bin, do not bury in the soil or put on the compost heap.
Tar Remover
Salt mixed with washing-up liquid is ideal for getting tar off
clothes, pets, or hands.
Washing booster
A tablespoon of salt in your washing machine dispenser will help
to soften the water and allow you to use less washing powder.
Washing Machine Cleaner
Add a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to
washing powder and a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to clothes
softener to keep your machine, calcium deposit free.
Salt / Soap / Sticky Tape
Washing-up Liquid Saver
A teaspoon of salt in your washing-up bowl will soften the water
and you will not need as much to wash your dishes.
Weed Stopper on Paths
Sprinkle salt into the crevices on paths or directly on weeds on the
drive to kill them. NB: Do not let salt come into contact with
healthy planting soil or it will kill your plants.
Aphid Killer
Soap dissolved into water and sprayed onto indoor or outdoor
plants will kill aphids.
Bathroom Spray
Soap dissolved into water and half a cup of vinegar, with added
essential oil such as tea tree oil, can be put into a spray bottle and
used to clean bathroom surfaces.
See Bicarbonate of Soda pages 23-39.
Draw Freshener
Once you have unwrapped your soap use the wrapper to fragrance
DeFuzz Clothes
Wrap the sticky backed plastic a few times around your hand or
a small paint roller and rub over the area to remove light fuzzing
and bits.
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Apple Picker
Open out a wire coat hanger, form into a circle with a long handle
by wrapping around a large wine bottle base and twisting the
remaining wire into a long handle. Fix tights over the circle to form
a net, large enough to take an apple. Fix the ‘net’ onto a long pole.
You can attach the wire coat hanger handle to the pole with parcel
tape. If you bend the net back slightly it will be easier to net the
apples. It is much safer to pick fruit this way rather than climb up
the tree. It can be used for plums, damsons, etc.
Chair Repair
Pull a loose chair leg until it comes free, wrap the leg from a pair
of tights very tightly around the male joint and apply glue. Wedge
into the opening for a tight fit. Trim tights if necessary.
Cushion and Cuddly Toy Stuffing
Wash and dry the tights. Cut into small pieces and store until you
have enough to stuff a cushion. They make ideal stuffing for toys
and cushions.
Fish Net
Open out a wire coat hanger, form into a circle with a long handle
by wrapping around a large wine bottle base and twisting the
remaining wire into a long handle. Fix tights over the circle to form
a net. Sterilise the net and you can fish out anything from the fish
Fruit and Veg Saver
Attach pieces of hosiery to the fruit that may be subject to insect
attack. Stretch over marrows, cucumbers, etc. The leg of a pair of
tights or stockings stretches as the vegetable grows and protects it
from attack.
Tights and Stockings
Are you plagued by slugs attacking your carrots? Well, why not
plant them in a length of hosiery? It may sound bizarre, but it is
very easy to do and forms a barrier between the carrot and the
garden pests. Start your carrots off in paper pots. When you come
to plant out knot a length of hosiery and fill with potting compost.
Plant the paper pot into the hosiery and plant it all into the garden.
The carrot will grow happily in its pots. Make sure that the
hosiery is above the soil and gathered in at the top to stop slugs
getting inside.
Garden Ties
A length of nylon hosiery is ideal for tying in trees or saplings to
stakes. The nylon material stretches to allow the tree to grow
Hoover Safe
Fix a piece of stretched nylon tights over the vacuum nozzle and
secure with an elastic band. It is now safe to vacuum between
small objects or areas such as the top of cupboards where you
cannot see what you may be picking up.
Lampshade Cleaners
Cut lengths from old white or colourfast light-coloured tights,
knot one end and fill with a mixture of sugar soap and bicarbonate
of soda, knot the other end and it’s ready to use. Rub over a dry
fabric lampshade and watch the colours come to life again. Remove excess with a soft brush.
Moth Repellent
Use the foot out of old clean tights to form a pomander to hang in
your wardrobes or cupboards, just fill with cloves, cedar wood
shavings or potpourri with citronella added. Tie end into a knot
and place in the area needed to repel moths.
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Packing Perfect
If you roll up items of clothing they won’t become so creased. If
you pack the clothing into a pair of tights or strips cut from an old
pair of tights and put the clothes inside, it keeps them in a roll,
making them easier to pack.
Plant Food
Pack comfrey leaves into the leg of a pair of tights, put in a couple
of large stones to make it sink. Knot the top to make a giant tea bag.
Throw into your water butt (one that is only used for watering
plants) and within a few days you will have plant food on tap. Just
watch your garden grow!
Powder Holders
Cut lengths from old white or colourfast light-coloured tights, knot
one end and fill with washing powder, knot the other end and store
in the box. When in a hurry just pop one into your wash, no messing
with measuring powder. Quick and easy!
Soap Holder
If your hands are dirty whilst out in the garden and you don’t want
to come in and wash them in the sink. Fill the foot from an old pair
of clean tights or stockings with soap bits and hang on an outside
tap. It will be accessible to use whenever you need to wash your
hands. Just rub between your hands under running water. NB: You
can use the mesh bags that onions come in, they act as a scourer too.
Just fill with soap, tie the top with string and hang around the
outdoor tap.
Make your own ‘Spongies’. They can be used to wash garden
furniture, car, barbecue etc. etc. Just cut a slit in the sponge and fill
it with soap slivers. Put it into the foot of an old pair of tights and
knot the end. Your spongie will last for ages and be very useful for
washing loads of items around the garage, garden and greenhouse.
Tights and Stockings
Sweater or Blouse Dryer
An ideal way to dry sweaters or blouses without getting peg
marks in the fabric is to thread each leg of a pair of tights through
each arm and peg the top and each foot of the tights to the line.
Perfect, the tights get pegged to the line not the sweater or blouse,
so no unsightly peg marks.
‘Waist’ Bin Bag Holder
The waistband from a pair of tights makes an ideal bin bag
holder, just insert the bag into the bin and fold the bag over the
top of the bin, place the waistband over the top to hold the bag in
place. It can easily be washed with each bag change.
Water Cleaner
If you have a water butt you can tie the foot from a pair of clean
tights over the down pipe from the guttering. It will strain the
water as it enters the container.
A garden sprayer needs very clean water, if any bits get into the
sprayer it can stop the flow of the water. You can still use water
from a water butt if you strain it through a pair of tights first.
Strain rainwater through tights before using it in your electrical
appliances that need water. It’s much cheaper than using distilled
water and works just as well.
Wrapping Paper Holder
The legs of tights can be cut down to hold tubes of wrapping
paper so that they can be hung up on the wall. Just sew a washer
on the end to hang over a hook. Or keep the pair of tights intact
and balance over a rail with a roll of wrapping paper in each leg.
It may sound funny, but who’s to know? No one but you will see
it in the cupboard and they do make very effective holders.
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Cutlery Cleaner
Put a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a damp cloth and rub
stained cutlery, rinse and repeat if necessary.
Scuff Marks on Floors
Rub with some toothpaste to remove.
Scuff Marks on Shoes or Trainers
Rub with a small amount of toothpaste to remove scuff, then
immediately rub over area with a coloured crayon the same colour
as the shoes or trainers.
Silver Cleaner
Put a small amount of toothpaste onto a damp cloth and rub over
items of silver. It is ideal for silver jewellery that has gone black. It
will bring it up to a brilliant shine. Do not use on plated silver.
Next time you go for a walk, take a carrier bag and pick up fallen
twigs. Store on a shelf in the coal store and use to light the fire with
newspaper firelighters.
Flower Arranging
Use twigs in winter flower arrangements, they are cheap, look good
and will help to arrange the flowers in the vase.
Plant stakes
Use larger twigs to stake plants. Just push into the ground around
the plant.
Typist’s Correction Fluid / Tyres
Chipped China Corrector
Chips on vases or ornaments can be ‘corrected’ with correction
fluid in the same colour. Try dabbing on a little clear nail varnish
to look like a glaze.
Christmas Decorations
Windows can be painted using small stencils with correction fluid.
Lace Whitener
Keep laces white by rubbing in correction fluid.
Magic Marker
Correction fluid, especially the corrector pens, is ideal for marking jars and writing on shiny surfaces. Comes in all colours too.
Melamine Correction
Any chips in the surface of your melamine furniture can be
covered with a little correction fluid.
Trainer or Shoe Whitener
Any marks on trainers, pumps and shoes can be painted with
correction fluid in a matching colour.
Garden Maker
Cut car tyres in half and arrange around the area you would like
landscaped. Back fill with soil. If you cover the tyres with cladding made from equal quantities of soil, sand and cement (mix in
water to form a paste and coat the outside of the tyre), no one will
ever know that they are tyres, they look like stone curves. NB
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
You may need to paint tyres with a rubber primer or ESP (every
surface primer) to make sure that the cladding sticks securely to the
Large round planters can be made with a couple of car tyres. If you
cover the tyres with cladding made from equal quantities of soil,
sand and cement (mix in water to form a paste and coat the outside
of the tyre), no one will ever know that they are tyres, they look like
stone curves.
NB You may need to paint tyres with a rubber primer or an ‘every
surface primer’ to make sure that the cladding stays on the tyres.
Potato Planter
Save your old car tyres, they make perfect potato planters for the
greenhouse or garden. Stuff each tyre with crumpled newspapers
and a few banana skins (to break down as plant food), stack two
tyres together, fill the first inner ring with potting compost and
plant the seed potatoes, cover with soil to the next ring, as the plants
grow add more tyres and compost. When you need to harvest them,
just take away the tyres and the potatoes will fall out, no strenuous
Tree Bumper
An old car tyre cut and put around a tree to give a ‘bumper’ effect
is ideal for saving the tree from being damaged by a lawnmower or
strimmer. You can fill the tyre with potting compost and even cover
the tyre with cladding made from equal quantities of soil, sand and
cement. Mix with water to a paste and coat the outside of the tyre.
NB You may need to paint tyres with a rubber primer or ESP (every
surface primer) to make sure that the cladding sticks to the tyres.
Vegetable Oil
Vegetable Oil
See Cooking Oil page 51.
Body Oil
Vegetable oil is not just for frying or salad dressings. Massaged
straight into the skin it makes and inexpensive moisturiser for
the body. Try Grapeseed oil or your favourite vegetable or nut
oil, they have a good content of vitamin E.
Boost Hair Conditioner
If your usual hair conditioner is not doing its job, add a few drops
of vegetable oil (up to 50:50 for very dry or damaged hair) mix
well and use as stated on the bottle.
Cooker Clean
Grease your hob and oven before cooking a meal, afterwards
you can easily rub away food splashes.
Furniture Polish
A few drops of vegetable oil on a clean duster will shine furniture
as good as commercial polish.
Hand & Nail Salve
Rub in vegetable or nut oils every time you have washed your
hands, it will stop chafing and make your hands feel lovely and
soft, and your nails less brittle.
Shinier Stainless Steel
After cleaning the stainless steel item(s) with a piece of lemon
dipped in salt, sprinkle a soft, clean cloth with a few drops of
vegetable oil and buff, it keeps the shine longer.
Shoe Shine
A few drops of vegetable oil on a clean duster will give shoes a
quick shine. If your shoes are scuffed, just colour in with an
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
appropriate coloured felt pen or permanent marker before shining
with the oil.
Keepsake Box
Take out the video and the paper insert (if any) from the box. Cut
out pictures of flowers etc. from a magazine and glue on the box
with PVA glue, in a decoupage effect. Give the pictures a coat of
PVA glue and allow to dry. This will give you a pretty box to keep
all your keepsakes in and you will always know where to find it. It
is very handy for keeping the TV licence in so you have it to hand.
Valuable Safe
Save all your old video cases, they make a perfect safe store for
valuables. Take out the videos and store your valuables in the case.
Put it on the shelf and no one will know what it contains.
Vinegar is a 3%-5% acid and can be used for all manner of cleaning
around the home. If you do not like the smell, for some applications, lemon juice can be used instead.
Acid Loving Plants
Put a 1 teaspoon of vinegar in half a gallon of limy water when
watering your hydrangeas, heathers, rhododendrons, azaleas,
berberis, pieris, etc. But make sure not to water the leaves or it may
damage them.
Ant Deterrent
Mix vinegar 50:50 with water and spray around the holes that the
ants use to enter your home.
NB: Hot vinegar poured over an ants nest will destroy the nest.
But, if on the grass, it will kill the grass too.
Brass Cleaner
Sprinkle some vinegar onto a duster and rub over brass, rinse and
buff with a clean, soft cloth. DO NOT use on plated or coated brass.
Cake Maker
For a lighter cake, scones or sponge, stir in a teaspoon of vinegar
just before baking. It reacts with the baking powder (self raising
flour) to make the cake rise.
Chrome Cleaner
White vinegar on a soft cloth will clean chrome. On the inside of
chrome items add salt, sprinkle with vinegar and rub well. Rinse
item and dry.
Clearer Glassware
Soak glassware in hot water:vinegar 4:1 or neat vinegar depending
on how badly stained it is. The vinegar will soon have it gleaming
again. Rinse well and dry. Repeat as necessary. Be careful if the
glassware has a gold or silver rim, vinegar will damage it.
Copper Cleaner
Sprinkle some vinegar onto a clean cloth and rub onto copper
ornaments etc. Rinse and buff with a soft, clean duster.
Decking Clear
If you have moss or algae growing on paths or decking, paint with
vinegar, leave for about an hour, rinse down and it will soon go.
Dishwashing Rinse
Put half a cup of vinegar in the final rinse water (especially good
after using bicarbonate of soda in the powder dispenser). It will
keep glassware and pottery gleaming.
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
NB: Adding vinegar to your dishwashing liquid will boost the
cleaning power.
Drain Cleaner
Sprinkle a cup of washing soda crystals down the drain, pour
500ml vinegar and leave for 20 minutes, and then add a full kettle
of boiling water.
Enamel, Stain Remover
** Caution** patch test first before doing the whole area.
Apply a paste of salt and vinegar to the enamel, leave for a minute
and rinse well. Do not use on porcelain enamel and some
cheaper enamel surfaces will be damaged by the acid.
Glue Gone
Hot vinegar will soften old glue.
Grass killer
Get rid of unwanted grass in between paving slabs, dose it with
neat vinegar.
Hard Water Stains
Soak items in full strength vinegar to remove hard water stains.
For delicate items dilute vinegar with water.
Jar Cleaner
Soak the jar and label in warmed vinegar until label peels off.
Kettle Descaler
Add vinegar to kettle, cover the scaling and leave overnight. In
morning fill with water and boil. Discard the liquid and rinse well.
Limescale Remover
Dip an old toothbrush in vinegar and go around the areas of
limescale (mineral deposits) around taps and plug holes in the
kitchen and the bathroom. Leave for a few minutes then gently
dislodge the limescale. It may need several applications, depending
on severity. Do not mix with bleach. Don’t use on porcelain enamel.
For more stubborn applications: soak a kitchen towel in vinegar
and lay on the area, cover with cling film and leave overnight. It
should have softened the limescale enough to be rubbed away.
Morning Refresher
When you wake, drink 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass
of water to get your system going. Especially beneficial for people
over 50.
Metal Cleaner
Make your own metal cleaner with a mixture of vinegar, salt and
cornflour, mix to a paste, paint on with a toothbrush and rub off
(crevices may need rinsing). Stubborn stains can be removed with
soaking in neat vinegar. NB: do not use on coated or plated chrome,
brass or metal. Rinse well after use.
Paint Brushes Renewed
Steep old paint brushes in hot vinegar to have them looking like
new, repeat if necessary. Rub in a little vegetable oil to keep the
bristles supple.
Salt Stains on Leather Items
Salt stains on leather shoes can be rinsed away with vinegar.
Shower Cleaner
Spray the shower with a mix of 50:50 vinegar and water after using
it. Every week, spray and wipe with a cloth. Do not use a plastic or
harsher scourer on plastic fittings. A scourer can be used to keep
glass shower screens free of limescale.
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Showerhead Cleaner
Most showerheads are easily taken apart, and each piece can be
soaked in vinegar and brushed clean. If the showerhead won’t come
apart, put it in a glass container, cover with vinegar and leave
overnight. The limescale should just rub away in the morning.
Small Appliance Cleaner
Don’t wait for your appliances to become clogged. Vinegar can
keep your coffee machine, tea maker, iron, steam appliances, etc.
clear if you regularly put vinegar (or lemon juice) in the water and
allow it to work through.
Stain Remover
Make your own stain remover. In an empty shampoo bottle, no
need to rinse it out, just add 50:50 vinegar and washing up liquid,
mix well. Next time you do a wash squirt the liquid over any stains
before putting them in the machine.
Window Clear
Add a couple of teaspoons of vinegar to a couple of tablespoons of
water, dampen a crumpled newspaper (not too wet) with it and rub
over windows and mirrors to give them a sparkle.
Washing Machine Woes
Buying large quantities of vinegar is quite inexpensive, yet the
benefits are phenomenal. Put a cupful of vinegar in the rinse cycle
and it will stop limescale build-up. Every month (or every two
weeks in hard water areas, put a pint of vinegar in the machine and
allow to stand. Put it on rinse cycle, economy wash, and allow the
vinegar to run through, it will keep your drains fresh too.
Whiter Whites
Add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to a whites wash to
whiten them.
Washers / Washing-up Liquid
Stop Rugs Moving
Sew little washers or the rubber rings from jars on the underside
of rugs to stop them moving across the floor.
I’m forever blowing bubbles! Well now your children can too.
When their bubble container is empty just top up with a natural
bio-degradable, organic washing-up liquid.
Clean Car
Why pay the earth for specialist car shampoo when ordinary
washing-up liquid will do.
Greenfly Killer
Add a good squirt of biodegradable natural washing-up liquid to a
pint of water in a sprayer and spray around roses and other plants
to prevent aphid attack.
Emulsion Improver
If you are trying to paint over wallpaper with a sheen to it some
emulsion paints will not stick to it smoothly. Just add a squirt of
non-coloured washing-up liquid, mix well, and it will improve the
smoothness of the application.
Hair Care
Run out of shampoo? Don’t worry, just mix in some jojoba oil to
your ordinary organic washing-up liquid and wash your hair.
Indoor Plant Cleaner
Give your indoor plants a quick spruce up with a soft cloth and
some diluted biodegradable, organic washing up liquid.
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
Remember: the cheaper liquid may have too many chemicals for
your plants.
Mirror/Window Demister
Put a drop of washing-up liquid onto a paper kitchen towel and rub
all over glass or mirrored surfaces, it will stop them from becoming
covered in condensation.
Window Paint
Mix poster paint with some washing-up liquid to paint birthday or
seasonal messages on glass mirrors or window panes. It is much
easier to remove (add some vinegar to the rinse water).
Drawer Runner
If you have old wooden furniture, you’ll know that it is very
annoying when the drawers do not run smoothly. All you need to
do is empty the drawer and run an old wax crayon or candle along
the bottom of the draw runner and the runner inside the cabinet. It
will instantly fix the problem.
Furniture Scratch Remover
Scratched wooden furniture makes a room look shabby. For an
instant repair, find a wax crayon that matches the colour of the item
and run it along the scratch, build up the layers and polish. If a chip,
groove or sliver of wood has been taken out, just gently melt the
crayon, until it becomes malleable and ease it into place with a
plastic scraper or knife, making sure it is flush with the surface and
smooth. Allow to cool, and polish as normal.
Bigger Bubbles
Untangle a wire coat hanger, now reshape it into a tennis racquet
shape (a circle with a handle on the end). Next put some washing127
Wire Coat Hangers / Wood Ash
liquid onto a baking sheet or tray that will take the circular wire.
Dip the circular wire into the washing-up liquid and blow gently
to release the giant bubbles. NB: do not allow children to work
the coat hanger into a circular shape by themselves.
Hold a wire coat hanger by the hook and run the long end over
your skirt and hair. The static should transfer to the coat hanger.
Drying Clothes
Slip a wire coat hanger into blouses and cardigans etc. Button
them up to keep them on the hanger and place on washing line
with a peg on the hook to hold it in place. It saves pegs and
ensures there are no peg marks on your garment.
Flush Rush
If you think that the flush on your loo is not strong enough,
maybe the holes under the rim are blocked. Take a wire coat
hanger, unbend it and prod the holes with the end of the coat
hanger to get rid of stubborn limescale etc.
To thread electrical wire in between wall cavities, just twist a
wire coat hanger to resemble a giant needle and thread the wire
up to where it should be.
Pewter Cleaner
Ash from a wood fire is ideal for cleaning pewter, just rub some
flakes over the pewter with a soft cloth and buff with a clean cloth.
Saving Electricity or Gas
When boiling food in a saucepan turn to high at first, then
simmer on a lower heat . Turn electric plates off 10 minutes
before the end of cooking and leave the lid on. Cut vegetables into smaller pieces, they will cook quicker. Par cook
colourful vegetables, they take less fuel and are much
If on Economy 7 heating (cheaper at night). Make sure that
appliances are set to run at night. The freezer can be set
higher at night, if you take out every thing you need to
defrost at night, and it can be turned to low during the day.
Remember: when adding fresh food to the freezer, put them
in at night when the freezer is running higher.
Place some water filled containers into your freezer to keep
it ‘stocked up’. It will be cheaper to run and keep it colder.
Turn down a heating thermostat by 4 degrees, you won’t
notice the difference but your bill will be lighter.
Switch the lights off when you leave an empty room, you
will be surprised by how much that saves.
Economy light bulbs are now available in supermarkets at
very reasonable prices.
Make sure that all your doors, windows and loft are
adequately insulated, especially in winter.
Saving on Your Water Bill
Fit a water butt to catch the rainfall from your roof. You will
never need to water your garden or pot plants from the tap.
Quick Fix Money Savers
Fit a water butt connected to your bath outlet pipe. Think
of all the water you can catch to water your garden with.
But remember not to use harsh chemical cleaners in your
bath or they will damage your plants.
Place some bricks or water filled containers into your toilet
cistern. You will save water every time you flush because
the cistern will not have to completely fill up with water.
Use a smaller bowl when you wash up, and tip the water
into a watering can once you have finished.
Save all the washing-up and do in one go, if possible.
Take a shower instead of a bath, it uses less water.
It may not seem like a great saving to just do these little things,
but everything adds up over the course of a year.
Steam Clean Your Home
If you invest in a steam cleaner you will not have to waste money
buying a lot of chemical cleaners that aren’t very good for your
health anyway! See instructions included with your steamer on
how to use.
GARDENERS TIP: use your steamer to steam-clean flowerpots
(not the very flimsy plastic ones). You can even use it to treat soil
so that you can use it as a seed compost. The hot steam kills off
moulds, pests, and viruses so the seedlings are healthier. It will
save you money because there is no need to buy expensive seed
compost. See manufacturer’s guidelines.
The advice in this book is for information purposes only. If the reader
uses this information it is at their own risk. Any money made from these
money making schemes is taxable and information should be sought
from the local Tax Office. Trading is subject to current trading laws,
information should be sought from your local Trading Standards Office.
Find out which day bin day is in a local area and do a leaflet drop a
couple of days beforehand. Most people will be pleased that they
have a clean bin that is returned to its home after it is emptied.
Make sure that you arrange to use an outside tap.
Advertise a car washing service in your local paper, parish magazine or do a leaflet drop in an area. You will soon build up a client
base and will have a regular supply of customers.
If you have a few brightly coloured remnants or know someone
who has some on a regular basis you can cut them into hexagonals,
squares and triangles and sell them on as quilting
pieces. Invest in a pair of pinking shears, to cut the shapes out.
A bag of 100 can fetch anything up to £5 and it’s a great
way to use up those scraps of material.
Dogs will always need walking and there will be some owners who
will not have the time to do it. Design some leaflets and distribute
them around the area. Call into your local dog training class and see
if your services are needed. When you have built up a clientele, you
could advertise a looking after a dog/pet in their own home service.
You will have plenty of references and will be able to build a nice
little income and keep yourself fit at the same time.
Quick Fix Money Makers
If you live near a beach, collect all the pieces of driftwood you can
find. You can sell them from your home or even at craft fairs or
carboot sales.
A local sawmill will let you have loads of logs for a very
reasonable sum. Collect a load and sell it on, delivered.
Find your local sawmill and see if they have any offcuts that would
be suitable for making planters. Sometimes they will have treated
pieces that have been cut from fencing stakes. All you need to do
is make them into boxes or rings, add soil and a few plants. (Large
trunk pieces can be sliced into very popular wooden stepping
If you cannot find a sawmill, look for wooden pallets and pull them
apart to make the planters. If all else fails, you could buy some
cheap ceramic pots from carboot sales, spruce them up, fill them
with plants and sell for a profit. Nearly everyone loves buying
containers and hanging baskets already planted.
They can be sold empty or filled from outside your home, at a car
boot sale or in the free ads of newspapers.
Purchase some cheap galvanised watering cans, jugs and buckets.
Paint them, stencil or draw scenes, patterns on them and sell them
as garden ornaments.
Find old metal wheelbarrows, there are usually plenty of tips, even
ones with tyres or wheels missing (you can make do with an old
wheel or make your own with a round piece of wood). Paint black
or green, make drainage holes in the bottom and plant up with plants.
ReUse, Repair and Reduce Household Bills
Invest in some concrete moulds, birds, woodland scenes, or paving
etc. Mix your own concrete and make garden ornaments. You can
make yours look different by covering them with a soil and cement
mix, to make them look weathered. Concrete toadstools are a
particular favourite at the moment.
You can sell them from your home, carboot or craft sales. Why not
do a leaflet drop?
A local stables or blacksmiths may be able to save you their old
horseshoes. Just give them a lick of paint and either draw on little
flowers or invest in a stencil and stencil a pattern onto them. They
can be sold at, in the free ads section of local
newspaper, outside your home, or at local carboot or craft sales.
Anyone with a windowsill can grow seedlings. Have a look in the
gardening section of this book, which gives tips on using containers
and making your own newspaper pots. Your only outlay will be the
seeds, and if you have a garden you can even grow your own seeds
for free. Nearly everyone is interested in purchasing more plants,
especially in the spring and winter flowering plants in the autumn.
Everyone needs weekly groceries, why not do a leaflet drop and see
if anyone would like you to do their shopping for them. If you do
the shopping for a few friends first, you could get some references
and put those on your leaflet with contact details.
If you enjoy making your own sweets and small cakes, you could
make them for other people too. Sell by leaflet drop (maybe with a
sample), advertise in the paper, parish magazine, parish notice
Quick Fix Money Makers
board, craft fairs, etc. Make yours stand out from the crowd and
go organic, they are different and will probably guarantee a niche
NB: Make sure that you find out about any European legislation
that may now govern the sale of food.
Contact British Telecom and see if you can get a contract for
cleaning the telephone boxes in your area. They don’t pay very
much, but every little helps.
Most stables or farms will gladly get rid of surplus manure. Bag it
(make sure it is not airtight) and sell it on. Or deliver loads to
neighbours etc. Why not put an advert in parish magazines or local
newspapers. Before you know it you will have your own little
Go around charity shops, pick up inexpensive items in local paper,
or print yourself a letterhead and register at a wholesalers. Then
sell your finds on or at a carboot sale.
Remember: hiring a village hall is only about £20-£50 per day or
even less, you could easily cover that by hiring out some stalls, or
selling refreshments. If you go to a few local fetes and fairs you
could probably get a few stall holders interested in coming to your
sale. Most village halls have facilities, tables and chairs, so you
have an inexpensive venue with all the props.
NB: Make sure that you advertise the event. Leaflet drops, parish
magazines, village notice boards, supermarket notice boards are
all cheap ways of advertising your sale. See if local radio or
newspapers will offer a good deal.
This book is written for information purposes only. If the reader uses this
information it is at their own risk. Some finishes and surfaces may be
damaged by substances recommended within this book. Always patch test a
small hidden area before using on your items.
Air Freshener
Boil together cloves, cinnamon and lemon peel to quickly clear
kitchen odours.
See Bicarbonate of Soda pages 23-39.
For many cleaning without chemicals ideas.
Bottle Neck
If you have bottles with small necks and you’re not sure how to
clean them, just mix water and vinegar 50:50, half fill the bottle and
quarter fill with rice. Shake bottle very well for a few minutes, to
remove the soiling . When you are sure it is clean, rinse well.
Brass Cleaner
After rubbing brass with a little Worcestershire sauce or salt and
lemon juice, rinse the surface, dry and apply some petroleum jelly
on a soft, clean cloth and rub over the surface. It will keep the brass
looking good for longer.
Car Defroster
If your windows or locks keep getting frozen up during the winter.
Make up some extra windscreen wash (suitable for winter use in
windscreen bottle) and put into a spray bottle. Spray into locks and
along windowsills to stop them getting iced up.
Clean Between
Unravel a wire coat hanger until it is straight. Bend it in half so that
it resembles an elongated U shape, with about 2-3cms between the
prongs. Now you can either fit an old woolly sock on the end (kept
in place by an elastic band) or you can thread scouring pads or
sponges down the prongs (actually stick the prongs through the
Quick Fix Cleaning Tips
pads and thread them down to the U bend, which keeps them in
place). It is ideal to clean or dust under appliances, in between
kitchen cupboards, along picture rails, behind radiators etc. etc.
NB: You can also paint behind radiators with paint on the sponges.
Clean Credit Rating
A old credit card makes a very good scraper. It is tough but gentle
enough not to damage most surfaces. It is also great as a spatula for
filling surfaces.
Copper Pan Cleaner
Rub Worcestershire sauce or ketchup into your copper pans to keep
them shining. Buff with a little vegetable oil on a soft cloth to keep
the shine longer.
Corrosion Cleaner
Clean corrosion from battery terminals by soaking in cola, tango or
Crystal Clear
If you have intricate bits of crystal that need cleaning, try using a
shaving brush and shaving soap and rinse. It really works.
See Denture Cleaning Tablets page 62
See Fabric Conditioner page 67
Fabric Stiffener
Add dissolved gelatine to the final rinse of curtains or any item that
needs stiffening. NB: It works better if the rinse water is warm.
Free Scourer
Place an old plastic mesh fruit or onion bag around a sponge and
you have a ready made scourer for use in the home, garage or
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Glazed Cotton
When glazed cotton loses its sheen the best way to restore it is to
add a packet of dissolved gelatine to the final rinse water. NB: It
works better if the rinse water is warm. Spin very well on high.
Grout Clout
Give mould and mildew the elbow with white car wax. After
grouting and when dry, rub in the wax over tiles and especially
grouting, and, they will be protected for up to a year from unsightly
mould growth.
See Lemons, page 86
Lipstick on Glass or Ceramics
Rub with salt before washing to remove. (Not on plated rim)
Loo Soak
Last thing at night pour some lemonade and vinegar around the
toilet bowl and leave overnight. In the morning, wake up to a
sparkling loo.
Metal Polish
Make your own metal polish.
Put half a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of salt into a cup,
add flour to make a paste and spread on brass ornaments.
Wash off and buff with a rag that has a few drops of
essential oil on it.
Dip half a squeezed lemon in salt and rub over brass
ornaments. Rinse and buff.
The starchy water from potatoes is said to clean silver, leave
it to soak overnight, rinse well.
Quick Fix Cleaning Tips
Toothpaste rubbed onto metal with a soft cloth will clean it.
Rub bruised (raw) cabbage leaves over pewter to clean it.
Rinse and dry, rub in a little olive oil to protect the sheen.
NB: Be careful of plated brass or coated metal it may damage the
surface. See Brass Cleaner, above.
Moth Repellent
Hang little bags of cloves (the spice) around the wardrobe, moths
hate them.
Paint Smells
Eradicate paint smells from a freshly painted room by peeling and
cutting 2 onions in half and leaving the 4 halves around the room
in shallow dishes of water.
Outdoor Wooden Furniture
Wash with a soapy solution, allow to dry, mix 1 part lemon juice
with 2 parts vegetable oil and rub into the wood, buff with a soft
cloth. When storing the furniture away, add citronella and eucalyptus oil to the mix, it will stop insect attack while they over-winter.
Patch test a small area first to avoid discolouration.
Oven Spills
Sprinkle salt or bicarbonate of soda liberally onto oven spills while
still hot. Allow to cool then just wipe up.
Quick Clean-ups
Keep all your used fabric conditioner sheets and use to shine taps,
mirrors and for quick cleaning of furniture, television and computer screens etc.
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Silver Coating (Keep out of the reach of children)
Mix enough gelatine with warm water (as stated on packet) to make
a syrupy liquid. Add potassium bichromate to give a light lemon
colour. Brush on the warm liquid in a fine even coating, or dip
smaller intricate objects and drain. Ordinary daylight will convert
it to a tough colourless film that protects your silver from
tarnishing. Wear rubber gloves and apron, wash off splashes.
Sofa So Good
Get some saddle soap and clean that leather sofa, it removes all the
stains and leaves it feeling lovely and soft. Read and abide by
manufacturers instructions for cleaning before trying your own
methods. Mix egg white and 5ml alcohol to buff leather to a shine.
These are for washable fabrics, and always wash clothes according
to their labels. Before using any stain remover always patch test
initially, because some stain removers will damage some natural
dyes and manmade fabrics.
* Putting a couple of tablespoons of cheap table salt in with your
wash will soften the water and allow the powder to work more
Smear stain with shampoo before washing. Especially good
for greasy stains. For thick greasy stains or wax, ironing the
garment between a couple of thicknesses of absorbent
kitchen towel, beneath and above the stain will remove the
excess. This should be done before applying a stain remover
and laundering. You can also try rubbing in liberal amounts
of cornflour and just rub away the excess grease.
Ink, wet gloss paint, creosote, tar stains etc. need a solvent
type cleaner. Try tea tree oil and rub with washing up liquid
Quick Fix Cleaning Tips
and salt, or try surgical spirit and rub with washing up
liquid. See Solvents.
Toothpaste rubbed into a stain can help to loosen it before
laundering. It can also be used for removing stains from
trainers and white shoes.
Organic stains like blood, perspiration or grass stains
should be dealt with when fresh. Soak in a strong solution
of bicarbonate of soda with salt for a few hours or overnight. When soaked, treat area with lemon juice and salt
before laundering.
NB: Only use cold water as hot or warm water sets the
stain and makes it more difficult to get out.
Coffee Stains: If the coffee is fresh, rub in some glycerine
and launder. Old coffee stains may need the help of a
Rust stains can be removed with salt and lemon juice.
Wine stains can be flooded with white vinegar and
sprinkled with liberal amounts of salt and then brushed
away or dabbed with absorbent kitchen paper, depending
where the stain is. Dried wine stains can be treated with a
Minor scorch marks on cotton or linen can usually be
removed by boiling two peeled onions with 15g castille
soap (or washing soap flakes and 60g fuller’s earth. When
thickened spread over the stain and allow to dry. Brush
well, repeat if necessary. Launder as usual.
White wine vinegar and water will remove most stains
from leather. To restore the polish to leather furniture mix
well 1 teaspoon spirit alcohol with 1 egg white and apply
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on a soft cloth. Allow to dry and buff with a clean cloth.
Remember to patch test a small area initially as discolouration may occur on some leathers. Do not smoke and
always ventilate the room well while cleaning.
NB: Alcohol is inflammable, do not use near naked flame.
Natural Solvents can be used around the home to remove stains
from fabrics, carpets etc. Solvents will also damage some manmade fabrics, plastics and polished surfaces. A patch-test must be
carried out on a small area before the whole area is cleaned. Some
of the stronger solvents are inflammable so care should be taken
when using them. Do not use in the proximity of a naked flame.
Alcohol can be used to remove stains. Apply on cotton wool and
dab the stain.
Essential Oil
Some essential oils have solvent properties including: lavender oil
and tea tree oil. Good for removing glue and gunge from surfaces.
Glycerine, available from chemists, is a mild solvent.
Hair Spray
Hair spray should be sprayed onto cotton wool and dabbed onto the
Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has mild solvent properties and can be flooded onto
areas of stain. Rub in salt for extra cleaning power.
Quick Fix Cleaning Tips
Surgical spirit
Surgical spirit can be used as a solvent.
Tar Remover
Soak the tar in a little vegetable oil for 30 minutes to soften it, mix
some salt and washing up liquid and rub into the tar and wash.
Repeat if necessary.
See Vinegar page 121
Vinegar has mild solvent properties and can be used to soak the
stain before laundering. Vinegar is good for cleaning without
chemicals. NB: Do not use vinegar on porcelain enamel.
See Washing-Up Liquid
Washing-up liquid is very good at dissolving grease on contact,
even on clothes. Add or rub in salt to boost its effectiveness.
Washing-Up Booster
Add half a cup of vinegar to your washing-up water to boost the
cleaning power.
Window Wiper
Use an old car windscreen wiper to give the perfect finish to
windows and mirrors.
Wooden Furniture Cleaner
Mix one part lemon juice to 2 parts grapeseed oil, apply with a
soft cloth and buff to a shine.
If anyone suspects that they may have an illness as described they should make
an appointment with their own GP. The information in this book should not
substitute medical advice. It is written for information purposes only. If the
reader uses this information it is at their own risk.
Mix 3-5 drops tea tree oil Melaleuca alternifolia with a teaspoon of
Jojoba oil. Up to 10 drops of tea tree oil per teaspoon of Jojoba can
be used on non-sensitive skin. Dab the mixed oil onto the raised
spots using a cotton wool bud up to twice per day. Avoid the eye
NB: Make sure that the tea tree oil is within its expiry date, if no
expiry date on bottle or the botanical name ‘Melaleuca
alternifolia’, do not use in the facial area or on sensitive skin.
Grandma’s Remedy was lemon juice dabbed onto the spots
twice a day, (dilute with water and top with jojoba for
sensitive skin).
Toothpaste dabbed onto the most prominent spots at night
is said to dry them out overnight.
Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 50-100ml water
(depending on skin sensitivity) and apply after cleansing the
face to areas of spotty skin on cotton wool. If irritation
occurs discontinue use.
Antibacterial Cream
In 50ml non-perfumed base cream mix 2 ml tea tree oil. Stir well
and keep in an airtight dark glass jar. Use within 3 months. See
ointment - page 152-153.
Antifungal Cream
In 50ml non-perfumed base cream mix 1 teaspoon wild yam
tincture, 1 teaspoon black walnut hull tincture and 1ml tea tree oil.
Use within 3 months.
Quick Fix Health Tips
Blocked Nose
Grandma’s recipe for a blocked nose and stuffy head: warm some
vinegar in a pan, and inhale the vapours. Not too close, they can be
quite strong.
Take a teaspoon of cider or balsamic vinegar in a little honey at
regular intervals.
See Inhaler page 149.
Bronchial Medicine
Crush 2 cloves chopped garlic, to a teaspoon apple cider vinegar
and honey to taste. Take morning and night after food.
NB: Garlic has been known to irritate a delicate stomach. If in
doubt do not eat raw.
Burns (minor)
Cool burn under cold running water for a few minutes. Mix a little
pure lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) with Jojoba
oil and splash onto a burn 2-3 times a day. Do not cover a burn
with a plaster, if the area is susceptible to knocks try covering with
gauze and securing with surgical tape. See ointment - page 152-153.
Chicken Pox
See Herpes
Researchers have found that a diet rich in good fats, fish oils, olive
oil, perilla oil, is better at reducing bad cholesterol than a low or
no-fat diet.
Eating half an avocado a day can help reduce bad cholesterol levels.
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Lecithin sprinkled onto porridge or muesli can help to reduce bad
cholesterol levels.
A curry containing garlic, chilli, ginger, and turmeric can help to
alleviate some symptoms of a cold.
Turmeric in honey is said to help alleviate cold symptoms. Take a
teaspoon of each twice per day for the duration of the cold.
Change diet to easily digested food and eat more food containing
vitamin C: blackcurrants, papaya, areola cherries, blueberries, cranberries, elderberries (collect in autumn and freeze for use over the
winter NB: to avoid contamination, do not use elderberries that are
close to a main road). Eating little and often of lightly cooked food,
chicken soup, fruit smoothies etc. helps your system to cope with
fighting the virus instead of having to digest heavy meals.
Suck a zinc lozenge at regular intervals has been shown to lessen
the duration of a cold.
Elderflower and elderberry extracts help to lessen the duration of a
A couple of drops of Eucalyptus oil on a tissue in a small plastic
bag will help sufferer to breathe more easily. Should not be used for
young children.
Chicken soup is a good reliever of symptoms and may even lessen
the duration of a cold. Simmer the chicken on the carcass until the
meat falls off the bone, add onions, carrots, olive oil, a few spices
such as garlic, ginger, turmeric etc. half way through cooking,
season to taste. Discard the bone and serve.
Quick Fix Health Tips
Loquat syrup, with herbs can by purchased from your nearest
Chinese supermarket or wholesaler.
Boil bruised fennel seeds in a little water for 3-5 minutes and sip the
cooled water.
Drink cranberry juice every couple of hours until symptoms
subside. Try to find a natural cranberry juice without any additives.
6-12 drops grapefruit seed extract (Citricidal) in fruit juice and
water. Take 2-3 times per day until symptoms subside or see label
in case of proprietary brands. Replenish your good bacteria too, eat
a lot of live bio yogurt (preferably without sugar).
NB: Recurrent diarrhoea or food poisoning should have the advice
of a medical practitioner as soon as possible.
See Upset Stomach
A teaspoon apple cider vinegar in pineapple juice taken 20 minutes
before a meal will help to regulate digestion.
As long as the ear drum has not been perforated, mix 1-2 drops tea
tree oil in a teaspoon olive oil, warm and dribble into the ear. It will
help with minor infections and to remove foreign bodies from the
Eye Infections
Natural calendula tea can help with eye infections. Just steep a few
petals or calendula tea bag (without additives) in boiled water, add
a good pinch of salt, cool, bathe eyes in a sterilised eye bath when
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water has cooled. A new piece of cotton wool, or a sterilised eye
bath should be used for each eye. The tepid herb tea bags can be
placed straight onto closed eyes.
NB: Colloidal silver can also be used for eye infections as long as
it states that it is suitable for use in the eyes on the label.
Eat 100g of fresh cherries or cherry concentrate per day. Cherries
help to naturally get rid of uric acid, which causes gout.
Dandelion leaves lightly sautéed in olive oil with garlic is said to
help alleviate gout. Try drinking dandelion tea, it’s delicious with
a slice of lemon and a little honey..
A hangover is caused by dehydration. Make sure that you drink a
small cup of water at regular intervals during and after a drinking
session. Vitamin B5 and B3 taken before and after drinking is said
to help to stave off a hangover. A good mineral supplement is
beneficial after a drinking session.
Mix half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with a little water and
drink. If heartburn is recurring on a regular basis a doctor should be
Frequent headaches need to be checked by a doctor, in case of an
underlying medical condition.
Lie down in a darkened room with a cold flannel across
your forehead. A few drops of pure lavender oil on top of
the flannel may help.
Quick Fix Health Tips
Feverfew may help, it can be purchased in capsule form or
try chewing a few leaves (the leaves can be quite bitter).
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had some
remarkable success stories with headaches, see for a free download book.
L-lysine HCL a natural amino acid, a natural component of protein.
The herpes virus, is killed by L-lysine and cannot replicate. Many
people that have tried it say that it takes all the pain from shingles
and chicken pox and lessens the duration of the illness. L-lysine
HCL is available from health food shops and should be taken in
between meals 500 mg 3x per day with the same of vitamin C for
5 days. Children should take a half dose of each. People who
should not eat too much protein, as in liver or kidney disease
should see their practitioner before taking L-lysine HCL.
High Blood Pressure
Half a teaspoon of cayenne in a glass of water and sipped at regular
intervals, was an old remedy for reducing high blood pressure.
Researchers in America have found that deep breathing is a good
way to lower high blood pressure. Breathe in for seven seconds,
hold breathe for three seconds. Breathe out for twelve seconds, and
hold for three.
NB: Your doctor should be consulted if you think you have high
blood pressure or before you try any new breathing exercises.
Mix half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in half a glass of
water and sip, it should help with indigestion. If you
regularly suffer from indigestion you should see your
doctor for advice and a check-up.
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Suck a strong peppermint to help relieve symptoms of
indigestion. Or sip strong peppermint tea.
Eat a few cubes of fresh pineapple or chew the core from a
fresh pineapple before meals.
In a small screw-top glass jar place some rock salt clumps, add a
few drops of eucalyptus oil. Breathe in the vapours as necessary.
Replace lid when not in use. Refresh every couple of days with
more oil. Replace salt as necessary.
NB: Young children should not inhale eucalyptus oils.
Insect Repellent
Mix a few drops of citronella oil (Cymbopogon nardus) with baby
oil and apply to skin. Always patch test initially for sensitivities.
The pure oil can also be spotted onto hat brims, socks, shoulders,
cuffs and even spread over footwear to keep away gnats and flies.
Citronella sprinkled onto the ground around a picnic blanket/area
is a good way of keeping away wasps.
Insect Stings
A cold tea bag is very good at reducing the pain of insect bites. You
could always make yourself a cup of tea and store a few used tea
bags in the freezer in case of emergency. Thaw by running under
the cold tap for a couple of minutes and apply to the bite.
Onion juice is said to relieve bee stings, liquidise and strain, apply
juice to the sting on cotton wool. Or apply a slice of onion.
** A strong solution of bicarbonate of soda will alleviate ant bites
and bee stings by neutralising the acidic bite.
**Vinegar will neutralise the alkaline poison of a wasp sting.
Quick Fix Health Tips
**Soak the tea bags in an acidic or alkaline substance, clearly label
and store in the freezer. A ready made anti-sting pack.
Lettuce contains a natural sedative, liquidise a quarter of lettuce,
including the stalk, in water or juice, with some sprigs of lemon
balm and some cashew or almond nuts, sweeten with honey and
sip before going to bed. Strain and add a couple of peppermint
leaves to improve the taste, if necessary.
Help yourself with a natural relaxation technique. Curl up in the
foetal position and pretend you are back in the womb, it’s warm
and dark and you feel so safe and relaxed.
A hop pillow may help. Put dried hops and dried lavender into a
lace bag and keep near to your pillow, the aroma is said to aid
restful sleep.
Put a drop of pure lavender oil or sweet orange oil on the corner of
your pillow.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
If irritable bowel syndrome is brought on by stress and is
intermittent, try taking 6-12 drops Citricidal (grapefruit seed extract) in a glass of blackcurrant or apple juice, twice a day for 3
days. If no improvement, discontinue use. NB: It will not help
sufferers of IBS when it is caused by a food intolerance.
Flaxseeds form a gelatinous pulp when mixed with water. They
can be ground in a coffee grinder and added to soya or cashew nut
milk shakes. Sprinkled into porridge and even fruit juice i.e.
Pineapple juice or fruit smoothies. Frequent use is said to calm an
irritable bowel over a period of time.
Sage tea is said to alleviate some symptoms of the menopause.
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If you do not like soya milk, try mixing it half and half with
ordinary milk. Soya milk or soya yogurt can be liquidised with
banana and strawberries to make a delicious fruit smoothie.
Beetroot tops and fresh young dandelion leaves are very nutritive
and can be added to salads.
Fresh carrot juice mixed 50:50 with orange juice is said to help.
Foods that are good for men and women going through this time of
life: Fresh fruit and vegetables, fish oils (make sure that they are
tested to be free of contamination), ginkgo biloba, oats, flaxseeds
and flaxseed oil, porridge, sprouted seeds, lecithin, grains, berries,
mixed nuts, blue green algae, chromium enriched brewers yeast,
magnesium, selenium (or a good quality trace mineral supplement),
olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, spinach (raw in salads or
par-cooked), broccoli. If you have a sensitivity to any of the foods
listed, they should not be consumed.
Cut down on animal protein and fat, refined sugar, heated or stale
polyunsaturated vegetable oils, potatoes especially chips; artificial
sweeteners, colourings, flavourings, preservatives; refined
breakfast cereals (which have a high content of overcooked
carbohydrates (acrylamides) that act as a poison to the nervous
system of humans and animals); processed foods, deep fried
carbohydrates, cakes, biscuits, crackers, sweets all contain
acrylamides and have the potential to damage your health and cause
degenerative diseases. It is especially important for people over 50
to avoid these foods, or at least keep them to a minimum.
Avoid dark hair dyes that contain Paraphenylenediamine (PPD), try
to use natural cosmetics, toiletries, shampoos. At this time in your
life it is important to only use natural chemicals on your body and
in and in your body. Any hormone disrupters that are commonly
Quick Fix Health Tips
found in food packaging and toiletries can have very nasty effects
on your health, especially long-term.
Mouth Ulcers
Steep 3-4 sprigs mint in a cup of hot water, allow to cool slightly,
stir in half a teaspoon salt and stir to cool. Strain and when just
warm take a mouthful of liquid and hold over the area, spit out and
repeat. Do not swallow the liquid.
Muscle Aches - See Muscle Soother - Quick Fix Beauty Tips, p184.
Chop a teaspoon ginger in a heatproof jug, add a cup of boiling
water and allow to steep. Sip the tepid liquid. Add honey to taste
or concentrated apple juice if you find the drink unpalatable. Not
to be used for people suffering from stomach ulcers.
A couple of drops of peppermint oil on a tissue and enclosed in a
plastic bag to breathe the vapours, helps the symptoms of nausea.
DO not use for young children. See reviver below.
Nettle Rash
A cold bicarbonate of soda compress should help relieve nettle
stings. Just make a strong solution of bicarbonate of soda (two
tablespoons in half a cup of cold water, stir well and soak a face
flannel. Wring out and apply to the area).
Mix your own ointment, by combining 2 parts warmed glycerine,
1 part melted cocoa-butter, 1 part coconut oil. Mix well until set.
This is on the oily side and is good as a barrier ointment, for areas
of chapped skin, nappy rash, sore hands etc.
NB: ingredients can be warmed by placing in a basin over a pan of
hot water until melted, do not boil the water. Take off the heat
while mixing.
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NB: 10 drops of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) can be added
for every 50ml of ‘ointment.’ This will give the ointment mild
antibacterial properties. 10-20 drops of tea tree oil may be mixed in
per 50ml for general use. 10-20 drops lavender oil can be added per
50ml, to make an ointment to soothe minor burns (always cool the
burn under cold running water before applying the ointment).
If you are prescribed antibiotics, always finish the course (do not
stop as soon as the infection seems to have cleared) AND always
take a good, strong probiotic for at least 2 months afterwards.
In a small screw tap glass jar add some clumps of rock salt.
Sprinkle on 3 drops of peppermint essential oil or a few drops of
peppermint essence and replace the lid. Whenever you feel a bit
tired or nauseous, open the lip and breath in the vapours. Refresh
every couple of days with more oil. Replace salt as necessary.
NB: Young children should not inhale peppermint oil, although
peppermint essence for culinary use is not as strong and can be used
Add 30g Cinnamon to two cups of water, bring to the boil and
simmer for 20 mins, add 20g ginger and steep until cool. Sip the
liquid three times per day. Ginger should not be used in cases of
stomach irritation without medical advice.
Sip a teaspoon of cider vinegar in water twice per day.
See Herpes
Quick Fix Health Tips
Sore Throat
Mix glycerine and lemon juice and take a teaspoon every couple of
hours. Honey can be used to substitute glycerine. NB: Glycerine
can be a by-product of the petrochemical industry, from an animal
source or from a vegetable source. Make sure you know where
yours comes from.
Gargle with a cup of tepid water, half a teaspoon salt, 1-2 drops tea
tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) and 2 tablespoons of glycerine.
Mix well before each swig, spit out excess, do not swallow.
See Tonsillitis below. See Colds p145.
See Nettle Rash p152
See Insect Stings p149
Stomach Ache
See Upset Stomach p155.
Strenuous Exercise
Eating a banana and taking a chromium supplement 30 minutes
before exercise is said to help sustain energy.
A good isotonic drink is: fresh orange juice diluted with water and
a good pinch of Epsom salts and a good pinch of sea salt. This
should prevent cramping.
If you find you have been out in the sun too long, liquidise some
calendula petals, olive oil, strawberries and yogurt together and
smear over the inflamed areas. If extensive see doctor.
Spray tonsils with a good quality colloidal silver as soon as a sore
throat starts.
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Book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. While
you are waiting you can apply some tea tree oil on a soft cloth or
clove oil. If you don’t have either, crush a few whole cloves in
warm water, add a good pinch of salt, steep and strain. Keep the
liquid over the tooth to stop the pain. And, if you don’t have cloves,
use a strong solution of salt water. Do not swallow liquid in any of
these remedies, always spit out.
Upset Stomach
Many cases of upset stomach are caused by not having enough
good bacteria in your system. If you regularly suffer from an upset
stomach go and see your doctor to eliminate any serious cause.
Then take a strong probiotic (only available from health food shops
or by mail order) regularly for a few months and particularly if you
have been prescribed antibiotics, the pill, HRT or are prone to
stress. It is also useful to take a good probiotic before and during
going abroad on holiday.
Boil some brown rice, strain the rice water into a jug, add a pinch
of sea salt, apple juice concentrate or honey can be used to sweeten
the liquid and drink. The rice can be eaten if hungry.
Arrowroot powder mixed with a little water and yogurt can be
taken for an upset stomach.
Grapefruit seed extract (6-12 drops in a tumbler of blackcurrant or
apple juice taken 2-3 times per day) can get rid of any nasty
stomach bugs. Replenish your good bacteria, after taking GSE.
Varicose Veins
Cider vinegar wraps are said to help, soak natural kitchen towels in
*vinegar and apply the areas of varicose veins, elevate legs for 30
minutes. Apply twice a day for a month. Also take a teaspoon of
Quick Fix Health Tips
cider vinegar in a little water twice a day for a month. There should
be some improvement. *Dilute with water for sensitive skin.
Vitamin P, is a type of bioflavonoid found in red vine leaves, grape
seeds, pine bark (pycnogenols) etc. and rutin found in grains, is
said to help alleviate some of the symptoms of varicose veins.
Wound Wash
Add a tablespoon salt to a 500ml of warm, just boiled water. Test
temperature with elbow, and if not too hot, bathe minor wounds.
Large wound should have medical attention.
NB: Salt baths can be very soothing.
See Salt p111
This book is written for information purposes only. If the reader uses this
information it is at their own risk. Good hygiene must be practiced at all times.
On no account should out-of-date foods be consumed.
Al Fresco Eating
When dining outside with cold food, freeze water in shallow plastic
cartons and place under serving plates. This will keep the food cool
and fresh.
NB: It may also help to freeze serving dishes beforehand (but do
not use frozen servers for salad leaves or they may get frost bite,
chill them in the refrigerator instead it will help to keep the leaves
Banana Barbecue
After a barbeque why not throw on a few bananas still in their
skins? 10 minutes on medium heat, stand for 10 minutes and by the
time you have finished your meal, you have a delicious dessert just open up, and serve with cream, yogurt, crème fraiche or ice
Banana Savvy
To preserve bananas for fruit smoothies or for use in recipes. Just
peel and mash with a little lemon juice, store in a freezer container
in the freezer, for up to 6 months. This is useful for buying bananas
while they are cheap, you can freeze them until you need them.
They taste delicious as a base for fruit smoothies and milk shakes,
or just liquidise frozen banana puree with some cream or yogurt,
sweeten to taste and you have instant banana ice cream.
Try this delicious recipe: mix tropical fruit juice with a little apple
juice and liquidise with 1-2 peeled bananas. That is all you need do
to have the most delicious fruit smoothies. To make it more
creamier add a scoop of ice cream or a few cashew nuts and
liquidise again.
Quick Fix Food Tips
Better Batter
When making Yorkshire puddings, allow batter to stand for 20
minutes inside the freezer, or overnight in the refrigerator, your
puddings will rise and rise.
To make breadcrumbs for sauces or puddings, place the bread in a
coffee grinder and grind. Breadcrumbs can be frozen for later use.
Use breadcrumbs to:
Make a queen of puddings, treacle tart or bread and butter
Toast the breadcrumbs under a grill or spread out on a
baking tray; place in an oven that has just been turned off
but still hot. When cool store in an airtight jar. Use as a
crunchy coating for meat, fish, potatoes etc.
Season to taste, add herbs or curry powder etc. and coat
potato wedges; bake in olive oil in the oven.
Fry fresh breadcrumbs with butter and brown sugar to make
a quick crunchy topping for ice creams and desserts.
(Brown bread can be used).
Bread Saver
Keeping a stick of celery in a loaf of bread is said to keep the bread
from going stale.
Cake Maker
Replace 1 tablespoon flour with 1 tablespoon cornflour, it will
make the cake lighter.
Cake Topping
Melt a child’s chocolate bar in a microwave or in a basin over hot
water and spread over the top of a cooled, baked cake. Mars bars,
chocolate bars, caramel bars, bounty (coconut) bars, all make
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interesting toppings. Or mix melted chocolate with coconut,
chopped jellies or fruit for a range of tasty toppings.
Candle Holders
Sweets make very good candle holders for birthday cakes. Make a
hole in a jelly and fix to cake using stiff icing. Licorice Allsorts are
ready made candle holders, choose the round ones and take out the
black centre. Attach to the cake and stand candle in hole. Add more
icing if the candle is too loose.
Celery Keeper
Take the celery out of its supermarket bag and store upright in the
refrigerator in a tumbler or jug with a little water. Change the water
every day. The celery will keep its fresh crispness for longer.
Crunchy Coating
To make a crunchy coating for fish or chicken, mix crushed breakfast cereal i.e. cornflakes or crisps with a sprinkling of dried herbs
(optional) and coat the meat or fish. Fry or oven cook, until done.
Dessert Topping
Mix 1 dessertspoon honey per person with 2 pimento berries or 2
cloves, and some citrus zest i.e. orange, heat, bring to the boil and
simmer for a couple of minutes (careful not to burn). Strain, cool
and use as a dessert topping.
Drink Coolers
Unwaxed lemons can be sliced and frozen on a plate and put into
the freezer. When frozen transfer to a resealable plastic freezer box
or bag and use as necessary. Pop a slice of lemon into drinks and
teas for an instant, delicious lemon, cooling effect.
NB whole pitted cherries and even stuffed or pitted olives can be
frozen. It cools the drink without diluting it.
Quick Fix Food Tips
Easier Mash
Wash potatoes well. Microwave for 5 minutes, 8 minutes for two
potatoes or until soft. Cut into half and scoop out the middle. Mash
and serve. NB: you could serve the mash in the skins.
Eggs Benefit
Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water while poaching
eggs, for perfect results.
Add a tablespoon of vinegar to boiled egg water to make
them easier to peel and to seal any cracks before your egg
escapes into the water.
Add half a teaspoon of cornflour for every 2 eggs to make
fluffier scrambled eggs or omelettes. Sieve in the flour
when adding, to avoid lumps and mix well until smooth.
After boiling eggs, plunge them into ice cold water then
back into boiling water, it will make them easier to peel.
It’s easier to peel a boiled egg if you start at the larger end
Check the freshness of your eggs before using:
Place the egg in a bowl of cold water. If it lies on its side it’s fresh.
If it points upwards at an angle it’s at least 3 days old. But if it
points totally upwards on one end it’s at least 10 days old. If it
floats, discard it.
Egg Whites
To make it easier to whip egg whites, make sure that the whisk and
bowl is spotlessly clean, add a pinch of salt and whisk. Any fat
deposits or a speck of egg yolk will stop the whites from becoming
Fish Odour Remover
Keep your old squeezed lemon halves in a freezer, when you have
been handling fish rub a defrosted lemon half over your hands to
get rid of the odour. Pop the lemon half in an ovenproof dish with
some water and place it in the oven with the fish, leave the lemon
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in the oven after the fish is removed. This will cut down on the
unpleasant odours.
Food Saver
When defrosting your freezer, store your frozen food in your cold
oven with freezer ice blocks. Your oven is insulated and will keep
the food frozen for longer. Return food ASAP to freezer.
Freezer Magic
Peel garlic easier, freeze first and zap for 15 seconds in
Freeze large tomatoes, then run under a cold tap, all the
skin will crack and be really easy to remove. Defrost,
before frying or just pop into a stew or sauce.
Keep root ginger in a bag in the freezer, when needed
just grate some into recipe and return to freezer.
Coffee grounds will remain fresher and retain flavour
for longer if kept in an air-tight container in the
refrigerator once opened. They do not freeze solid so
are easy to use straight from the freezer.
Partially freeze an onion and chop or slice without tears.
Keep marshmallows fresh by storing in freezer.
Freeze well wrapped cuddly toys, blankets, etc. For
24-48 hours to kill moth larvae.
Fresher Spices
Spices are much fresher if used straight from freezer. Powdered
spices do not freeze solid and can be used easily when deep-frozen,
straight from the bag or jar.
Fresher Tomatoes
Tomatoes will remain fresher for longer if you store them stem side
Quick Fix Food Tips
Fruity Cake
Toss all dried fruit in cornflour and shake off excess, before
putting them into a cake mixture, it will stop them sinking to the
Garlic Odour Remover
After you have peeled garlic or onions the smell seems to linger for
a long time. An ordinary stainless steel spoon, rubbed over every
part of your hands, while rinsing under a tap, will help to remove
the odour.
Healthier Butter
Cutting fat totally from your diet is a bad idea, unless you have a
medical condition that prohibits fat, every body needs some fat,
even saturated fat. Organic saturated animal fat is healthier than
non-organic because it has more of the good polyunsaturated fats
from grass-fed cows. Saturated fat from vegetable sources is
healthier still. Try this mix for a healthier butter. Mix 150g organic
butter, 75g coconut oil, until light and fluffy (do not warm the
coconut oil too much or it will turn to liquid very quickly). Whisk
in 75ml extra virgin olive oil, little by little. Store in an empty,
clean, airtight container in the refrigerator. You can spread straight
from the fridge (blend with more olive oil if too stiff to spread).
NB: This is a very good mix for shallow frying food and is
healthier than heating vegetable oil to a high temperature.
Healthier Fried Eggs
Cover a non-stick frying pan base with water, add a teaspoon of
olive oil. Heat until water bubbles gently, crack an egg into the pan
backwards and forwards to baste with the oil and water mixture, or
use a spatula. Tip the pan to baste the egg. Serve as fried eggs.
With a bit of practice you will soon not be able to tell the difference
between these eggs and fried eggs.
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Herb Easy
If you don’t like chopping herbs with a knife, just pop them into a
basin and cut with a pair of scissors until they have a fine chopped
appearance. It’s easier than chopping with a knife.
NB: If you don’t have time to do that, just put herbs into a liquidiser
with a little water and liquidise them to quickly add to a recipe.
Honey Runny
To keep honey from sticking to the spoon, simply oil the utensil
with salad oil before putting it into the honey.
Ice Nice
Place a slice of lemon, a cherry or mint leaves into an ice cube
before freezing.
Icing Bottle
Clean and sterilise an old squeezable ketchup or mustard bottle and
allow to dry. Mix some icing that is just runny and place inside the
bottle, return the lid and use it to ice cakes. It makes writing icing
really simple to do, and it’s much cheaper than buying the writing
icing kits. (Only use plastic bottles that have once held food, for use
with food. Non-food bottles may not be made from food quality
Icing Sugar
To make your own icing sugar, half fill a small coffee grinder with
granulated sugar and grind until you have the consistency of icing
Instant Barbecue Sauce
* Take a plain yogurt, mix in a teaspoon of tomato ketchup, finely
diced sweet pepper, 1 minced spring onion or finely chopped
chives and some sweetcorn kernels, pour over barbecued meat for
a lovely, tangy sauce.
Quick Fix Food Tips
* Add chopped mint, chopped chives or chopped your favourite
herbs to a plain yogurt, mix and pour over barbecued meat, fish or
Instant Ice Cream
Liquidise frozen fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, pitted
cherries, currants etc. with cold custard, cream, yogurt, fromage
frais or crème fraiche. Sweeten as necessary and serve immediately.
Instant Parsley Sauce
Add chopped parsley to a plain bio yogurt and heat through, but
do not boil. Pour over fish. Season to taste.
Instant Pudding
Summer Crumble: Mix chopped fruit and yogurt, top with crushed
shortcake biscuits and serve. Any fruit can be used, and paired
with your favourite biscuit topping.
Jelly Mould
Keep your jelly firmer by adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the mix,
stir well and pour into mould.
Juicier Citrus Fruit
Citrus fruit will yield more juice if warmed slightly in an oven or
a microwave before being juiced.
Meat Tenderiser
Cook meat in ordinary tea, the natural tannins work to tenderise
meat. NB: Tannins can be bitter, add honey to counteract any
Nutty Problem Solver
Soak walnuts and pecans overnight in salted water, they will be
much easier to crack and extract the nut meat.
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Oil Spray
Refill an empty culinary spray oil container. It’s much cheaper to
do refills than buying new. (To wash out, use hot soapy water and
vinegar, between refills).
Peaked Cream
To keep the peaks in cream for longer, dissolve gelatine in warm
water, as per instructions on packet, but using less water (if it states
1-pint, use a quarter of a pint, so that it is concentrated). When
cooled, but not quite beginning to set, fold in 1-part of the gelatine
mixture to 5-8 parts whipped double cream. Chill well and serve.
Potato Saver
Store an apple in a paper bag with your potatoes to slow down their
tendency to sprout.
Quick Ice sculptures
Take a decorative jelly mould and fill with water, freeze and turn
out onto a plate (run under cold water to loosen), or put into the
middle of a fruit punch. Instant ice sculptures to impress your
Quicker Baked Potatoes
Boil the whole potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes and bake for
20 minutes in hot oven (larger potatoes may need longer boiling
Quick Nutty Fudge
Blend 1-part softened dark (hard) chocolate to 3 parts soaked and
drained cashew nuts on high until smooth, roll into balls and coat
with cocoa powder, crushed biscuit crumbs or cake crumbs and
refrigerate to set.
Real Fresh Instant Coffee
Make a pot of very strong coffee, using 3-4 dessertspoons of coffee
grounds per person, sweeten to taste. Cool and fill an ice cube tray
Quick Fix Food Tips
with the coffee, and freeze. Whenever you need a quick cup of
coffee just pop 2-3 coffee cubes into a cup and pour on boiling
water or liquidise with a glass of milk for an iced coffee. Real
instant coffee without the bother.
Salad Cream
If you run out of salad cream or mayonnaise, just add a teaspoon
or less of mild mustard to a plain bio yogurt or crème fraiche,
sweeten (optional) with concentrated apple juice or a little honey.
Mix well and use as dressing. Mix in chopped mint, parsley or
chopped chives to give an appetising tang to your meat or fish
Salad Dressing
In an empty squeezable ketchup bottle combine salad oil and apple
cider vinegar and a few chopped herbs, shake well to combine and
sprinkle over a green salad. Store excess in the refrigerator for up
to three days.
Salt Saver
Store a few grains of rice in your salt cellar to keep the salt from
getting damp and clumping together.
For a quick, no-nonsense sauce, open a can of soup, heat and pour
over cooked meat.
Shrimp Cleaner
Take the black veins from shrimps with a small crochet hook.
Sour Cream
Add lemon juice to milk, it is ideal for use in cooking i.e. Scones,
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Spaghetti Sauce
Add tomato juice to a pan, sprinkle with oregano or basil, heat,
season with onion salt and thicken. Pour over cooked spaghetti or
NB: Open and heat a can of tomato or cream of mushroom soup and
pour over cooked pasta. Top with grated cheese and chives.
Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
Strain orange marmalade or apricot jam to eliminate bits (they can
be left in if preferred). Mix 50:50 with tomato ketchup for instant
sweet and sour sauce. Can also be used warmed in microwave or
Sweat and Sour pasta Sauce
Thinly chop a spring onion, add a little grated carrot, pineapple
juice and a few dashes of tomato ketchup to taste. Add water, stir
well and simmer for a few minutes until onion is tender.
Tender Turkey
In a sterilised bucket soak the turkey overnight in weak, cold tea. If
you have some lemon juice, add half a cup or a whole chopped
lemon too. Put bird into Roaster. (Discard excess water carefully,
sterilise all items you have used, and wash hands very well). Place
stuffing, bacon, butter and / or sausagemeat under the skin and
place some oiled waxed paper on top of the skin. Roast with a bowl
of the soaking water in the oven to par-steam it. Delicious!
NB: Remember to sterilise hands and utensils after handling any
raw meat.
Toast Toppers
Spread some thick condensed soup onto hot buttered toast, sprinkle
with grated cheese and grill until it bubbles.
Quick Fix Food Tips
Vegetable Containers and Canapé Holders
Hollow out different coloured peppers, slice a piece off the bottom
so they will stand on their own and fill with dips. You can even
make a cucumber basket, cut a strip from the bottom to make it
stable. Cut it, leaving a piece in the middle for a handle and scoop
out some of the inside to make a basket. Now fill with your
favourite dip. (You can also stick canapés on cocktail sticks into
the sides.)
Vegetable Leftovers
Freeze all your cooked vegetable left-overs, they make ideal fillers
for soups, just pop into a saucepan with stock. They can also be
liquidised to help to thicken gravy and sauces.
Yogurt Maker
Yogurt is so easy to make and it is much nicer than commercial
varieties. You can purchase your own yogurt maker, but there are
other ways of making it too.
Vacuum Flask Method
Mix a live organic bio yogurt with 750ml of freshly boiled and
cooled organic milk. The milk should be cooled to just above
blood heat (warm to the touch), stir in the live yogurt and place
inside a vacuum flask over-night. In the morning you should have
fresh delicious yogurt. Sweeten to taste with concentrated apple
juice or honey.
Oven Method
If you have an oven that can be turned to a very low (just warm)
setting you will be able to use your oven to make yogurt. Place
750ml milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil and set aside to cool
to just above blood heat. Place milk a large covered bowl and add
one pot of live, plain, organic, bio yogurt and stir well. Replace lid
and leave in a just warm oven overnight. In the morning you
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should have a bowl of delicious yogurt. Sweeten to taste with
concentrated apple juice or honey.
NB: The milk will not turn to yogurt if the heat is too much for the
friendly bacteria to replicate. If the yogurt is not ‘live’ or it contains
thickeners and additives etc. it will not be able to turn the milk to
And remember: Yogurt can be used as a salad dressing, impromptu
sauces, fruit smoothies, in ice creams, etc. It has many healthgiving properties, it can soothe sore throats, ease stomach upsets,
calm diarrhoea, aid digestion, stop thrush, etc. It can be used as a
face pack, a cleanser to calm inflamed skin, body creams, in the
bath, to soothe sunburn and minor burns. It is the most versatile and
helpful food around.
To make delicious yogurt cheese: pour 500ml live yogurt into a
clean, dry cheesecloth bag, a cheesecloth lined sieve or a clean
coffee filter. Drain at room temperature for 5 hours and refrigerated
for 24 hours, by which time the liquid will have drained and can be
used in fruit smoothies, milk shakes, etc. And the cheese will have
thickened for food use. Season to taste and add chopped chives etc.
Use as cream cheese, add to recipes, use as a dip, spread on toast or
crackers etc. Keep refrigerated, use within 3 days.
Yummy Hot Salad
Cut broccoli stalks, carrots, butternut squash, courgette, sweet
pepper, spring onion, etc. into matchsticks and saute in a little olive
oil and water. (Add favourite stir-fry vegetables such as sprouted
sunflower seeds and sweetcorn etc.) Place into a serving dish, top
with shredded baby spinach leaves and then top with grated cheese.
Grill to just melt cheese and serve immediately.
This book is written for information purposes only. If
the reader uses this information it is at their own risk.
Aphid and Pest Deterrent
Liquidise 2 cloves of garlic and 3 whole cloves (the spice) in water,
strain and add to a watering can of water. Add a squirt of biodegradable washing-up liquid and spray over the flowers, especially
at night, to prevent pests from damaging the plants
* Plant garlic in between rows of potatoes, carrots and tomatoes
etc. to keep away pests.
* Plant some spice cloves 3-4 cm from planting your seed
potatoes and it will keep the soil pests away from your crop. NB
Add some more as you earth up the soil.
* Plant French marigolds (Tagetes) around tomato plants in a
Aphid / Greenfly Killer
See Soap page 112.
See Washing-Up Liquid page 126.
Need a new border, with curves? Use a garden hose to mark out the
curving lines on the lawn. Cut around with a spade or a lawn edger
and then remove the hose to dig out the surplus grass.
Cutlery Tools
Save your old blunt cutlery, they make very good potting tools.
Fork – Ideal as a weeder for tubs and pots.
Knife – Ideal for planting seedlings.
Spoon – Ideal for using as a small trowel in planters and pots.
Kitchen Knife – Ideal for weeding between paving stones.
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Cutting Starter
See Florist’s Foam page 72.
Earwig Traps
Earwigs can be a nuisance especially in soft fruit beds. Fill some
shallow tin cans with water and put a couple of teaspoons of oil on
top. The earwigs will enter the water but will not be able to climb
out because of the oil. Check the traps each morning, discard the
contents and refill.
Easier Sowing
Always sow lawn seed or dry fertiliser with ordinary flour, you will
always be able to see the area treated and the patches you have
Easier Tomato Germination
Freeze tomato seeds before planting, it makes germination easier.
Fingernail Cleaner
To keep nails clean, dig them into a bar of soap so that it lodges
underneath the nails. When you have finished gardening your nails
can be scrubbed with a nail brush to remove the soap, it’s much
nicer than having to clean clogged soil from underneath your nails.
Fish Tank Garden
Take an old fish tank (make sure that it doesn’t leak) and
place gravel and charcoal in the base to guard against overwatering. Add about 6cms of a good quality potting compost.
You can also add larger stones for added interest, but do not
add wood (it may harbour disease). Now you are ready to
plant. Choose plants that will tolerate the warm, moist conditions such as African violets, ferns, gloxinia etc. Do not use
cactus or succulents. Place in a sunny position or use in a
dark corner with a full-spectrum light tube fitted into the lid.
Quick Fix Gardening Tips
Flower Bed Waterer
Use an old hose, doesn’t matter if it’s split. Make more holes in it
and bury it around your plants. Leave the end sticking out
inconspicuously, and attach a hose coupler. When you need the
garden watering just attach your garden hose to the coupler and
turn on the tap, the garden will just water itself.
Frost Protector
Save old bubble wrap from packaging and envelopes and tape
them together. Throw over plants and secure when a frost is
See Polystyrene page 108.
See Bedding / Sheets page 21.
Garden Dibber
See Broom Handles page 39
Gardening Gloves
See Rubber Gloves page 109.
Garden Tool Restorer
See Essential Oils page 65.
Garlic Grower
Put cloves in water on a kitchen windowsill, change water twice
per day, they should start to sprout in a few days. Keep changing
water and they will eventually form small bulbs. The whole bulb
and leaves can be used in recipes, straight from your windowsill.
Or you can plant them in the garden.
Ginger / House Plant
If you would like an inexpensive exotic houseplant, ginger is
amongst the best. They are so easy to grow and you will have a
beautiful plant in just a few months. All you need is to buy some
root ginger from the greengrocers. Make sure that it is firm and
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healthy. If it has been treated or irradiated it will not grow, only
natural roots have a chance of sprouting into a plant. Cut a piece
from the root that has 1 or 2 nodules on it (similar to the eyes on
potatoes). You can use the rest in cooking or herb teas. Bury the
root 2cms -3cms deep, in a small pot with good draining compost.
Keep the root moist and warm. After about 4 weeks the first little
shoots should appear. Repot when necessary, and you can begin to
harvest your own root ginger after about 12-18 months.
Grass Stopper
Any unwanted grass or weeds on tarmac, between paving slabs or
in walls etc. can be killed with either a salt application or vinegar.
Do not apply onto a flower bed or where you want plants to
continue to grow.
Greenhouse Bug Stopper
Never throw away old net curtains, they can be used for netting in
the garden or greenhouse.
Throw over a frame and peg down.
Greenhouse: Put a cane through the hem, to act as a curtain pole
and hang over the door or window frames to keep
the bugs out. If you also put stones in the bottom
hem it will stop them blowing about in the breeze.
NB: This will stop beneficial insects getting in to
pollinate the plants. You can either pollinate them
yourself, with a feather, or introduce the pollinating
insects separately.
Greenhouse Shading
Water down some old, white emulsion paint (not vinyl or matt silk
or they will be more permanent) and paint the glass inside or
outside to guard against sun exposure.
Quick Fix Gardening Tips
See Bedding / Sheets page 21.
Greenhouse Shelving
See Miscellaneous – Pages 90 - 98. Freezer Shelving / Greenhouse
Shelving / Shed Tidy.
Green-up Lawns
Add 2 teaspoons Epsom salts or magnesium sulphate to 1 gallon
(4.5 litres) water and water lawn.
NB Also works to green-up plants that have faded or yellowing
Hand Cleaner
For stubborn stains, scrub hands with toothpaste.
See Tights and Stockings - pages 113-117 - Soap Holder
See Bicarbonate of Soda – pages 23-39 - Hand Cleaner
Handle Grips
Use garden hose or similar tubing to cover hand grips on garden
tools etc.
Hanging Basket Liner
See Carpet and Carpet Underlay p42.
See Jumpers p84.
Lawn Perfect
See Garden Hose in main section page 76.
Mildew Spray
To make a anti-mildew spray for your roses, mix 30g of bicarbonate of soda with 250ml milk and 4 litres warm water, mix well.
Spray often during the growing system. Also add some biodegradeable washing-up liquid to get rid of greenfly etc.
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Mini Greenhouses
See Food Containers page 73.
See Newspapers page 99.
Large Pest Deterrent
If you have a problem with dogs, cats, pigeons or other animals
squashing your seedlings before they have a chance to grow, just
make a net by pushing stakes into the ground all around the bed that
needs protecting. Thread some old fishing line or string around the
stakes to make a net. When the plants grow, the string or fishing
line will be hardly visible and will help to support the plants.
Leaf Shine
Dip a piece of cotton wool in milk, wring out and clean leaves of
shiny leafed plants.
Measuring Cups
See Plastic Bottle Lids / Measuring Cups. Pages 106-108.
Plant Bells
See Plastic Bottles page 102.
Plant Duvets
A unique way to stop plants succumbing to seasonal drops in
temperature. See Polystyrene Packaging page 108.
If you live in an area with hard water you will have a
problem with watering acid-loving plants (because your
tap water will be alkaline). Just put 1-2 teaspoons of
vinegar into a watering can full of water and water your
acid-loving plants at the base (never over the leaves).
Quick Fix Gardening Tips
Plant Food
See Tights and Stockings page 113.
Planting Mat
A good way of planting seeds is in toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper!
Just roll out a length, spray with water to dampen and place seeds
across it, spaced out as you would in the garden. Place another
length of toilet paper on top to trap the seeds in between. Spray
again to slightly dampen. Plant the ‘seed mat’ to the depth specified on packet, sprinkle with soil and keep watered. You can plant
many rows of seeds in paper and just plant the lengths of mat out
into the garden. Ideal for people with bad backs.
Planting Tube
When starting off plants in the greenhouse i.e. lettuce, etc. plant
them in a length of old plastic guttering. To plant out all you need
do is to dig a trench, the same size as the guttering, tap the
guttering to loosen the soil and gently edge out the plants into the
trench, then firm in. It’s much easier than planting each out
Pond Cleaner
Using an old tennis racquet, you can easily scoop out the larger
debris in and on your pond. If you need a finer mesh, line the
racquet with an old net curtain.
NB: Barley straw packed into plastic netting will keep the pond
from going green at certain times of the year. Ask a local farmer.
Potato Planter
See Miscellaneous – Pages 90-98. Tyres
Seed Collectors
See Junk Mail page 85.
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Seed Planter
If you have ever had backache due to planting seeds, you will love
this inventive idea. All you need is about a metre length piece of
rigid pipe (or the size you find most comfortable), just position the
end of the pipe where you want the seed to drop and place seed in
the top of the pipe, then let it fall into its planting hole and brush
soil on top. Perfect! No bending. It’s ideal for beans and peas etc.
Seedling Planter
See Miscellaneous – pages 90-98. Shoe Horn / Nail File.
See Coffee Tins page 49.
Seedling Pots
See Aluminium Foil page 13.
See Newspapers page 99.
Seedling Waterers
See Plastic Bottles page 102.
See Basting Syringe page 20.
Seed Trays
See Food Containers page 73.
See Ice Cube Tray page 83.
Shrub or Tree Oasis
See Plastic Bottles page 102.
Slug Contact Sprayer
Put a couple of tablespoons of Epsom salts into a spray bottle add
250ml of warm water and contact spray the slugs. 1-2 drops of
eucalyptus can also be added.
Slug Stoppers
Crushed egg shells placed around plants help to stop the
Quick Fix Gardening Tips
slugs, they hate going over the rough edges. When the
shells break down they add calcium and vital minerals to
the soil.
Crushed seashells is said to help to keep snails at bay. You
could also try sharp sand and grit.
Sharp sand with a few pinches of Epsom salts (but not too
much) helps to stop slugs.
Sawdust is said to help stop the slug. It sticks to them and
slows them down.
Old coarse sanding disk papers are ideal to put down as
slug repellent collars around susceptible plants. Sprinkle
them with just a pinch of Epsom salts to make doubly sure.
Save your old sandpaper and cut your own collars.
Wood ash, in moderation, will not hurt the garden, but
slugs hate it, sprinkle it around alkaline loving plants.
A thick layer of wheat bran around plants will protect them
Limed soil is unattractive to snails, but it should not be
used around acid loving plants.
Pine needles from a Christmas tree sprinkled around
plants in a thick mulch helps to keep slugs away.
When you have tried everything else, the best way to keep
snails off your plants is to introduce predators into the
garden. Slow worms, frogs and toads do an excellent job
of keeping down the slug population and they are an
unobtrusive addition to an organic gardener’s arsenal.
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Strip the copper wire from any old flex and wind
around your plant pots. Slugs are said to get an
electrical charge from the wire when they try to crawl
over it. And, if nothing else, it turns your pots into
decorative ‘designer’ pots to impress the neighbours!
See BEER – page 23. Slug Killer
See Coffee Grounds – page 48. Slug Repellent
See Miscellaneous – pages 90-98. Avocado Skins / Slug Traps &
Melon Skins / Slug Traps
See Plastic Bottles - page 102. Slug Traps.
Soil Protector
Burying chicken wire, just under the soil surface, around your
plants discourages pets /animals from digging. They stop as soon
as their paws scrape against the wire.
Soil Sieve
Punch large holes in a large coffee or catering tin and use as a soil
Stylish Planters
See Miscellaneous (pages 90-98) – Washing Machine Drums /
Stylish Planters for Free.
Tall Plant Support
If you have daffodils or amaryllis growing on your windowsill you
will probably need to support the plant during the flowering season. The cheap way to do this is to get an appropriate sized round
plastic tub lid and cut out the centre, making sure that there are no
sharp edges that can damage the plant. Suspend this on 2-3 small,
narrow green canes (remember to cut the canes to size). Stick the
Quick Fix Gardening Tips
canes into the edge of the pot, carefully bring the leaves and stems
of the plant together; place the ‘plant ring’ over the top the plant
and let it slip down over the leaves until you are at the point were
the plant needs support, then rest it on the canes.
Tools – Replacing Grip
Wrap some elastic bands around the handles of your garden tools.
It will make them much easier to grip when holding them with
gardening gloves on.
Tree or Shrub Holder
It is easier to tie-in young shoots of trees or shrubs if you first hold
the shoot in place on the training wire with a clothes peg. In some
cases you can use the clothes peg to keep the young branches apart,
if you use the fork of the peg as a support for a higher or lower
Tree Tubes
Cut the tops and bottoms from plastic bottles or milk bottles and
place over a tree seedling or sapling. This will protect them from
the elements, but remember to remove them and discard within 18
months or when trees have outgrown them.
See Tyres - p118.
To make your own garden trellis, save old plastic bottles until you
have quite a few (depending on the size of your trellis). Cut rings
from your plastic bottles, about 2-3 cms depth. Either thread them
together with garden string or tie them individually together using
garden wire or fishing line. Tie as many together in a blanket effect
or make rows for bowers.
Water Reservoir for Containers
See Food Containers - page 73.
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Weed Suppressor
See Carpet and Carpet Underlay page 42.
Weed Kill Cup?
Cut a small square or circle from the bottom of a plastic disposable
cup or the bottom of a plastic bottle (you can use the nozzle as a
template and cut with a craft knife - using a jar or sturdy bottle as a
firm rest inside the item). Place hole snuggly over spray nozzle, the
cup ensures only weeds get zapped, because the cup stops the fine
mist drifting onto other plants.
Weed Killer?
If your dutch hoe has lost its blade, just string some wire across the
prongs (you may need to solder it in place). It is worth the effort,
Nothing cuts the head off weeds better. It should be patented! If
weed heads are cut off consistently, even the most persistent ones
will eventually die through lack of essential sunlight.
Wheelbarrow Planter
Paint an old wheelbarrow black, make drainage holes in the bottom,
sprinkle a layer of stones or grit into the bottom, and fill with
potting compost. Plant with flowers and place in a prominent place
in the garden.
Wildlife in the Garden
It is best to encourage as much wildlife in the garden as possible.
They really do help to keep away the pests. A compost heap can be
an economical addition and provides a good habitat for wildlife.
Grow a couple of roots of comfrey by your compost heap,
cut to the ground up to four times a year and spread leaves
over the compost. It will help to break down the compost
and keep it sweet as well as providing extra nutrients.
Quick Fix Gardening Tips
A compost heap means that will have less waste and it is cheaper
to compost hedge clippings, grass cuttings, leaves, vegetable
peelings, etc. than arrange for the council to collect it all. It also
provides a good habitat for slow worms, which do their bit to eat
the offending slugs. When it has broken down and resembles
crumbly soil with no smell (12-18 months), spread it onto flowerbeds or onto the tops of pots to keep down weeds and supply
essential nutrients.
Introduce a bird table into your garden:
Only stock it with food October to March. The birds need to find
their own natural food when rearing chicks. They can eat: fat, suet,
wild bird seeds, fresh raw unsalted peanuts or sunflower seeds,
wholemeal breadcrumbs, unprocessed nuts, dried fruit or
unprocessed whole cereals. Do not put out: raw meat or meat
products, salted products (including salted peanuts), dried coconut, white bread or over-cooked food.
See Bird Feeder page 88.
To deter pets and rodents from climbing up onto the
bird table it should be at least 5ft high and 6ft from
walls or branches. Thread an upturned biscuit tin
(facing downwards) around the pole, about 15cms
underneath the table and fix into place. Put the supporting pole in some old drainpipe so that pets or rodents
will not be able to grip the post (wire mesh around the
pole will just assist the climb and should be avoided).
This book is written for information purposes only. If the reader uses this
information it is at their own risk. Some substances may cause local irritation in
susceptible people, when used on the skin
Bath Time
Bath Salts
Purchase some rock salt or very course sea salt. Tip into an airtight
glass jar, sprinkle on your favourite essential oil, close the lid and
leave for a few days. Use as bath salts, sprinkled into bath water.
Bath Bombs
Combine 25g citric acid, 25g bicarbonate of soda, 10g salt, 30g
icing sugar, mix well with a few drops of oil i.e. jojoba and your
favourite essential oil. Form into shapes i.e. hearts, flowers, spheres
(you may need to add a few more drops of oil). Place on waxed
paper to dry for 24-48 hours. Store in airtight jar.
See Bicarbonate of Soda - p23-p39. Fruity Fizz Bath Bombs.
Bath Tea
Yes, you’ve guessed it! Two ordinary tea bags or green tea bags
infused in hot water, added to bath with a couple of tablespoons of
full fat powdered milk is pure heaven for your skin.
Floral Vinegar
Not everyone likes the aroma of bath vinegars, but they are mildly
antifungal and very good for the skin. Just liquidise some rose
petals with white wine vinegar and strain. Store in a pretty bottle
and add 15ml ot 30ml to each bath.
Floral Water
For those who do not like bath vinegars you can substitute water for
the vinegar and liquidise rose petals with just water. Strain and use
in the bath. DO NOT STORE. It can be kept for up to 5 days in the
Quick Fix Beauty Tips
Magnesium Bath
Epsom salts or magnesium sulphate added to the bath is very
therapeutic, it helps to draw out toxins from the skin and relaxes
muscles. Add to your bath salts jar.
Oatmilk Soother
Grind some rolled oats and add 2-3 cups to the foot of an old pair
of tights, hang under the cold tap, so that the water runs gently
through the oats, add hot water. A very soothing bath for your skin.
Body Care
Body Oil
Vegetable oil is not just for frying or salad dressings. Massaged
straight into the skin it makes and inexpensive moisturiser for the
body. Try Grapeseed oil or your favourite vegetable or nut oil,
they have a good content of vitamin E.
Magnesium Scrub
Epsom salts or magnesium sulphate mixed with powdered kelp is
an ideal dry body scrub. It can be done whilst standing in a bath.
Rub well into areas of cellulite all over the body. Allow the excess
to drop into the warm water in a bath, sit down in the bath and
soak for twenty minutes.
Muscle Soothe
Fill an old, clean woollen or cotton sock with wheat or barley
berries (available from health food shops), Add cloves and cinnamon sticks. Sew up the end. Store in the freezer for a cold
compress or heat in the microwave for a warm compress to soothe
muscle aches. Try using it as a warming pack when you have a
sore throat or if you have neck ache, but not too hot. Wrap in a tea
towel if you leave it in the microwave for too long. Return to
freezer when not in use.
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Cleansing Lotions
Strawberry Cream
30ml vegetable glycerine (available from chemists)
50ml distilled water
1-2 large strawberries
1 tablespoon plain bio yogurt
Liquidise, strain and use as required to cleanse face and neck. It
should be kept refrigerated in an airtight bottle for up to 5 days. But
make sure that you label it, or it may be eaten! Add the date because
it will go off if stored for longer than 5 days.
Herbal Cleanser
Make an infusion of herbs of choice or use a mixed herb bouquet
garni or an ordinary tea bag, green tea, or chamomile tea. When
cool, add 50ml of the ‘tea’ to 30ml vegetable glycerine. Mix well.
To use, sprinkle onto cotton wool and cleanse face. It should be
kept refrigerated in an airtight bottle for up to 5 days.
Close Shave
Aloe Vera
Keep an aloe vera (Aloe barbadenisis) plant on your windowsill
and you will never run out of shaving gel or burn salve. Just pick
out a leaf, split it and use the gel. Some people may experience an
allergic reaction, so if you have sensitive skin mix with 2-4 parts of
Smooth Mayo
Mayonnaise is perfect for a close shave when you run out of
shaving gel.
Quick Fix Beauty Tips
Eye Soothers
Slices of cucumber is ideal to help soothe tired eyes. Lie back with
a chilled slice on each eye.
Green, white, or ordinary tea bags can be used. After making
yourself a cup of tea, put the used tea bags into a refrigerator to
chill. Place one tea bag on each eye for a few minutes.
Facial Scrub
After cleansing and toning your face it may be worthwhile to do a
facial scrub to remove dead skin cells. Be careful if you have very
sensitive skin. To prepare your skin, first open up the pores either
by placing your face comfortably over a bowl of hot water or apply
a hot damp towel to your face and stand for 5 minutes, you can
now apply the facial scrub as below.
Almond Scrub
Mix together equal quantities of ground almonds, ground whole
rolled oats and yellow cornmeal. Mix with a little plain yogurt to
moisten and some gentle soap. Rub gently into area of facial skin.
Be careful not to drag the delicate skin that surrounds the eyes
because it encourages bags to form. This scrub will help to nourish
the skin as it gently exfoliates.
Hair Care
Chlorine Remover
Chlorine in swimming pool water can damage hair and even alter
the colour. As soon as you come out of the pool comb some
tomato juice through hair for 3 minutes. Wash hair as normal and
apply a good conditioner.
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Deep Heat Treatment
Warm some vegetable oil and soak hair with the oil. Wrap hair in a
carrier bag and then wrap head in a large towel to form a turban
effect. Leave for at least 30 minutes then wash and condition hair
as normal. This is especially good for coloured, very dry or heat
treated hair.
Egg and Oil Hair Pack
Beat an egg, add jojoba oil while beating, when thickened add some
vinegar. Apply to hair. Wrap hair in a plastic bag and then a
warmed towel. Leave for up to 20 minutes and wash as usual.
Mayo Conditioner
Comb through some mayonnaise or salad dressing and rinse as
normal. Put some lemon juice in the final rinse water to disperse
any residual oils.
Hair Pack
For normal hair, a hair pack can really help to stop it drying out and
keep it in good condition. Warm half a cup of full fat cream (less
for shorter hair), whipping it will make it thicker and easier to
apply, and rub into hair and scalp, wrap hair in a large plastic bag
and wrap a towel around, to keep heat in. Leave for up to half an
hour and wash as normal.
Jojoba Care
Jojoba is a very good conditioning oil for all hair and skin types. It
is not too expensive when purchased in litres, from selected
essential oil suppliers.
Dry and very dry hair
Rub one teaspoon of jojoba into the hair (depending on length and
dryness of hair - use less for short styles - more can easily be added
later if hair is still dry and brittle). Pay particular attention to the
ends. Brush through and it should be absorbed by the hair. It is
Quick Fix Beauty Tips
particularly useful when using heated appliances. It can be used
when the hair is wet and dried with a hairdryer or on dry hair when
using straightening irons or curling tongs.
Normal and greasy hair
Mix a few drops of lemon juice with 1 teaspoon jojoba and comb
through the hair. Wash and condition as normal. Jojoba is one of
the few oils that helps to regulate overly greasy hair.
For greasy hair: put 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar in the
final rinse water.
NB: Any vegetable oil or nut oil can be substituted for jojoba, but
it will be a lot greasier, so should only be used for very dry or
damaged hair.
Static Remover
Does your hair flyaway at the least provocation; if so, it may be full
of static. A quick way to remove static from your hair is to rub your
hairbrush with a natural fabric conditioner and brush your hair.
Remember to only use one containing natural ingredients, a
synthetic fabric conditioner may contain too many chemicals and
cause a nasty allergic reaction.
** A sheet fabric conditioner can also be used, rub over ALL the
bristles of your comb or brush, this will also help to eliminate static
Hand Care
Cheaper Liquid Soap
Buy a cheap bottle of supermarket shampoo, fill an empty liquid
soap bottle and use to wash your hands. It is a fraction of the price
of liquid soap.
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Clean Hands and Nails
Put your fingers into a squeezed lemon half and scrape it with your
nails. Rinse well and you will be surprised at how fresh and clean
your nails become.
Grandma’s Hand Lotion
5-10ml vegetable oil (oil can be grapeseed oil, hazelnut oil or
30ml vegetable glycerine
50ml rosewater or your favourite floral water (hydrosol).
Shake the ingredients together, store in an airtight glass bottle or
sprayer bottle. Shake bottle well before each application.
Intensive Hand Care
Every time you do the washing up, rub a little vegetable oil into
your hands and put on some cotton-lined rubber gloves. The heat
from the water will deep condition hands and nails while you wash
the dishes. Wipe excess with tissues when you remove the gloves.
NB: Add hand cream and or jojoba oil to liquid hand soap and mix
well. It is kinder to your hands. Dispense as normal.
Nail Oil
Vegetable oil can be used to keep nails in tip-top condition. Soak
nails in warmed oil for a few minutes each night. Add a few drops
of essential oil, tea tree, palmarosa, or myrrh.
Nail Soak
Add rosemary sprigs to full fat milk and a few drops vegetable oil.
Warm all ingredients together and soak nails for 10 minutes.
Save your slivers of soap, liquidise them with a little hand cream
and either a little distilled water or hydrosol (floral water). Add 20
drops (1ml) of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) for every 100ml
Quick Fix Beauty Tips
of liquid soap. Blend well and pour into an empty liquid soap pump
Setting Lotion
Beer Set
Beer has been used for decades. The flavoured beers may have a
more pleasing aroma. Comb through hair and allow to set, dry hair
naturally or with dryer.
Jelly Set
Dissolve some gelatine in warm water and comb sparingly through
hair, allow to dry naturally.
Lemon Set
This is especially good for greasy hair. Strain the juice of a lemon
and comb through hair, do not rinse. Allow to dry.
Sugar Spray
Dissolve 2 tablespoons sugar in a cup of hot water and allow to
cool. Spray onto hair as necessary.
Sunburnt Skin
Aloe Vera Salve
Keep an aloe vera (Aloe barbadenisis) plant on your windowsill It
is useful for all sorts of emergencies. Just pick out a leaf, split it and
use the gel, spread liberally over the affected area. Patch test
initially for sensitivities. Mix with glycerine for sensitive skin.
Mayo Soothe
Apply liberal amounts of mayonnaise straight from the fridge, onto
areas over sunburned skin.
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Yogurt Cool
Open a carton of yogurt and splash over the sunburned area, it will
cool it down, soothe it and help to avoid peeling.
Toner (Facial)
After cleansing your skin you may need an astringent toner to
close the pores and remove residual cleanser. No need to buy an
expensive one, you can use items you already have in your home.
Rose Toner
Natural rosewater from essential oil distillation tanks is often sold
as hydrosol. It is ideal to use as a toner. Rosewater is very good
for the skin, and tea tree hydrosol is ideal for areas of problem skin.
Tea Toner
Tea is an astringent and good for the skin. It can be used straight
from the refrigerator. Green tea is also very good. Because there
are no additional preservatives it should be discarded after 5 days.
Simply place tea bag in hot water for 5 minutes, discard and allow
liquid to cool before using.
For a more astringent toner use 50:50 with witch hazel, mix and
apply to a cleansed face and neck. Always patch test a small area
before using over whole area of face. Avoid eye area.
Vinegar Toner
Mix apple cider vinegar with a little water and tone skin with it,
allow to dry, especially good for very oily skin. Avoid eye area.
Tooth Whiteners
Burnt Toast
Grandma’s answer for cleaning teeth was to cut off an area of
burnt toast and use it to clean teeth with. But remember, you
should rinse thoroughly to remove the black bits from your mouth.
Quick Fix Beauty Tips
Lemon Fresh
A piece of lemon rubbed over the front teeth will quickly brighten
a smile.
Soda White
A mixture of bicarbonate of soda and salt helps to clear stains
from teeth. To use, sprinkle onto a toothbrush, with or without
toothpaste, and clean teeth as usual.
* Always wear a hat in the sun.
* Once a week make a face pack with 1-part beta carotene oil,
1-part flax seed oil and 1-part jojoba. Add a few drops of wild yam
oil (if you can find any). Tear off a large piece of cotton wool from
a roll that just covers your face and neck, make a breathing hole
in the cotton wool for your nose. Soak the cotton wool in the
mixture of oil and place over your face and neck. Let it stand for
at least 20 minutes then cleanse face and neck as normal.
* Make sure that your diet is rich in natural nutrients, especially
vitamin C and E.
* Make sure that you have a good supply of mixed essential fatty
acids in your diet, to keep your skin supple.
* Haemorrhoid cream is said get rid of wrinkles and bags under
the eyes, check the instructions before using on the face. Always
patch test initially.
Published by
Wellform Ltd,
Box 205,
St. Peter Port,
● First Published July 2005
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