Household Chores Tips

Read these 46 Household Chores Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Senior tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What is the best detergent to use in my laundry?

Avoid clogged drain pipes

One good way to avoid clogging the drain pipes is to stop using powdered soaps. These soaps can turn into 'grease' in your pipes, and eventually cause clogging. Change your washing detergent to liquid, only!! Both in the dishwasher and the clothes washing machine. A few years back, my plumber found lots of grease in my pipes. "But I don't put any grease down my drains...not at all!!" I told him. This experienced plumber advised me of the problems of using powdered soaps...I changed, and have not had troubles since.

How can I remove ink from white fabrics?

Removing ink from white fabrics

Ink can be removed from white fabrics by applying salt and lemon juice to the stained area, then placing it in the sun for a while.

How can I get tile, floors, cabinets ´squeaky´ clean?

A good clean/rinse solution

Vinegar is the best, all-'round cleaning solution, with cost very low. Use vinegar-water for washing windows, and as final rinse for bathroom tile, floors, and painted cabinets to remove dulling film and streaks. Solution: 1 cup vinegar, 2 quarts water.

How can I best get my laundry clean?

Clean laundry

For the best cleaning of your laundry, never 'overload' the load. The excess of water allows detergent to work best, the rinse cycle to be more effective. Never 'squash' dirty laundry into machine.

How can I seal in the bright colors of my clothes when laundering?

Maintaining bright colors

To maintain the bright colors of new clothes, use cold water and add 1/2 cup of vinegar with detergent when washing for the first time; seals in the colors.

What should I wash with what??

Detergents for washing clothes

I learned this tip the hard way, by the clogging of my sewer lines. A liquid detergent is best to use for your laundry: Cheer, Tide,and many others brands. I was advised by my plumber that powdered detergents can turn to 'grease' in your sewer lines, thus clogging them! YES! I have not had a clogged drain in that area since switching to liquid detergents 5+ years ago! Same usage works with liquid detergent in your automatic dishwasher. Switch and ease your mind of clogged drains.!

How can I avoid clogging my drain pipes?

Removing stains from toilet bowl

To remove stains at the bottom of the toilet bowl, drop in a denture-cleaner tablet before retiring at night. If heavy stains, use two tablets, then repeat procedure if necessary until stain is gone.

How can I raise the pile of my carpet?

Brighten & freshen your carpet

A simple way to brighten and freshen your carpet is to sprinkle thoroughly with cornstarch; let stand about an hour, then vacuum.

How can I avoid clogging my drain pipes?

Avoid sludge build-up in drains

Easily avoid sludge build-up in your drains by using one cup baking soda, adding one cup vinegar. When this solution foams, flush with a tea-kettle full of boiling water.

How can I make cleaning ashtrays easier?

Cleaning ashtrays

Try waxing the inside of your ashtrays - the ashes won't stick! Then you can simply wipe them clean with a tissue, eliminating the constant washing. Messy ashtrays don't smell so good :o)

How can I avoid streaked windows when I wash them?

Window spots inside or out...

By using side-to-side strokes outside and up/down strokes inside, you can easily tell which side of your windows has streaks/spots on them.

How can I keep my tableware items sanitary?

Sanitary tableware

Always place your tableware into the dishwasher with the fork-tines, knife-blades, etc. down. When removing from washing, you will be touching the handles only; much more sanitary.

How can I avoid streaked windows when I wash them?

Cleaning windows without streaking

Avoid washing windows when it is sunny; windows dry too quickly, causing streaking. Always wash windows starting at the top.

What should I wash with what??

Doing laundry

Laundry chore? Say, you're not using a scrub board in the wash house, are you? Probably the hardest part of laundry is separating colors. All white (only) should be washed together, with added clorox/bleach. Unless there are silk whites (see below), these could be washed with hot temp. setting/cold rinse. NEVER put colors with whites. Heavy clothing (jeans, khakis, denims) should be washed separately from lighter fabrics (knits, shirts, blouses, night clothing) on warm to cold wash settings/cold rinse. Delicates (silks, sweaters, fine materials) should be washed on cold setting/cold rinse. If using a dryer, dry only as separated above to protect your articles. Sheets, towels could be washed together, but do NOT overload washing machine or dryer; a lighter load is much better.

How can I keep my home from becoming ´cluttered´?

Keep home 'uncluttered'

A good way to keep our homes less cluttered: never leave a room or go up the stairs without carrying those 'out-of-place' items with you. One or two items at a time, the clutter becomes manageable.

How can I eliminate dust from settling on my venetian blinds?

Bounce® Sheets - venetian blinds

Eliminate static electricity from venetian blinds by wiping the blinds with a sheet (or sheets - depending on the amount of blinds in your home :o) of Bounce®...this will prevent dust from resettling.

How can I get better suction from my vacuum cleaner?

Poor suction on vacuum

Always check your filter bag if you are getting poor suction from your vacuum. A clean/empty bags gives better suction.

What should I wash with what??

A bleach alternative

When washing whites, use oxyclean instead of bleach. Not only will the whites be whiter, but your clothes will last longer, since it doesn`t damage the material like bleach does.

What is the best detergent to use in my laundry?

Best detergent for my dishwasher

As I have stated in my tip for laundry detergent, if you are using a powdered dishwasher detergent STOP! Powdered detergents can turn to 'grease' in your sewer lines - a fact from a plumber! Always use the liquid type detergent in your dishwasher (I like lemon-scented Cascade). Use up the rest of your powder, diluted in water, to wash furniture or car upholstery or TOSS OUT. Much cheaper than a plumbing bill!!

How can I prevent mildew from forming in my shower?

Avoid shower mildew

To avoid mildew in your shower, keep HandiWipes® (sponge sheet) handy. Before stepping out of shower, wipe moisture from shower walls, floor, door, and shower fixtures.

How can I remove white spots/rings from my furniture?

Care of furniture

To remove white spots and rings on furniture, dab a cotton ball in iodine, then rub spot vigorously.

How should I wash my fancy/fluffy sweaters?

Washing fluffy sweaters

Got a new, fluffy sweater and want to keep it like-new? Hand-wash, then final-rinse in cool water with a capful of hair cream-rinse; this will help retain its prime condition.

How can I easily remove tarnish from my silverware?

Easy tarnish-rid of silverware

Don't ever fret over removing tarnish from sterling (or silver plate) again...Start with an aluminum (MUST be aluminum) pan placed in sink, add silverware, sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup baking soda over silverware, then pour in enough boiling water to cover utensils. After tarnish disappears, remove silverware and wipe thoroughly with a soft cotton dishcloth.

What is a good way to clean my coffee pot?

Freshen-up the coffee pot

Coffee pots need freshening regularly; at least once a month. To do this, rinse with a strong solution of baking soda-water, then rinse with clear water. For auto-drip coffee makers, I rinse twice with clear water.

How can I freshen AND brighten my carpet?

Removing gum from carpet

Easily removal gum from carpet by rubbing ice cubes on
the gum. When it becomes hardened, break off and use a good spot remover to get rid of the rest.

How can I deodorize shoes and sneakers?

Bounce® Sheets - shoes

Bounce® sheets placed in those 'yucky' shoes or sneakers overnight will deodorize them.

How can I get rid of tea stains in cups?

Removing tea stains

This is especially good for removing tea stains from cups or counter tops: sprinkle baking soda on a clean, barely moistened rag then wipe the area, followed by a rinsing of cold water.

How can I keep tomato sauces from staining my plastic storage bowls?

Avoid tomato stains

To avoid tomato-based sauces or meat dishes staining your plastic storage dishes, spray insides with nonstick cooking spray before adding sauces.

How can I keep lint from clinging to blue jeans?

Lint on denim

To avoid lint from clinging to blue jeans and corduroys, add a half cup of vinegar to each wash load.

How can I get a refreshing scent for my bed linens?

Bounce® Sheets - bed linens

For that refreshing scent at bedtime, place a sheet of Bounce® 'tween the sheets; that is, place between the mattress cover and bottom sheet when changing bed linen, about half-way down the bed.

How can I freshen the air in my car?

Bounce® Sheets-Car

To freshen the air in your car, place one sheet of Bounce® under a front seat. If you are a smoker, add a sheet under both sides of front seat(s).

How can I prevent moth damage in woolen clothes?

Alternative to moth balls

If you don't mind the 'spicy' aroma, you can use whole cloves in the pockets of wool coats, or in a bag with sweaters when storing for the off-season. Prevents moth damage with a better aroma!

How can I remove stubborn spots of dirt from my floors?

Stubborn dirt on floors

We can remove stubborn patches of dirt on floors by rubbing lightly with fine steel wood dipped in turpentine. Rubbing alcohol will work on most vinyl floors. Then mop or rinse spot to remove all traces of the turpentine or alcohol.

How can I remove crayon marks from walls?

Removing crayon marks

To remove crayon marks from walls, dip a damp rag into baking soda and rub off marks (with a little elbow grease :o).

How can I get hair spray ´gook´ from my bathroom mirrors?

Hair Spray Residue on Mirrors

To remove hair spray residue from bathroom mirrors, dampen a paper towel with rubbing alcohol and wipe mirror clean.

How can a make ´turned-down´ bed linen more visually appealing?

Turning down the bed linen

When replacing clean linen on your beds, reverse the top-sheet (wrong side up). When you turn down the bedding (or partially turn down) the finished side of the top will be visible...more appealing than viewing the 'raw' seams.

How can I remove the ´film´ from my plastic dinnerware?

Cleaning plastic dinnerware

Quite often plastic dinnerware accumulates a 'film' on it; this film can be removed with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda.

How can I freshen the air in my home?

Bounce® Sheets-home

We can freshen the air in our homes by placing individual sheets of Bounce® in drawers, hang in closets, or place under chairs and sofas. Replace periodically.

How can I prevent zippers from snagging other clothes during laundry?

No tangles or snags

Prepare your clothes before laundering: zip-close all zippers, button the buttons, tie drawstrings; this will prevent snagging and/or tangling.

How can I avoid mosquito bites?

Bounce® Sheets-repel mosquitoes

Bounce® sheets will repel mosquitoes; just tie a sheet through a belt loop when outdoors during mosquito season. You can also rub on arms and legs to accomplish this. Don't forget to pack some sheets into sealable sandwich bags when going camping or on a picnic.

How can I remove black spots on my silverware?

Remove black spots on silverware

To remove black spots on silverware, drop a little machine oil on each spot, bur, then polish as usual.

How can I eliminate ordors in my wastebaskets?

Bounce® Sheets-wastebaskets

Eliminate those strange odors in wastebaskets by placing a sheet of Bounce® at the bottom of each wastebasket. Replace with a new one when you empty the trash.

How can I best wash my paianted walls and wood trim?

Washing walls and trim

This should make our washing of painted walls and wood trim a bit easier: wash from the bottom up! Doing so will prevent water from running down over a soiled surface, thus causing streaks that are almost impossible to remove.

How can I get rid of scorched spots?

Getting the scorch 'out'

When ironing special 'holiday' linens, and you accidentally scorch a piece, just treat the area by rubbing it with a cut onion and soaking in cold water.

How can I remove that yucky egg dried on my dishes?

Dried egg on dishes

Dishes with egg and dough left on them come clean more quickly if soaked in cold water.

How can I prevent my suitcases from smelling musty?

Bounce® Sheets - suitcases

We can prevent musty suitcases by placing a sheet of Bounce® inside empty luggage before storing.

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Tammi Reynolds