27 surprising solutions to common household problems

For centuries women have been exchanging a variety of household tips: you can use shaving cream or soda water as instant spot removers, thaw fish in milk for that fresh-caught flavor or make candles dripless by freezing them before lighting.

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  • You may smile at some of these ideas, but you won't be laughing when the problem is right in front of you ... and the solution is only a hint away. Here are some of my favorite tips to common household problems:

  • 1. Keep your brown sugar soft

  • You have friends coming over this evening and you thought it would be nice to mix up a batch of your favorite biscuits. You get to the part with the brown sugar and find that it is as hard as a rock. So you get out an ice pick and start stabbing into the box hoping to break up enough to complete the recipe.

  • #cookingtipoftheweek #foodhack #kitchenwarequeens #softbrownsugar

    A photo posted by Jennie Donovan (@kitchenwarequeens) on

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  • Well, if you would have known to place a marshmallow in the package and close the box tightly about an hour later, the sugar would have been soft again.

  • 2. Cook potatoes faster

  • You've prepared a really nice meal, but you discover you forgot to put in the potatoes in time so that they would be baked when the rest of the meal was to be served. Insert a nail straight into the potato and it will shorten the baking time by about 15 minutes. The meal is saved.

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  • 3. Get sauce out of the bottle easier

  • If you're having trouble getting the tomato sauce out of a new bottle, which you've been pounding on for the past few minutes, insert a straw and push it all the way to the bottom of the bottle. It will break the vacuum and you will soon have a steady flow of sauce.

  • 4. Tell if an egg is fresh by putting it in water

  • Test how #Fresh your eggs are......#FreshEggTest. #HealthyLifeStyle BODYONFIRE®

    A photo posted by IFBB Pro Carmichael Bryan (@bodyonfirebycm) on

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  • Want to determine if an egg is fresh without breaking the shell? Simply immerse the egg in a pan of cold, salted water. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it is fresh; if the egg rises to the surface, it is not fresh.

  • 5. To clean copper pots, scrub them with Worcestershire sauce.

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  • The tarnish will fade very quickly.

  • 6. Put marbles in a pot to tell you when the water's boiling

  • If you have a habit of walking away from your cooking and are constantly burning and scorching the pans, always place a jar lid, or marbles, in the bottom part of your double boiler. The rattling sound will be the signal if the water is boiling away.

  • 7. A little vanilla poured on a piece of cotton wool and placed in the refrigerator will remove odors.

  • 8. A stick of celery placed in your bread basket will keep the bread fresh longer.

  • 9. Dry salad without a salad spinner

  • If salad greens are wet and you need them immediately, place them in a pillowcase and spin dry in your washing machine for a few seconds. This hint is especially good to know if you are serving a salad to a large crowd.

  • 10. Truss a fresh bird with dental floss when grilling and roasting.

  • Dental floss does not burn and is very strong.

  • 11. Stop the obnoxious drip sound with a string

  • If you can't get to sleep because the drip in your sink keeps you awake, tie a string to the tap, long enough to reach the drain. Water will run down the string noiselessly until you have time to fix it.

  • 12. Figure out if a bicycle has been stolen

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  • To identify a stolen bicycle, even though the serial number may have been filed off, roll a card with the number on it around a pencil, remove the bicycle's seat post and drop the card into the bicycle frame. It can easily be retrieved as proof of ownership.

  • 13. Remove sweater peels with a razor

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  • If you have sweaters or other garments with little fuzz balls on them, remove them by very carefully going over the surfaces with a clean shaver. It will not harm the fabric, but will remove the well-worn look.

  • 14. Moisten your broom before sweeping to pick up dust better

  • For a faster working carpet sweeper, dampen the brushes of your sweeper before using. It will then do a much better job of picking up lint and string or other specks of dust.

  • 15. To eliminate lint in your wash, try adding one cup of white vinegar to the last rinse cycle.

  • 16. If you have too many suds in your washing machine, and it overflows, sprinkle the water with salt. The suds will disappear.

  • 17. Boil white socks with a slice of lemon and they will look like new.

  • You will also save the damage which may be done by using bleach.

  • 18. Use aluminum foil on your ironing board for faster ironing

  • For faster ironing, place a strip of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the length of the ironing board and cover with your regular padded cover. As you iron, heat will reflect through the underside of the garment and you'll achieve a smoother finish much faster.

  • 19. To remove unwanted sticky tape, put a blotter against the tape and press with a warm iron, and it will be removed.

  • 20. Keep frost off your window with rubbing alcohol

  • Safety & Prevention: Prevent window frost by washing them with a mixture of 1 quart warm water and ½ cup of rubbing alcohol in the evening. #WinterTips #PreventFrost #IcePrevention

    Posted by PuroClean on Tuesday, February 9, 2016
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  • To keep Jack Frost off your windows in winter, try cleaning them with half a cup of rubbing alcohol or anti-freeze to each liter of water.

  • 21. The next time red wine spills on your carpet or sofa, remove it with white wine.

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  • Just pour a little of the wine over the red spill and then you can begin blotting up the excess.

  • Some of the best tips for caring for children are very simple, quick and save a lot of tears.

  • 1. Fix a pesky splinter by soaking the splinter in cooking oil.

  • After a few minutes, numb the area with an ice cube before pulling the splinter out. This makes it an easy, painless process!

  • 2. Polish shoes with potato

  • For polishing a young child's shoes that are scuffed badly and do not seem to take to polish, rub them with a piece of raw potato or rubbing alcohol before using polish. After polishing, spray with hairspray to prevent the polish from coming off so easily.

  • Although plants and flowers are an important part of your household decorating, they need to have a little special care.

  • 1. To keep water from clouding a clear vase, add one tablespoon of liquid bleach to one liter of water. It won't harm the flowers at all.

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  • 2. Use salted boiling water for weed killer

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  • Instead of using expensive weed killer, which you might worry about children getting to, salted boiling water will kill grass or weeds which grow between sections of cement footpaths.

  • You can also use some of the following tips for your beauty needs

  • 1. To remove dead skin from your feet, elbows, knees and face, try rubbing a little bit of salad dressing into skin and let it dry a few minutes.

  • While the skin is still wet, massage it with your fingertips and rub quickly. You will be surprised at how much dead skin will roll right off.

  • 2. For a homemade setting lotion for your hair, use a teaspoon of sugar or gelatin dissolved in a cup of warm water, and apply as you would your regular setting lotion.

  • Are there any other home remedy tricks you've used?

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