Updated 15 March 2013

30 household hints that really work

Ever been really stuck on how to remove a stain, revive limp lettuce, dry up a pimple or clean a ‘sour’ baby bottle? Check these out.


Ever been really stuck on how to remove a stain, revive limp lettuce, clean dirty photographs, dry up a pimple or clean a ‘sour’ baby bottle? Read on and find out how you can do all of these and more with things you already have in the house.

Stain removal

  • Since the dirt rings in collars are oil stains, shampoo for oily hair will remove them. Rub it into the fabric before washing the garment.
  • Remove ink spots from clothing by squeezing toothpaste on the spot. Scrub and rinse thoroughly.
  • Remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers using a piece of tin foil dipped in Coca-Cola.
  • A thick paste made from baking soda and water will remove perspiration stains from clothing. It will also remove urine stains from car seats.
  • Lemon juice and salt rubbed into a paste, will remove rust stains from clothing.
  • Cotton dipped in alcohol will clean dirty photographs.
  • Salad oil will remove tar from your feet.
  • Keep old toothbrushes - they are extremely handy for cleaning nooks and crannies other cleaning equipment cannot get into.

Health tips

  • Insert yoghurt into the vagina to cure a yeast infection.(See a doctor if there is no improvement within 24 hours).
  • Eat fresh parsley to reduce the acidity of urine and relieve symptoms of bladder infections.
  • Toothpaste dabbed onto a pimple will dry it out.
  • Dolomite tablets will relieve the symptoms of heartburn.
  • In an emergency shampoo can be used in the place of shaving cream.

Kitchen tips

  • Soak limp lettuce leaves, celery and carrots in ice water for an hour. They will become crisper.
  • Fill a scorched pan halfway with water and 50 grams of baking soda. Boil for 10 minutes and the burnt food will loosen and float to the top.
  • Hard, refrigerated butter will soften in the microwave in 30 seconds on the defrost setting. But stand there and watch it - a few seconds too long, and you could have a runny mess.
  • When dropping dough from a spoon into a pan, wet the spoon in milk and the dough will not stick to the spoon.


  • Mothproof clothing by wrapping them in newspapers. Moths apparently dislike the taste of printer’s ink. And newspapers smell a lot better than mothballs.
  • Bend a wire coathanger in half and hang wet takkies on it to dry.
  • If you have poured too much washing powder into the machine, sprinkle salt into the water to settle the soap suds.
  • Put candles in the freezer before using them. They will last much longer.
  • Buy all your toddler's socks in the same colour. That way you will never have the problem of not being able to find the mythical ‘other sock’.
  • Dig your nails into a bar of soap before doing dirty work. This will prevent dirt from getting under them.
  • Wipe your shoelaces with a wet cloth after tying them. They will stay tied all day.
  • Scrub out a ‘sour’ baby’s bottle a mixture of toothpaste and water.
  • Tie a pair of scissors and sellotape to a nail in the kitchen. There is nothing worse than trying to wrap a present in a hurry and not being able to lay your hands on any of these.
  • Keep a bag of toys in the car so that there is always amusement at hand for young children.
  • Thread a needle with ease by dipping the end of the thread into colourless nail polish beforehand.
  • Loosen a rusted bolt by applying a cloth soaked in a carbonated soda to the rusted bolt for several minutes.
  • Remove musty and oily odours from the garage floor by spreading grass cuttings on them for a few hours.

 (References:;; People's Almanac 2)

(Compiled by the Health24 team, updated February 2011)


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