Home may be where the heart is, but the heart doesn't do all those little day-to-day chores! There’s nothing wrong with finding shortcuts and trying out new ways of doing things to make the job easier.
The best home hacks get these tasks done quicker, but best of all, they save you money by using simple ingredients and common objects you already keep around the house.
If you’ve ever stored red pasta sauce in a plastic container, you’re familiar with the stains that latch on to the sides and bottom. It seems no amount of scrubbing gets rid of them. But, there are other options. Combine one teaspoon of water, two tablespoons of baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon of dish soap to create a paste in the stained container. Use a toothbrush or scrubbing utensil to work the mixture into the plastic. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, then rinse with clear water.
Soap scum can ruin the look of your plastic or fabric shower curtain or liner. You can wash most shower curtains safely in your washing machine, even those with magnets in the bottom.
Remove the hooks from the shower curtain. Place the curtain into a washer with warm water and add a small amount of detergent. Wash on a gentle cycle at the highest water level. Throw in a couple of bath towels to make the most of their scrubbing power, which helps get rid of residue. Hang the curtain to dry afterward.
A lack of closet space is a common problem in apartments and houses, but there’s an easy fix if you keep canned beverages on hand. Before tossing the cans into the recycling bin, remove the aluminum tabs from the top. Slide the wider end of the tab over the hook of a clothes hanger so that the lower loop is on the bottom. You can hang an additional hook from the bottom loop of the tab. This hanger hack can save lots of space in your closet without any additional cost.
It’s tough to find avocados that are at the perfect level of ripeness. Don't heat it in the microwave. Sure, it will be softer, but it takes away the flavor. Store unripe avocados on the counter, not in the fridge, unless you want to slow down the ripening process.
To ripen an avocado faster, place it in a paper bag, roll up the top, and seal it. Avocados produce ethylene, a hormone that triggers fruit ripening. The paper bag traps the hormone around the avocado, speeding up the ripening process. You can even cover the avocado with a bit of flour for a few days: the yeast in the flour speeds up the process.
Remove crusted or burnt food and grime from cookware using a dryer sheet. Fill the pot or pan with a few inches of water, add a couple of squirts of dishwashing soap, and lay a couple of dryer sheets on top of the water. Soak for an hour. The sheets release the cooked-on food debris without scrubbing.
Fitted sheets don’t always stay tucked around the corners as they should. Remedy the problem by using a pair of suspenders to keep them in place.
First, make sure your fitted sheet is positioned correctly. On the bottom side of the mattress, attach the suspenders to each of the four corners of the sheet. This hack works well even if the fitted sheet is too big for the bed. The sheet stays in place, and the bunching no longer interrupts your sleep.
Most people keep baking soda for cookies and biscuits, but you can use it for an array of cleaning purposes as well. Keep bathtubs and shower stalls sparkling with just a tad of baking soda and a few drops of dishwashing soap. Mix the ingredients into a cleaning cloth to produce a lather, then thoroughly scrub all surfaces and rinse well with warm water.
Surface scratches on stainless steel appliances don’t look great, but there’s an easy remedy, and chances are it’s on your bathroom shelf. Apply whitening toothpaste onto a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush or the end of a cotton swab. Work the toothpaste over the scratch, following the grain. Wipe it away with a clean, damp cloth. Repeat the process if the scratch isn’t gone. Afterward, apply a light coat of olive oil to bring out the shine.
Accumulations of pet hair on furniture, rugs, and carpets are a fact of life for dog and cat owners. Vacuuming isn’t always effective, no matter how often you do it. Although there are a variety of products available on the market to solve the issue, you may already have the best solution on hand: a simple window squeegee.
Go over the problem area with this tool and you’ll see pet hair collecting on the rubber blade instead of around your home.
The most time-consuming part of hand washables isn’t the washing, it’s the drying. You can wring out the water from the clothes, but it’s not always an effective way to remove excess water. The more water left in the clothing, the longer it takes to dry.
Instead of trying to squeeze the water out of your delicates, throw them in a salad spinner, just like you would your favorite leafy salad greens. The process will quickly get rid of extra water, drastically cutting drying time.
Turn that guilty pleasure into something useful. It seems that it's not only flavor that's packed into those Doritos. According to research, the spicy tortilla chips' long list of powdery ingredients and oil come together to not only produce excellent fire kindling but also put on quite a colorful spectacle once they've caught a flame.
If you're not a Doritos fan, no worries. Any puffy, powdery chip that contains oil will work.
If you're a huge fan of eating the meal and the bowl, this hack is for you. Create little burrito bowls at home with a muffin tin and corn tortillas: they're the perfect size to complement single-serve. Turn a muffin tin bottom side up.
Place corn tortillas in the space between four of the muffin cavities. Bake them at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. You can also use flour tortillas to create bigger bowls, substituting an upside-down, oven-safe ramekin for the muffin tin.
Life hacks are all about taking something useful and creating more ways to use them. Sunglasses, it turns out, make a great smartphone stand. Turn your sunglasses upside down on a flat surface so that the ear pieces curve upwards, then lay your phone across them.
You'll probably need to open the temple pieces a bit to be able to see the screen.
It turns out that your dishwasher gives off a type of heat that creates the perfect environment for cooking a variety of foods. Soft boil your eggs or steam your favorite vegetables in a sealed Mason jar with a bit of added water. Poach salmon wrapped in aluminum foil.
If you prefer a fancier meal, prepare a sumptuous lasagna. Assemble the noodles, cooked beef or Italian sausage, some ricotta cheese, mushrooms, and sauce in an aluminum container and seal it with a lid or aluminum foil. For best results, place it on the bottom rack, and use the normal cycle, turning on the "heated dry" and "sanitize" settings.
Fans of pulled pork and shredded chicken enchiladas will love this useful home hack. Use cooked boneless chicken or prepared pork, and place it in the bowl of your standing mixer. Snap on the paddle attachments. Turn your mixer on low speed, but don't overdo it or you could turn your meat into a soggy mash.
You can also shred softer meats like chicken breasts or thighs with a hand mixer. Tear the meat into smaller pieces, turn the mixer on low, and start shredding.
Sometimes, soap scum buildup gets to the point that no amount of scrubbing gets rid of it. The problem is that soap scum and mineral deposits from hard water join forces, making it harder to scrub away.
A quick dose of cooking spray can make the job easier. Just spray the area with any type of cooking spray, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it away. Afterward, you can go over it with your favorite cleanser to remove any remaining oily residue.
Nail polishes can leave your natural fingernails looking stained or yellowed, due to the pigments manufacturers use to create those beautiful colors. The longer the polish stays on the nail, the worse the stain gets.
To bring back the luster to your nails after you've removed the polish, apply a layer of your favorite brand of whitening toothpaste. Let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes, then scrub your nails gently with a nail brush or soft toothbrush under warm running water. For more stubborn stains, you may need to repeat the process in a few days.
The practice of steaming in skincare has been around forever. Facial steaming not only cleanses the skin, but also releases trapped sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells. It also improves circulation and hydrates the skin.
Wet some hand towels with hot water, fold or roll them up and arrange them in your rice cooker. Within a few short minutes, you'll be enjoying a soothing facial steaming session.
Over time, plastic patio furniture tends to fade and become brittle from prolonged exposure to the elements. Regular cleaning keeps outdoor furniture in good shape. Some people use a mixture of hot water and a ¼ cup of bleach, then spray it on and scrub the furniture with a brush.
If you're leery of using bleach, you can use a vinegar solution or baking soda and dishwashing detergent mixture. Wash off any surface dirt. Mix one cup of white vinegar with a gallon of water, or ½ cup of baking soda with three tablespoons of dishwashing soap into a gallon of water. Dip a sponge into the cleaning solution and scrub away the dirt.
Cookware and baking sheets start looking less-than-appetizing after constant use, and no amount of scrubbing seems to improve their appearance. To revitalize them, sprinkle baking soda on the cookware, then spray hydrogen peroxide over the baking soda. Add another layer of baking soda on top, and let the mixture sit for two to three hours. Wash thoroughly.
Oven cleaners are not only expensive, they’re poisonous. Shaving cream is an effective, safer substitute and costs much less. While it isn’t as effective for removing grease splatters, shaving cream loosens caked on and burnt food spills so that you can easily scrub them away.
Just spray a bit on the spill, spread it around, let it sit for 15 minutes or longer, and then use a plastic scraper to remove the excess shaving cream. A cleaning sponge and some scrubbing gets the rest of the baked-on spill right up.
Some types of grains, like quinoa and rice, require rinsing before you cook them. Quinoa, for example, has a natural coating of saponins. These are chemical compounds that protect the plant from fungi and microbes.
Thorough rinsing removes the bitter taste the saponins leave behind. A French press is an easy way to rinse and strain your grains. Pour the grains in the press, fill it with water, stir, and then press the grains down to the bottom. Get rid of the cloudy water and repeat until the water is clear.