The Catt Box


Here are some of the topics, recipes, and hints on this page. Use these links to quickly jump to a subject on this page:


Sawdust Candles

How to clean your shower curtain

How to make window cleaner

How to unclog a toilet

Decorating Ideas

How to clean a coffee maker

Bread Schedule for buying bread in the stores

Making your own liquid laundry detergent

Making your own powdered laundry detergent

How to make your own fabric softener


For a printable version of this page, click here


Another good tip: I purchased a small three ring binder just for my kitchen area. I also purchased some clear sheet protectors for keeping my pages stain and rip free. Then, as I printed out tips and hints, I put them all in that one binder so I'd have all my information in one place. I have collected recipes for various things, including how to make cleaners and other 'how to' information. And now when I need to find that information, it's all in one place.

Household Tips and Hints!

From time to time I have received 'forwards', which I generally HATE, but a few are good and full of useful information. One of my favorite 'forwards' has been the ones containing household hints and tips, and other interesting information. And in the ten years I've been on the computer, I have collected many tips that I'd love to share with you here.   I even added a few of them of my own...


This one is my own tip.....

How to clean a shower curtain:                                                                       

I have a clear plastic shower curtain. I don't like the 'frosted' type. I love mine to be as clear and clean as glass. I think it lets in a lot more light than the solid color shower curtains. Anyway, we all know the nightmare it is to clean a shower curtain. Well, here's what I do....       

I take my shower curtain down, rings still attached, and I put it in the washing machine with nothing else. It's not a good idea to wash it with other things because lint gets all over it. I did that once....ONCE.       Never again.

Then I set the water to HOT. Then I put in a capful of liquid laundry detergent, as if you are doing a medium to large load of laundry. You can even purchase cheap liquid laundry detergent just for your shower curtain cleaning. You don't need 'the good stuff'.

Next, I put in a full cup of Clorox Bleach. I then wash it on a regular cycle, as if it was a regular load of laundry. When the shower curtain is finished, I ball it up and place it in a towel because it'll be drippy with water. Then I carry it to the bathtub, hang it back up, and voila! The shower curtain looks just as perfect and clean as the day I bought it. Seriously, it's amazing!

Leaving the 'rings' on the curtain doesn't hurt a thing. It goes without saying that it very much depends on your curtain rings / hooks. But if you have the cheap shower curtain rings, you can wash them right along with the shower curtain. I can't tell you how much time it saves and how easy it is if you can remove your shower curtain rod, slide off the rings with the shower curtain attached, then wash the curtain, rings and all. It's faster and easier than standing up and unhooking each ring. Ugh.

But, the bottom line is, you can clean your shower curtain very quickly and easily. I do this about once a month. And you know how great it is? I have had the exact same shower curtain since the day I moved in here, and at this writing it's been just over 2½ years. I wash my shower curtain every month and it's spotless and perfect. cracks, no holes, nothing but a perfectly clean shower curtain.


Here's another great trick my boyfriend and I discovered recently. 

How to unclog a toilet:                                                                                

The toilet was stopped up, AGAIN. This time I did some research on the internet for information on how OTHER people unclogged their toilet. I mean, you never know what's new, right? Meanwhile, Tom was doing the usual things...plunging, feeding a plumbing snake down into the toilet, etc. Nothing was working.

Well, I found a gem of a fix for a clogged toilet. It goes without saying that if an 'object' is clogging the toilet and you can see it or reach it, it must be removed. 

We scooped out a little of the water. Then we put a few tablespoons of Dawn Dish Detergent right down into the toilet bowl. Then we poured a few gallons of VERY hot water right into the toilet. The toilet flushed and the problem was gone

The Dawn will lubricate the 'clog', and the hot water helps everything go down and through the pipes easier. 

Everywhere I looked on the internet people were singing the praises of this great way to unclog toilets. We gave it a try and now we're among the many happy people with this wonderful 'fix'.

Dawn is also AWESOME for cleaning grease and oil stains on clothing. I keep a small bottle of Dawn on my laundry room shelf. I also have a small scrubbing brush. Whenever I see oil or grease, and even other stains, on anything, I run full-strength Dawn right onto the stain, let it sit a while, then wash like normal. It has never failed me!


Now on with the rest of the hints and tips I've collected through the years.


  • Eliminate ear mites:   All it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear...Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days.  The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.     

  • Kills fleas instantly: Dawn dish washing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations. Good-bye fleas.

  • Rainy day cure for dog odor: Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

  • Headaches: Did You Know that drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately--without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional 'pain relievers.' Sometimes the headache is merely because we've had a lack of water.

  • For burns: Did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns? 

  • Stuffed nose: Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

  • Achy muscles: From a bout of the flu. Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

  • Sore throat:  Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

  • Urinary tract infections:  Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly--even though the product was never been advertised for this use.

  • Skin blemishes: Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works overnight.

  • Toenail Fungus: Listerine therapy for toenail fungus. Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

  • Eyeglass 'screw' protection: To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear nail polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

  • Bug Killer: Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer...If menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

  • Smart splinter remover:  Just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off of the skin.  The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

  • Boil cure:  Cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

  •  Balm for broken blisters: To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine.   A powerful antiseptic. 

  • Vinegar to heal bruises: Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.


More Helpful Hints!

  • Quaker Oats for fast pain relief...It's not for breakfast any more! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.
  • Peel a  banana from the bottom and you won't have to pick the little 'stringy things' off of it. That's how the primates do it.
  • Take  your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.
  • Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!
  • Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.
  • Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
  • Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef.  It will help pull the grease away from the meat  while  cooking.
  • To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up.
  • For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies.  Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.  
  • Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end  of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.
  • Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper.  Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Serve alone or  with vanilla ice cream.  Yummm!
  • Cooking a turkey upside down helps to keep the meat moist. I like to use a cooking bag too because it cooks faster and seems to retain more juice.

More Helpful Hints!


  • Reheat Pizza 
    Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on  top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy.  No soggy micro pizza.  I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.


    Easy  Deviled Eggs

    Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all
    broken up.  Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up, mixing thoroughly.  Cut  the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg.  Just throw bag away when  done easy clean up.

    Expanding  Frosting
    When you buy  a container of cake frosting from  the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in  size.  You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories  per serving.

    Reheating refrigerated bread
    To warm  biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a  microwave with a cup of water.  The  increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

    Newspaper weeds away
    Start  putting in your plants; work the nutrients in your soil. Wet
    newspapers, put  layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and  forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will  not get through wet newspapers.

    Broken  Glass 
    Use a wet  cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see  easily.
    No  More Mosquitoes
    Place a  dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.

    Squirrel  Away! 
    To keep  squirrels from eating your plants,  sprinkle  your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.

    Flexible Vacuum
    To get  something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
    Reducing Static Cling
    Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose.  Place pin in seam of slacks and... ta da!...static is gone.

    Measuring Cups  
    Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring  cup, fill with hot water.  Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup.  Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes  right out.

    Foggy Windshield?
    Hate foggy  windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car.  When the windows fog, rub with the eraser!  Works better than a cloth!

    Reopening envelope
    If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two.  Viola!  It unseals easily.

    Use your  hair conditioner to shave your legs.  It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth.  It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.

    Goodbye Fruit Flies
    To get rid  of pesky fruit flies, take a small  glass, fill  it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!

    Get Rid of Ants 
    Put small  piles of cornmeal where you see ants.  They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!


    How to Clean a Coffee Maker


  • Remove and dispose of used coffee filter from filter basket.
  • Add vinegar to the water reservoir until 1/4 full. Fill with water until full.
  • Run the coffee maker.
  • Turn off the coffee maker; let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Run the vinegar and water mixture through the coffee maker again. Let cool 10 minutes.
  • Run plain water through the coffee maker; let cool 10 minutes, repeat.
  • Hand-wash the carafe and filter basket in soapy water.


Bread Schedule For Buying Bread In The Stores

Did you know that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week? Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And each day has a different color twist tie. They are: 

Monday - Blue
Tuesday - Green
Thursday - Red
Friday - White
Saturday - Yellow

So, if today is Thursday, I want a red twist tie - not white which is Friday (almost a week old?)

The colors go alphabetically by color Blue - Green - Red - White - Yellow, Monday thru Saturday. Very easy to remember. But I put a post-it note in my wallet when I first found out about this so I would not forget.

Enjoy fresh bread when you buy bread with the right color on the day you are shopping.


More Helpful Hints!


Windows - the easiest way I have found to clean my windows is take a big pail and fill with very warm water...then add ONE drop of Dawn dishwashing detergent. I then take a waffle washcloth and completely soak and then wring out as much of the water as I can. I then wipe the window and follow with a cloth diaper or other lint free cloth and dry. This leaves the windows crystal clean.

Wastebaskets - for all the little wastebaskets I have throughout the house I use a hotel maids trick...I keep folded liners underneath the liner being used. That way I don't have to track down another liner after I empty the basket.

Hair - About once a week I clarify my hair with baking soda. To do this I first suds my hair with shampoo and before I rinse I use about 3 Tablespoons of baking soda and rub it into my hair. This removes all the hair spray and styling gels that have accumulated.

Counter tops & Sink - I never use those sterilizing sprays - about all they are is bleach and water. I just pour some bleach into a spray bottle and add water and spray my counter tops and sink with this solution and let set for ten minutes then wipe off. We also use this in the bathtub and shower, just spray it on and let it set and it removes mold.

Chewing gum stuck in hair - The easiest way to remove is rub with peanut butter, then wash hair.

Crayons on walls - rub an art gum eraser over the markings, it comes off pretty easily.

Flies or bees bothering you? Spray them with hair spray and they will take a quick dive.

Sealed envelope - Put in the freezer for a few hours, then slide a knife under the flap. The envelope can then be resealed.

Kids riding shotgun in car - At the beginning of the year I take a small calendar and use a different colored highlighting marker for each kid. I highlight a different color for each week. The kids each have their own color and know immediately who's week it is to ride up front. This has worked real well for my kids.

Toilet training a boy - Don't laugh, this really works. When I was potty-training my son we put a square of toilet paper in the bowl. I'd tell him to sink the ship. He learned to aim directly in the bowl. Wonder if this will work for husbands too?


More Helpful Hints!


  • Use Empty toilet paper roll to store appliance cords in.  It keeps them neat and you can write on the roll what appliance it belongs to

  • For icy door steps in freezing temperatures: get warm water and put Dawn dishwashing liquid in it. Pour it all over the steps. They won't refreeze.

  • The steering wheel in my truck gets terribly cold in winter and doesn't warm up. I used regular foam pipe-wrap, taped the joins (took two pieces) then ran tape around the entire steering wheel, making my wraps about 21/2" apart. It just doesn't get cold. And it's cheap. 

  • Keep that nasty dust off your TV and computer screens!!! After using your dryer sheet with your laundry, run it over your screens. The anti-static left in the dyer sheet repels dust and dirt. 

  • Crayon marks on walls? This worked wonderfully! A damp rag, dipped in baking soda. Comes of with little effort (elbow grease that is!).  

  • Permanent marker on appliances /counter tops (like store receipt BLUE!) - rubbing alcohol on paper towel.  


More Helpful Hints!


Whenever I purchase a box of S.O.S Pads, I immediately take a pair of scissors and cut each pad into halves. After years of having to throw away rusted and unused and smelly pads, I finally decided that this would be much more economical. And now a box of S.O.S pads last me indefinitely! In fact, I have noticed that the scissors get sharpened this way!

Opening brand new jars can be a feat in itself. Well, I have found a way to make it the easiest thing to do. Instead of banging a jar of jam, pickles, etc., with a knife until it loosens up, I simply reach into the drawer and pull out the handy nutcracker. It adjusts to the size of the jar and I simply give it a good twist and off pops the lid!  

Tired of removing band-aids the painful way? Well, no longer must that be a problem. Simply apply a little baby oil directly on the band-aid, wait a moment for the oil to loosen it up, and viola! It will simply peel right off with no pain whatsoever.

Blood stains on clothes? Not to worry! Just pour a little peroxide on a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Works every time!

Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for inside windows. This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean. Don't wash windows on a sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.

Spray a bit of perfume on the light bulb in any room to create a lovely, light scent in each room when the light is turned on.

Place fabric softener sheets in dresser drawers and your clothes will smell freshly washed for weeks to come. You can also do this with towels and linen.

Candles will last a lot longer if placed in the freezer for at least 3 hours prior to burning.

To clean artificial flowers, pour some salt into a paper bag and add the flowers. Shake vigorously as the salt will absorb all the dust and dirt and leave your artificial flowers looking like new! Works like a charm!

Occasionally cleanse hair with white vinegar to rid hair of build up of shampoo and other styling fixatives.

Instead of using the usual box of baking soda in the fridge, you can also eliminate odors by putting a piece of cotton dipped in vanilla extract. This really works!

To create a fresh, clean aroma in the washroom, place a sheet of fabric softener in the wastebasket. You can also do the same with the wastebaskets around the rest of the house, such as the one at your desk.

To prevent dust from accumulating on artificial flowers and plants, lightly spray with hair spray. This saves a lot of dusting and washing.

To make stainless steel sinks really shine, use white vinegar. The results are fantastic!

Cold tea is great food for your house plants.

Add vinegar to the water when boiling eggs as the vinegar prevents the shells from cracking.

If your nylons get a small hole in them, simply apply a thin layer of clear nail polish around the hole to prevent them from running.

Tomatoes last longer if you store them with the stems pointed down.

Have your roses last a lot longer by adding a capful of hydrogen peroxide to the water and repeat as you change the water often. Don't forget to cut the stems on a slant under running water.

For thicker, shiny hair, massage an egg into your hair for 5 minutes before rinsing and shampooing it out.

For dry hair, massage mayonnaise into your hair and leave in for up to an hour before washing it out. You can also use honey, yogurt and aloe vera gel.

Baking soda works wonders for pet odors. Sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 cup of baking soda onto the carpet and vacuum it up. Repeat every time you replace your vacuum bag.

For the best moisturizer possible, use 5 parts aloe vera gel, 1 part pure vegetable glycerine, and mix into a glass jar. Both ingredients are available at any health food store.

Soak or massage your nails with baby oil, vitamin E oil, olive oil or a gentle dish detergent at least twice a day to stimulate growth and prevent cracking and chipping.

For the softest feet possible, apply a thick layer of of petroleum jelly on your feet then wear a pair of socks overnight. You can do the same with your hands by wearing cotton gloves. Do the same with the rest of your body using petroleum jelly or thick cream and wear an old pair of pajamas to bed. Don't be afraid to apply petroleum jelly or vitamin E oil to your face overnight also. Do this at 1-2 times a week and your skin is guaranteed to be baby soft!

For dry hair, apply vitamin E oil to your scalp and split ends at night and shampoo in the morning.

Make your own anti-wrinkle cream inexpensively. Beat a few egg whites (no yolks!) into a meringue and apply all over your face. Remove after a half hour with cool water (don't use hot water or you'll have scrambled egg on your face!). Pat dry and you'll immediately notice the difference. Also great for shrinking pores.

Never throw away the water eggs have been boiled in as it's full of minerals. Of course it's not suitable for humans to drink, but after cooling the water, feed it to your house plants. They love it and will grow at a much faster rate!

Apply ice cold vinegar right away to skin burns to prevent blisters

Pour boiling vinegar down drains to unclog and clean them.

To keep fabrics from bleeding, add 2-3 teaspoons of salt to wash and rinse cycles.

Sour milk actually cleans copper! Pour the milk in a flat dish, soak the copper for about an hour and clean and usual.

Remove pen ink from clothing or carpet by spraying area with hair spray and after leaving on for a few seconds, wipe away with a damp cloth.

Set out white vinegar in open dishes to destroy odors.

Add vinegar to your deep fryer to eliminate a greasy taste.

Fill film canisters with water, freeze and use anytime you would use an ice pack or ice cube. They won't drip and make a watery mess.

Rinse glasses and dishes in water and vinegar to prevent spots and film.

There is no need to buy expensive conditioners to make your hair shiny, soft and radiant. Simply wash hair and massage regular hair conditioner into damp hair and leave in overnight. Protect your pillow by using a shower cap and if you don't own one, make do with a plastic bad tied carefully around your head. You certainly do not want to wake up suffocated and dead if you don't do it right! :)


More Helpful Hints!


  • Peanut butter - will get scratches out of CD's!  Wipe off with a coffee filter paper.
  • For a sticking bicycle chain spray with Pam Non-Stick Cooking Spray.
  • Pam will also remove paint, and grease from your hands!  Keep a can in your garage for your hubby.
  • Peanut butter will remove ink from the face of dolls.
  • When the doll clothes are hard to put on, sprinkle with corn starch and watch them slide on.
  • Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.
  • Use a meat baster to "squeeze" your pancake batter onto the hot griddle - perfect shaped pancakes every time.
  • To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
  • To prevent egg shells from cracking, add a pinch of salt to the water before hard-boiling.
  • Run your hands under cold water before pressing Rice Krispie treats in the pan, the marshmallow won't stick to your fingers.
  • To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing.
  • Spray your Tupperware with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces-no more stains.
  • When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead - no white mess on the outside of the cake.
  • If you accidentally over-salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato.  It absorbs the excess salt for an instant "fix me up."
  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator - it will keep for weeks.
  • Brush beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.
  • Place a slice of apple in hardened brown sugar to soften it back up.
  • When boiling corn on the cob, add a pinch of sugar to help bring out the corns natural sweetness.
  • To determine whether an egg is fresh, immerse it in a pan of cool, salted water.  If it sinks, it is fresh - if it rises to the surface, throw it away.
  • Don't throw out all that leftover wine:  freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
  • If you have problem opening jars, try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
  • Potatoes will take food stains off your fingers.  Just slice and rub raw potato on the stains and rinse with water.
  • Use air-freshener to clean mirrors.  It does a good job and better still, leaves a lovely smell to the shine.
  • For icy door steps in freezing temperatures, get warm water and put Dawn dishwashing liquid in it.  Pour it all over the steps.  They won't refreeze.


 More Helpful Hints!


SCRATCHES ON WOOD SURFACE:                                                         

If a stained wood surface gets a scratch and you can see the lighter wood underneath, all you need to do is get a walnut. Using the meat of a walnut, rub it across the scratch. The oils in the walnut will hide the scratch. I have never tried this on light colored woods (such as ash), but for oak, cherry and walnut finishes, this has worked wonders.

Rub drawer runners and track or bottom edges of drawer with candle wax, wax-type furniture polish or soap and slide in and out a few times to lubricate.
Rub with wood grain using toothpaste on a clean dry cloth.
Find the short leg, and glue a button to the bottom.
Attach one end of a pair of suspenders to the bottom end of the sheet, run beneath the mattress, and attach the other end to the top end of the sheet. For king-size beds, you’ll need oversize suspenders.
Replace regular drawer pulls with wooden toy blocks that have been drilled on one side to accommodate the original pull’s screws.
Sprinkle stain with corn starch or baby powder. Let sit a few hours, then brush off. Stain should disappear. If some remains, try again. Or dampen a clean white cloth with carpet shampoo solution, and rub stain gently from outside into center. Wipe with another clean white cloth dampened with water, and blot dry with a clean white cloth.

Saturate paper with cooking oil and let sit a while. Paper will slip off easily.

Wipe with a dab of shoe polish or magic marker in a shade as close as possible to wood color. Or rub on a paste of instant coffee and water. Or rub with a raw halved walnut meat, or a peanut.

Rub with a soft cloth dipped in ammonia. As long as you don’t saturate the wood, you won’t leave spots.

Remove mattress from bed, and place a wool blanket over box spring, then replace the mattress.

To replace seat cushion covers after removing them to wash, put the cushion into a plastic trash or dry cleaners’ bag, then slip into the cover open-end first. Pull out the bag, leaving the cushion inside the cover. If using a dry cleaners’ bag, you may choose to leave the bag inside to protect cushion from dust.

Place a bath mat, rubber “gripper” fabric, or foam rubber pad under each cushion to keep the slipping to a minimum.

Wash with Murphy’s Oil Soap, according to directions, then buff with a dry cloth.

Set speakers inside open-weave baskets. The sound will carry, but the speakers will be hidden.

Fill sink with hot water and add a couple of denture tablets. Let soak. Or try a paste of baking soda/cream of tartar & hydrogen peroxide. Or saturate a paper towel with straight bleach and place over stain for several hours.

Rub with a salt & turpentine solution.

Rub with floor or car wax. DO NOT WAX FLOOR OF TUB/SHOWER! Very slippery!

Rub with rubbing alcohol on a soft, damp cloth.

Hang a three-tier wire vegetable basket in bathroom, near sink &/or tub, to hold shampoo bottles, sponges, shower caps, tub toys, extra soaps, cosmetics, combs, hair spray cans, etc. Also, glue magnetic strips to the walls of medicine cabinet to hold small metal objects (nail clippers, files, scissors, etc.)

Cut through fine sandpaper several times, or draw across the rough under-side edge of a ceramic coffee mug.

Unplug, and clean wand with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol.

Place a dab of solid antiperspirant on each side of your nose, where glasses rest.

To ease pain while plucking, apply teething gel over entire brow a few minutes before.

Buy shoes in late afternoon or early evening, when feet have swollen slightly, for the best fit.

Fasten through holes of a button to keep pairs together.

Hold hand high above head for a couple of minutes. The blood will drain from your hand and swelling should diminish. If that doesn’t work, rub hand cream around the ring and soak hand in a bowl of soapy ice water.

When pinning brooch to a delicate blouse, place a piece of sturdy fabric inside blouse and pin through both layers to prevent large holes in blouse fabric.

After opening nail polish or other liquids, rub petroleum jelly around threads and lip of bottle for easier opening next time. Repeat application occasionally.

Pour gel capsules (Vitamin E, etc.) Into a bowl and mix well with 1 tsp. Cornstarch. Return capsules to bottle. Dust keeps caps from sticking together.

If shoes are too tight, place a zip-loc bag inside shoe and fill with water. Close securely. Place shoe inside another bag, and place in the freezer overnight with the water concentrated in the tight spot (toe, heel, etc.) Water will freeze and stretch shoe.

When drying anything that should be fluffy, such as a feather pillow or down jacket, place one or two tennis balls into the dryer with the item, and tumble.

Replace liquid fabric softeners (ie. Downey) by pouring ½ cup of vinegar into the rinse water.

If the bottom of your iron gets a gunky buildup, put salt on a large sheet of wax paper, adjust the iron for low heat, and iron the salt.

Place a few lemon slices or some lemon juice around baseboards, and in the cracks of your cupboards.

Every two or three weeks in the summer, place a line of table salt around the edges of the patio to keep slugs away.

Pour some ammonia onto a couple of paper towels, and place in trash bag, or rinse trash can weekly with ammonia to keep strays away.


More Hints and Decorating Ideas


Shaving cream can be used to clean upholstery. 

To help remove candle wax from carpeting and other areas, place a generous piece of paper over the wax and then place a warm iron on the paper. Applying the heat, carefully, will re-melt the wax and make it adhere to the paper. 

If the pictures on your wall keep slipping out of place, place a drop of 'glue gun' glue on the bottom corners of the back of the frames and allow to dry. It will help hold your pictures in place.

Use wicker cases and old stacked luggage for extra storage space.

Use an old weathered window pane as a mirror by replacing the clear glass with mirror. Hang on the wall, or prop against a wall, for an interesting look.

Attach a quilt to the wall by using Velcro®.

Old cloth dishcloths make wonderful 'Country' curtains in the Kitchen or on odd windows.

Use a small wicker basket in your refrigerator for small items.

Hat boxes make great bathroom storage.

If you have odd pieces of 'silver plated' items, you can use them in your bathroom for brushes and combs, or sit them on your vanity, to use for make up brushes.

Not all furniture in a room has to match...mix it up and spread it throughout your house in different rooms.

For a textured wall, take different sizes of torn strips from brown paper bags, glue them on a wall, and then 'milk paint' it. Makes for a great 'accent wall'.

Remodel your kitchen in 1950's style.

If you are using throw pillows stacked on beds and chairs, put the floral pillows behind the solid color pillows. Always make the pillows in the back point 'up'.

Take your favorite vacation pictures and have them enlarged....frame them, and group them together. 

For a nice display of photographs, keep all of the frames the same...which will make the viewer focus on the pictures, and not the frames.

For your dining area, take menus from your favorite restaurants and frame them. Keep this in mind when you are traveling and going to different restaurants.

Hang and display your pots and pans around your kitchen window, instead of curtains.

If you have an out-of-the-way nook in your home, use maps from everywhere as wallpaper.

Dig out your family treasures and display them...playbills, ticket stubs from favorite movies and moments. Old report cards? Hair clippings? Younger pictures of yourself? Favorite moments in your life? 



 For making your own Laundry Detergent!


Here's a great recipe for making your own laundry soap. It's used by the Duggar Family and they graciously shared their recipe on their website. I wanted to copy and paste it here for all to enjoy, in case you don't know who the Duggars are.



We use Fels-Naptha bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing Soda and Borax can normally be found on the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost approx. $2.


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value


4  Cups hot tap water
1  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1  Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)


Powdered Laundry Detergent- Top load machine

1   Fels-Naptha soap bar
1   Cup Washing Soda
½  Cup Borax

-Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use 1 Tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 Tablespoons. Yields: 3 Cups detergent. (Approx. 40 loads)


Inexpensive Fabric Softener Recipes


Recipe #1

1  Cup White Vinegar
Add vinegar to rinse cycle. Works great. Removes residue and odors. Also helps to keep washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too.


Recipe #2

1  Container of Name Brand Fabric Softener
4  Inexpensive sponges, cut in half

Pour entire container of softener into a 5 gallon bucket. Fill empty softener container with water twice. (2 parts water to 1 part softener) Add sponges to softener/water mixture. When ready to use wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet. 


My Favorite Window Cleaning Recipe!


My favorite recipe is to combine:

 2 cups of water

 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar    

 and up to 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn Dish Detergent in a spray bottle.        

That’s all there is to it. (Make sure to label the bottle and keep it out of the reach of children.)

People by the thousands tried this, and many swore off cleaning with homemade products for good because the formula left streaks on their windows. (I wish I had $1 for every time someone has said to me, “Well, I tried non-toxic cleaning and it didn’t work. I used vinegar to clean my windows …”)

The problem was that the commercial window cleaner used before the switch to vinegar left a very fine wax residue. The vinegar alone wasn’t enough to remove it, and the result was streaky windows. If instead, everyone had added a dab of liquid dish soap, Dawn - in particular, to the vinegar and water, the wax would easily have been removed and the windows would have been cleaned perfectly!

Homemade Sawdust Candles

I thought this recipe may be useful. I found two sites and the other one says to use a 3# coffee can and up to 3 zinc cored wicks per coffee can. A source of zinc cored wicks is . Supposedly one 3# can will burn for 26-30 hrs and keep a 9X12 room above freezing. The canned candle when being used must be placed on a heat proof surface & away from pets & kids since they will get really hot! Here's the recipe:

Emergency Candles


2 C. fine sawdust

1 lb. melted wax

Chip or cut up wax into small pieces, and melt over water, never directly over flame or burner. It can be melted in the same container you're going to use for the candle. (empty tuna can, coffee can, etc.)

Put the sawdust in a shoe box and pour the wax over it. Mix it until it holds together well when squeezed in your hands. Pack and press the mixture into the can tightly and firmly. (Careful it may be hot!)

Make a hole with a long knitting needle. Add the wick, all the way down. Pour melted wax over the top to secure.

I was thinking that a great source of wax could be cheap wax, like when candles go on sale. And it can be ANY color candle. Candles go on sale very cheap after each holiday. 


Here's the other recipe in case you want to try both types. 

Emergency candles They are a good heat source and can be used to cook on also. They were pretty easy to make and not too expensive either.

Supplies required: 46 oz metal can 1 1/2 lbs Candle wax--not paraffin        1 candlewick-approx. 10 in w/wire inside 2 (46 oz) cans of very fine sawdust 1 #10 can to melt the wax in.

Fasten the wick to the bottom of the can w/masking tape. Wick should extend 1-2 inches above the rim of the can. Melt wax in a #10 can inside a pan of water over Medium Heat. DO NOT BOIL. 145 degrees-melting point 160-170 degrees-pouring point If it is much hotter the wax will ignite! Reserve 1/4 c of the wax for the top of can.

Pour sawdust into the disposable roasting pan. Slowly pour wax into the pan while stirring with a stick or wooden spoon. (paint stirring sticks work well) Continue stirring until cool enough to stir with hands. (This begins to resemble brown sugar or graham cracker crust!)

When mixture holds together when squeezed in your hand, it is ready to put into the can. If the mixture sticks to the bottom of the pan, add more sawdust...It will NOT be ruined if add more wax or sawdust.

Scoop the mixture into the candle can a little at a time...packing it down-tightly- while holding up the wick. Pack it tightly with a stick or spoon or spice jar bottom. Continue a little at a time -packing tightly until when packed down it's within 1 inch from the rim of the can.

Then pour 1/4 cup of plain wax on the top to seal it in.

Three candles will heat a 9 x 12 ft room for 24-30 hours. Can will be HOT, so be sure to place it on a non-burning surface. Candle will be smoky when first lit until the 1/4 cup of plain wax is burned off.

HINT: Tight packing and fine sawdust yields larger burning time.

You can purchase a huge bag of sawdust at Lowe's or Home Depot. It's not very expensive and it'll last a LONG time. 

My boyfriend and I were even thinking of making our own firelogs by using this recipe and then wrapping the 'logs' tightly in newspaper. We have a fireplace and during winters here in South Carolina, it's not unusual to lose our power for days at a time. Having firelogs on hand would be a great back-up heating source.

If you notice, those fake firelogs in the stores are pretty much made of the same thing...sawdust and candle wax. Those firelogs are very expensive. Anyway, at some point this year we want to try our idea for making our OWN firelogs. I'll post how they turn out when we make them.


For a printable version of this page, click here

If you have any more household tips, hints, and tricks, please email me and let me know and I'll add them. We all love ways to make our lives easier and save money!