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Household Helpful Hints

Updated on July 8, 2013

Cooking & Food Tips


  • 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 mint frosting.
  • Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your 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. Yummy!
  • 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, and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!

Unique Uses for Common Household Products

A friend sent these suggestions to me and I had to pass them along because they are most unusual and reasonable ideas for cleaning and self care..

Those wonderful products, Bounce or Downy fabric sheets, can also be used as a dusting cloth to prevent dust from setting on your furniture or the dash board in your car. Wow how I hate that dusty look in my car!

Gillette foaming shavings cream is not only for shaving anymore, it can be used to keep your mirrors and windows free from "fog." Great to use a mirror after a bath and not have to wipe it off first. Works in car windows also!

Worried about coca cola stains on your children's clothing, don't bother; stubborn stains will quickly vanish when you rub coca cola on them then toss the article in the washer and dryer. They come out like brand new. It works great to clean car engines too.

Toothpaste doubles to clean grout, and make scratches on glass windows disappear.

Want cheap facial cream? Put fruit flavored yogurt or avocado dip on your face and give it the same results as a fancy spa treatment. Slices of cucumbers on the eyes help relieve eye stress also.

Do you have to defrost your freezer? That ever versatile product, PAM, will do the trick. Pam is great is child safe if accidentally licked and does not smell as bad as chemical applications. Leave on a few minutes and wipe away.

Pam also works great to help your extend the life of your trees and help them survive the cold winter months. Just spray Pam on the tree trunks.

Pam also prevents car doors from freezing shut when sprayed on the door frame.

Want an inexpensive "Milk Bath?" Use 1/4 cup of powdered milk mixed into your regular bath and your skin will be soft and silky.

Put baby powder or baking powder on the window sill and entry door and your ant problem will disappear without using insecticide. Baking powder will help get rid of odors in your clothes, shoes and car.

Mayonnaise makes a great hair conditioner. Use 1/4 cup and rub it on leave it for 15 minutes, rinse it out, you will be amazed at how soft your hair feels.

Are Insects Ruining Your BBQ?

Thought I'd attach a tip to help folks out when they want to enjoy the outdoors I learned from a pal a few years ago. If the bugs are bugging you and yours by flying and biting when you are outside, there is something you can do in advance to keep them away. It doesn't cost much and is not a poison and lasts a couple of days at a time.

Purchase a bottle of Listerine mouthwash and a 4 oz spray bottle or can. Fill it with Listerine and spray the area around your door frame, around the food table, near any standing water, near the playground, near the swings, near the nets, spray around the dog house, spray around the frames of your windows, and spray around the seats at the table. Don't spray directly on wooded items but nearby on the lawn and deck floor..

For some wonderful reason, voila, those flying pests are killed instantly and leave the area. Sure beats using toxic sprays and it works to kill those pesky mosquitoes.

You can also get a few big yellow buckets. Fill them with water and lemon scented dishwashing soap and set them around at the edge of activity. You will be surprised at how many you find in the water and you will enjoy not having those pesty flying gnat's as well.

Great ideas for hard times! A penny saved is a penny earned!
Great ideas for hard times! A penny saved is a penny earned!

The Wonder of Coffee Filters

Coffee filters .... Who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome... Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet.. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters..

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."

15. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics..

16.. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.

18.. Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.

19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

23. Use them to sprout seeds.. Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers. Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book..

25.. Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.


Heloise Hints

The Wonders of Peroxide

I could go on and on. It is a little brown bottle no home should be without! With prices of most necessities rising, I'm glad there's a way to save tons of money in such a simple, healthy manner!  

1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold it in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. (I do it when I bathe.) No more canker sores, and your teeth will be whiter without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash.

2. Let your toothbrushes soak in a cup of peroxide to keep them free of germs. 

3. Clean your counters and table tops with peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters.  

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.  

5. I had fungus on my feet for years until I sprayed a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.  

6. Soak any infections or cuts in 3% peroxide for five to ten minutes several times a day. My husband has seen gangrene that would not heal with any medicine but was healed by soaking in peroxide.  

7. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.  

8. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your 50/50 mixture whenever you have a cold, plugged sinus. It will bubble and help to kill the bacteria. Hold for a few minutes, and then blow your nose into a tissue.  

9. If you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away, put a capful of 3% peroxide into your mouth and hold it for ten minutes several times a day and spit it out. The pain will lessen greatly.  

10. And of course, if you like a natural look to your hair, spray the 50/50 solution on your wet hair after a shower and comb it through. You will not have the peroxide-burnt blonde hair like the hair dye packages but more natural highlights if your hair is a light brown, reddish, or dirty blonde. It also lightens gradually, so it's not a drastic change.  

11. Put half a bottle of peroxide in your bath to help rid boils, fungus, or other skin infections.  

12. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, pour it directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.  

13. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors. There is no smearing, which is why I love it so much for this.  




Unhealthy Food Additives

Read Food Ingredients to protect yourself!

1. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that can cause rash, headaches, dizziness & depression. It is found in Diet sodas, sugar substitutes, etc.

2. Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) is used as an emulsifier and clouding agent. Its main ingredient, bromate, is a poison. This is found in Sodas, etc.

3. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)/Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) – Found in food packaging. It slows nerve impulses, effects sleep and weight in test animals. Can commonly be found in Cereal and cheese packaging

4. Citrus red dye #2 Used to color oranges, the FDA wants banned due to carcinogens. Found in Oranges. Wash them well!

5. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) A flavor enhancer that can cause headaches, and a racing heart. Found in Oriental Foods, Fast food, food processed and packaged food

6. Nitrites Preservatives, associated with GI Tract problems Cured meats and wine

7. Sulfites Food preservative, linked to 4 deaths found in Dried fruits, shrimp, and frozen potatoes

8. Tertiary butyhydroquinone (TBHQ) Toxic in low doses found in Candy bars, baking sprays, and fast foods

Looking for a Food Substitute

Here are some food substitutes that may assist in your diet.

  • 2 whole-wheat waffles with blueberries for breakfast
  • Regular Espresso with two biscotti for coffee & donuts
  • 3 cups strawberries for midday snack
  • 3 slices whole-wheat toast for regular white
  • 5 cups plain popcorn for buttered popcorn
  • Chicken soup and apple for sandwich at lunch
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar & milk to equal 1 cup for 1-cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. All purpose flour for 1-cup cake flour
  • Banana to replace egg in cake mix
  • 3Tbsp unsweetened coca powder & 1 tbsp butter for 1 sq unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp. Molasses & 1-cup sugar for 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ¼-tsp. White vinegar for 1-tsp. Lemon juice.
  • 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch for 2 Tbsp thickening flour
  • 3/4-cup tomato paste & 1 cup water for 2 cups tomato sauce

Tips from Colleen

Here are some tips sent in - Some sound familiar - They must work :-)

  • Reheating refrigerated bread - Place biscuits, pancakes or muffins that were in the fridge in the microwave with a glass of water. The moisture will keep the food moist.
  • Newspaper Weeds Away - Protect your plants place wet newspaper around your plants when you plant them. Add nutrients, mulch, to your soil, and forget about the weeds.
  • Weeds cannot get through the newspaper.
  • Broken Glass - Use a dry cotton ball to pick up little pieces of glass. The fibers will pick up pieces you cannot see.
  • No more Mosquitoes - Put a dryer sheet in your pocket and they will stay away!
  • Squirrel Away - Sprinkle Cayenne pepper on your plants and squirrels will not come near them. It works for cats and dogs too!
  • Easier Thank You - When you throw a part baby/shower/etc.) Bring along envelopes from thank you cards and have everyone jot down their address. Now you just need to fill out the thank-you card.
  • Flexible Vacuum - Cleaning under the fridge or heat register easier by adding an empty paper towel roll to the vacuum. It can be bent and flattened to get into narrow places.
  • Reduce Static Cling - Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip, pants, panty hose and you will not have static cling.
  • Measuring Cups - Before you put something sticky into the measuring up, pour hot water into the measuring cup to raise the temperature. Then the sticky substance will not stick.
  • Foggy Windshield - Problem with foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box. Whenever you start getting fog, rub it off. Works better than cloth!
  • Reopening envelopes - Oophs, you sealed the envelope and forgot to put something inside. No problem, toss it in the freezer for an hour or two and it comes unsealed in a jiffy
  • Conditioner - Use hair conditioner instead of shaving cream to shave. It is a lot cheaper and leaves your skin smooth. It is also great way to use up conditioner you thought you would like but did not.
  • Good-bye Fruit flies - Take a small glass and fill it with 1/2 apple cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies are drawn to the cup and will be gone forever.
  • Bed Sheets - After drying sheets, fold the both sheets and one pillowcase into a square and put in the other pillowcase. Now you take out one pillowcase from the linen closet and have matching sheets inside.
  • Cleaning Glass Shower Doors - Apply lemon juice to the glass with a sponge then wipe with a newspaper. It will sparkle without scrubbing.
  • Reheat Pizza - Heat leftover pizza in a non-stick skillet on the stovetop. Set heat to med-low and heat until warm.
  • Easy Deviled Eggs - Put cooked egg yolks into a Zip-lock bag. Add other ingredients in the Deviled egg recipe in this cookbook. Seal and mash thoroughly cut off the tip and squeeze into hollow egg, halves then toss the bag.
  • Expanding Frosting - Place store bought frosting into a mixing bowl and whip it up. You will get more frosting.
  • ID’s for kid’s bikes - Put a picture of the child inside the handlebar before placing on the grips. If the bike is stolen and recovered you can easily prove you are the owner.

Unusual uses for common household items

Do you have a friend that sends you E-mails about remedies and smart tips for the household? Well I do and here are some of the things they say that I have tried.

  • If you drink Jasmine Tea or lighter teas that have their own natural sweetness, you will not have to add sugar.
  • Club soda adds sparkle to iced fruit juices.
  • Make your own spiced teas and ciders. Heat tea or cider to a boil. Place orange peels, cloves (whole) and cinnamon sticks into cheesecloth, tie and seep in hot tea or cider. Leave 15 minutes or to taste.
  • Always chill juices prior to adding beverages
  • Make additional casseroles to freeze and save you time.
  • Green pepper will change color in a frozen casserole.
  • Clove garlic and pepper become stronger when frozen.
  • Instant potatoes make good stew thickeners.
  • Spray grills with Pam prior to using to prevent sticking and help with cleanup.
  • Use oil sparingly when making sauces. This allows other flavors to come through.
  • Meat that is chilled will cut thinner.
  • Tomatoes help to tenderize roast.
  • Lemon juice rubbed on fish will help to tenderize it.
  • When baking bread place a small dish of water nearby to help keep crust from becoming too hard and brown.
  • If you are baking with glass pans, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees.
  • If you enjoy a spicy aroma, toss orange and lemon rinds into the fireplace.

Revitalize wood using equal parts of linseed oil, white vinegar and turpentine. Rub onto furniture.

  • Polish cookware using a paste made from equal portions of flour and salt. Keep paste in frig.
  • Two denture-cleaning tablets can clean Corning ware cookware if they stand in them for 40 minutes.
  • A paste of Coffee and water will rejuvenate furniture. Rub some in and renew the dark wood.
  • ½ cup of vinegar and 1 qt water will unclog a dirty showerhead
  • Coffee Cabs make great containers for cookies. You can keep them fresh in the freezer.
  • Ice cubes help sharpen the garbage disposal blades.
  • Vinegar will remove rust and mildew stains from chrome.
  • Coke-a-Cola can clean off caked on battery acid.

Researchers are saying…

  • If you drink about 4 cups of Green Tea everyday you can help your body fight cancer.
  • That you can rid yourself of belly fat eating peanut butter. They say if you eat peanut butter everyday you can loose 25 lbs a year. Some say Red Peppers do the trick and cause your belly fat to leave as well.
  • That ½ cup of blue berries everyday can double the amount of antioxidants in your system and unlock the healing power in your body.
  • Gelatin is high in amino acids and if you eat a daily dose it will reduce joint pain.


Helpful Hints using Bounce

Bounce is a wonderful product and I personally use it every chance I get. It does all this, and all this time you’ve been just putting it in the dryer. PS I do not belong to Bounce and get no remuneration for this information, it’s just true.

It repels mosquitoes. Tie a sheet of Bounce through a belt loop when outside during mosquito season.

It will chase ants away/ Lay a sheet near them and watch them run.

It repels mice. Spread sheets of bounce around the foundation areas of trailers, houses or cars that sit. It will keep the mice out.

It takes away the odor of books, photo albums (places that do not get opened often) and car trucks.

It also works to prevent musty suitcases. Place a sheet inside before storing suitcases and bags.

It helps dissolve soap scrum from shower doors.

Bounce will freshen the air in your home. Hang a sheet in the closet. Place a sheet in your dresser drawer. Put on in your vacuum cleaner bag.

Help prevent thread from tangling by rubbing the needle through a sheet of bounce before threading.

Freshen the air in your car. Place a sheet of Bounce under your front seat.

Clean baked-on foods in a cooking pan with bounce. Put a sheet in a pan, fill it with water and let it sit overnight. Sponge clean in the morning. The anti-static agent apparently weakens the bond between foods.

Eliminate the odor in wastebaskets. Place a sheet of bounce at the bottom.

Collect cat hair with a sheet of bounce. Rub any area with bounce and it will magnetically attract all the loose hairs so you can easily disposed of them.

Eliminate static electricity from Venetian blinds. Wipe the blinds with a sheet of Bounce to prevent dust from resettling.

Eliminate odor in dirty laundry basket. Place a sheet of Bounce in the bottom of the bag or hamper.

Wipe up saw dust from drilling or sand papering easily. Use a sheet of Bounce and rub it up. Bounce collects sawdust like a tack cloth!

Place Bounce in your sleeping bag and tent before storing them away. Keeps them smelling fresh.

Deodorize shoes or sneakers. Place a sheet of Bounce in the sneakers overnight.


Safe Child's Play

My dad always commented that his children tended to play more often with things he didn’t purchase at the store. So, as a parent, I am always trying to think outside the usual box for ideas. During my quest for things safe for children, here are some unique things that I have found that work.

Clothespins are really great. It is a fun day for your little ones to color the pins to look like little people. Once they are dry, your children can play for hours with them.

Kool Aid mixed with yogurt make safe finger paint for children. Your child will love it and it won’t hurt the child if they lick their fingers!

Delight your children at breakfast when you use a slinky to hold their breakfast toast. Slinky’s also works great as a less expensive an usual CD holder.

Here’s a tip you can use and you can stop your worry about your children marking up your walls with colorful crayons. Using a small drip of food coloring mixed in toothpaste and Walla, you have color. Children can play smearing the colors and when they are done and the paste is hard, you can brush the paste away with no damage to the wall.

What can you do with a roll of scotch or duck tape and a pack of straws? Give them to your children. Children have wonderful imaginations and they can spend hours building a tower, a ranch house, or whatever their imagination can dream up. It is hours of fun and safe play for children over 5 years old looking for something to do!

Mix Crisco oil with food coloring and make safe body paint for an afternoon of fun. Heat the Crisco in the microwave, pour into an empty container and add food coloring. Now it’s ready to use whenever you want.

Try Tie Dye safe artwork. Pour a mixture of Kool Aid into a large container and using a rubber band section off a portion of the T-shirt. Then dip, allow time to soak and dry. It’s ready to use.

PS – Do not forget to supervise the children, and take part, parent participate makes things more fun when you are little!


Submit a Comment

  • Galadriel Arwen profile image

    Galadriel Arwen 5 years ago from USA

    Armed with salt, baking soda, white vinager and lemon you can accomplish most of your cleaning needs and not harm the environment.

  • Galadriel Arwen profile image

    Galadriel Arwen 6 years ago from USA

    You are welcome!

  • Angelique Loux profile image

    Angelique Loux 8 years ago from Ohio

    Thank you, for the tip how to get rid of fruit flies.