"Life Hacks" in and around your home: natural tips, tricks, remedies and solutions

Aloe Vera Plant
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As you may already know, I eliminated all chemicals and cleaning products from my home several years ago. I make many of my own cleaning products for this reason. I only purchase those products that I tried to make but was unsuccessful. In a previous post, I shared how you can make floor cleaner and liquid laundry soap using my recipes. You can find a link to that information here. I got to thinking, there are so many tips and solutions for common household chores as well as many household “must haves”, I wanted to share them with you. Now, you may have heard some of this before. Living with my grandparents as a child, they often used natural remedies or “life hacks” that I thought were old fashioned. You know what I realized? These solutions worked! I also realized my grandparents were smart people!
A list of ingredients and items you can use to ease through life.
 

Vinegar:

Use in dishwasher to boost cleaning:
  • Add 2 cups white vinegar to bottom of machine, add dishwasher soap.
Mix 1:1 with vinegar and water to clean your windows. The brand I use is here.
 
If you’re like me, I hated cleaning my microwave. It was high and hard to reach. It was full of dried out, caked on food. I had to work hard to get that stuff off. Then I found this solution. It’s so easy. To clean your microwave:
  • Use ¼ cup vinegar in bowl with 1 cup of water
  • Boil in microwave
  • Wipe clean! The steam inside, loosens the dried-out food.
Ever wonder how to get the corrosion stain off your shower head and faucets?
  • Soak a towel in vinegar
  • Wrap towel around corroded area and let sit for 30 minutes
Want to reduce the frost on your car window in the winter?
  • Wipe the windows with a 3:1 mixture of white vinegar and water. How cool is that?
To clean your bathroom: I add a cup of white vinegar in the toilet, sprinkle in some baking soda and let it sit for an hour. Then use your toilet brush to clean as usual.
I call these “Just in case uses”. They aren’t for everyday, but excellent to know.
 
Rub vinegar into hands to remove berry stains
 
Have you ever stained a shirt or face cloth with your makeup? Rub vinegar onto clothing to remove cosmetic stains. This is a great one!
 
If you’ve got kids, you’ll want to remember this! Remove gum from fabric by dabbing with white vinegar.
 
Remove sticky residue left from stickers and decals. Right? I hate that sticky stuff. So annoying.
 
Rub seasoned vinegar on steaks to increase tenderness.
If you have dry skin, add a couple of tablespoons to your bath for relief. I haven’t tried this, but I believe it works.
salt
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Salt:

To prevent grease building up in your drain, pour a mixture of salt and hot water down your kitchen sink.
 
Patio season is coming up. This is a great one to know. Pour salt in between patio crevices and interlock bricks, then sprinkle with water to prevent weeds. Pesky things!
 
Sprinkle in running shoes to remove odor.
 
Deodorize travel mugs with salt and warm water.
 
I would be so disappointed to see a ring on the coffee table after lifting my cup. You can remove those cup rings from wood surfaces by making a paste mixture of salt and vegetable oil. Work into stain, wipe clean. The brand I use is here.
 
Use as a natural exfoliator.
  • Rub onto skin, rinse off with water.
Just in case uses:
Use on bee stings to relieve pain and swelling.
  • Sprinkle on to bee sting. Please, be gentle.
Have a sore throat?
  • Gargle with salt and water for relief. Remember to spit it out.
To relieve poison ivy:
  • Soak a poison ivy rash in salt water to relieve itchiness. Good to know if you’re going camping!

Baking Soda:

Sprinkle Baking soda on a damp sponge to remove marks on walls (including crayon marks!)
 
Use baking soda to whiten your clothes:
  • Add ½ cup of baking soda to your laundry to whiten
Keep an open box of baking soda in your basement and under your sinks to help repel insects.
 
Remove stains in kitchen and bathroom with a mixture of baking soda and water. I also add white vinegar. I sprinkle baking soda in my sink, then spray with my vinegar and water spritzer. It’s a great natural cleaner.
 
Add it to your toothpaste to whiten your teeth. I literally tap my toothbrush with the toothpaste added, into a bit of baking soda. Done!
 
If your feet are sore after a long day, you can add baking soda to a warm foot soak. Ahhhh!
 
Just in case:
Add to a cool bath to soothe a sunburn. Click here to see the brand I use.
lemon in water

Lemon:

Cut a lemon in half and stuff it inside a roast chicken. It helps to add flavour and tenderness
 
I’ve always wondered how to keep apple slices fresh so I could send in my kid’s lunch and how to keep guacamole from turning brown. Sprinkle lemon juice on cut fruit or guacamole to preserve the colour.
 
Sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice where around windowsills, or where ants usually get in.
 
Whiten shoes by spraying with lemon juice and allowing to dry in the sun. I personally have not tried this, but with the new style of white soled shoes, I will definitely!
 
Make a spritzer with lemon and water to freshen the room.
 
Lemon juice, white vinegar and water mixture makes a great natural cleaning spray. I add a bit of rubbing alcohol for some added anti-bacterial protection. Works and smells great for counter tops!
 
Just in case:
Add lemon juice and honey to a cup of tea to relieve a sore throat. I always add a touch of fresh ginger as well. I find it knocks my sore throat right out!

Oatmeal bath:

For relief of itchy inflamed skin, eczema or bug bites etc. Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory properties. Blend ¼ cup into a powder and add to lukewarm bath. If the bath water is too warm, it will only add to the inflammation and dryness. This is particularly helpful if you’re full of mosquito bites.

Spa day at home

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Cucumber:

Remember the classic picture of a person sitting with cucumber slices over their eyes? That because it works! Cucumbers are the perfect size for balancing over your eyes. The cooling sensation helps to reduce puffiness and swelling. Leave on for 10 minutes.

Prunes:

Keep these around. They are great if you suffer from constipation. A natural way to get relief, without harsh effects.
ginger
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Ginger:

Ginger has many medicinal properties. It’s great for your belly. It helps to relieve nausea (including morning sickness. Please consult your doctor first). A known digestive aid, ginger can help with indigestion. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and can help to reduce menstrual pains. It has anti-cancer properties and can fight infections. I keep a jar of fresh grated ginger in my fridge that I use to add in cooking. If you don’t like the taste, just add a ½ teaspoon or small amount. I don’t taste the ginger, but still get the benefits. There is powdered ginger, but I’m not sure that you receive all the nutrients you can gain from using fresh. I also add fresh ginger into a tea with a tsp of honey and a squirt of lemon to relieve a sore throat. It works.
 

Aloe:

Another definite household must have. Aloe is great for soothing burns and treating wounds. You can literally break off a branch and squeeze out the aloe gel. It feels amazing on a sunburn. Aloes anti-inflammatory properties really work to heal your skin. To see the type of aloe plant to use, click here.
 
I’m sure there are many other household tips, trick and remedies that we could add to this. If you know of any, or have a favourite, please share in the comments!

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