Tipnut's Housekeeping Library: DIY Recipes, Tips & Tricks
It's something we all strive to do: Keep living spaces tidy, organized and running efficiently. It's not only healthier but I find this to be very true: When our home is in order, the day goes smoother and our family interactions are better balanced. Some personalities function in chaos just fine, rarely does a family thrive in messiness and disorganization.
So what's the secret? There are plenty of tools and products on the market promising to help get the job done...many are excellent timesavers...but if you're looking for the best cleaning hacks to solve a particular problem (maybe discover how to remove a stain or get rid of a foul odor), I have a large collection of tips and recipes here to browse through. Some methods are so unusual they may lift an eyebrow or two but the results can be amazing. The best part is: many times the DIY solutions are quick & easy plus save money by costing only pennies for ingredients that are found in our pantries already!
This website has been online for 15 years and it began as a place to share all the best housekeeping tips I've collected and tinkered with as a housewife for over 30 years. I'm also an avid collector of vintage hacks & tricks found in old magazines, cookbooks and manuals (happily sharing those neat-to-know goodies that actually work).
Like so many, managing a well kept home is one of the ways I choose to nurture and care for my family so it really is a passion of mine. Know an alternate method providing better or "just as good" results? It sure won't hurt my feelings to hear about it! Please share your tried & true, it might be exactly the help someone is looking for (the comments area is below each article).
Ready to get started? Simply check out the section below and click on either the title of the article or the "Click to View All" category link of interest and voila! discover solutions galore. Have fun and I'm confident the "I can't believe this works!" fix is to be found!
In This Archive
- DIY Recipes
- General How-To
I've had one of these Little Green carpet cleaners for years & it's saved the day many times. A must-have feature is the removable water tank so it's a breeze to empty & refill. Have a pet with a sensitive tummy? This little guy comes in handy!
A tool that gets put to regular use in my home is an extendable cobweb duster, they're handy to reach up into corners, top of high shelves and even tackle the ceiling itself. I prefer those with detachable heads like this one for convenience of washing. Very economical too!
General Tips & Advice
Top 10 Most Popular
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- 16 Thrifty Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipes
- 4 Simple & Affordable Febreeze Solutions To Try
- So Cheap & Easy! Homemade Cleaner For Laminate Flooring
- How To Clean & Remove Stains From Marble & Granite
- 21 Crayon Busters: How To Get Scribbles Off From Walls
- 10 Homemade Window Cleaners & Streakless Glass Advice
Freshen a thermos by first filling it with 1/4 cup white vinegar or baking soda, add hot water to the top. Soak for an hour then rinse out.
Dishwasher: Orange Tang juice crystals contain citric acid which lifts stains nicely. If appliance needs TLC to fight scum buildup, run a full cycle (empty load) with powdered orange Tang tossed in.
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers + footwear (rubber soles) = looking brand new!
In The Kitchen
Quick Tip: In many cases a little goes a long way with cleaning products, homemade or commercial. Costs can quickly add up so save some money by using just the amount needed.
Quick & Easy Tidy Home Hacks
- Company coming in just a few minutes? Short notice? Kitchen upside down? Place all dirty dishes in the sink & cover with a large cutting board--voila! Dirty dishes are out of sight.
- Take 15 minute "de-clutter" breaks throughout the day...once in the morning, once in the afternoon and right before bedtime. Everything is put back in its place, a load of laundry started, tables wiped down, towels straightened, coffee cups go in the dishwasher, etc. It's amazing the difference this makes!
- Dust accumulating in tight crevices & corners? Figurines & collectibles? Intricate woodwork? Here's a clever hack to get at it: canned air! Give a quick, short blast and blow the dust out of the tiny creases...now it's wiped away easily.
- Does a pile of shoes heaped at the door drive anyone else nuts? Here's a nifty way to camouflage the clutter: Have a basket at the door for everyone to toss their shoes in.
- Floor vent trick: Tea towel on its last legs? Fold it over then sew into approximately 1" to 2" strips (about 1/2" between each channel). Cut them between each 1/2" gap to separate and voila! Slip a putty knife or a paint stick or a butter knife into one strip at the open end (the other is still closed on the fold), hold onto the fabric/blade edge & then dip into soapy warm water (if necessary), squeeze out excess water then drag blade up & down between each slat to remove the crud. Yields a batch of strips, can be laundered and reused.
- Are the drapes not able to be laundered? Toss them in the dryer, cool setting (or air) along with a damp towel. Freshens up the drapery fabric while the towel grabs hold of the fuzzies/dust/pet hair bits.
- Microfiber cloths are popular for more reason than one, they're long lasting & wash up nicely yes, but they really shine when polishing because they are lint free & leave no fibers behind. This makes them ideal for dusting and working with mirror/glass surfaces.
- Tough grease splats on the kitchen backsplash (tile)? You might not notice until the light hits them "just right". Here's how to get rid of that spotty mess: Take a damp sponge, sprinkle baking soda across the top then gently scrub the backsplash in a circular motion. Wipe well (clear water) so no "cloudy" bicarb residue is left behind.
- Save those used dryer sheets! They're ideal for wiping down baseboards/wood trim.
Good Things For Removing Grime
Brooms are a tool we use daily in homekeeping. Their most common use is to keep floors dirt free, but they're also handy to sweep dust bunnies from lower ceilings & walls (keep a separate broom just for this job). One thing to do on a regular basis is to wash the nylon bristles. Fill a pail with hot soapy water (favorite dish soap will do the trick) and give the broom a few good dunks and swishes. Rinse well to get rid of the soap then set outside in the sun (bristle side up) to air dry.
It's only been the past few decades that we haven't had to hang our wet garments out to dry and thank goodness for our electronic clothes dryers! Don't put away the clothesline just yet...there's really nothing like fresh linens in from the line. Why not consider hanging bedding and sleepwear out on hot summer days? Now the "can't-be-beat" freshness can still be enjoyed when snuggling in for the night (without giving up the convenience of a clothes dryer).
One of the most overlooked gadgets for housekeeping is the humble brush...its initial purpose is typically anything from painting to cosmetics to crafts. If it has bristles, it can be put to good use! I like to collect all shapes & sizes then use them for dusting knick-knacks, tight corners, grates, even behind appliance dials. One thing's for sure: pay attention to tight spots & notice what a dirt and grime trap they are; you will definitely find a wee brush is a clever way to clean them!