I’m no domestic goddess, friends. I can manage the basics of cleaning, cooking, and chores but will admit to paying others to do said services on occasion. (Well, not chores. I can’t seem to find anyone who’ll take out the garbage for me … even when offered a reasonable fee.)
But, over time, I’ve slowly gathered a small pool of Heloise-esque hints – all of which, unsurprisingly, relate to clothing and shoes – that I’d like to share. Because I use them on a regular basis myself and am certain that they could change your life as they’ve changed mine. Unless, of course, you’ve been using them for ages yourself already.
When you accidentally leave a large, unsightly swath of white deodorant residue on your black sweater, the most effective way to get it out is to rub the gooped-up area with a clean section of the same cloth. If you can’t contort your body to rub sweater with sweater, any rough cloth (your jeans, your coat, etc.) should work. The deodorant will come off without contaminating either surface. This technique works well for almost anything powdery – blush, baby powder, cake flour, etc.
Palmolive is like liquid magic, if you ask me. I’ve removed year-old grease stains with this stuff, I shit you not. It takes out everything you can think of, barring permanent marker and India ink. Douse the affected area in Palmolive, let it sink in for a day or two, and then wash in the machine. If it helps but doesn’t completely remove the stain, repeat the process. You’ll be amazed, I guarantee it.
If you don’t own a pilly sweater, you probably live on the Equator and don’t own ANY sweaters. If you own a pilly sweater – infested with tiny wads of condensed-sweater in the armpit region – get ye a sweater shaver. Sink $6 into one from Target, and make your sweaters look good as new. Obviously, this tool works on anything that pills: Scarves, blankets, hats, you name it.
Clear nail polish on sharp edges
Once upon a time, I made a necklace from a bunch of old brooches. I was able to get most of the brooch backing off, but couldn’t seem to clip all of the jagged metal bits. Which meant that it was quite painful to wear! I layered drops of clear nail polish over a series of days to create clear, unobtrusive barriers between the sharp edges and my tender flesh and eventually, it was 100% wearable. This method can be used on any piece of costume jewelry that’s causing you discomfort and needs an invisible buffer.
I feel like most female humans know this one, but just in case: Relatively recent bloodstains can be removed by rinsing with and/or soaking in cold water. NEVER use hot, as it will set the stain. If you’ve got a bloodstain that’s begun to set, put it under a cold tap for a couple of minutes, and then give it the Palmolive treatment.
Stinky shoes in the freezer
I’ve written about this one before, but it bears repeating. When your shoes start to stank up the joint, it’s generally because they’re full of bacteria. Put them in a ziploc bag and throw them in the freezer for a day or so. Bacteria generally thrive in warm, moist conditions … and expire when it’s dry and cold. You may have to repeat this treatment a few times for optimum effectiveness, but it does work.
Originally posted 2009-02-26 07:24:00.