Salt. It's mandatory in the human diet. But salt can be as destructive as it is necessary due to its ability to eat holes through metal and leave ugly stains on footwear. Here's a terrific way to take care of that problem -- quick and easy!
SALT STAINS. Olive oil removes salt and stains from leather boots and shoes. It shines the leather, too. It's an Italian thing!
SUPER QUICK DRY. Need to dry a pair of jeans or pajamas in a hurry? Put them into the dryer with a completely dry bath towel. They'll be dry in a fraction of the normal time.
ICE BAG. Pour 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol into a quart-size Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Put it into another bag and seal it for double protection. Label the bag clearly as inedible and freeze. It will remain slushy because the alcohol cannot freeze. It's perfect to mold to a wounded area when you need an ice pack.
PAINT STAINS. Even if it's been there for a long time, you can get latex paint out of carpet or fabric with lacquer thinner (not paint thinner), available at hardware stores or home improvement centers. Using a clean white cloth, wet the dried paint with the thinner. Allow it to penetrate, and then gently blot with the cloth. Be sure to test the carpet or fabric for color fastness in an inconspicuous place first. Keep the thinner out of the reach of children and pets, and use it in a well-ventilated area.
CLOSET STRATEGY. When you change your closets over for a new season, put the hangers on the rod backward. After you wear an item, turn the hanger the conventional way. At the end of the season, you can easily see the items you haven't worn that you need to evaluate for culling.
POWER BRUSH. If you use an electric toothbrush and are like me, you hate throwing away those old not-so-cheap toothbrush heads that need to be replaced. Hang on to them because I recently found a use for them. The stones in my wedding rings tend to get dull and dirty from everyday wear, but now I just place an old head on the toothbrush and spin the dirt away. Once you decide to replace the entire toothbrush, hang on to the old one to use it for deep-down house cleaning in smaller places, such as baseboards, corners or between the knobs on your faucets.
VISIT THE MEN'S DEPARTMENT. Buy men's toiletries if you have a choice when it comes to things like unscented deodorant, shaving foam and hair coloring. Products manufactured specifically for men are significantly cheaper ounce for ounce than those made for women. Go figure.
STRAIGHT CUT. Ladies: If you need just the bottom of your long hair trimmed, a barber can cut just as straight as a beautician. And the cost? Typically less than half the salon price.
HEARTBREAK IN THE DRYER. Melted-on crayon can be removed by applying WD-40 to the area and working it into the stain with your fingers. Once the WD-40 has begun to break down the petroleum base of the crayon, apply concentrated detergent to remove both the stain and the WD-40. Put the item back into the washer and launder as usual. It works like a charm.
SUEDE SPOT REMOVER. Most leather cleaning products caution that they should not be used on suede. Recently, I managed to get some kind of ugly gunk on the suede portion of my leather shoe. I grabbed the Folex Carpet Spot Remover (my favorite for carpet spots) and an old toothbrush and went to work. It worked fabulously to remove the stain. Stains treated with Folex just don't reappear either -- in carpet or suede shoes.
CUCUMBERS. You know how the expensive English cucumbers at the store are wrapped in plastic? The guys at Cooks Illustrated tested wrapping regular uncut and cut cucumbers in plastic wrap. Both work amazingly to allow you to keep any cucumber fresh for up to a week!