How to Make Your Own Ice Pack
Ice packs are a great way to keep your lunch cool, but they’re a bit expensive if you’re in the habit of losing them. This make your own ice pack hack is reusable, so it is good for the environment as well.
First, purchase an inexpensive pack of sponges or just find some old ones around the house. These sponges will not be cleaning anything, so just find a big sponge that is cheap. Next, soak the sponges in water. Grab a big bowl of water and let the sponges completely soak up as much water as they possibly can. After soaking the sponges, put each sponge in a small sandwich bag with a zip close. These bags serve two purposes. First, as the ice melts, the bag contains the water so it doesn’t make a mess in your lunch bag. Second, keeping the water contained allows the melted sponge to reabsorb the water so it is ready to refreeze for the next day. Now, freeze the wet and bagged sponges overnight. In the morning, all you need to do is toss the ice pack into your lunch container. Once you get home from work or your kids get home from school, just toss the “make your own ice pack” back into the freezer and it’ll be ready to use again the next day.
Check out these 12 clever kitchen hacks you’ve never thought of before.
Garbage Can DeodorizerBorax, or sodium borate, is a naturally occurring substance and is an ingredient in many household cleaning products. If you have a smelly garbage can, deodorize it with equal parts borax and water. For our small garbage can, we used 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of borax. Let it soak and then rinse it out. Sprinkle some borax in the bottom once it’s dry, to keep bugs away and to absorb any future odor-causing moisture. Check out these professional secrets that will make your house sparkle.
Clean the Air While You Clean the HouseYour vacuum’s agitator brush and exhaust whip up dust that eventually settles on the surfaces you’ve just cleaned. Filter out some of that dust before it settles by switching your thermostat to ‘fan on.’ This turns on the blower inside your furnace and filters the air even while the system isn’t heating or cooling. Leave the blower on for about 15 minutes after you’re done cleaning. But don’t forget to switch it back to ‘auto.’ Most blowers aren’t designed to run constantly. Plus: Here are 8 simple furnace fixes you can do yourself.
Saw Dust Filter FanMy workshop doesn’t have air conditioning, and it gets pretty hot while I'm working. I used to blow a fan directly at myself, but it sucked in dust from around the shop and blew it at me. I had a few extra furnace filters lying around, so I tried attaching one to the back of the fan using hook-and-loop fasteners. This made a huge difference! Don't use a super-high-performance filter, as it could cause the fan to have to work too hard to pull air through, resulting in an overheated motor. — Larry Brannock. These 34 incredible tips will help you complete your woodworking projects faster and better than ever before!
Dust Bunny Broom CleanerEvery time you sweep, clumps of dust and hair collect at the ends of the broom's bristles. To solve this problem, hot glue a wide-tooth comb to the top of a dustpan. Just run the bristles through the comb to remove any excess gunk dangling from the broom. Check out these Cleaning Tips to Reduce Household Dust in the first place.
Use Dryer Sheets to Clean Your FloorsDon't throw away used dryer sheets. There's another use for them. Wrap a couple of dryer sheets onto the flat head of a sweeper. The dryer sheets pick up dust and hair just as well as name-brand sweeper refills. Say goodbye to those dust bunnies! Over the course of a week, these cleaning ideas will make the whole house shine. Spend one day on each room, so nothing is overlooked.
Use Your DishwasherDishwashers are for so much more than just washing dishes. Reichert recommends using yours to dust off knickknacks like mason jars and glass candle globes. Pretty much anything glass or ceramic should be fine going in the dishwasher, but you do want to stay away from putting meltable plastics, and these eight objects in your dishwasher at all costs.
DIY Mason Jar Dish ScrubberIf you are all about ease and convenience when it comes to washing the dishes, check out this DIY Mason jar dish scrubber. It even has a soap-dispensing handle. First, punch a few nail holes in the jar's lid. Trace the lid onto a sponge and cut it out. Hot glue the sponge to the inner rim of the screw-on part of the lid. Fill the jar with soap, screw on the sponge and you're set! These 25 why-didn't-I-think-of-that Handy Hints for the Home Cook will help you save time, get organized and work more efficiently in your kitchen.
Clean Hard-to-Reach Spots on Oddly Shaped ContainersIf you own a hummingbird feeder or tall flower vase, you know how difficult it is to clean inside them. A toothbrush is perfect for cleaning these hard-to-reach places. So, when your old toothbrush has retired from duty in your mouth, give it a new job!
For More Than Just the NewsIf streaky mirrors and glass tug on your nerves, we’ll show you how to get streak-free glass with a couple of items already lying around your home. To get started, you'll need window cleaner and newspaper. Spray window cleaner on your dirty glass and then scrub in a circular motion, using the newspaper. Switch to a vertical, and then a horizontal stroke until all the liquid has dissipated and you're left with shiny, streak-free windows! Note: for vinyl windows, we've found that the newsprint leaves a mark on the white frame. Avoid rubbing the window frame with newspaper and stick to the glass.
Remove Bathroom Soap ScumSoap has a nasty way of forming a hard-to-remove film on the tile in tubs and showers. You won’t get rid of it by rubbing. Instead, wait for the surface to dry, then scrape off the scum with a 4-in. plastic putty knife. For grout lines and textured surfaces, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Buy one on Amazon. To prevent soap scum buildup, stop using real soap and start using a synthetic. Chemically speaking, any soap in a liquid or gel form and some bar soaps (Zest and Ivory) are actually synthetic soaps and much less likely to leave a tough film in your sink, shower or tub. See why keeping all the cleaning supplies in one bucket will transform cleaning.
Find Your Lost ItemsEveryone knows how annoying it is when you can’t seem to find a dropped pill or the back of an earring. So how do you find these items quickly and easily? Use your vacuum. Here's the trick; before you turn the vacuum on, cut off the end of a nylon and secure it on the end of your vacuum hose with a rubber band. Check out these ingenious hacks and practical uses for rubber bands that go far beyond their intended use.
Steam for Everyday SpillsThe advantages of traditional oven cleaners are power and speed. But for many of us, the disadvantages outweigh the good, specifically, the corrosive chemicals and caustic fumes that this type of oven cleaning can produce. A simple, more natural way to clean your oven is to place an oven-safe pot or bowl filled with water inside. Set your oven to 450 degrees for 20 to 60 minutes to loosen dirt and grease with the steam. Once your oven is cool, wipe off the condensation and the grease will come with it. If stubborn spots persist, scrub with a paste of baking soda and lemon or vinegar. This steam-cleaning option doesn't take as long as pyrolytic cleaning and doesn't produce smoke, either. It's a win-win! Have company coming to visit? Check out these 11 tips for speed cleaning your kitchen.
Paint Stick to Clean Lint BuildupEven if you empty your dryer’s lint trap before each load, chances are there is still lint buildup around the area that could potentially cause a fire. So it’s important to deep clean the area once in a while, and this handy hint will get the job done. Wrap a clean rag around one end of a paint stir stick. Remove the lint trap and clean out the area with the rag-covered stick. To help the lint stick to the rag, dampen it with water first.
The Drill BrushStart by threading the machine screw through the brush head so the head of the screw rests in the brush head hole. On the other side of the brush head, slide on the washer and secure it in place with a nut. Make sure to tighten it well with a wrench. However, do not over-tighten, as this may cause the plastic brush head to crack. Next, attach the scrubber head to the drill. To clean, fill a bowl or bucket with hot water and dish soap (or the cleaning agent of your choice). Dip the power scrubber into the mixture just enough to saturate the bristles and do not submerge the drill! Now simply point and press the drill to start and let the drill brush do the work.
Floor Swiffer for WallsAttach a dry cloth to the Swiffer’s rectangle end and swipe it along the wall to pick up dust, cobwebs and dirt and more. Then press an edge of the rectangle end along window and door trim to pick up dust that tends to collect quickly in those areas. The extension handle on the Swiffer makes reaching these high surfaces simple and safe—so you don’t have to stand on a step stool or ladder. When you’re done dusting, just toss the disposable cloth in the garbage.
Coffee Filters for DustingWhen you need to clean a computer monitor or TV screen, reach into your kitchen cupboard for a coffee filter. Thin, cloth-like paper filters are great at picking up fine dust particles, and one filter goes a long way. You can also use coffee filters for dusting knickknacks and other home accessories, while you’re at it. Add a spritz of cleaning solution and the coffee filter will catch even more dust and disinfect surfaces, too.
Citrus Peels and Ice Cubes for a Stinky DisposerIf your disposer has developed an odor, it may contain bits of rotted food. Here’s how to clean them out:
- With the water running at about half throttle, drop in orange or lemon peels. Run the disposer for five seconds. Citric acid from the peels softens crusty waste and attacks smelly bacteria. Give the acid about 15 minutes to do its work.
- Turn on the water and the disposer and drop in a few ice cubes. Flying shards of ice work like a sandblaster inside the disposer.
- Run the water until the bowl is about half full. Then pull the stopper and turn on the disposer to flush it out.