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Household Hints

   Bettijo  Someone asked about getting rid of ants:

Below are 10 ways to effectively kill or deter ants naturally, provided by Mother Nature Network.

Lemon Juice - Spraying pure lemon juice in or around openings near your home can prevent the pests from entering. They dislike the sour, acidic all-natural juice.

Cinnamon - Ground cinnamon, cinnamon oil or cinnamon combined with ground cloves, both fill your home with warm, seasonal scents and deter ants if sprinkled in their paths.

Peppermint - Similar to cinnamon, peppermint either by itself, or combined with equal parts water can be mixed and poured into a water bottle and sprayed directly at the ants or along their pathways.

Coffee grounds - Some people have had luck with placing used coffee grounds in the cracks near their entryway. The coffee doesn't kill them, but deters the ants, forcing them to set up shop somewhere else.

Chalk - Drawing a line around windows or doorway entries has kept ants at bay for some. You can usually find chalk at home improvement stores, some of which come in a squeeze bottle, making application easy.

Baking soda and powdered sugar - Mixing baking soda and powdered sugar in jar lids and placing them in strategic corners can greatly reduce ant populations.

Boiling water and dish soap - Filling a spray bottle with soap and hot water can work very effectively against ants. Also, food items that attract ants, such as honey jars, can be placed on a small water-filled saucer to prevent the insects from reaching it. Pouring boiling water on ant colonies both kills the ants and is safe and nontoxic to humans.

Vinegar - Vinegar plus equal parts water isn't just great for cleaning your kitchen countertops and floors but has been known to sufficiently kill unwanted insects. Pouring the solution where the ants have their nest is key. You can also mix vinegar with peppermint for an extra kick that gets rid of them faster.

Cream of wheat - Posts on Helpful Gardener say cream of wheat takes care of ant infestations. After eating the cream of wheat, rolled oats, dry cornmeal or grits, it swells up in their guts and their stomachs explode.

Diatomaceous earth (DE ) - DE is a substance made up of fossilized remains from plankton, an off-white talc powder that effectively kills any bug with an exoskeleton; however it's safe for mammals to eat. DE is completely nontoxic to humans but works well for killing ants. Remember not to let the DE get wet, or it becomes ineffective. While this method isn't instant, you should be able to see results in about a week or so.

As you can see, there are so many effective ways to kill ants, or other insects, without using toxic chemicals. Keep this list handy next time you're dealing with an infestation.

Learn more:
September 26 at 11:41 EST .

   5 people like this.

   Bettijo  My brother had a family of raccoons that wanted to play on his roof right over his bedroom. He did not want to harm them, just encourage them to play on a different part of the roof. Solution: He sprinkled cinnamon on roof over bedroom.
September 26 at 11:44 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Bettijo  Have you ever had a ring that was so tight you could not get it off (or on ) your finger? A jeweler I know keeps a bottle of Windex under his display case. Whenever a customer has trouble getting a ring on or off, he squirts a little Windex on their finger and the ring is no longer too tight.
September 24 at 11:16 EST .

   4 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  If it's a real problem, wind string around the finger tightly starting at the fingernail. This forces fluid from the finger, and, when removed, allows the ring to slide off.
September 24 at 22:57 EST .

  3 people like this.

   Gerty  If finger turns blue for more the four hours, consult a physician or seek medical...... ;- )

Sorry, Mr.Wright--I just couldn't resist.
September 25 at 11:51 EST .

  7 people like this.

   GrannieEagle  Cheap brush saver solution for removing dried up latex paint is soaking them in a quart of Simple Green with a quarter cup of TSP added.
September 5 at 11:31 EST .

   4 people like this.

   Bettijo  WW: Is this safe?

Unclog drains without expensive chemicals. Pour a half a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar into a clogged drain. Once it stops foaming rinse down the sink and your drains will be clear. A cheap and environmentally friendly way to unclog a sink!
September 5 at 10:13 EST .

   6 people like this.

   MeiDei  Must be safe Bettijo, I've been using this method for years! Sometimes I've had to repeat the process & a few times the plunger came in handy.
September 5 at 22:24 EST .

  7 people like this.

   Gerty  For an ounce of prevention: ALWAYS have a wire mesh placed in the drain. Works wonders--saves clogs and money.
September 6 at 12:25 EST .

  5 people like this.

   MeiDei  Yes, the wire mesh inserts work well but don't protect the drains from men's shaving leavings, or some soaps & some oily substances that pass through easily. I always put any grease/fats in a container for the trash & wipe down my pans with paper towels before washing but still there can be clogs built up over the years. We were told you should put some baking soda & vinegar in each of your drains 2x a year - when you check the batteries in smoke detectors - just as a preventative. This was advice from our plumber while he was replacing a faucet 30+ years ago.
September 18 at 10:10 EST .

  8 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  The vinegar is a really mild acid... 5% acetic acid...which is safe to drink. The baking soda is sodium hydrogen carbonate. The mixture will cause the evolution of a large volume of carbon dioxide. It gets a little warm, but nothing like the Drano would be. It won't harm pipes to any real extent especially plastic pipes. Keep your face away when you poor it in, and allow adequate ventilation, and you should have no problem.
September 21 at 19:34 EST .

  6 people like this.

   Gerty  Here we go again---putting stuff in zip lock bags, that is.

Snack bags are great. But, I have a hard time keeping the outside of the bag free from what I want to put into the bag. This time it was it was easy to solve. I used chop sticks! I could pick smaller amounts up, pin-point the exact place I wanted it to go and that was it!
September 3 at 19:36 EST .

   4 people like this.

   Bettijo  Haven’t tried this myself, but sounds interesting

How to Defrost Meat in Just 5 Minutes
No special equipment necessary!
How to Defrost Meat in Just 5 Minutes No special equipment necessary!

Let's say you have a frozen chunk of meat you want to defrost before dinner, but (whoops! ) you forgot to transfer it from the freezer to the fridge last night. Who hasn't been there?
Now, you don't have to risk overcooking the meat in your microwave if you want to have dinner before 11 p.m. Instead, just grab two metal pots, and flip one upside down with the meat on top. Then, fill the other with water, and place it on top of the meat. Wait five to 10 minutes (depending on how thick your meat is ), and BOOM—your dinner-to-be is defrosted. Here's a video that details the trick, courtesy of CTi, a Taiwanese cable TV network (the video's in Chinese, but it still provides helpful visuals ):

How does this work? Metal conducts heat, and aluminum in particular is a great conductor of ambient heat—which is actually enough to thaw a steak quickly. The weight from the water also presses the metal on top of the meat, increasing its surface area so it can conduct more heat from the air—all of which results in a faster thaw time.
...And now you'll never have to stress about deciding which meat you want to defrost hours ahead of time ever again.
August 1 at 17:12 EST .

   12 people like this.

   MeiDei  There's bound to be a day when this will come in handy. That gorgeous steak in the video - that's $15 per pound now here.
August 1 at 18:10 EST .

  13 people like this.

   NotaBene  Thank Bettijo for posting this video. I will try this.
August 3 at 00:13 EST .

  11 people like this.

   NotaBene  Thank Bettijo for posting this video. I will try this.
August 3 at 00:15 EST .

  15 people like this.

   Gerty  Miss Bettijo--both pots have to have aluminum bases, right?

If this works, it will be the best thing to happen to me in a few weeks! I always forget to defrost in the summer.
August 4 at 17:55 EST .

  11 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  Aluminum transmits heat very well indeed. For an experiment, put an ice cube on the counter and a another one on an aluminum pan. Watch what happens!
August 4 at 21:50 EST .

  10 people like this.

   Balogreene  We have a NuWave oven, you can cook from frozen relatively quickly, and the meat is still tender (I don't know, I don't eat meat, but my mom compliments my sister ). The NuWave is BOGO, for about $100.
August 14 at 18:58 EST .

  5 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  A while back, someone posted a query about making laundry detergent. This site has a good instructions for making a quart of liquid detergent that takes a tablespoon per load of laundry. Looks to be very economical, shouldn't have any allergens, and no perfumes. Enjoy!
July 31 at 16:50 EST .

   8 people like this.

   MeiDei  I searched their site for a DIY Automatic Dishwasher Detergent and found an interesting one for pods. Thanks for the link.
August 1 at 18:53 EST .

  7 people like this.

   MeiDei  Here's a very simple laundry recipe - haven't tried it yet, need to get a replaement gallon jug.

Easy Homemade Laundry Detergent
A close friend of mine has been making laundry soap like this one for years, until just recently she found an easier one to make and passed it on to us.
3 Tablespoons Borax
3 Tablespoons Washing Soda (Arm & Hammer was shown )
2 Tablespoons Dawn Dish soap (pick the scent you like best )
Put these ingredients in a one gallon jug. Pour 4 cups boiling water into the jug. Swirl until ingredients are dissolved in the liquid. Let liquid cool. Then fill almost to the top with cold water. The bubbles will overflow out of the bottle.
I love this because you can pick an awesome scent with the Dawn dish soap. This dish soap works the best because it gets grease out
August 1 at 19:35 EST .

  11 people like this.

   Gerty  Mr.Wright---don't see anything in here that will harm 'delicate' things. Do you agree?
August 4 at 17:59 EST .

  11 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  I wouldn't think so, Gerty, but you might try it on some old delicate item that you don't value just to make sure.
August 4 at 22:02 EST .

  14 people like this.


An interesting list of sites that include finding the best gas prices in your area, to free swapping of books or DVDs, to neighbor fruit swaps - 32 in all.
July 26 at 20:05 EST .

   17 people like this.

   Bettijo  Can somebody advise me on what kind of light bulbs to purchase to get the equivalent of 100 watts?
July 22 at 10:47 EST .

   11 people like this.

   Gerty  It depends on the type of bulb you are thinking of buying. However, it has been my experience that the equivalent wattage is stated on the product's packaging.
July 23 at 06:17 EST .

  14 people like this.

   Balogreene  We just took down a two-bulb? four foot long fluorescent fixture, and replaced it with a "track"-style, 4-bulb fixture, that uses halogen bulbs. First, may I say, my sister did all the work herself and I am very proud of her. But, we wanted to be able to aim the lights. We have a very small kitchen, but the work areas are scattered. We will be able to light the areas we want lit.
I know halogen gives off heat, it was only recently I heard they use a lot of power too, but, sister chose the fixture. The kitchen has never been so bright, and it is not a harsh LED type of light. I really like that.
Mom uses halogen lights for reading. No longer the pole lights, with up-aiming bowls, she has a pole lamp, with an adjustable arm at the top, and a rectangular thingy, where the bulb is hidden under a plastic cover. Really lights up her chair and Kindle.
July 25 at 00:15 EST .

  15 people like this.

   Bettijo  Found this comment on Internet:
"In my workshop I replaced my standard bulbs with all halogen & what a difference it made. I can see much better with this lighting which of course makes working on projects easier. They are hotter bulbs so it may increase the warmth of the area a small amount. I am willing to pay that price."

This, along with Balo's comment above, will lead me back to Home Depot's lighting department.

Read more:

WW: Thanks for the lesson on wattage vs. Lumens. Learn something new every day. Are you a science teacher?
July 26 at 08:22 EST .

  16 people like this.

   Balogreene  Betting, thanks for the site.
July 26 at 12:47 EST .

  16 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  You caught me, Bettijo. I teach chemistry and physics in a high school.
July 26 at 20:25 EST .

  16 people like this.

   Gerty  I need to back-track on some erroneous (partly ) information I gave on this Wall several months ago. Apologies galore!

K-cups was the topic. I stated that it was possible to simply pour the contents of the k-cup in boiling water and get the same result as if you used their machine--adding that the contents of the cup were 'super soluble'.

This statement is erroneous if the contents are coffee grounds!! They do not use a kind of 'instant coffee'.

This statement is true if (like me ) you use teas and flavored cappuccinos sold in k-cup form.
July 21 at 09:15 EST .

   10 people like this.

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