• Tips to make life easier (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Did you know that manual can openers work better if you run hot water over them before use? CWA Victoria does.
The Country Women's Association Victoria

2 Dec 2020 - 2:19 PM  UPDATED 3 Dec 2020 - 10:30 PM
  1. White vinegar and eucalyptus oil are good general disinfectants.

  2. Line your kitchen bin with three old supermarket bags. When one is full, the next one is already there, ready for use. Never again will your teenagers unseeingly drop their rubbish into an unlined bin while you’re outside putting out the rubbish.

  3. To clean a ceiling stained with cooking steam, wash with hot water and laundry detergent.

  4. To clean up spilt honey without leaving sticky traces, use a cloth dipped in salty water.

  5. To enhance the flavour of old herbs and spices, pop them in the microwave for 30–40 seconds.

  6. To restore a discoloured wooden chopping board, soak it overnight in a bowl of water with 1/2 cup bleach added. Next day, rinse well in very hot water, allow to dry completely, then sandpaper all over, including the edges. Rinse again in cold water.

  7. If there isn’t enough bench space in your kitchen at busy times, buy a chopping board big enough to fit over the sink to create more space. Alternatively, open a top drawer under the bench and rest a tray or pastry board on it.

  8. Sew a magnet into the corner of a pot-holder so that it can be stored attached to the stove, easy to reach for whenever you need it.

  9. You never see a chef use the blade of a knife to scrape food from the board into a pan. The knife is always turned onto the blunt side, so as not to dull the sharp edge.

  10. To keep a sharp knife safely in your cutlery drawer, make a knife guard. Take the cardboard tube from inside a finished roll of kitchen towel, flatten one end and tape it closed.

  11. When you wash Tupperware or other storage containers, dry them, then place half a piece of kitchen towel in each container before putting on the lid. The lid won’t get lost and the towel soaks up any dampness, so the container stays fresh and dry in the drawer.

  12. Before you start cooking, open your cookbook to the right page and slip it into a clear plastic bag. You can still read the recipe and the book is protected from any spills and splashes.

  13. If you need quick and easy recipes, turn to a children’s cookbook.

  14. Squash kitchen towels and toilet rolls to an oval shape so they don’t roll as easily. You will be surprised how much it helps reduce the amount used.

  15. When you’re entertaining, use bowls with suction seals on the bottom (sold for small children, or make your own). These are great for serving dips, as the bowl can’t slide off the tray.

  16. Before washing valuable china and crystal, always place a folded cloth at the bottom of the sink to prevent cracking and chipping.

  17. Protect your precious china by slipping a paper plate between each piece as you stack it away.

  18. To prevent large plastic bottles of soft drink losing all their fizz when they aren’t finished, squeeze the bottle to exclude all the air before putting the lid on for storage.

  19. Coffee is a good air purifier, so burn a little in a tin on top of the stove and any household smells will disappear.

  20. To clean and freshen a fridge, dissolve 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda in a bowl of warm water, or just use the soda on a damp cloth. Wipe the fridge with this solution, then rinse and dry. Finish with white vinegar for a shine on the outside.

  21. Keep a half-empty bottle of champagne bubbly by putting a tea- spoon in the neck, handle down.

  22. If you’ve forgotten to chill a bottle of wine, here’s a quick solution. Wet a hand towel and wring it out. Wrap it around the wine bottle, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes and the wine will be chilled.

  23. Keep an empty jam jar for storing rubber bands. The little ones can be placed inside and the big ones round the outside. It’s much better than keeping them jumbled up in a drawer.

  24. A soda siphon is a useful emergency fire extinguisher for any fire you would put out with water (but never an electrical fire or one caused by fat or burning oil).

  25. Keep a packet of flour near your stove or barbecue. If fat catches fire while cooking, smother the flames quickly and safely with flour. It is messy, but effective.

  26. You can use an ordinary glass bottle to sharpen blunt scissors. Use the scissors as if you were trying to cut off the neck of the bottle, and they’ll end up with a sharp cutting edge.

  27. To make a good-value, non-stick cooking spray, add 1 cup water to 3 cups cooking oil and store in a plastic spray bottle. Shake well before use.

  28. Use warm water, rather than hot, to clean glasses that have held milk. Hot water ‘bakes’ the milk to the glass.

  29. Laundry bleach cleans tea stains from cups. Add 2 tablespoons to a sink of water and soak the cups for 5 minutes. Then wash as usual.

  30. Manual can openers work better if you run hot water over them before use.

  31. If your hands smell of onions or fish, run them under cold water and rub with lemon juice before washing with soap.

  32. If a knife has picked up a fishy taste or smell, plunge it into garden soil before washing.

  33. Drain fried food on crumpled kitchen towel to absorb any oil.

  34. To clean painted cupboard doors, use 1 tablespoon borax dissolved in boiling water to make soapy water.

  35. Wooden fruit bowls and other wooden tableware should never be immersed in water. Instead, wipe out with a damp cloth after use. Occasionally, rub the wood lightly with a cloth dipped in vegetable oil to ‘feed’ the wood. Any bad stains or marks should be treated by rubbing gently with fine steel wool, rubbing along the grain only.


Images and text from Thrifty Household by Country Women's Association of Victoria Inc. Murdoch Books RRP $24.99.

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