Posts filed under ‘Around The House’

The Meaning of Care Symbols on Clothes Tags

By Kaye Nemec

When it’s time to wash a new item of clothing, most people check the tag to see what the manufacturer recommends for washing and drying.

Sometimes instructions are easily spelled out, other times the consumer is given a set of symbols to interpret. With no explanation or key to reference, there is no way to know what these symbols mean. Before you take a gamble with your clothing purchases, use the chart below as a reference guide for the most common symbols. For an extensive list of care symbols visit Textileaffairs.com.

  Machine Wash Normal
  Machine Wash Cold
  Machine Wash Warm
  Hand Wash
  Do Not Wash
  Do Not Bleach
  Tumble Dry Normal
  Do Not Dry
  Iron Normal
  Do Not Iron
  Dry Clean
  Do Not Dry Clean

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Sources: Textile Affairs

April 27, 2011 at 2:00 am 1 comment

Secret Uses for Olive Oil

By Kaye Nemec

A few weeks ago I accidentally bought waterproof mascara. For those of you familiar with waterproof eye make-up, you know that the term “waterproof” is not used lightly. It is also soap, face wash and wash cloth proof. Conveniently, make-up brands sell make-up remover to use along with their semi-permanent products. But, determined to get the mascara off of my eyes before sleeping with it on all night and running to Target in the morning, I searched for another option and what I landed upon was olive oil. After testing it out and getting a positive result, the doors to a world of uses for olive oil that I never knew existed were opened. Read below for some of the most practical uses.

  • Shaving lubricant
  • Polish – olive oil can be used as a substitute for furniture polish. Just dab a small amount of olive oil on a soft cloth and polish wood furniture as you normally would. Also use it to shine stainless steel and brass.
  • Moisturizer – olive oil makes a great skin moisturizer. Rub it into your hands, use it to moisturize cuticles etc. Using it to remove eye make-up also allows you to moisturize the soft skin around your eyes safely.
  • Frizz control – use a small dab of olive oil to tame unruly or frizzy hair (side note: dryer sheets also work well for this).
  • Snoring/Coughing – take a sip of olive oil to lubricate your throat. Do it before bed to help prevent snoring and do it if you have a scratch or tickle in your throat to prevent coughing.
  • Diaper rash cure – wipe a small amount of olive oil onto a baby’s bottom to help clear up diaper rash.

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Sources: Curbly, Yahoo Green

Photo: PackAge (cc)

April 13, 2011 at 2:00 am 6 comments

Why Aluminum Foil is Dull on One Side

By Kaye Nemec

Hopefully you’ve all read Chad’s previous posts about aluminum foil retainers or how to properly use aluminum foil in the microwave. The post about aluminum foil retainers is a life changer.

I learned something else recently that adds to the growing list of things you never knew you needed to know about aluminum foil.

There are two, distinct sides to standard aluminum foil – the shiny side and the dull side. During the last phase of the rolling process, two sheets of foil are put through the rollers. The rollers themselves are oiled and, therefore, the side of the foil that touches the roller comes out shinier than the other. There are rumors that one side of the foil reflects heat better than the other and that the reflection should be considered during cooking. However, the Reynolds Wrap website states, “Actually, it makes no difference which side of the aluminum foil you use—both sides do the same fine job of cooking, freezing and storing food.”

P.S. If you place a piece of aluminum foil underneath your ironing board cover the heat will reflect off of it which means you are ironing both sides of your garment at once!

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Sources: Reynolds Wrap, The Straight Dope, Life Hackery

Photo: Emillian Robert Vicol (cc)

April 6, 2011 at 2:00 am 7 comments

The Fastest Way to Fold a Shirt

By Chad Upton | Editor

Whenever I see neatly folded shirts in a clothing store, I wonder how they fold the shirts so perfectly.

One time, I noticed an employee using a piece of wood to help them. But, this video demonstrates the fastest and most mind blowing way to perfectly fold a shirt.

If you’re viewing this post on a device that doesn’t support video, pinch the shirt in the two locations shown in the following photo.

Then, carry your left hand over your right hand and pinch the bottom of the shirt inline with the two pinch points you already have. Then, lift up and let the shirt fall into a perfect square. Place the lowest edge on a table and fold over that edge so the front logo is facing up.

Voila.

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March 30, 2011 at 2:00 am 10 comments

Not Making Your Bed Kills Dust Mites

By Chad Upton | Editor

There’s a hot debate on whether you should make your bed or not. Some people believe it teaches children discipline, others like the look and/or feel of a made bed and tight sheets.

Regardless of your preference, there is some new information that indicates not making your bed is cleaner than making it.

Millions of dust mites can live in your bed if the conditions are right. Because dust mites can impact our health with asthma and allergies, scientists are studying mights to improve health in the future.

Dust mites survive best in warm and moist conditions. Scientists say that one of easiest ways to reduce the heat and humidity inside your bed is to leave it unmade in the morning.

Because they’re so small, less than a millimeter, it’s very easy to deprive them of heat and moisture.

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Source: BBC

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

March 21, 2011 at 2:00 am 1 comment

Baby Proofing Your Home on a Budget

By Kaye Nemec

For those of you with babies approaching the age of movement, it is time to start opening up your eyes to all of the dangers hidden within your once perfectly safe home.

Stores like Babies ‘R Us, Buy Buy Baby and Target have shelves full of products designed to help protect your baby from sharp edges, hot surfaces, poisonous cleaners, toilet bowls etc. Buying all these products can be expensive. There are ways to help keep your budget in check by baby proofing with products you probably already have at home.

  1. Sharp Corners – Once you start looking for sharp corners in your house you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of foam corner cushions you need to buy. To protect fire place corners, coffee and end table corners, counter top corners, kitchen table corners, vanity corners etc. etc. use tennis balls.  Make a cut into them with a saw or very sharp knife and wedge them onto the corners.
  2. Cupboards – Your kitchen and bathrooms are full of cupboards that your little one will be curious about. The problem is, you need to keep him out while still being able to get in yourself. Store bought cupboard locks can be expensive and difficult to use (although you should still use them on cupboards with cleaning materials and medications).  To baby proof on your own use rubber coated hairbands. Just wrap one band around both handles of the cupboard. Bungee cords or the thick rubber bands often found around produce like lettuce and broccoli also work well.
  3. Doors – Trying to keep your little one from opening doors and getting into our out of rooms on his own? As you close the door, place a washcloth between the door and the door frame. Place it high enough so little baby arms can’t reach it. Even if your baby is able to turn the door knob, she won’t be able to pull open the door due to the washcloth wedged between it and the frame.
  4. Power Outlets – For a quick and easy way to cover up outlets use Duct tape or masking tape. Tape is easy for you to move if you need to access the outlet but difficult for your baby to figure out. This is also a great way to cover outlets when you are traveling and didn’t bring outlet plugs with you.
  5. Miscellaneous – Velcro certainly won’t work once your baby really starts using their muscles, but it can help at early movement stages to help keep some knick knacks and small objects in place. Try using Velcro to hold down remotes, telephones, household decorations etc.

Of course you should also move sharp and dangerous objects out of reach and use baby gates or barriers to shield off-limits areas. To make sure everything is completely baby proof, take a tour of your house on your hands and knees so you can see your home from your baby’s view. Look for objects that are easy to grab, easy to run into etc.

These DIY solutions are also great for friends and family who don’t have babies, but have occasional baby visitors.

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Special thanks to Daniella for suggesting this post!

Sources: Essortment.comFreeShipping.org

March 18, 2011 at 2:00 am 3 comments

Toilets: Taboo for TV Until 1957

By Kaye Nemec

Prior to the very well thought out Leave It to Beaver pilot episode in 1957, it was considered taboo to show a toilet on television. If you consider how frequently bathroom scenes (some racier than others) appear in movies and on TV shows now, it is hard to imagine that it was unheard of 54 years ago.

Leave It to Beaver’s pilot episode, Captain Jack, was the first network TV program to bring bathrooms out of hiding when it included a scene with Wally and the Beave with a baby alligator they had ordered through the mail. Assuming a pet alligator would not have been approved, they hid it in the toilet tank.

The toilet scene is at about 3:20

When it was originally filmed, the whole toilet was included in the scene, but CBS refused to air the episode as is. Unable to figure out an alternative place to hide the alligator, the production company was finally able to compromise with CBS and very tight camera angles were used to make sure the seat was kept hidden and only the toilet tank appeared on screen.

The ban on toilets continued even into the late 1970’s when people using toilets on TV was simply not part of scripts. However, during this era All in the Family was the first show to air the sound of a flushing toilet.

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Sources: The Toilet Museum, Snopes

March 9, 2011 at 2:00 am 4 comments

Fertilizer Can Melt Snow and Ice

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you need to boil water while cooking, the recipe may suggest that you add salt to the water. This salt is not for taste, it’s for efficiency. The salt lowers the heat capacity of water, making it boil with less energy (heat) from your stove. It also raises the boiling point of the water slightly, although not significantly. In other words, it helps you get the water hotter and in less time than if you didn’t add salt.

Salt also has an affect on the freezing point of water — it lowers it. This is important to understand during winter, especially if you have a driveway or sidewalk to keep clear. Because salt lowers the heat capacity of water (or snow/ice), it’s takes less energy (heat) to melt. This only happens down to about 15°F (-9°C). Below that, salt is not very effective because it cannot dissolve at those temperatures.

Rock salt (sodium chloride) is the usually the cheapest of all the ice melting products. There are a variety of alternatives that are effective at lower temperatures.

You should be careful when choosing an ice melter. Most ice melting products, including salt, are corrosive and can damage concrete, especially if it’s very new concrete. They can also be harmful to vegetation and grass. (more…)

February 25, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments

How to Clean Up a Leaking Battery

By Chad Upton | Editor

Most household batteries are “alkaline” batteries. Under normal use, they’re relatively safe and stable. But, they are prone to leaking potassium hydroxide when the conditions are right.

Some causes of leaks are:

  • Trying to recharge disposable cells
  • Mixing battery types (ex. alkaline with nickel-cadmium)
  • Mixing new batteries with old ones
  • Heat
  • Damp environments
  • Leaving batteries installed during long term storage

These conditions put strain on the batteries in different ways that can cause them to leak. This leaky material is often called “Battery Acid” although in the case of alkaline batteries, it’s actually not acidic at all — it’s basic (the opposite of acidic on the pH scale).

But, it’s still a corrosive material that can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation. Additionally, if a battery leaks inside your electronics, this crystalized material can corrode the electronics and prevent them from functioning properly.

To clean it up you’ll want the following:

  • Eye protection
  • Skin/hand protection (gloves)
  • Face mask
  • Neutralizing acid (lemon juice or vinegar)
  • Q-tips, Paper towel and/or disposable rag

The key thing to remember is that you don’t want to come in contact with the potassium hydroxide, so use a Q-tip to wipe the material away from the batteries. If you have trouble cleaning it off of battery contacts in electronics, you may try a drop of neutralizing acid on the end of the Q-tip.

If the battery is an acid battery, such as a car or marine battery, you can use baking soda (an alkaline) to neutralize the acid (ie. don’t use lemon juice or vinegar in this case).

For information about battery disposal, see: How to Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

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Sources: Wikipedia (Alkaline Battery, Alkaline, pH)

February 23, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Potatoes: Green Means Stop

By Chad Upton | Editor

If you eat potatoes, in any form, you’ve probably come across a partially green one.

Most importantly, don’t eat the green part — it’s toxic enough that you may get very ill, and it can cause death in rare cases. Secondly, it’s very bitter, so you’re not going to enjoy it. French fries and potato chips are also affected, so avoid the green stuff there too.

The green coloration is chlorophyll. Like many other plants, chlorophyll is formed with enough exposure to certain types of light. Of course, many green leaves are part of a healthy diet, so it’s not the chlorophyll itself that is the problem.

Exposure to light can also cause another reaction that forms a substance called “solanine.” It is not related to chlorophyll, but is often formed at the same time. Solanine is toxic. 16 ounces of a fully green pototo could be enough to make a 100lb person sick.

The green chlorophyll is a good warning about the presence of solanine, but solanine can form when chlorophyll does not. So, even if the potato looks normal, the bitter taste will serve as a warning.

Cooking a green potato will not help, it’s still toxic. But, a cooked potato cannot turn green since the required enzyme mechanisms are destroyed in cooking.

Bottom line: if it’s green or bitter, skip it.

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Photo: Selva / Eden (cc)

Sources: Purdue, Elkhorn

January 14, 2011 at 2:00 am 8 comments

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