We’re already halfway through 2021, and this year, we’ve really leaned in on how to better operate our households. We’re learning to be better gardeners, better cleaners of all the things, and better users of foil, paper towels, and dryer sheets. As we enter the back half of the year, let’s revisit the best household tips, tricks, and hacks we’ve learned so far.
Use aluminum foil for all kinds of things
Sure, aluminum foil is a cooking staple—especially during summer-cookout season. But it also has the potential for so much more. Aluminum foil can scrub cast iron pans clean without damaging your cookware. Foil can create a bright planting box for your plants, and it can speed up basic household chores like ironing. Foil can do all of this and so much more.
Get a bidet
Bidets are common in places like the U.K. and Japan, and they have been rising in popularity in the United States, especially since the start of the pandemic when we realized we may need a more natural way to clean up. However, lack of information and misinformation has prevented some from taking advantage of this environmentally friendly way to use the bathroom.
Bidets reduce the use of toilet paper while providing a hygienic way of cleaning your undercarriage. Here’s how to install and use a bidet in your home.
Properly fertilize your plants
Feeding your plants is not as easy as feeding your cat or dog. Your pet has ways of letting you know they need more food or that they have had their fill; but a plant that needs more sun or water gives off smaller, less distinguishable clues. Yellowing leaves or small dots can be signs your plant needs more fertilizer—or that it need a break. Here’s how to tell when your plant needs more fertilizer, and when it’s had enough.
Grow a greener, healthier lawn
Taking care of a lawn is not as easy as it seems—they require a lot more time and attention than you might assume. The most important elements are root health and strength, weeding, watering, feeding, and aeration. Here are our best tips for maximizing the health and vibrancy of your lawn.
Use a screwdriver to decide how much to water your lawn
Once you’ve got your lawn to perfect health, maintaining that health requires the right amount of watering. Overwatering is a common mistake homeowners make, but fortunately, it’s one that can easily be corrected. You can try several methods for determining your lawn’s optimal watering schedule—including by sticking a screwdriver into the ground to set the water saturation. Here’s how.
Organize your fridge so your food doesn’t spoil
Certain areas of a refrigerator keep different foods fresher for longer. The top shelf is the warmest, so things like leftovers and any foods you’ll consume quickly should go on the top. The middle shelves are the coldest and best for dairy or products that need more refrigeration to last. We’ve got more tips like this to help you organize your fridge like the goddamn adult you are.
Cut back on paper towel use
It’s almost a reflex to reach for a paper towel when there is a spill, but you’re probably using paper towels way more often than you should. Some spills can be cleaned up with a rag or a sponge, while other tasks are better served with a microfiber cloth, saving you paper towels and money. Here are our tips for when to use those paper towels and when to leave them on the roll.
Keep your plants alive while on vacation
Having a lot of plant babies means going on a mad search for a plant sitter every time you go out of town. Getting someone to remember to water and feed your green children is easier said than done, though. Luckily, there are several ways to keep your plants alive without getting a sitter. Keeping plants in a bathtub with water, creating a temporary greenhouse, or turning on a ceiling fan while you’re away can help. Here are the rest of our tips for keeping your plants alive while you’re on vacation.
Grow your own loofahs
It sounds unbelievable, but your bathroom loofah is made of organic material you can grow in your backyard. The average loofah is a part of the gourd family—it’s a vegetable resembling a cucumber. Growing them in your backyard is easier than you think, and you can eat them or let them dry out to peel and use as your new body exfoliator. For detailed instructions, read the full article here.
Display your books in unconventional ways
Old books either clutter a room or make it a thing of art. Displaying books is more about the look than the functionality of reading them and can bring a unique decorative style to your home. You can organize them by color, put them in display boxes, or make them into a coffee table. Here are some fresh ideas for displaying your old books.
Use vinegar in your garden
Vinegar is a magical substance that can do just about anything—it can even do wonders for your garden. Vinegar can kill unwanted weeds, keep away pesky insects and animals from eating your greenery, and kill unhealthy mold or disease on your plants. Here are more ways to use vinegar in your garden.
Clean in between grimy oven doors
Window oven doors are easy enough to clean on both sides, but getting in between the glass is not as straightforward. Depending on the type of oven you have, you may be able to remove the door with a latch and open it up to clean inside. Other ovens have a gap at the bottom so you can slide a cleaning rod in between the glass. Here’s how to clean the grime between your oven’s glass door.
Fix door hinges with toothpicks and wood glue
When the holes holding your door hinge together get warped, no screw, not matter the size, is going to fix it. So instead, Tiktoker Mercury Stardust uses toothpicks, wood glue, and scissors to fill in the hole and reattach the hinge. Here’s how to do it.
Clean your disgusting coffee maker
Cleaning every kitchen appliance is not a part of our daily routine—nor is daily cleaning necessary. On the other hand, regular cleaning of appliances like your coffee maker are important to prevent hard water build-up, mildew, and other germs. Here’s how to properly clean your coffee makers—because it’s probably gross in there.
Air dry your clothes
Like your grandmother probably knew, there are benefits to drying your clothes in the sun. The UV rays whiten whites, kill bacteria, and give a natural fresh scent to your clothes. But there is more to air drying than simply throwing your clothes over a line in the backyard. To start with, sweaters should be laid flat, and darks should never be hung to dry in direct sunlight. Here are more tips for the best ways to air dry your clothing.
Use bobby pins around the house
Widely known for keeping fly-away hairs in place, bobby pins are actually more useful than we think. For example, bobby pins can replace a broken zipper tab, pit an olive or cherry, and unclog drains. For a complete list of unexplected bobby pin hacks, read the full article here.
Use dryer sheets for everything
Dryer sheets are not just for your laundry room anymore. They also keep dust off your baseboards, clean out stained pots with one soak, and remove mineral stains from your faucets. The static-cling technology and fabric-weaving make these aromatic cloths much more useful than you can imagine. Here is a collection of 17 ways to use dryer sheets—outside of a dryer.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide the right way
You’ve probably been told to use hydrogen peroxide on open wounds and cut—but it can actually prevent healing because it kills healthy cells in your skin that help to heal your wounds. Instead, use the antiseptic on your plants to keep them free of fungi, or use it to disinfect your sponges. Here are other practical uses for hydrogen peroxide.