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25 best household tips your Grandma wants you to know

25 best household tips your Grandma wants you to know

We love good household tips around here, especially when they come from The Country Women’s Association of Victoria. The CWA knows their homemaking! We’re talking household tips passed from woman to woman over generations. The kind that work and are often a bit quirky.

Here are 25 of the best household tips from the CWA Victoria’s neat new book Thrifty Household. The little book that holds the secret to solving more than 1000 of your peskiest housework probs! Yep, these 25 great tips are really just the tip of solving a house’s pain points…

Try these too: 15+ actually useful life hacks we all need right now

Bottle these tips

1. 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.

2. 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.

Sharpen scissors using a bottle

3. Cloudy or dull glassware will come out of your dishwasher crystal clear and sparkling if you add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to the wash.

4. White vinegar is a natural disinfectant that cuts through grease and soap build-up on a kitchen or bathroom floor. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to every 1/3 bucket of water. Better still, tip a little vinegar onto he floor and wipe over with a damp mop.

Fresh ideas

5. To keep vacuum flasks fresh, wash and dry thoroughly then add 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and replace the lid. Remember to wash out the flask before your next use. After rinsing your vacuum flask, you can add a few drops of vanilla essence if you like – it will stop the flask smelling mouldy and add a nice taste to your coffee.

6. To remove mould from tiles, use a brush or scourer and scrub with bicarb, mentholated spirits, cloudy ammonia and Epsom salts.

7. Bicarb soda is a cheap deodorant for carpets and upholstery and works especially well on pet smells. For even distribution, use a flour sifter to sprinkle the bicarb over the area. Vacuum off 15 minutes later.

Pest control

8. If you are bothered by flies in your house, hang a bunch of fresh mint in every room to drive them away. It really works and leaves your house smelling garden-fresh.

9.  A thick chalk line will prevent ants from coming into the house. Draw a line near their haunts and they will not cross it.

Household tips for ants - they won't cross a chalk circle

10. Cockroaches will avoid any places than smell even faintly of turpentine.

11. To deter flies and mossies, plant pots of mint, tansy, pennyroyal, feverfew, fennel and basil outside where you would like to sit.

More life tips: 33 work from home mum hacks for when the kids are around

Clothes management

12. To prevent your zipper from slipping down, especially on jeans, tie a small loop through the tag on the zip and, when the fly is closed, slip the loop around the button, then button the jeans. The zip will stay up and you won’t be able to see the lop under the fly of the jeans.

13. To clean Ugg boots, spray them with a pre-wash solution and leave for 30 minutes. Then make a slightly strong than usual solution of wool wash and scrub them well with a stiff brush. Don’t over-wet them; just dip the brush in the solution. Hang the boots on the line to dry, then spray 2-3 times with waterproofing solution.

14. To dry wet shoes without harming the leather, place the nozzle of your hairdryer inside each one for a few minutes. Stuff them with newspaper to absorb the moisture and help them dry in shape.

15. If trainers have grown smelly, spray inside them with hair spray. Leave to dry, then sprinkle in a little talcum powder and the bad smell will disappear forever.

Household tips for smelly trainers

Simple solutions

16. Burglar-proof your doors with wooden wedges. Slip them under doors, making it impossible to open except from the inside.

17. To prevent rust stains from the bottom of cans of shaving cream or hairspray, paint the bottom edge of the can with a coat of clear nail polish.

18. Use hair conditioner instead of soap when shaving your legs. It softens the hairs and leaves legs feeling beautifully smooth.

19. Chop up onions under your range hood. The exhaust fan will suck up the fumes and help prevent tears. 

20. To clean a badly burnt saucepan, fill with cold water and add 2 teaspoons of bicarb. Boil for a few minutes, cool, then scrub the pan. You may have to repeat this a few times.

Wash day helpers

21. A good way to dry heavy woollen garments is to place them in a fitted sheet pegged tightly at both ends to form a ‘hammock’ for the garment to lie flat in.

22. Save time sorting loads of dry washing by buying inexpensive, stackable laundry baskets for each member of the family. You can then sort out the clothes for each person straight from the line into their own basket. They can put their own clothes away and the empty baskets stack neatly inside each other for easy storage.

Household tips for washing - get a laundry basket for each person

23. To remove sweat stains, add 1 crushed aspirin to the soaking water. Fresh stains can be sponged with ammonia and dried-in stains with white vinegar. If stains persist, dampen and sprinkle with pepsin and leave for 1 hour, then brush off and wash. Treat persistent odour by sponging with colourless mouthwash.

24. Mildew is hard to remove. Try rubbing with laundry soap, then put salt on both sides of the cloth and spread out in the sun. Repeat the process if necessary.

25. Before washing white socks, soak them in salted water. Stains will then come out easily in the wash.

Edited extract from Thrifty Household by Country Women’s Association of Victoria IncMurdoch Books RRP $24.99.

What are your go-to household tips?

Scissors by Tessa Wilson; Chalk by Michał Parzuchowski; Trainers by Rapha Alves; Basket by Annie Spratt  

Thrifty Household by CWA Victoria


Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

Wow so many great tips! In fact I only knew nos 2 & 3. Going to save this post for future reference!

Bron Maxabella

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

You can always rely on the CWA ladies!

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