Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Life made Easy

1. Get your laundry extra clean - Old friends are spending the weekend at your house, and you want to make sure your towels and linens look and feel like new. Skip the pricey fabric softener and simply add ½ cup baking soda directly to the rinse cycle. Baking soda softens fibers, rids clothing of detergent residue and deodorizes, so linens come out fresh as a daisy.

2. Stop annoying bug bite itch fast - in a small bowl mix 1 tbs baking soda with enough water to form a thick paste. Apply a thin layer over the itchy area and let dry before rinsing off. The baking soda draws out and neutralizes the inflammatory agents injected by mosquitoes and other pests to provide instant relief.

3. Fix small plaster cracks in a snap - The other day, you saw some cracks in the white plaster wall around a light switch. But you know you won’t have time to spackle and repaint any time soon. To temporarily fill them in, make a paste by mixing equal parts white glue and baking soda. Then work this “plaster” into the cracks with a Popsicle stick and smooth.

4. Erase a secret source of bathroom smells - Even though you pride yourself on keeping your bathroom spotless, a buildup of hydrogen sulfide deep in your toilet tank can still give off unpleasant (and embarrassing) odors. Fortunately, you can combat the smelly culprit with minimal effort. Simply flush 1 cup baking soda down the plumbing once a week. The sodium bicarbonate helps maintain proper pH and alkalinity to keep sulfide odors in check, so the room will smell as clean as it looks.

5. Deodorize plastic storage containers - To ensure your food always smells inviting, try this easy remedy; After washing the container as usual, sprinkle 2 tbs baking soda on a folded paper towel, place inside and seal the lid. Let sit overnight to absorb lingering odors.

6. Restore hair’s natural shine - Mix a quarter size amount of baking soda into a squirt of your favorite shampoo, then lather your lock and rinse as usual. The slightly abrasive particles scrub away the product buildup that dulls shine, leaving your mane clean and glossy.

7. Prolong the life of a battery - Since baking soda is a mild alkali, it has the power to neutralize built-up oxidation. To make it work for you, first disconnect the battery posts. Next, make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and carefully apply with a damp cloth to dissolve surface corrosion. After rinsing with warm water, give the battery posts a swipe with petroleum jelly before reconnecting.

8. Wipe away stubborn coffee mug stains - All too often, pesky brown rings linger inside your favorite mugs and teacups even after a cycle through the dishwasher. To the rescue : a wet cloth sprinkled with 1 tsp. Baking soda. Simply rub over the stains in a circular motion. The particles friction polishes away marks, leaving cups looking as good as new.

9. Clear caked on microwave splatters - To eliminate the mess in a jiffy, combine 2 tbs. Baking soda and 1 cup water in a mug and “zap” it in the microwave for two minutes. The steam from the water condenses on the walls to loosen dried on gunk. Then, once the mixture is cool enough to work with, just dip a sponge in the solution and give the appliance’s interior a quick once over. The abrasiveness of the baking soda helps wipe away every last spot.

10. Freshen up your pooch in a pinch - Next time Fido starts smelling less than sweet, skip the hassle of getting him into the tub and treat him to a “dry shower” instead. To do : catch him when he’s outside and sprinkle ½ cup baking soda on his coat. Brush the powder through his fur, letting the particles fall to the ground. The baking soda quickly absorbs excess oil and odors, leaving your pet fresh enough to snuggle with again.

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