Household-Upkeep Tips: From Ironing to Dust Prevention to Stopping Leaks

These general household hints may make your home run smoother and your chore time easier. Many of these hints may be considered outdated but are still useful today. I hope you will read them and give them a try to make your household chores run smoother and give yourself more family time.

Saving Photo Negatives

This was one hint I found unusual. When putting your pictures in an album always put the negatives under the picture. This way the negatives are never lost or hard to find when you want a re-print of the photograph. I shudder to think how many negatives may have been ruined by those old magnetic albums. This is a good idea though, as long as the album pages are archival safe.

Sewing Hint – Needle Eye

Keep a piece of white paper in your sewing machine drawer. On dark days lay it under the pressure foot and the needle eye will be much easier to see. This really works, try it.

Sewing Hint – Transfer Patterns

When tracing a transfer pattern use a piece of cellophane over the pattern and carbon paper under the pattern. It will save making pencil marks on the original design, so it can be used many more times.

Sewing Hint – Quilting Supplies

When quilting put needles in a cushion, scissors, thread, and measuring tape in a low box, such as a shoebox lid, on top of the quilt. If it slides around too much stick a pin through into the quilt.

Sewing Hint – Quilting Blocks

Create a handy helper when cutting quilt blocks; cut a pattern from a piece of fine sandpaper. This will keep your material from sliding while you are cutting the pattern out.

Paint Brushes

Soak neglected paint brushes in hot vinegar to clean and make them pliable again.


If you have unburned candles on your mantle or dining room table that have gotten dirty or faded try this trick. Wet a piece of absorbent cotton with rubbing alcohol and wipe the candles gently. They will look like new.

More Sleep for Mommy

Heat your babies extra bottle and place it in an insulated bag before going to bed. When baby awakens the bottle will be ready and will save you from losing precious sleep.

Stops Leaks

To prevent leaking in a thermos bottle, dip the cork in sugar before placing in the bottle, it will stop the leaking.

No Lint

When washing clothes that catch lint easily, I have found that turning them wrong side out and fastening each end with a clean rubber band keeps lint from getting on the right side.

Cleaner Substitute

If you find yourself out of window cleaner, rubbing alcohol makes a great substitute. Alcohol works great on bathroom mirrors too.

Washing Doilies

Place lace doilies in a lingerie bag before placing them in the washer. This way they get clean without chancing the delicate lace getting torn.


Put a piece of charcoal in the refrigerator to absorb the odor of onions, fish and other strong scented foods.

Place a piece or two of charcoal in the closet to absorb musty odors from winter coats and summer sneakers.

Rust Prevention

If mattress buttons are causing rust marks on your sheets coat them with clear nail polish.

Ironing Hint

To make veils or doilies look new or stiffer place a sheet of wax paper over the item before ironing.

Canning Hint

Add grated lemon or orange rind when you are preparing apple sauce at home. Just stir it in when you add the sugar after cooking the apples.

Cleaner Glasses

If lime deposits have stained glasses, jars or vases just pour milk in them and let sit until the milk sours. Empty and wash and the lime deposits will disappear.

Preserve Granite Pans

To keep granite pans and dishes from rusting out on the chipped places, paint the chipped areas with aluminum pain. It really works.

Easier Oven Cleaning

When cleaning your oven, set a small dish of household ammonia in the oven overnight. Next morning it can be cleaned without any scrubbing, as the fumes soften the scorched spots so that they can be easily wiped off.

Easy Paint Job

When painting woodwork cut strips of old newspapers 3 to 4 inches wide, wet them and then stick them on the floor or wall along the woodwork to be painted and you won’t mess up the other surfaces with paint. When through remove the paper strips and enjoy the nice job you’ve done.

Display maps

Display maps on a handy roll-up window shade. Fine for a study or child’s room or a classroom and you can always roll them back up out of the way.

Freezer Hint

Keep a pair of heavy canvas work gloves near your home freezer chest. Slip them on when retrieving or rearranging frozen foods in the freezer to protect your hands from the cold.

How many hints have you gotten over the years that you still follow today? Have you shared them with your children and grandchildren? Many times the everyday helpful general household hints and tips we receive and follow daily are tried and true examples of a housewife reducing, reusing and making do with what she had. With higher gas prices, higher food prices and a weakened dollar now is a great time to try many of these helpful general household hints.

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