Solving a “shocking” problem
Is there any way to stop static electricity? It seems like everything we touch–from our ficus tree to a chocolate cake–gives us a shock.
Michelle Beebower, Austin, Texas
Heloise: During the winter, furnaces, active fireplaces, and heaters remove moisture from the air, causing a buildup in static electricity. To reduce the problem, use a humidifier or cold-mist vaporizer. Place leafy indoor plants and bowls of water around the house to add moisture to the environment. Keep a large pot of water simmering on the stove (add cinnamon sticks and any citrus rind to create a lovely wintry aroma, and never let the pot boil dry). Wearing hand lotion may also help.
Three easy spiff-up projects
“How can I keep my black fridge, compactor, and dishwasher sparkling and shiny clean?” asks LaCinda Witt of Anchorage, Alaska. I have the same situation–and must admit I do a lot of wiping! My most important hint is to use a terrycloth towel for the job. Dampen it with an ammonia-based cleaner or with vinegar to wipe away fingerprints and smears.
“How do I remove road-salt stains from a pair of black leather boots?” writes Jim Birt of Windham, Maine. First, let the boots dry naturally–away from heat or direct sunlight. Stuff them with crumpled newspapers to absorb moisture and to help retain their shape. As they dry, gently brush off any salt and dirt you see. Use a standard leather-cleaning product to finish the job. To shine boots, dampen a cloth with a vinegar-and-water solution (one tablespoon vinegar to one cup water). Wipe over the leather, then apply good old-fashioned saddle soap. To prevent this problem, always treat new leather boots with a product designed to protect against salt stains and water.
“How long do you recommend keeping a bed pillow?” asks Annette Frenette of Sterling Heights, Michigan. “I am trying to convince my husband that 30 years is too long, but he says as long as the pillowcase is changed, it’s not a problem.” People do get attached to their pillows! Some sleep experts suggest replacing a pillow every few years, but it’s really up to you. Here’s how to tell if your pillow is doing its job: Is the foam or batting inside the form lumpy or bumpy? Does your feather pillow have to be punched or fluffed up for support? If you fold the pillow in half, does it stay folded? If you answered yes to any of these, it’s time for a nice, new pillow. I give our old pillows to Cabernet, my miniature schnauzer, for her bed–the ultimate in recycling!
Heloise organizes … entryway clutter.
With all the gear you need to get through winter, keeping stuff neat and handy is important. These hints will help you make some order of potential chaos:
- Station a doormat inside and outside every entrance, including the front door. Add a second rubber mat inside for wet shoes and boots.
- Keep a coat tree or rack near the door to hang damp coats and scarves to dry before you put them into a closet.
- Place a small table or love seat alongside the door, with hooks or a Peg-Board above it. Keys, carryalls, and important reminders can be left there.
- Hang a length of metal chain or rope inside your front-hall closet. Attach clips or spring-action clothespins to store mittens, gloves, and hats. You won’t have to search for lost ones in the morning!
- Set out a waterproof basket or big ceramic pot for sports equipment and umbrellas. Assign each child a different color plastic milk crate, so gear goes directly into it.
When winter comes, before using a fireplace, heater … you should maintain them before use. Because these items are not used during the summer, they can be damaged, but we need to repair them before using. Such families will encounter less problems with these items.
For items that we use everyday, we also need to check them regularly before use as power sources, wire … So it will help extend the life of household appliances you
Above are some of the experiences that we share, hope it helps you solve a number of problems in the family belongings.