Summer is a wonderful time of fun, sun, and lots of bugs. As great as it is though, there are few simple tricks can make even better, cleaner, and a little cooler too!
Keep Swimsuits Looking Great
Rinse your swimsuit in cold water as soon as you take it off after going in a chlorine pool or saltwater. This will help to remove the chemicals and drastically extend the life of your suit.
Give Plants Free Fertilizer
Toss your teabags in the garden or put one in a planter. Many plants enjoy the benefits of tea runoff, which acts as a natural fertilizer. You might have to go pick up the bags later (if they have a staple), but for now you can enjoy emptying your cup or pitcher in the great outdoors.
Let Heat Escape
Open the fireplace damper. The extra opening gives heat in your house a way to escape upwards. It’s a good idea to clean out the ashes so they aren’t blown around by the cross-breeze if you will be opening windows or turning on the ceiling fan as well.
Stop Shoe Stink
Sprinkle some salt in your sneakers after you wear them. This can prevent the odor that is amplified by the heat. Put a paper plate next to your shoes and dump the salt out onto the plate when you’re ready to wear them; that way you can easily put the salt back in them when you return.
Prevent Shower Mold
Turn on the bathroom fan for a half hour after your shower. This will help to prevent mold and mildew from having a party in your warm, damp bathroom over the summer.
Keep Groceries Cold
Wrap your frozen or refrigerated goods with bubble wrap. Have a few big pieces of bubble wrap pre-cut and you can easily wrap up a whole bag full of ice cream or fresh meat to prevent them from thawing in the hot car on the drive home, as well as potentially creating a mess if they leak or create condensation.
Stop Breeding Mosquitos
Add a few spoonfuls of vegetable oil to your bird bath. This will help to prevent mosquitos from using it as a breeding ground without harming the birds.
Keep Plants Watered on Vacation
Going out of town? Here is an easy way to make sure your plants have water while you’re away for a week or longer. Put down a plastic sheet or a cut open trash bag in your bathtub and set thick newspapers along the base of the tub. Soak the papers with water (not enough to disintegrate or drown them, just enough to saturate them) and set your houseplants on top.
Prevent Sweaty Sheets
Switch to using vinegar as a fabric softener. Commercial fabric softeners cause a residue to build up on your fabric items and reduce their absorbency. This is especially bad news for towels, which you want to be absorbent, but if you’re wondering why you’re waking up in a pool of sweat on a hot summer night, it might be because your sheets can’t absorb the water and wick it away from your body. Just add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle (or fabric softener dispenser) of your washer in place of your regular fabric softener. This will help to remove the residue that’s built up on the sheets, as well as act as a fabric softener (with the added bonus of deodorizing the sweaty sheets as well)!
Delete Dishwasher Heat
Wash your dishes by hand. Turning on the dishwasher can quickly add a significant amount of heat to your kitchen during the summer. The easiest way to do this without increasing your water usage very much is to plug both sides of the sink and partially fill them with water. Add dish soap to one side and a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the other. Wash the dishes in the soapy side, then dip them in the vinegar side for a rinse that will leave them sparkling.
Lower Lightbulb Heat
Switch from incandescent bulbs to fluorescents. They may cost more, but fluorescent bulbs also contribute less heat to a room.
Use Sunshine for Cleaning
Take your couch, chair, dog bed, throw pillows, or any other item that is difficult to wash outside for a couple hours on a hot summer day. This will air it out and setting it in the sun will also give it a good cleaning. The sun is a natural cleaner that will kill any bacteria, germs or mold spores that are on the fabric. Just don’t leave it out too long or the color may fade.
- Stay hydrated. Keeping your body adequately watered will help you to feel cooler.
- Trying to combat mildew? Turn on your ceiling fan. The circulating air helps to dry out damp areas.
- Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook by Martha Stewart
- Fix It, Clean It, Make It Last by Gayle K. Wood
- 99 Cent Solutions by Reader’s Digest
- Green Clean by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin
- The Cleaning Bible by Kim Woodburn and Aggie Mackenzie
- Practical Problem Solver by Earl Proulx
- Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest
- Handy Household Hints from Heloise by Heloise
- Complete Household Handbook by Good Housekeeping