These handy life hacks will help you with your yard and landscaping. You’ll be able to avoid using toxic chemicals, become a better host to friends and family, and use up materials you already have around the house.
1. Use soda to eliminate rust. Rusty barbecue tools are not only awful to look at, but they can lead to toxins in your food. You can remove the rust by soaking your tools in soda. Pour a can or two of soda pop into a large container. Let the ends of the tools sit in the liquid for a couple of hours. The acids in the soda will remove the rust.
2. ...Or produce. If there are still spots of rust left, slice a raw potato or cucumber into large pieces and rub the flesh over rusty areas on your barbecue tools or patio furniture. The acid in these foods is terrific at getting rid of rust. You can give them more power by dipping them in baking soda first.
3. Crack a walnut to make your furniture look like new. Remove scratches from wood furniture by rubbing the meat of a walnut over the damaged areas.
4. Break out the iron to remove wax from tablecloths. Outside candlelight dinners are amazing, but the mess that melted wax creates can be a pain. Remove hardened wax from fabric tablecloths and rugs by laying a paper towel over the spot and running an iron over it. Be sure the iron is set on a low temperature. Use a butter knife to scrape off as much of the excess wax as possible before you begin, to make the job even easier.
5. Clean and brighten terra cotta pots with vinegar. Are your clay garden pots developing residue spots and losing their appeal? Use a stiff brush to scrub off any loose residue. Fill a bucket with 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Immerse the pot into the mixture and let it soak for about a half hour. Try rubbing off the remaining residue. If necessary, soak the pot for another half hour. Once the pot is clean, soak it in clear water to remove any residue vinegar from the surface then give them some to dry in the sunshine.
6. ...Or kill off weeds. Vinegar is also great for getting rid of weeds. In fact, it’s almost miraculous. Simply combine a large bottle of vinegar, a cup of salt and squirt of liquid soap into a bucket. Pour the mixture over the area, and within a day the weeds will be gone. Just be sure not to get any of the mixture anywhere near your green grass or gardens.
7. Save the window cleaning for a cloudy day. You can avoid creating streaks on your windows when you clean them by doing the job when it’s cloudy or when the sun has gone down. You can make your own glass cleaner by combining vinegar and distilled water and pouring it into a spray bottle.
8. Stop weeds with trash bags. For an inexpensive barrier to keep weeds out of your garden, lay out cheap garbage bags over the soil. Cut the bags into flat pieces and lay them out just as you would with the expensive garden fabric
9. Hold your nail in place with a clothespin. This will enable you to get your fingers back far enough from the nail and prevent any accidents when you go to use the hammer.
10. Use baking soda to remove a splinter. If you happen to get a splinter, make removing the small piece of wood from your skin much easier and less painful using just baking soda and water. Combine the two and make a small amount of paste. Rub the paste over the skin where the splinter is located. The mixture will cause the skin to swell and you’ll be able to get the splinter out with little to no effort or discomfort.
11. Repurpose a milk jug into a watering can. Create your own watering can using an old milk jug, a clothespin, a nail and a hammer. Use the clothespin to hold the nail over the jug. Use the hammer to puncture the holes into the jug with the nail. Fill the jug with water and give your plants a good drink. Unless you’re planning on watering your floor boards, be sure to fill the jug outside.
12. Combat mosquitoes with dish soap. If you have a water feature in your yard, you can keep the mosquitoes away by adding a squirt of liquid detergent to the water. You’ll need one squirt for every gallon of water in the feature.
13. ...And combat ants with mint tea. Ants that decide to join your outdoor gathering can be kept away by placing mint tea around your patio. Snip open the bags and pour out the tea wherever you need it.
14. Use old door knobs for towel storage. Do you have old door knobs you are no longer using? Secure them to a bathroom wall to create an eclectic area for hanging towels.
15. ...Or a wine rack. Need a place to keep the towels in your bathroom organized? Hang up a wine rack and slide rolled towels into the slots.
16. Give some drawers new life. Drawers from an old dresser make great shelving pieces. Paint them in a color that works with your room and secure them to the wall with screws and a screwdriver.
17. Store paint in small containers for touch-ups. Whenever you finish painting a room, pour some of the leftover paint into a small plastic container. Label it with a marker and keep it for any touch-ups you might need in the future without having to drag the entire paint can out of storage.
18. Keep an empty Kleenex box for corralling your plastic bags. Push the bags into the box, one at a time, and they’ll easily come out when you need them.
19. Keep track of nails with a magnet. When using a hammer and nails, you can make holding the nails much easier by adding a magnet to the handle of the hammer. Cut some magnetic tape long enough to fit onto the handle. Remove the backing from the tape and press the magnet onto the handle.
20. Color code your keys with nail polish. To keep your keys organized, paint a small amount of nail polish onto the head of the key. Use different colors for each key on your chain to remember what doors they belong to.
H.R. Helm is an accomplished DIY craftsman. He has been DIY since childhood and is now a septuagenarian. He is experienced in wood and metal construction, having designed and built several houses and metal buildings. He built every permanent building on his current homestead and did all the plumbing and electrical work.
He has several years experience as a professional cabinet builder, and he is an accomplished auto repairman, having operated an auto repair business for many years. He currently has a home shop where he sharpens and rebuilds saws, repairs lawn mowers, mobility scooters, hydraulic jacks, and anything else that comes along. He also builds custom tools for metal working.
Invention prototypes are another of his many accomplishments. He owned and operated a manufacturing business building Compact Utility Vehicles for homeowner use. H.R. enjoys making jams and jellies during fruit season along with cooking meals. He is committed to outdoor cooking in a Bar-B-Q pit he welded together several years ago. He maintains fruit and nut trees along with helping his wife with a vegetable garden. He farmed commercial garden produce for several years. It helps to have over 50 years of farming and ranching experience.
ASE Certified Master Auto Technician
Cross country truck driver -- over dimensional freight
Design Engineer/Project Manager for injection molded plastic company
Bus Driver/Substitute Teacher
Inventor with two patents (weight training &ndash; anti-rollback for manual wheelchair)
BS in Industrial Technology