Clever hacks for common
BY STEVE FISHER
SOMETIMES, CRAFTY consumers find
alternative uses for products. The manufacturers do not necessarily endorse those
uses, because they weren’t part of the original intent for their goods. The Connection
has scoured the Internet to bring you
some of those discoveries.
Opening jars. Many food
jars—I’m looking at you, pickles—seem destined to become
paperweights or put in a time
capsule to show how humans
from the ;;st century made eating a challenge. Here are a couple
of tricks to twist off stubborn lids.
Get out a rubber cleaning glove and get
a grip, with or without putting it on. You
can also use a can opener to help loosen the
lid; ease the tip of the opener under the lid
and gently lift up until you hear a pop.
That’s the breaking of the vacuum seal,
which should help to make the top easier
to twist off.
Removing grease and oil stains
from clothing. In case you don’t
have a laundry pretreater, some
dishwashing soaps, with a high
amount of surfactants—e.g.,
Dawn—will do the trick.
Removing sticker residue.
Perhaps the most annoy-
ing aspect of stick-on
labels is the difficulty of
removing the schmutz left
behind when you peel them off.
If it doesn’t come off cleanly,
you can wear your fingertips to
the bone trying to scrape it off; if
you try a sharp object, you risk
doing irreparable damage to your
Instead, try using a laundry pretreater,
such as Shout, according to an article in
Good Housekeeping (
Pretreaters can help loosen labels from the
get-go or remove the residue.
Getting rid of foul odors. Need to elim-
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For more great ideas, go to:
Many of the items above are available at
Costco and on Costco.com.
inate stink in shoes or
odors emanating from
your couch? It happens—
we’re not judging. Dryer sheets
may be the answer in a pinch. Just rub them
in the shoes or tuck them between the
couch’s cushions, according to business
Eliminating static. I don’t know about
you, but when I wake up in the morning,
the hair on my head is standing straight
up, making me look like
without the genius.
when she was at
Style Caster (style
caster.com) recommended using a
fresh dryer sheet to
remove static from hair
Removing pills from sweaters. You can
buy one of those funky little sweater shavers, but Good Housekeeping recommends
taking an ordinary two-sided cleaning
sponge and gently running the abrasive
side against the sweater. Pills be gone!
Aluminum foil. Do a Google search for
surprising uses for aluminum foil and you’ll
find a treasure trove of uses. Did you know
you can put a ball of foil in
your dryer to help
reduce static? This is
great in a pinch for
when you find out, in
the middle of doing
laundry, that you’re
out of dryer sheets.
Wads of aluminum
foil will also help clean cast iron pots and
pans, prevent rust on steel wool pads—wrap
in foil and store in freezer—and even help
to sharpen scissors just by cutting some
foil. If you hate ironing, place a flat
sheet of aluminum foil on the
ironing board, place clothes on
top and iron away. The foil
reflects the heat, helping to
reduce ironing time.
Of course, you could always
do as I do: only buy permanent
press clothes, or learn to be comfortable with a wrinkled look.
Personally, I’m hoping to start a fashion
trend with the latter. C