hintsandthings.co.uk »Spare Room

More tips on a variety of subjects including clothing tips, money saving tips, stain removal and miscellaneous tips.

Miscellaneous Tips (2)

  • A
    novel way to present toothpicks at a wedding reception or dinner party
    is to place them on the table pinned into a standing lemon half, with
    the base also cut off so it could stand on a small plate. It looks very
    attractive, like a porcupine and it’s hygienic too as you only touch the
    stick that you take. Then, when you put it in your mouth it has the
    refreshing taste of real lemon, and the wood is already conveniently
    softened by the juice so it flexes
    your teeth for an easy and pleasant cleaning!

Contributed by

lemons - whole and sliced

  • Many people
    will have forgotten to switch off the light in their loft and are
    horrified to note when returning some weeks (perhaps months) later, that
    the light has been on all that time.  To avoid this oversight it is
    a simple matter to have the loft wired so that its light comes on only
    when, say the landing or the bathroom light switch is also on. Thus if
    you forget to switch off the other connected light, it will only waste
    electricity when that other light is used.     

Contributed by K. Hall

  • For a nice picnic without an army of ants you did
    not invite, sprinkle a box of Tide with bleach around the picnic area – it seems to
    discourage them.  It also seems to repel flies and mosquitoes.  Ideal for people
    like me who don’t like pesticides sprayed on their children.

Thanks to Melinda Noblett for sending us
this one

  • Scraps of wallpaper make ideal liners for drawers and shelves.

  • When flat sheets wear out in the middle, slit the sheet lengthwise and
    re-join the sides to the middle using a flat seam.

  • Worn out fitted sheets or flat sheets past redemption, can be made into
    pillow cases.

  • When towels wear thin cut out good parts to use as face cloths, dish
    cloths, floor cloths etc. Hem edges to prevent fraying.

Thanks to Margaret Reeve for

  • Although I’ve been critised for this I
    have found it useful, living in a country with many earthquakes
    and weather which frequently takes out the power.

    Civil Defence tell us to have candles handy but they don’t tell
    us how to secure them, so most people try to melt the end and
    stick it to a plate. In my opinion, far too dangerous.

    Try this instead.

Fold a tea towel or any cloth
until it is about as wide as your hand. Wrap this around a candle. Place
the whole thing into a drinking mug – it should be tight. Dampen or even
wet the towel and you have a secure candle holder, complete with handle
and, should it be inadvertently tipped over, which is not that easy to
do, you have a damp cloth to smother it.

Civil Defence here don’t agree – they say ‘use a torch’ but the fact is
not everyone has a torch handy, or fresh batteries when the power goes
off. We don’t always know when the power will go, so it’s Murphy’s Law
there’ll be no torch or batteries handy when it does. Keeping candles
and matches handy (which CD agree with), is, for most people the easiest

I think this is far, far safer than trying to stick a candle to a saucer
or plate.


I would
advise caution and suggest the fabric is kept moist at all times as I am
not sure whether there is any danger with hot wax etc. coming in contact
with the fabric when it has dried out.

  • To remove tar or grease from white leather, try nail polish remover.

  • When lengthening clothes to remove the crease left by the old hem, try
    sponging with white vinegar and press with a warm iron.

  • Use double sided sticky tape as a quick repair for a loose hem.

  • To remove “Pilling” or “bobbles” from clothing try
    sticky tape or an electric razor – I am not sure whether it will remove your beard after
    this though!!!

  • To disguise the faded mark on denim when lengthening clothes try mixing
    a little permanent ink with water until it matches the shade required then carefully paint
    on with a small brush.  Allow to dry thoroughly.  Alternatively, fabric paint
    could be used or, at a pinch, felt tip pens.

  • If a favourite piece of jewellery e.g. ring or watch bracelet, irritates
    your skin try painting the inside with clear nail varnish.

  • To prevent zippers sticking rub them with a lead pencil or with edge of
    a bar of soap – you may start foaming when it rains of course!

  • Use a hair dryer to remove wrinkles and creases from plastic material.

  • To help light a fire in difficult circumstances use cotton swabs soaked
    in petroleum jelly.

  • Thanks to Stefan Meyers for this one.

  • To prolong the life of cut flowers add lemonade or
    a similar sugary carbonated drink to the water.

    Courtesy of Trisha – thanks.

  • If you are required to write your name and address on sales slips, backs
    of cheques etc. use one of those little return address labels or carry a small self inking
    rubber stamp.                                                                      

Harvey Alexander sent in this one.

If you have any tips like this, please
send us an email june@hintsandthings.co.uk