Use Sand Soap to Sharpen the Food Chopper—If the knives of your food chopper become black and dull, run a piece of sand soap, or scouring brick, through the chopper as you would a potato. It will brighten and sharpen the knives and they will cut like new. Use pulverized sand soap or the scouring brick with which you scour.
To Open Fruit Jars—Strips of emery board, about one inch wide and eight inches or so long, will be found useful to loosen obstinate fruit jar tops. Just place the strip around the edge of the top, and give it a twist.
To Keep Refrigerator Sweet—A lump of charcoal should be placed in the refrigerator to keep it sweet. When putting your best tea or coffee urn away, drop a small piece of charcoal in it and prop the lid open with a toothpick.
Corn popper for Toasting Bread—The corn popper can be used for toasting odds and ends of stale bread which would otherwise be wasted.
Starch to Prevent Chapped Hands—Use starch which is ground fine to prevent chapped hands. Every time the hands are washed and rinsed thoroughly, wipe them off, and, while they are yet damp, rub a pinch of starch over their entire surface. Chapping is then not likely to occur.
Wisp Brush for Greasy Pans and Kettles—A small wisp brush is better for cleaning greasy pans and kettles than the string mop you use for the dishes. You can buy them two for five cents. A little soap powder sprinkled on them makes a fine suds for the tinware and cooking utensils.
Best Way to Strain Soup—When straining soup set a coarse strainer inside of a fine one and pour the liquid through both; you will thus avoid clogging the fine one with pieces of meat and broken bones.
How to Crack Pecan Nuts—Almost all housewives know how very hard it is to crack pecan nuts and get the meats out whole. Pour boiling water over the nuts and let them stand tightly covered for five or six hours. The nut meats may then be extracted easily without a trace of the bitter lining of the nut. Use a nut cracker and crack lightly all around the nuts. The work is quickly done and is not at all like the tedious process of picking out the meats from the dry nuts. The meats nearly always come out whole.
Lemon Squeezer for Making Beef Juice—When one has to make beef juice in small quantities which does not warrant buying an expensive meat-press, use instead a ten-cent lemon squeezer. This can be sterilized by boiling and kept absolutely clean. One can press out several ounces in a very few minutes.
Proper Way to Slice Bacon—To slice bacon properly, always place it rind down, and do not attempt to cut through the rind until you have the desired number of slices. Then slip the knife under them and cut them free of the rind, keeping as close to it as possible.
To Prevent Musty Teapot—When putting away a silver teapot, or one that is not in everyday use, place a little stick across the top underneath the cover. This will allow fresh air to get in and prevent mustiness.
Flour for Burning Kerosene—Wheaten flour is the best extinguisher to throw over a fire caused by the spilling and ignition of kerosene. This should be a matter of common knowledge, since flour is always within convenient reach.
A Good Stove Polisher—A piece of burlap is a very good polisher for the kitchen stove or range when it is hot. It does not burn readily, and for that reason is better than flannel or cotton cloth or paper.
Wire Rack for Use Under Pies—When taking pies from the oven, do not put them on the flat surface of the table to cool unless a high wire rack is put under them. The rack helps to keep the crust crisp and they will not be soggy.
Another method is to rub the tomatoes all over with the back of a knife to loosen the skins before peeling. This is said to be better than scalding.
When Food is Too Salty—When you have put too much salt into cooking food, stretch a clean cloth tightly over the kettle and sprinkle a table-spoonful of flour over the cloth. Then allow the contents of the kettle to steam and in a few moments the flour will absorb the surplus salt.
To Remove Onion Smell from Pans—The disagreeable smell of onions which clings to pots and pans so stubbornly can be quickly removed by washing and drying the pans, then scouring them with common salt, and placing them on the stove until the salt is brown. Shake often, then wash the pans as usual.
To Keep the Lid on a Boiling Pot—A teaspoonful of butter dropped into the water in which you are boiling dry beans, or other starchy vegetables, will stop the annoyance of having the lid of the pot jump off, as it will otherwise do. The butter acts the same as oil on troubled waters and keeps it calm and manageable.
To Take Fish Taste from Forks and Spoons—To remove the taste and smell of fish from forks and spoons, rub them with a small piece of butter before washing. All taste and smell will thus be entirely removed.
How to Judge Mushrooms—Sprinkle a little salt on the gills of mushrooms to judge their fitness to eat. If the gills turn black the mushrooms are fit for food; if they turn yellow, the mushrooms are poisonous.
How to Prevent Fish from Breaking Up When Frying—When frying fish, if the pieces are put in the hot fat with the skin side uppermost, and allowed to brown well before turning, there will be no possibility of the fish breaking up.
To Prevent Cake from Sticking to Tins after baking, first grease the tins and then dust them with flour. Lightly beat out the loose flour, leaving only that which sticks to the grease. This does away with the old-fashioned method of lining the pans with greased paper.
When Bread is Too Brown—When bread is baked in too hot an oven and the outside crust gets too brown, do not attempt to cut it off, but as soon as the bread gets cold rub it over with a coarse tin grater and remove all the dark-brown crust.
Economy in Use of Candles—A candle which has burned too low to remain in the candlestick can be used to the very end if removed from the stick and placed on a penny or other small, flat piece of metal.
To Polish Faucets—Nothing is better for scouring a faucet than the half of a lemon after the juice has been squeezed out. After scouring, wash it and it will shine like new. An orange peel will also give good results.
For Scorched Vegetables or Other Food—When vegetables or other foods become scorched, remove the kettle at once from the stove and put it into a pan of cold water. In a quarter of an hour the suggestion of scorch will be nearly if not entirely gone.
To Make Apple Pie Tender—If you are in doubt whether the apples in your open-top pies are cooking tender, just invert another pie pan over the pie and the steam will serve to cook the apples thoroughly.
To Prevent Meat from Scorching—When roasting meat, and there is danger that it will become too brown, place a dish of water in the oven. The steam arising from it will prevent scorching and the meat will cook better. A piece of greased paper placed over the meat is also considered good.
To Keep Eggs from Popping When Cooking—Mix a tablespoonful of flour in the hot grease in which eggs are to be cooked, and break the eggs into this. You will also find that the flour gives the eggs a better flavor.
To Prevent Eggs from Bursting While Boiling, prick one end of each of the eggs with a needle before placing them in the water. This makes an outlet for the air and keeps the shells from cracking.
Worn-Out Broom for Floor Polisher—When a long-handled broom becomes worn out, instead of throwing it away, tie a piece of felt or flannel cloth around the head and make a good floor polisher. It will make work much easier and also keep linoleum in good condition. Footmarks can be rubbed off at any time without stooping.
A More Effective Dishcloth for Cleaning—In knitting dishcloths it is a good plan to put in several rows of hard-twisted cord. This hard part of the cloth will clean many surfaces on which it is not advisable to use scouring soap or metal.
For Burns and Light Scalds—At once coat the burned or scalded spot with mucilage and the smarting will cease almost instantly. If the burn is quite deep, keep it covered with a paste made of cold water and flour; do not allow the paste to get dry until the smarting stops.
Brush for Removing Silk from Corn—When preparing corn on the ear for the table, or for canning purposes, use a small hand brush to remove the silk. It will do the job more thoroughly and quicker than it can be done with the fingers.
To Remove Grease Spots from the Kitchen Floor—Apply alcohol to the spots and you will be surprised to find how easily they can be removed. The small amount of alcohol necessary to be used need not soil the hands.
To Open a Jar of Fruit or Vegetables Which Has Stuck Fast—Place the jar in a deep saucepan half full of cold water; bring it to a boil and let it boil for a few moments. The jar can then be opened easily.
To Identify Dishes Which Have Been Loaned—When taking dishes or silver to a picnic or other public gathering, place a small piece of surgeon’s plaster on the bottom of each dish and on the under side of the handles of spoons and forks. On this plaster mark your initials (in indelible ink if possible). The plaster will not come off during ordinary washing, but can later be removed by putting it in a warm place until the adhesive gum melts.
Tablet or Slate for Kitchen Memoranda—Keep in the kitchen a tablet with a pencil tied to it, or a ten-cent slate and pencil hung upon the wall. The day’s work is easier and smoother if you plan each morning the special tasks of the day and jot them down, checking them off as accomplished. Planning the day’s meals in advance results in better balanced menus. Writing down all groceries and household supplies as needed will save time when you go to the store or the order boy calls.
To Fasten Food Chopper Securely—Before fastening the food chopper to the table, put a piece of sandpaper, large enough to go under both clamps, rough side up, on the table; then screw the chopper clamps up tight and you will not be bothered with them working loose.
Lemon Juice for Cut Glass—Lemon juice is fine for polishing cut-glass tumblers. These pretties are so delicate there is always danger of breaking the stems. Fill a pan half full of cold water, place a cloth in the bottom and then add the juice of an entire lemon. Just dipping a tumbler about in this cleans and polishes it and it only needs drying with soft linen.
Many Uses of Ammonia—As a time saver it is unequalled when washing woodwork and windows. It is fine for cleaning carpets on the floor. They should be swept well and the broom washed; then brush again with water. They will look much brighter, and if there is a lurking moth in the carpet this treatment will destroy it. Ammonia will set color, remove stains and grease, and soften fabrics.
A light soap suds with a few drops of ammonia added will give a sparkle to ordinary pressed glass and china impossible to secure without it.
Put a Small Lump of Camphor Gum in the body of an oil lamp and it will greatly improve the light and make the flame clearer and brighter. A few drops of vinegar occasionally is said to give the same results.
Take Your Lamp Wicks When New and soak them thoroughly in good apple vinegar and you will be delighted with the result. Do not wring them out, but hang them near a stove or lay out on a plate until dry. This treatment will double the lighting power of your lamps or lanterns. With wicks prepared in this way, only one cleaning each week is necessary, as the wicks will not smoke and the chimney and globe will not blacken around the top.
To Mend Broken China—Mix well a teaspoonful of alum and a tablespoonful of water and place it in a hot oven until quite transparent. Wash the broken pieces in hot water, dry them, and while still warm coat the broken edges thickly; then press together very quickly, for it sticks instantly.
To Mend China successfully melt a small quantity of pulverized alum in an old spoon over the fire. Before it hardens rub the alum over the pieces to be united, press them together and set aside to dry. After drying they will not come apart, even when washed with hot water.
Embroidery Hoops and Cheesecloth for Cooling Dishes—When putting puddings or other dishes out of doors to cool, use a cover made of embroidery hoops of proper size with cheesecloth put in as a piece of embroidery is. The contents will be safe from dust and at the same time the air can circulate freely. The hoops will keep the cloth from getting into the contents and also weigh just enough to keep it from blowing off.
To Remove Rust from Tinware—To remove rust from tinware, rub the rusted part well with a green tomato cut in half. Let this remain on the tin for a few minutes; then wash the article and the rust will have vanished.
To Prevent Dust When Sweeping—Wet the broom before starting to sweep; it makes it more pliable and less hard on the carpet’s pile and also prevents dust from arising.
Linseed Oil for Kitchen Floor—Boiled linseed oil applied to the kitchen floor will give a finish that is easily cleaned. It may also be painted over the draining board of the sink; this will do away with hard scrubbing. It should be renewed twice a year.
Window Cleaning Help—Before starting to clean windows carefully brush all dust off the frames. Add a few drops of kerosene to the water used for cleaning and it will give the glass a much brighter and more crystal-like appearance.
Cloths for Cleaning Windows Without Use of Water can be made with a semi-liquid paste of benzine and calcined magnesia. The cloth, which should be coarse linen or something free from lint, is dipped into this mixture and hung in the air until the spirits have evaporated and it is free from odor. This cloth may be used again and again and is a great convenience. When soiled, wash it and redip.
Several old stocking tops cut into strips and dipped in paraffine oil make a fine dustless mop for hardwood floors.
Cheap Stain for Wood Floors—Ten cents’ worth of permanganate of potash will stain a wood floor. When dry polish it with some beeswax and turpentine. It will look as though it had been that color for years. Put the permanganate of potash in an old tin and pour about one quart of boiling water over it; then, with a brush, paint over the floor, after it has cooled. When thoroughly dry, polish. The floor will look like oak.
Cheap Polish for Varnished Floors or Linoleum—Take equal parts of kerosene, linseed oil and turpentine to make an inexpensive polish for oiled or varnished floors. An application of this polish to the kitchen linoleum with soft cloth or mop will keep it like new.
To Make Wallpaper Waterproof—To varnish the paper back of the sink, or other places, so it may be wiped with a damp cloth, coat with a mixture made with one ounce of gum arabic, three ounces of glue, and a bar of soap, dissolved in a quart of water. This amount will coat quite a wide surface.