close up of household sponge

These tips extend the life of household items for pennies

Tips, tricks, life hacks… whatever you want to call them, undeniably they’ll save you money by keeping your household items working better for longer.

For the purposes of research, we polled the Greenredeem office to find out all their frugal cleaning and repair secrets. A clever bunch our colleagues, as you’ll see…

Check our secret tips

  • Microwave your cleaning sponges every other day to keep them sweet. Did you know that the kitchen sponge can be the worst place for germs in the kitchen, spreading bacteria each time you wipe? Zapping the sponge in the microwave kills up to 99% of that bacteria, so you can use and reuse them until they wear out. Soak the sponge in water and heat on full power for two minutes, then allow to cool before cleaning as normal.
  • Repair a fraying shoelace with clear nail varnish. Dip the offending end into your nail varnish and let dry. You can also dab a little onto the threads of a loose button to ‘stick’ them in place for a temporary repair when you’re running late.
  • Change your font to save printer ink. Ecofont uses less ink with the same results in your print outs. Download the free font files and learn how to install them here

  • Preserve your vacuum cleaner’s motor with periodic examinations of the beater bar (the rotating part with the brushes) and cutting off any thread, hair or other fibres which may be wrapped around.
  • Rotate your sofa cushions each month so they wear evenly especially if someone likes to sit in the same place all the time!
  • Revive dried up masking tape in the microwave. Sometimes a quick blast can restore the stickiness to a old roll. About 10-20 seconds on high should do it.
  • Make candles burn longer by freezing them for 24 hours before you use them. The cold temperature hardens the wax and slows the melting process.
  • Use chalk to prevent silver tarnishing.Wrap a few sticks in some muslin or cheesecloth and store with your silverware.
  • Declog a shower head with vinegar. Pour a little into a plastic bag and secure around the shower head with an elastic band. Leave overnight and scrub off in the morning.
  • Run a sheet of wax paper through the gears of your handheld can opener. It loosens dirt and coats them so they run smoothly.
  • Dry your razor after each use to dramatically extend its life.

Yes, there’s more!

  • Dab watermarks on wooden furniture with Vaseline – leave overnight and remove in the morning. Polish as usual for a far improved look! (Test a small area first).
  • Undo annoying knots with cornstarch. Rub into shoelaces, string or chain necklaces and they’ll be far easier to untangle.
  • Remove wax splashes from carpets and furniture with an iron and newspaper. Lay the newspaper over the wax and run the heated iron over the top. The wax should melt and absorb into the paper.
  • Tighten loose screws in pot handles or cabinets with nail varnish. Brush a little over the threads of the screw, put in place and leave to dry.
  • Remove light scratches from a DVD or CD with non-gel toothpaste. Squeeze a little onto a cotton ball. Wipe from the centre out to the edge. Rinse with water and dry with a lint-free, non-abrasive cloth.
  • Nourish flower arrangements with pennies and sugar. Put a penny and a couple of pinches of sugar into the flower water for healthier, longer-lasting cut flowers.

I’m sure there are hundreds of other tips we haven’t thought of! We’d love to hear about your household tips. Share your thoughts and tips with us here or on Twitter and Facebook!

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