11 simple life hacks to try today

From getting rid of deodorant marks to defrosting food faster, these easy home hints are worth remembering.

Flash idea for flash drives

If you have a drawer full of unidentified USB flash drives, sort and colour-code them with sticky dots, then store them in a plastic fishing tackle container or embroidery floss box, available from craft stores.

Armpit marks are the pits

If you accidentally get white deodorant marks on your clothes while dressing, wipe them away with a pair of pantyhose or a new or used dryer sheet – do not add any moisture.

Vinegar’s superpowers

Clean your shower screen tracks by soaking paper towels or cotton rags in white vinegar, rolling and laying them along the tracks for 30 minutes, then scrubbing the track with an old toothbrush before rinsing.

Pizza puzzle

To fit two pizzas on one rectangular oven tray, cut them in half and align the straight edges along the straight sides of the tray, with the curved edges towards the centre.

Broad brush strokes

To clean your hairbrush of excess hair, use scissors to cut the hair between the lines of bristles and it will be much easier to remove completely.

Keep bins in line

If using supermarket bags as bin liners, secure them with binder clips to hold the bag in place.

Surface level

Defrost frozen food on a stainless steel or aluminium surface – it will defrost faster than on wood, ceramic or plastic.

Sew quick

When sewing your own garments, if you have several smaller pieces to interface, apply the iron-on interfacing to a single piece of fabric before cutting. It wastes a small amount of interfacing, but saves a huge amount of time.

Seed scoop

Use an ice-cream scoop to remove the seeds from a pumpkin – it is faster, neater and easier than using a spoon.

Everything will be all rice

Prefer healthy brown rice, but hate how long it takes to cook? Soak it in water in the fridge for six hours or overnight and it will cook as quickly as white rice.

Powdery plant pot

*I have a powdery, white residue on the outside of my terracotta pots of African violets? Should I clean it off?

K. O’Rourke*

This is caused by a build-up of calcium or fertiliser salts and can eventually kill the leaves that sit on the rim. Gently remove the plant and soil, then soak the pot in a 2:1 solution of water and vinegar for a couple of hours before scrubbing clean and replacing the plant.

Words: Georgia Bitcon

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