Real Life

The new life hacks

Georgina Bitcon turns hydrangeas from pink to blue, makes trainers smell sweet, dissuades puppies from chewing furniture and more.
Naughty puppies.

Blue rinse for hydrangeas

To turn your hydrangeas from pink to blue, dissolve 1 tablespoon of alum in 3.5 litres of water, and water into the soil while the buds are just forming. (You can’t change the colour of white hydrangeas.)

A brush-off with benefits

When you finish cleaning the toilet, wedge the brush under the seat for a while to drain back into the bowl and dry off, before putting it back in the holder – no more soggy brush in a pool of water.

Good catch for candle wax

To prevent wax drips, use marshmallows as candleholders on a birthday cake.

New life for old tapestries

To clean a hand-stitched tapestry, mix 2 tablespoons powdered borax, 2 tablespoons cooking salt and 2 teaspoons dry cleaning fluid (white spirit). Rub this mixture in gently with your fingers, leave for 1 hour, then shake or brush off.

Woollens without moths

Before putting woollen garments away ahead of summer, wash them in a no-rinse eucalyptus wool wash so that they are clean and moth-repellent.

Reader’s hint

Cut the fingers off an old pair of rubber gloves and keep them for slipping over your glasses frames when you are colouring your hair. -B. Perna

Chew no more

To deter a puppy from chewing on wooden furniture legs, wipe a small amount of oil of cloves on the legs.

Soiled sponges can go to pot

Instead of throwing out your old kitchen sponge, cut it into small cubes and combine with potting mix when potting plants, to add bulk and retain water.

Storage solution for singlets

If you have lots of tank tops and singlets, hang them by the straps on snap-close shower rings on a hanger in your wardrobe to save drawer space and make them easy to find.

Reader’s question

What is the best way to clean my smelly, dirty running shoes? – G. Keil

A: Remove the laces and insoles. Put shoes and laces (not insoles) in a mesh washing bag and wash in the washing machine in cold water, along with a couple of towels to protect the machine drum. Dry in the shade. Wash the insoles by hand.

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