Home Care Tips

Read these 69 Home Care Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Mom tips and hundreds of other topics.

Home Care Tips has been rated 3.3 out of 5 based on 2103 ratings and 2 user reviews.

Use Repositionable Stickers for Wall Art

Repositionable stickers (peel-and-stick appliqués) can transform any room in your house from mundane to magnificent. Most stickers work on any smooth, dry and clean surface including walls, mirrors, tiles, and other accessories. Simply apply the sticker to your wall or other surface, press down to remove any bubbles and voila! Instant art. The best part is the stickers are not permanent like wallpaper or paint. You can remove them at any time and move to another location or simply return the sticker to its liner/backer and save it for next year. Use stickers for children’s bedrooms, playrooms, or around the house for different seasons or holidays. The ideas are endless.

You can find repositionable stickers at craft stores like Michaels or online at RoomMates, (http://www.roommatespeelandstick.com).

Is there any way to prevent fingerprints on walls?

Crayon Marks on the Walls?

The one and only thing I've ever found that will successfully remove crayon marks from a wall is a nifty little product called Goo Gone. I think you can get it at home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.). It's also great for removing stubborn price tag and sticker adhesive.

Do Kids Need a Clean Room?

Getting Kids to Help Clean Up

Be very specific about what you want your child to do. "Clean your room" is vague to most children as well as overwhelming. I usually gather all of the things that I want my son to put away on his bed so that he doesn't miss anything. It also makes it easier for me to dust and vacuum because his toys are out of the way.

How do I remove multi-cooked food from the microwave?

Crusty Microwave?

When food debris gets "cooked" onto the inside surfaces of your microwave, it can be difficult to clean. To make the job easier, boil a cup of water in your microwave and let it sit inside the oven steaming for 5-10 minutes. This will soften the debris, making it easy to wipe clean.

Do Kids Need a Clean Room?

Quick & Easy Wayto Reduce Clutter

If a clutter-reducing act takes 30 seconds or less, do it right away. You'll see results immediately!

How can I keep dust from settling?

Preventing Dust Pile-Ups

Fabric softener sheets can eliminate static electricity from your television screen -- wipe your television screen with a used sheet keep dust from resettling. This also works on venetian blinds.

Are there alternatives to painter´s drop-cloths that are affordable?

Paint Protection

Hardware stores sell plastic sheeting by the roll. Use as furniture/floor cover when painting a room.

How often should I change my bedding?

Getting Rid of Dust Mites

To get rid of dust mites, wash bedsheets weekly, blankets and mattress pads monthly, and pillows four times a year. (Wash pillows on the gentle cycle and remove several times while drying to fluff.)

What products are safe for kids but great for floor cleaning?

Non Toxic Floor Cleaner

To make your own enviromentally friendly and non toxic floor cleaner: Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 2 gallons hot water. For greasy floors, add 1/4 cup washing soda and 1 tablespoon vegetable-oil-based soap to the above mixture.

Do Kids Need a Clean Room?

Do Kids Need a Clean Room?

A clean room, but not perfect room encourages a child's creativity. Allow children to work constructively in a neat environment.

How can I find time to spring clean?

Spring Cleaning

Play beat the clock with the microwave. Start by reheating your morning beverage, pull all the contents out of a predetermined cupboard. Take inventory. Take a break. Clean the shelf (or replace the shelfpaper) and replace the contents you want for every day use. Box the rest and give it a new home.

How can I minimize clutter?

Dirty Dishes

Load your dirty dishes in the washer so they are not in the sink. A clear counter and sink always makes a kitchen look clean and orderly.

How can I find time to spring clean?

Spring Cleaning

When you are ready to start your spring cleaning , set your priorities. Start at the front door (outside) and work in . If I was inspecting a house with an intention to buy, what do I look at or for? What things would I do to fix things up? This is the place to start. Not the attic where you can get lost down memory lane for hours at a time. The front closet, the kitchen, the main use bathroom.The public places. Out of sight, out of mind. At least until you do have to move.

How often should I change my bedding?

Cleaning a Mattress

Vacuum your mattresses every two weeks when you change the sheets. Flip a mattress while making the bed(s) at least once a year.

How can I prevent stains on linens and other fabrics?

Ring Around the Collar?

Dirty neck rings around collars can be removed by putting shampoo on them. Rub the shampoo in like you were washing your hair. This works because shampoo is specifically made to remove body oils.

How can I clean glass better?

Cleaning Glass

Use newspapers to clean glass, mirrors and windows rather than paper towels. They do not leave ink on these surfaces, and they do a better job.

Is there an easy way to dispose of dryer lint?

Lint - Save a Trip

Keep an empty tissue box on or near your clothes dryer to put the lint in each time you empty the lint screen. Also, put used dryer sheets in the tissue box. When the box gets full, dispose of it -- instead of carrying a handful of lint from each dryer load to the garbage can.

Do Kids Need a Clean Room?

When Kids Won't Clean Up

After children have a chance to put their belongings away, and haven´t, place the items in a box. Your kids can redeem them by doing extra chores around the house. This is not a punishment, this is an exchange of labor -- you had to pick up their stuff, now they have to do something for you. Don´t make chores a punishment. If you think of housework as a punishment yourself, you need to get things straight in your own mind. Certain tasks simply must be done to keep a household running. Doing them doesn´t make you a servant. You do it for the good of the family --including yourself.

Can I teach my kids to hang up their clothes?

Clothes That Need to Be Ironed

When I moved into my house, I couldn't figure out what the stainless steel bar at the top of the entrance to the laundry room was for. I still don't know what the previous owner used it for, but it's great for hanging up clothes that wrinkle easily when they come out of the dryer! I keep a small supply of hangers there and, as I take a blouse or skirt or some other easily wrinkled item out, I hang it up. This cuts down on my ironing and makes more room in the basket for the clean and folded clothes. Anyone can install this on a doorless entryway by using an adjustable length tension-mounted rod.

How can I involve my kids in gardening?

Great Picks for Impatient Gardeners

Kids love planting seeds, but waiting six months is too long for a payoff. Instead of planting mainstay crops, your children can try these bite-size, fast-growing mini-veggies:

"Tom Thumb" lettuce, "Thumbelina" carrots, mild "French Breakfast" radishes, sweet, tender "Little Ball" beets, "Sunburst Yellow Scallops" squash, "Epicure" potatoes, "Bambino" eggplant, and "Sugar Baby" watermelon.

How can I prevent stains on linens and other fabrics?


Never put a piece of laundry into the dryer if you are worried whether or not a stain came out. Heat sets stains. Let the piece air dry. Look at the spot in natural light. You can always dampen and throw it into the dryer later to remove wrinkles.

Is there an easy way to remove burnt on food from pots?

Removing Stuck On Burnt Food

To remove burned or stuck food from pots, pans and casseroles (anything but aluminum), cover the burned food liberally with baking soda, cover with hot water and soak 10 minutes or longer.

What are alternate uses for common household items?

Add a Little Baking Soda

Add about 1/8 cup of baking soda (instead of dry bleach) in the wash cycle of your laundry. Clothes will be brighter and smell cleaner (as a result, you can reduce the amount of detergent you use and save money)!

How can I remove soap scum from the tub?

Removing Soap Scum

Remove soap scum quickly and easily with a laundry pre-wash stain treatment such as Spray 'n Wash. Just spray on and wipe off.

What cleaning agents are non toxic?

Enviromentally friendly cleaners

Five basic nontoxic ingredients that can be used as cleansing agents: These ingredients, supplemented with vegetable-oil- based soaps, lemon juice, herbs or toothpaste, can be mixed together and used to bring a natural, economical and safe shine to your home: baking soda, washing soda, borax, salt, and white vinegar.

How can I clean glass better?

Keeping Mirrors Fog-Free

Reduce bathroom mirror fogging by cleaning it with shaving cream on a weekly basis. This trick also reduces the fogging of eyeglasses.

How can I get the smoke odor out of my clothes?

Smoky Clothes

To remove smoke odors from clothes, run a sink or tub of hot water, add vinegar, hang the garment in the bathroom and close the door. The vinegar will absorb the odor.

Is it possible to keep a clean house with small kids?

Everyone Chipping In Saves Time

Make everyone (who is big enough) responsible for picking up their own mess. For example, putting dishes in the sink or dishwasher, picking up toys, magazines, and newspapers, etc. are tasks that can easily become a family habit.

Can you prevent the inside of rubber gloves from sticking?

Rubber Glove Comfort

Sprinkle a little baking soda inside rubber gloves to make them easier to put on.

How can I find time to spring clean?

Spring Cleaning

Play beat the clock with the microwave. Start by reheating your morning beverage and see how many cupboard faces you can clean before you have to take that well deserved break.

How can I find time to spring clean?

Spring Cleaning

Does it really matter if the entire spring cleaning list be done in a day? Only if your mother-in-law is coming for an extended visit- tomorrow. Make lists. Lots of lists. One for each adult in the family (baby-sitting age and up) One for each walking child. One for any help you may have - baby-sitter, cleaning lady, mother-in-law etc.

What are some enviromentally friendly room deodarizers?

Vinegar deodarizer

Leave a small container of vinegar on a shelf or counter to deodorize the air. Great in diaper pail/washroom as well. Refill frequently.

Is it possible to keep a clean house with small kids?

Clutter Prevention

Put things away immediately. Avoid the stress of looking at the clutter and the stress of frantically searching for things later.

How often should I change my dish sponges?

Safer Sponges

Run your sponges through your dishwasher every few days, and dispose of them every few weeks. They breed bacteria because they do not get the opportunity to dry out in between uses.

How can I get my mums to bloom in the fall?

Fall-Blooming Mums

Pinch your chrysanthemums back several times to allow new growth no taller than 6" until mid June. This will help to develop a bushier plant that will produce more blooms in the fall.

How can I prevent my silverware from tarnishing?

Preventing Tarnish

Place a piece of white chalk in your silver chest or jewelry box to absorb moisture and help prevent tarnishing of silverware and jewelry.

Is there any way to prevent fingerprints on walls?

Fingerprint Prevention

Apply spray starch to doors and to painted walls along hallways and stairways where fingerprints accumulate. The coating will resist marks better.

Is there a best way to store linens?

When Folding Sheets...

When you fold your sheets, fold the sheets and the pillow cases in one bundle, with the flat sheet covering them all. Keep your whole set together this way!

Is it possible to keep a clean house with small kids?

Variety is the Spice of... Chores?

Don't stick your child with the same old job day in and day out. Give him different jobs to do, and he'll learn valuable and lasting skills, and he will be more interested in doing them.

How do I keep towels soft and fluffy?

Wanted: absorbency

Do not use fabric softener in things you want to absorb water: dish towels, bath towels, or cloths used to clean glasses.

How can I keep dust from settling?

Not Just for Dishes

When cleaning small items that don't get used regularly, I've found that putting them in the dishwasher is a quick and easy way to get them looking brand new again. This especially works great on the items I keep on my dresser, as they tend to get a build-up of hairspray on them.

Where is the best place to set up a CO (carbon monoxide) detector?

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives

Carbon monoxide is a deadly, odorless, colorless gas that can render you unconscious before you can react. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your bedroom and close to the furnace for the earliest warning.

Can I clean, or at least deodarize, goalie pads?

Spring Cleaning

Throw all the stinky hockey goalie pads into the dishwasher and run it through. It may still take a day or two to dry them in the tub.

How can I find time to spring clean?

Spring Cleaning

Pick a room , strip the curtains. Drive to the nearest dry cleaners. If you do not have a car, you will have to do it the old-fashioned way. Part 1: Remove the hooks and place them in a bag. Stuff the drapes in the gentle cycle of the washing machine. Part 2: Clean the window ledge before part three. Part 3: Replace hooks. Part 4: Re-hang the sheers to dry.

How can I remove crayon from walls?

Good Peanut Butter

Massaging peanut butter into a second sticky mess like bubble gum in hair, or price tags on metal or plastic items, or road tar on shoes, is a good thing.

Can I teach my kids to hang up their clothes?

Dirty Laundry Piles

Tired of picking up kids' dirty clothes? Set up a basketball hoop directly over the laundry hamper wherever they strip for bed.

What do I teach the children about escaping from a burning house?

Escape Planning

Involve the children in discussing fires and exits from your home. Everyone needs to know how to close doors, open windows, climb ladders or shimmy down ropes. Practice, practice, practice.

How can I find time to spring clean?

Spring Cleaning

Smash the welcome mat on the side of the house to freshen . Save other small carpets for a day that your kids make you really, really angry. Sweep the front door, stoop and surrounding area free of last years' hallowe'en cobwebs.

How do I keep collars and cuffs looking new?

Crisp Clothes

To get crisp results when ironing clothes, combine 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch in one pint of water. Pour into a spray bottle, shake, and spray clothes before ironing.

How many smoke detectors do I need in my house?

Smoke Detector Locations

Install at least one battery operated smoke detector on every level of the house. It is always good to have a back-up to your electrical alarms in case the power goes out.

Is it possible to keep a clean house with small kids?

Cleaning your house...

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing." -- Phyllis Diller

How can I find time to spring clean?

Clean Before You Leave

Make beds and wash dishes before you leave the house for the day (and ESPECIALLY before you leave on vacation). This keeps you from being overwhelmed when you return.

How can I find time to spring clean?

Spring Cleaning

In this house, any chore that does not get done on a biweekly basis qualifies as spring cleaning. Pick a day. Pick a task. Then just do it. Chose a chore that really does take less than 5 minutes to do and get that inspiring sense of satisfaction that just may motivate you to continue.

What can I use to clean my toddler´s toys?

Home made non toxic Disinfectant

To make a non-toxic disinfectant: Mix 1/2 cup borax (a natural mineral that kills mold and bacteria) with 1 gallon hot water.Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Steep for 10 minutes, strain and cool. Store in a recycled plastic spray bottle.

How do I prevent silver tarnish?

Preventing silver tarnish

There is a reason silverware is kept in a seperate box. Mixing metals starts a chemical reaction that results in the discoloration. So keep your good silver out of the everyday stainless steel drawer.

How can I involve my kids in gardening?

Bigger, Better Pansies

Pansies will bloom in abundance if you take a few moments to pinch out early buds. This encourages plants to bush out and produce more flowers.

What is the best way to bait a mousetrap?

Good Peanut Butter

Every fall I offer a relative a gift of peanut butter to bait his mouse traps.

How do I start plants from seed?

Sure-Fire Seedlings

A great way to get seeds started is by wrapping them in a folded wet paper towel. Place the towel in a sealable plastic bag, and place it someplace warm (like the top of the refrigerator). The seeds will sprout in a few days' time, and then they can be transferred to soil.

How can I find time to spring clean?

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning mini blinds: Part 1: Figure out how to remove them. Part 2 - fill the tub with water and dish soap. Place blinds in to soak. Part 3. Warm up the now cold water. Use a scrub brush to remove the stubborn stains. Drain the tub. Leave to dry overnight. Part 4: Re-hang. Note: If you do one at a time, the shining difference should guilt you into trying two at a time next round.

How can I prevent stains on linens and other fabrics?


Never iron over a stain: Heat sets color.

What is a healthy snack?

Carrots & Celery Snacks

Store cut carrots and celery in cold water, sealed in a plastic container. The kids can reach in and grab one anytime, and they're always fresh and juicy.

How do I clean the tines of silver forks?

Polishing Silver Forks

When polishing silver forks, use pipe cleaners dipped in silver polish to polish between the tines.

How do I freeze berries?


Instead of trying to peel an avocado, cut it lengthwise down the center, twist into separate halves, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

How can I prevent stains on linens and other fabrics?

Stain Barrier

Use fabric softener when you want to add a stain barrier, such as with table linens. Stains bead up on tablecloths, placemats and napkins that are treated with fabric softener.

How do I clean straws and other tube shaped items?

Getting Crazy Straws Clean

How to Clean Crazy Straws: Flush the straws with hot water then let them soak in a solution of bleach and water. The "official" disinfecting solution is 2 tablespoons of bleach to 1/2 gallon of water.

How can I prevent shrinking and ´bleeding´ of fabrics?

Bleeding Fabrics

Always pre-wash fabrics before you sew. To keep them from "bleeding", wash fabrics in a little laundry soap, a cup of vinegar and a generous handful of salt. Put vinegar, not fabric softener, in the rinse water. Fabric softener prevents applique backing and iron-on interfacing from sticking.

How can I prevent shrinking and ´bleeding´ of fabrics?

Red Dye Woes

Tired of the color red accidentally bleeding onto other clothes? Buy more red clothing so you can make a full laundry load of reds.

How do I save half an avocado?


If you need only one half of an avocado, replace the pit in the unused half to prevent browning.

How can I lessen the stench of sports equipment?

Stinky hockey padding?

The new fabric refresheners, e.g. "Febreze", are a wonderful investment for minimizing the odors of sweaty shoes and hockey pads.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Mom Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Phyllis Serbes