Create more storage, salvage a burnt pot, get rid of fleas, nasty odours and stains, 1000 + Hints for the Home written by Solet Scheeres and published by Human and Rousseau tells you how to do all this and much more. Omeshnie Naidoo selected just a few tips to share with readers

Stain removal

Anti-perspirant: Soak in a solution of water and vinegar or ammonia.

Ballpoint pen: Rub toothpaste on the mark and rinse in cold water.

Chewing gum: Freeze the gum with a pack of ice cubes to make it easier to remove from fabric. Treat any mark that remains with methylated spirits.

Lipstick: Remove with glycerine, eucalyptus oil or diluted ammonia.

Wine: Treat red wine stains with milk or white wine. Leave to soak overnight and wash the next day.

Fire in the oven

If you discover a fire in your oven, do not open the door. Opening the door will simply give the fire extra oxygen and it will get bigger. Oven doors are sealed, so the fire should burn itself out.

Smelly mattress

For a fresh-smelling mattress, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the mattress and leave it for half and hour. Then vacuum up the bicarb. Remove urine stains from a mattress using a foam carpet cleaner. For stubborn stains you could also use upholstery stain remover or white vinegar diluted with water.

Fish moths

Sometimes called silverfish, these are wingless insects that breed in dark, damp places and are particularly fond of starch and sugar. They pose no danger to humans but can cause a tremendous amount of damage to clothing, upholstery and books.

Keep damp areas dry with proper insulation and make sure enough air is able to circulate. Inspect wallpaper, books and cupboards regularly for signs of fish moth infestation.

Sprinkle borax behind cupboards and large appliances to keep fishmoths away. Borax is poisonous, so ensure pets and children are not able to reach it.

Lavender, camphor, cloves and rosemary will also deter fish moths from moving in.

Catch fish moths by hollowing out a potato slightly and placing it next to their breeding spot in an open plastic bag. The fish moths will crawl into the bag during the night to get to the potato.


Always wipe your pearls with a clean cloth when you take them off.

Be careful not to spray perfume or hairspray on pearls.

Moisturise pearls from time to time by soaking them in salt water for a few hours. Note that the silk on which some pearls are strung may be coloured and the colour may run if you soak the pearls for too long.

Store pearls in a suede pouch and not in wool or batting. These cause a build-up of heat, which will result in the pearls drying out and cracking.

Static electricity

Get rid of static electricity by pulling the garment through a wire hanger a few times.


Soak hairbrushes (not aluminium ones) in soda water to get them really clean.

Extra colour

Intensify the colour of blonde hair by rinsing it with camomile tea. Brunettes can give their hair a glossy auburn sheen by mixing henna into a cup of strong coffee and rinsing their hair with it.

Just like Cleopatra

Pour one cup of powdered milk, one small cup of honey and two teaspoons of jojoba oil in a warm bath. Relax in the water for at least 20 minutes to get the full benefit of this treatment.

Sparkling dishwasher

Make the inside of your dishwasher shine like new by pouring two cups of white vinegar into the rinse dispenser and running the machine on a short cycle.

Smell of onions

To get rid of the smell of onions on your hands, rub a stainless steel spoon between your hands under a tap, like a bar of soap.

The scent of cinnamon

Simmer cinnamon sticks, orange peel and cloves in a pot of water on the stove and the scent will permeate your entire home.


Place a piece of granite, basalt or slate in the bottom of the aquarium to prevent lime deposit.

Prevent worms

Mix raw carrot into your dog’s food regularly to help prevent worms.

A piece of aloe crystal, half the size of the nail on your little finger, added to the dog’s drinking water will also control parasites.

Fertiliser for pot plants

Finely crushed egg shells and tea leaves or coffee grounds are good for feeding pot plants.


To keep roses looking good for longer in a vase, cut off the thorns, strip off any leaves that are below the water line in the vase, and cut the stems diagonally.

Place the roses in ice-cold water in which a little sugar has been dissolved.

If the roses are looking tired after a few days, add an aspirin to the water. Remember to replace the water with cold, fresh water regularly. You can also place wilted roses, bloom and all, into a cold bath to refresh them.


Plant herbs such as basil, rosemary, mint and lavender near windows and doors to deter flies.


To deter cats from digging in the garbage sprinkle pepper around the dustbins.

Keep your dog’s kennel warm by placing a sheet of polystyrene under the floor covering. Your pet will think it’s Christmas.

Spoil yourself

Combine rose water and lime juice with th glycerine to make a body mask. Slather it on after your bath.

Marks on heels

Remove black marks from the heels of light-coloured shoes using nail polish remover.

Pot plants

Keep seaweed and bamboo in a bucket and use the water for your pot plants. Change this water every 10 days.

Tar spots

Remove spots of tar on the paintwork with white floor polish, linseed oil or butter. - The Mercury