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Pass the Salt!

We all know that salt is essential to life and goes great on fries, but did you guys know all the great uses it has in your home? Bust that salt out of your kitchen and see the good it can do throughout the house! Did you know salt has the capability to do all of these things?

It can make your coffee taste better. If your morning cup of coffee is tasting a little bitter, salt can fix your problem. Fill the pot with water and then add four tablespoons of salt. Run the salt water through the coffee pot without adding any grounds and then rinse out the pot. Your next cup of joe should be a lot less bitter.

It can remove soap scum from your glass shower doors. Ever get that really unattractive layer of film on your glass shower doors? That no matter how hard you scrub and with what cleaning solutions, it just won't come off? Use salt! Mix equal parts of baking soda and salt and add water until it forms a paste. With a sponge, rub the paste into the door, let it sit for about half an hour, and then rinse the paste away with water!

It can clean a sponge. To clean a dirty sponge, soak it overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt per quart of warm water.

It can remove wine stains. Spill wine on your carpet? Sop up as much liquid as possible and then sprinkle the affected area with salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes and then vacuum the area.

It can clean a flower vase. To remove mineral deposits from a glass flower vase, rub the stains with a mix of equal parts of salt and water. Then rinse with warm water!

It can erase lipstick stains from your glasses. Rub the stained edges of your glassware with a paste of salt and water until the lipstick disappears. Then wash the glassware as usual!

It can clean yellowed wicker furniture. Is your white wicker not very white anymore? Salt can fix it! Scrub the furniture with warm salt water with a stiff-bristled brush. Let the furniture dry in the sun. No rinsing required!

It can remove sweat stains. Remove sweat stains from your favorite shirts with a mixture of four tablespoons of salt per one quart of hot water. While the mixture is still hot, sponge it directly onto the stains until they disappear. Then just pop in the wash as you normally would!

It can clear out your garbage disposal.
To dislodge stuck waste in your disposal, pour a half a cup of salt down the drain, run cold water, and then turn the disposal on. The salt will also help neutralize those not so pleasant sink odors!

It can keep ants away. By sprinkling a line of salt at your home's entry points (like doors and windows), ants will stay out. They generally won't cross the barrier!

It can polish brass and copper.
To remove tarnish from copper and brass, mix a paste of equal parts salt, flour, and water. Rub the paste into the tarnished item with a soft cloth and then rinse away with warm, soapy water.

It can remove a tub ring. Mix one tablespoon of salt with a few drops of water to form a paste, and then coat the ring with it. After 2-3 minutes, scrub the ring and then rinse the paste away. If you ring is stubborn, you may need to repeat this several times before it's completely gone.

It can clean your wok. While your wok is still hot, pour in two or three tablespoons of salt and scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush. Wipe away the salt and then coat the wok with vegetable oil. In general, avoid cleaning your wok with water. It can cause the surface to rust.

It can remove grease stains. To remove grease stains from carpets and cloth furniture, mix one-part salt with four-parts rubbing alcohol. Rub this mixture into the grease stain. No need to rinse. The rubbing alcohol will evaporate.

It can erase drink rings. To erase ugly rings left by drinks and hot dishes on wooden furniture, mix a handful of salt with a tablespoon of vegetable oil until it's the consistency of paste. Gently rub the past into the ring until it disappears.

It can clean the refrigerator.
In a bowl, mix salt and soda water equally until it forms a thick paste. Using a soft cloth, wipe down the inside of your refrigerator and then rinse away with water.

It can stop suds.
If you're been too heavy-handed with the laundry or dish detergent, stop suds from forming by sprinkling salt on them immediately.

It can brighten colors in the wash.
If your reds look a little more like pink these days, rinse them in a saltwater solution in the sink before running them through the wash. The key to brightening your colors is to vigorously rub the salt into the clothing.

It can remove bloodstains from clothing.
Soak the stained garment in a saltwater bath as soon as you can. After about four hours, check to see if the blood is gone. Once it's gone - or at least faded - wash the clothes in a normal, hot cycle.

It can clean your iron. Over time, your iron may develop a gunky film. Remove it with salt! Sprinkle salt directly on a piece of paper and then run the hot iron over the salt. This will remove any residue and gunk.

It can deter weeds from growing.
If cracks in your driveway or walkway invite weeds to grow, spread salt between the cracks and then pour water over the salt to form a paste. This concoction will block the sun and prevent weeds.

It can prolong the life of your candles. To prevent candles from dripping away, soak them in a saltwater bath for a few hours when they're brand new. This will prevent them from dripping as quickly when you burn them. Just make sure they're completely dry before you burn the wick!

It can fill nail holes in the wall.
If you're ready to move a painting but aren't pumped about having a nail hole in your wall, grab the salt! Mix two tablespoons of salt, two tablespoons of cornstarch, and enough water to make a thick paste. Use the paste and a knife to fill the hole.

It can extend the life of your toothbrush.
To keep the bristles on your toothbrush firm a little longer, soak it in a saltwater bath for about an hour before your first use.

It can clean your broom.
To clean all that muck off a straw broom, soak its bristles in a 50/50 mixture of salt and hot water for about 20 minutes. Let the broom completely dry before you use it again!

It can sweeten your fruit.
Salt decreases your taste buds' perception of acidity and allows you to better taste the sugar compounds. If you usually reach for the sugar, try adding a little salt to your morning grapefruit instead.

It can add some flavor to your pasta.
It's a myth that adding salt to simmering water will make it boil faster. Salt does make water boil at a high temperature, but you'd have to add a huge amount to make the different noticeable. But, myths aside, a few sprinkles of salt will make your noodles taste better!

It can instantly chill champagne.
Put your champagne bottle into a bucket or tall container. Add a layer of ice and sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of salt. Continue to layer ice and salt until it reaches the neck of the bottle. Then add enough cold water to cover everything. The science: Salt on ice decreases the freezing temperature, and water increases the cold surface area touching your bottle. This trick also works for wine!

It can clean a stained coffee pot.
Put salt and ice cubes directly into an empty coffee pot, shake it, and then rinse. The salt and the ice will scour the coffee stains on the bottom. No sponge needed!

The Best & Worst Times to...

Ever have chores that you keep pushing off because you think there has to be a better time to do it? We all have things we need to do that we keep pushing off. Here are the best and worst times to do all kinds of things around your home.

...Clean your gutters.
Best: Early spring and late fall after all the leaves have fallen. Cleaning out your gutters twice a year prevents build-up of debris which weighs down your gutters.
Worst: Early fall before the leave are done falling. It'll undo everything you just accomplished! Also avoid this chore when the ground is wet and slick. That makes it very dangerous to be on a ladder!

...Get your chimney inspected.

Best: Spring when the chimney business is slow. Since the companies are so slow during this time, they might offer some discounts. This timing will also allow you plenty of time to make any repairs before the cold returns.
Worst: Don't do this during the fall!

...Paint your house's exterior.
Best: On a dry day when the temperatures should be between 50 and 95 degrees and shouldn't drop down below freezing at night. Early summer is usually the best.
Worst: When it's about to rain, humid, or chilly. Avoid super windy days too. It makes being on a ladder a little scary!

...Buy a major appliance.

Best: September and October. These months are just before the new model releases, and the stores get eager to make room in their inventory meaning discounts for you. Also look for sales during the weekends before or after holidays.
Worst: November, December, and January. These months are right when all the new models come out, and you'll be paying full price.

...Grocery shop.
Best: For the biggest savings, hit the store the same day the ad comes out. To avoid crowds, shop Monday or Tuesday between 10am and 3 pm if you can.
Worst: Weekends are going to draw the most people and have the biggest crowds. After 6 on weeknights will be busy too when everyone's trying to rush in after work.

...Clean your oven.
Best: When you don't need to be in your kitchen for a while. The oven's self-clean cycle can take three or more hours. Make sure to do it on a day when you can have your windows open, so you can air out those funky fumes.
Worst: Before bed or when you're not home. Oven grime could get smoky or even catch on fire.

...Plant a tree.
Best: Once the ground has thawed in the spring and before your tree has sprouted all its leaves. Or early fall.
Worst: Midsummer is the worst time to plant a tree. The heat and process of transplanting can stress the tree causing it to have less energy to settle its roots into its new home.

...Reseed your lawn.
Best: Fall if you live in a cool climate and spring or summer if you live somewhere warm. Grasses grown in cooler climates need cool soil and adequate rainfall to establish their roots. In warmer areas, grasses prefer temperatures in the 70s or higher to get started.
Worst: Midsummer for cool climates because heat poses a challenge for these grasses to grow. For warmer climates, the worst time to plant is in the early fall because the grass won't have enough time to establish roots before the temperatures drop.

...Plant bulbs.
Best: Six weeks before your area's first frost date for spring-blooming plants. For summer bloomers, plant them late in spring when the chance for frost is over.
Worst: Early in the spring when cold, wet soil can cause bulbs to rot.

Let's all get started on these chores and knock out that "honey-do" list!

Protect Your Floors This Holiday Season

The holidays are fast approaching and in no time, friends and family will be descending upon your home for yummy meals and holiday cheer. Get your floors ready for the increase in foot traffic with these quick fixes:

1. Save your floor cleaning for last.

There's a reason why people say "cleaning from top to bottom". Save the mopping, vacuuming, and sweeping for last, that way your floors are nice and clean before people start showing up.

2. Get creative with your coverings.

Place a festive door mat or carpet runner at the front door to absorb slush and snow. You'll be able to keep your freshly cleaned floors clean, as well as prevent slips or falls.

3. Put pads on the legs of furniture.

If you're planning on moving any furniture to make way for more people, consider putting felt pads on the bottom of chairs and couches. Not only will it make it easier to slide the furniture across the room, but it'll protect your carpet or wood floors from scratches.

4. Corral the clutter.

Do you walk into your home, only to trip over stray shoes? Add a boot tray by the door to catch melting snow or mud, that way it's not melting on the floor.

5. Call in the professionals.

There's something to be said about getting your carpets and floors professionally cleaned. If your carpets are looking a little worse for wear, it's probably time to call in the professionals.

Watering Your Lawn: The Do's and Don'ts

Summer is in full swing! We've had some pretty toasty days in our area over the past few weeks and as the dog days of summer approach, it's only going to get hotter and humid. As the temperatures rise, so does the need to keep your lawn well watered. But, instead of just sticking a sprinkler in the middle of your yard and hoping for the best, here's some tips on the right way to water your lawn.



1. Water Your Grass Only When It Needs It

If you don't water your lawn correctly, you could run the risk of under or overwatering your lawn, which could contribute to the development of fungus and disease. Some types of grass require more water than others, and environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and wind can dramatically affect how frequently you need to water your lawn. Fortunately, the most accurate way to determine whether your lawn needs water is also the easiest: just look at the grass:

·When grass needs water, it will begin to take on a blue-gray tint, and the older leaf blades on the plant will begin to curl up or wilt.
·Footprints will remain on the grass for longer than usual, as the grass won't "bounce back."
When 30 to 50% of your lawn shows these symptoms, it's time to water.

2. Know When To Water

The time of day that you water is just as important as how much you water. Early in the morning is the ideal time to water for most lawns. There's less wind, less hot sun, and your lawn has a full day to dry. Watering at night invites mildew and fungus. In the hot afternoon, much of your water can be lost to wind and evaporation.

3. Water Evenly

Sprinklers are finicky. They don't always put water down equally. To make sure water is going where it's supposed to, place a few empty soup cans around your lawn, and run your sprinkler for about 20 minutes. If water collects evenly in the cans, you know your sprinkler is doing its job.

4. How Long Is Long Enough?

Your lawn needs about 1-2 inches of water per week. Each time you water, you should aim for the water to absorb about 6 inches into the dirt to make sure that the roots of the grass are well hydrated. How long that will take depends on the slope of your yard, weather conditions, and various other factors. The best way to tell is to water your lawn for about 20-30 minutes. After that time, turn off the water and stick an 8-inch screwdriver into the ground. If it goes in easily, you're done. If not, you need to water some more.

5. Know When to Stop Watering

You can water carefully and properly, but if the water isn't absorbed, your efforts are wasted.  Watch out for water running off the grass and into your driveway or street. If that happens, turn off the sprinklers and let your lawn absorb the water for about 20-30 minutes before turning back on again. And this goes without saying, but aim your sprinklers to water just the lawn. That's the part that needs the moisture—not the sidewalk or street! Slight adjustments to your sprinklers can save a lot of water. Ideally, you shouldn't water your sidewalk, patio, street, or driveway at all.

Reduce Allergens In Your Home

As warmer weather starts to become more frequent, so does the sniffling and sneezing of allergy sufferers. It's hard to enjoy the perks of Spring when your eyes are watering and your head feels like a stretched balloon. While you can't stop the grass from growing, you can stop allergens from sneaking into your home. If allergies have arrived at your doorstep, here are 7 tips from BrightNest to keep your symptoms at bay.

1. Wash Your Bedding

Millions of dust mites and dead skin cells call your mattress home. Make sure you give them the boot by washing your bedding and your pillows at least once a week in hot water. For tips on how to clean your pillows, click here.

2. De-clutter

Spring is a wonderful time to de-clutter the house. Remove the items that tend to collect dust, like junk mail, magazines and knick-knacks.

3. Clean Your Curtains

Refresh your curtains by vaccuuming them with the hose attachment and handwashing them in cold water. Heavy curtains can trap dust, dirt and allergens.

4. Avoid Feather Dusters

Use a damp microfiber cloth to trap dust, instead of a feather duster, which tends to spread dust around instead of removing it.

5. Keep Shoes Near The Door

The bottom of your shoes are a host to all kinds of dirt, allergens, and bacteria. Clear a space next to your exterior doors for people to leave their shoes. You can even use a basket or plastic bin to keep everything contained.

6. Vaccuum With A HEPA filter

Destroy dust mites by vaccuuming with a high-efficiency vaccuum at least once a week. Vaccuums with HEPA filters can trap very fine dust particles, which means you can get them out of your home.

7. Check Your Humidity Levels

Humidity levels above 55% can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can trigger allergy symptoms. Measure the humidity levels in your home to see if they're at a normal level. If not, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier.