Household Help

Over the years I have heard, tried and tested some unusual household hints. Today I would like to share some with you. The animal ones come from animal lovers. My sister uses the dog shampoo on her two Shelties and their coats are very soft.


Did you know that toothpaste (not the gel) makes an excellent salve for burns?

It also works as a cleaner for brass ware.


Soaking your nails in vinegar for as little as five minutes a day will help cure your brittle nails.

Spray your hands with a mist of vinegar, or dip them in vinegar and dry after washing dishes or having them in soapy water to keep your hands soft.

Do you bruise easily? Use a mixture of vinegar and cold water, wetting your towel, and apply overnight. You can even tape the towel on or use an ace bandage to better placement.

If you have burned yourself cooking, a quick dose of vinegar on the burn will prevent blistering in that area.


Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.


Honey remedy for skin blemishes … Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works best overnight.


Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly– even though the product was never been advertised for this use.

Animal Magic

Eliminate ear mites in Cats. All it takes is a few drops of corn oil in your cat’s ear…Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat’s skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Kill fleas instantly…Dawn dishwashing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog’s bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations. Good-bye fleas. Thanks to Judy I learned that if you have a cat or dog, putting a flea collar in the vacuum bag helps kill any fleas you vacuum up.

Rainy day cure for dog odour ….Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

A Dog Shampoo (Kennel’s recipe)

1 part TCP (Liquid Antiseptic)

2 parts Stergene (Liquid Wash for Delicate)

3 parts water

Mix a convenient quantity and store in a screw top container and use as required.

Methylated Spirits

To clean secateurs rub thoroughly with Methylated Spirits and then with an oily rag.

Now do you have any handy hints to share?


What do you wear…

On a Sunday afternoon recently while listening to Gardeners Question Time (BBC Radio 4), one of the questions made me smile.

What do you wear in your wellies? (Wellington Boots)

The questioner admitted to wearing bed-socks inside her rubber boots to keep her feet warm while working in the garden.

When the titters of laughter died down the panel gave their answers.

One guy used newspaper to soak up dampness and keep in heat, while another male panelist swore by ladies tights!! The only lady on the team wore an old pair of her husband’s socks over her own.

So what does Grannymar wear? Do you really want to know?

Well to begin with my wellies are so old the thread on the soles would not pass a road safety test. I find them very heavy nowadays so only don them when I have no other choice.

Somewhere in days of yore I read about making insoles from carpet to line the base of Wellington boots. Fortunately it was at a time when we were in the process of changing floor covering. I cut insoles to size and placed them in the boots. It works! I also find that Ski Tubes, those 24” long socks without heel shaping are warm and comfortable in my boots. I bought a couple of pairs about eight years ago to wear when rambling, something I used to do most weekends.

Ski Tubes

My ski socks served their time well and are as good as ever to this day.

Red ones keep you warmer, perhaps that is physiological, but I do know of one nursing home that provides red bed-socks for the inhabitants for that very reason!

For Red Mum

Red Mum wrote about the difficulty of carrying large cumbersome purchases around busy shopping areas by hand. Nowadays shopping and goods are supposed to go magically into standard sized plastic bags. It is surprising how often that the larger the bag the weaker the handle.

Way back when Ya-di-da-di-da…

Well it was way back when I was a slip of a thing and growing up in Dublin. Everything you bought from 5 rolls of wallpaper, a pair of blankets, or a pair of shoes, to a fur coat (no I didn’t, but I did refuse a mink coat once!), they were always wrapped in strong brown paper and tied with string. Where do you think we old folk learned to wrap a neat parcel?

When we got home the parcel was unwrapped, the string rolled up and saved and the paper folded, for reuse to back school books* or to make a dress pattern. The string was always useful, for tying other parcels or with a weight attached it made a useful plumb line.

So back to tying the parcels…

When they were carefully wrapped in paper, the string was tied securely around the parcel lengthwise with a strong knot positioned about 1/3 of the way along the long side. The string was then taken over the top and back of the parcel and looped around the string at the back then on down under the parcel and back to the knot at the front. Leave no slack and knot it again around a T bar this time. Bring the line of string along the first string about another 1/3 of the way and loop and tie it. Again bring the string over the top and back of the parcel as before and loop it again, taking it on down and round to the front once more. Secure at the knot above and then take it back to the first knot, and secure with a final knot and trim end. You will note a double string in the middle and this can be used as a strong handle.

Now for the Grannymar special. I have my uses!!!!

You have heard me talk of my days living in Germany way back in the early 70’s. During my first week there I bought a duvet and it came in a cardboard box. This box was wrapped in brown paper and tied as I described above. The sales assistant was a pleasure to watch as he swiftly completed his task. Setting the parcel on the counter, keeping one hand on it he bent down and from some secret compartment he produced a little wooden handle which he attached. It was wonderful! I had no numb fingers from loss of blood supply, and my arms were not aching from trying to hold an awkward package up at elbow level.German Carry handle

I still have that wooden handle 36 years later and it has well served its time. The wood is worn at the edges and the wire replaced. I used part of a metal coat hanger for this purpose and my metal turning skills would never win prizes but it works! I have made several handles since using bamboo and the coat hanger wire.

carry handle DSCF1995

If you attempt to make some from bamboo choose a smooth piece as the ridge marks hurt the hands when carrying a heavy load. Also remember to file the cut edges of the wire or it might catch and tear the skin or fabrics of clothing while on the move.

Now I will expect to see your handiwork very soon. 😉

* When we were at school all school text and copy books had to be covered in brown paper to keep them clean. We then had to write our names and the title of the book on the new cover.

Do you remember when…?

Paper cut

Well of course you don’t, but bundles like these were a common sight in the outside Loo’s during the first quarter of the last century. Things have certainly changed since those far off days.

Moistened Toilet Tissues in a Tub are now the order of the day. ETissue Boxvery bathroom seems to have some. The sales blurb suggests we use them together with regular toilet paper to leave us feeling cleaner & fresher than ever before.

The claims made about them are:
enriched with Aloe Vera
dermatologically tested

“Brilliant” I hear you shout. “I couldn’t live without them!”

I have to admit I have a box in the house and one in the car.

But should we really flush them down the loo? Are they really Bio-degradable?

Are they really doing our tender skin a service?

Let me tell you a little story.

I was sitting in the hairdressers early one morning a few years ago, fidgeting patiently waiting for the Toyboy stylist to arrive and work his magic on my tender locks. The waiting area, like all Dentists and Doctor’s surgeries, had the usual bundle of tired well thumbed Ladies magazines to calm the frustration.

Picking one of these to while away the time it opened to a page of handy tips. Always willing to learn something new I read through the items on the page.

Steep dentures in water with Vinegar added to remove stains.

Add fabric Conditioner to a footbath to soften hard skin on the feet.

Use wet wipes as a quick stain remover.

This last one stuck in my mind and at some stage I had reason to try it. It worked! I tried it again several times and it always worked. I started on the outer side of the stain and worked to the centre. Now you know why I keep some wipes in the car.

Now it happened that on a bright June day I was hosting a lunch for an eminent gentleman and his good lady wife (both wearing collars backwards); to round off the numbers I had invited a couple of other folk as well. One lady wore not just her Sunday best, but her Very Best Outfit (VBO); anyone would think we were expecting Royalty! Lunch was to follow a church service of indeterminate length so I prepared a cold buffet. A dressed salmon was the centrepiece with colourful salads and accompaniments.

When all were gathered the hunger pangs were evident so without delay I sorted everyone with food while Jack saw to the drinks. The day was a cook’s delight, everyone seemed to be enjoying my efforts and helping themselves to more of this or that. Mrs VBO informed everyone how much she enjoyed baby beetroot as she tried to cut into one. The baby beet objected and jumped off the plate and hit her ample chest before rolling all the way down the front of her light turquoise Frank Usher dress before falling to the floor.

In her embarrassment she reached for her napkin to wipe the mark. I pleaded with her not to touch it and asked if she would accompany me to the bathroom. I used the moist wipes and the red stain vanished. We returned to the table and continued with the meal. No more was said about it so I phoned the next day to make sure there was no mark left by the wipes. She assured me that all was fine and there would be no need for dry cleaning.

On another occasion I was helping friends with preparations for another group lunch. My friends had recently moved to a new house and purchased a large dining table with a dozen chairs. The chair seats were upholstered in a winter white fabric. That day we had a rather crowded table with extra chairs added where possible. Several of the guests were elderly and some with unsteady hands.

When the guests were gone we set about clearing up the table and the room. I removed the chairs to vacuum under the table and horror of horrors one guest had dribbled the carrot & coriander soup! The evidence was plainly to be seen on one of the chairs. The hostess ran with the chair to the kitchen and was about to attack it with water. Once more I pleaded with her not to touch it. She did not have any wipes so I went to my car for my box. I worked on the stain which by this stage had a couple of hours to set. It took me some time but eventually I was pleased with the result. Again I phoned the next morning worried that I might have left a water type mark. “Grannymar” she said “Where did you put that chair? I have gone over each one and can’t tell which chair had the stain on it!”

Now hang in there, this is the last one and it is against me! Last November when I was staying with my Aunt in Dublin we were enjoying a bottle of Red – well they say the red wine is good for the heart! We adjourned to the lounge with the refilled glasses and honestly I don’t know what happened, but suddenly my hand was wet and the red wine was all over her peach velour sofa! My mind raced; two matching sofas and a chair to recover would make an expensive bottle of wine. I asked if she had wipes and to my relief she did. Once again the wipes did their work and removed the stain.

If the moist wipes work so well on all these stains, what do they do to our skin?