Creating a tidy and orderly home, by FRANCIS BRENNAN
Hotelier, author and presenter of At Your Service, believes that a tidy home is the perfect antidote to a chaotic world. Here are his tips...
Rescuing house plants with yellowing leaves If the yellowing is on the tips of the leaves, you need to water more, but if the whole leaf is yellow, you’re overdoing it! Make sure your soil is well drained and water when it is barely damp to the touch.
Helping flowers stay fresh
One of my nephews used to love Mythbusters when he was younger. It was an American show where scientists used to put popular myths to the test using lab techniques. In one test they set up five different vases to compare popular ways of keeping flowers fresh, including vodka, Sprite, apple cider vinegar/sugar, the fridge and an aspirin tablet. They found that Sprite worked fine for a couple of days, but then the sugar affected the IRISH INDEPENDENT flowers — rather like kids after too much lemonade — and they wilted. They also found that flowers, like humans, can’t take too much vodka! So the winner was... the fridge!
Before you go to bed at night, pop your flowers into the fridge and they will keep for longer, according to the scientists. And don’t forget to use the packet of food that comes with your arrangement too. By the way, the sugar/cider vinegar mix came second. Sugar certainly seems to help flowers, but adding an acid helps to prevent slime. So, there you go!
Finding an earring on the carpet
Place a bit of stocking over the tube of your vacuum cleaner, secure it with a rubber band and, hey presto, when you hoover, you’ll see any tiny items.
Opening a bottle of wine — without a corkscrew
There are a few ways of doing this, but for God’s sake, be careful:
7 October 2017
Push the cork down into the bottle by using an object such as a pen, or a lipstick tube. You can do this by putting your bottle down on a flat surface and by applying downward pressure with your object.
You can also use a knife in the same way as a corkscrew, pushing it gently into the cork, then working it gently from side to side until it goes all of the way through the cork, then pull. Do this very gently, to avoid accidents.
You can put the bottle of wine into your shoe — which you have removed from your foot! Then, holding the bottle in one hand, tap your shoe firmly against a wall or tree. Do this a few times and the pressure should push the cork out.
Four clever ways to clean sponges
Put them in the dishwasher when you have a load on and let all that hot water give them a good clean. Use a cup of bleach in litre of water to soak sponges for five minutes. According to Good Housekeeping, this is the method that removes the most germs.
Put your wet-but-not-soaking sponge into the microwave on ‘ high’ for 10–20 seconds — keep an eye on it though!
Soak your sponge in vinegar overnight. Smelly in a different way, but effective.
Drying leather shoes
There is no quick way of doing this, because all of the quick ways will damage your shoes! You’ll need newspapers without dark ink or pictures, which you will ball up into the toe, and continue until your shoe is stuffed with paper. Leave for an hour and come back to check. If the newspaper is soaked, replace it and continue doing so until it stays dry. Leave your shoes to air. This method isn’t fast, but it really is the only one that will prevent further leather damage. Francis Brennan’s ‘Book of Household Management’, published by Gill Books, is out now priced €16.99