TIP OF THE WEEK

Do you have a bottle or two of unused hydrogen peroxide underneath your sink or in a cabinet? Though hydrogen peroxide is no longer used as a wound disinfectant, it boasts antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and bleaching properties. It’s inexpensive and available at any drugstore. Here are some uses for hydrogen peroxide you may not have considered from BobVila.com:

• Spot clean your mattresses: After stripping and vacuuming your mattress, treat any stains you find with a solution of half-water and half-hydrogen peroxide using a clean toothbrush.

• Make your bathtub sparkle: To clean your tub or shower without using products with potentially harmful chemicals, create a paste of two-thirds baking soda and one-third hydrogen peroxide. Apply this paste to the tub/shower area, and wait 30 minutes before rinsing. Next, spray the area with a half-water, half-vinegar solution to dissolve soap scum and residue.

• Remove rust: If you have light to moderately rusted tools or surfaces, mix equal parts baking soda and cream of tartar in a bowl. Add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide until you can form a paste. Rub this paste onto the rusted item or surface, wait an hour, and rinse with water.

• Clean tile and grout: In a container you can seal, mix ½ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Close the lid and shake until completely combined. Apply this homemade cleaner to tile and grout, and let sit for at least five minutes. Rinse with water. Remember to wear protective gloves!

• Refinish metal items: Hydrogen peroxide can help you create an aged-looking finish on metal items that contain iron. Start by spraying the item with white vinegar and waiting five minutes. Combine two cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 4 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 ½ teaspoons of table salt in a large bottle. Shake the bottle and soak the metal surface. Rust will begin forming right away. Fumes will be released during this process, so work in a well-ventilated area.

• Disinfect cutting boards: It’s important to sanitize cutting boards because small cuts can trap bacteria. If you have a wood cutting board, however, you should not put it in the dishwasher. Instead, spray it with white vinegar and wait five minutes before wiping it. Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide over the board, using a clean sponge to spread evenly. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then sprinkle salts on the surface and rub it gently into the grain of the wood using half a lemon (to soak up odors). Let sit from between 10 minutes to overnight and wipe with a damp cloth or let air dry.

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GARDENING

Composting doesn’t require fancy equipment

Gardeners don’t need fancy equipment or lots of space to compost, according to John Fischer, gardening columnist for KLCC in Oregon.

Toss your garden waste and kitchen scraps (no meat or dairy) into a rodent-proof composting bin, and deposit some leaves on top if you have fruit flies. There’s no need to turn the material or obsess over its ratio.

Then, let the worms do the rest of the work. Fischer says most compost in backyards and in nature is generated by worms, which convert waste into rich and useful castings.

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HOW STUFF WORKS

How do tankless water heaters work?

Tankless water heaters use a gas burner or electric element to heat water as it flows through a pipe and into the unit. According to HomeDepot.com, they deliver a large supply of instantaneous hot water. While traditional water heaters store the hot water supply in a tank, tankless water heaters heat water only when needed. This can make them a cost-effective and greener alternative. Some models can lower household energy bills by up to 40% and some can last up to 20 years, reducing both landfills waste and fossil fuels used.

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DECORATING TIP

Your front door can set the tone for the rest of your house

First impressions are important, and selecting the right color for your home’s front door can set the tone for the rest of the house.

“If you want your house to make a great first impression, paint the front door a fun, glossy hue,” according to BobVila.com. “A red door meant ‘welcome’ to weary travelers in early America, and on churches, it represents a safe haven.”

Orange and yellow are associated with joy and warmth, and these colors can make your house feel cozier as you enter.

If you have an outdated screen door, BobVila.com recommends getting rid of it or replacing it with a storm door with full-length glass that can be switched out for a screened panel.

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