Handy Home Hints

5 household uses for herbs and spices

  1. Cayenne: Stop aphids from ruining your roses by mixing a teaspoon of cayenne with a dash of liquid soap. Put it in a spray bottle then fill with water. Spray the leaves lightly and also the surrounding soil.
  2. Cinnamon: Mix one teaspoon of cinnamon with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray directly on plant stems and leaves to prevent plant fungus.
  3. Thyme: For a natural disinfectant, pour one cup of boiling water over one tablespoon of dried thyme leaves. Leave for at least 8 hours, strain and add two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. Pour into a spray bottle.
  4. Cloves & black peppercorns: Make your own moth-repelling sachets. Combine equal amounts of whole cloves and peppercorns, put them on fabric square and tie with a ribbon.
  5. Mustard powder: To get rid of food smells from containers make a paste of a little water mixed with mustard powder, rub on the container and rinse.
spice jar illustration

DIY self-raising flour

Turn plain flour into self-raising flour by adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of flour. Sift well before using.


Wafer thin slices

Use a vegetable peeler to slice thin slices of cheese or red onion, to make long strips of zucchini, or to de-string celery.


Reach under small places

Having trouble cleaning under your appliances or large items of furniture? Pull an old long sock over a stick or broom handle and run it underneath.


Free the fridge

Fridge doors can become a real eyesore when covered in magnets, bills, invites and lists. Instead, attach a magnetic whiteboard to the inside of a kitchen cupboard and make this your command-centre instead.

3 uses for rubber bands

  1. Roll up shopping bags and keep them contained by wrapping a rubber band around each one.
  2. Use as a grip for jars, nail polish lids etc.
  3. Use as a bookmark. Draw a black dot on the band and you can even keep track of the exact pararaph you are up to!

Skim fat from soup

Drop an ice cube into your pot of soup or casserole. As it melts, excess fat will congeal on the surface and can be skimmed off easily.


All in one place

Store your remote controls in a small basket so they stop getting lost behind the couch or under cushions.

Chilli chopping

Rub a little olive oil into your fingertips before chopping hot chilli. Wash off afterwards. It will help to prevent your hands from becoming tainted with chilli.