This blog post originally appeared over at ClarkHoward.com.
What is it about the word “hack” that elevates a mundane chore into something more fun? Is it because a hack implies a clever solution to an otherwise frustrating household dilemma? Whatever it is, I love a good hack and I know that I’m not alone. Especially when those hacks require zero extra purchases and require nothing more than my frugal supplies already on hand.
However, a lot of these supposed miraculous internet hacks are a bust, so I went through the trouble of testing four of them to save Clark Howard readers from wasting your precious time and energy.
Hack #1: Squeegee on carpet.
This hack has legions of fans who love how the lowly squeegee easily removes pet hair from hard to clean carpeted stairs. For this test, I borrowed my neighbor’s cat friendly stairs, as my own are wood. I doubted whether there’d be anything to clean, as my neighbor’s house appears immaculate at all times. Lo and behold, I was rewarded with a satisfying amount of cat hair after just a few swipes with my $1 Dollar Tree squeegee.
Hack #1 — thumbs up!
Hack #2: Polish silver with boiling water, baking soda and aluminum foil.
This hack promises to polish silver without the work of scrubbing, and it’s actually been in my rotation for a number of years. I love my old silverware, but I hate, hate, hate the work of polishing it. (Hand cramps.) My mother has informed me that this method is incorrect, as it temporarily removes the dark details, but I still rebelliously dip my silver into this magical elixir.
Instructions: Line a pan with aluminum foil, add in a couple tablespoons of baking soda and boiling water almost to the top. Dip your silver into the solution and watch the tarnish magically disappear. Pro tip: Use tongs, as the silver quickly gets very hot.
Hack #2 –Thumbs up! (Sorry, mom.)
Hack #3: Use an extra stretchy sock for your Swiffer Sweeper.
I love the convenience of a Swiffer to clean my 104-year-old hardwood floors, but I hate spending money on expensive and wasteful disposable cloths. Enter an extra stretchy sock to the rescue! I have a couple pairs of these puffy socks, which are extremely stretchy and work perfectly for this function. I simply dampen the sock, and then swiff and sweep to my heart’s content. I then switch it out with a new sock to dry any wet areas. The best part is that the sock has enough texture for actual cleaning, plus they’re washable for reuse.
Hack #3 — Thumbs up!
Hack #4: Clean your oven door using vinegar and baking soda.
It seems like however much I clean it, the inside of my oven door reverts to being a baked on mess. I’d seen online tips for sprinkling the door with baking soda and then spraying with vinegar as an eco-friendly cleaning hack. This method sounded easy, so I happily gave it a try. Unfortunately, this hack was a bust. Yes, I was able to get a decent before-and-after photo, but it was only with a tremendous amount of back breaking scrubbing and elbow grease. This was far from being any type of clever solution. Seriously, it took forever.
Hack #4 — Thumbs down!
Although the fourth hack got a resounding thumbs down in my book, it was still worth a try. I want to work smarter not harder when it comes to maintaining my home and its contents, and without a bit of experimentation I’d never have discovered how well the other three hacks worked. And nothing makes me feel smarter than finding clever solutions to life’s little problems.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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