De-scale your electric kettle by boiling half a lemon two or three times. Discard lemon, rinse kettle and boil it once more for good measure to ensure no acidic residue remains. Empty this last batch of water (into your recycling jug) and your kettle will be bright and fresh and ready to go. Repeat the process every few months.
Use half a lemon dipped in salt or bicarbonate of soda to rub tarnish off copper cookware and restore the shine (wash and dry pots thoroughly after cleaning).
After handling seafood, garlic or onions deodorise your hands with lemon juice.
Lemons also have mild bleaching properties – the juice can be used to remove light staining on various surfaces (let it sit on the stain for a while – 15 to 30 minutes) – particularly handy in the kitchen!
Keep a handful of plastic clothes pegs in the kitchen – great for sealing cereal bags and packets of frozen vegetables (and many other soft packaged foodstuffs) – bunch and twist the open end and clamp firmly with peg – faster and safer than using those plastic coated wire twist-ties.
A peg also becomes a useful substitute for a bulldog clip for paperwork as well as a weatherproof silencer for a rattling gate – clamp the peg on the tongue of the latch mechanism to provide an effective buffer.
Some years ago, in a moment of desperation, I discovered that a simple hinged nutcracker – the kind we all have in our kitchen drawers – is absolutely brilliant for releasing stubborn bottle tops – be they new soft drink caps, with a ring seal, or a gummed-up sauce or syrup bottle top already in use. Works a treat – minimum effort required – just maintain a firm grip and twist!
And whilst on the subject of bottle tops – the ring seals on plastic milk bottles and large fruit juice bottles have other uses – slip one over the ends of kitchen tongs (if they don’t have a locking mechanism) and slide past the gripper section to keep them closed and easier to store. These plastic rings also make great cat toys on a smooth floor – our Burmese loves to chase them and play “hockey”!
Wide masking tape – the paper variety – works very effectively to remove lint and pet hair from clothing and upholstery. Tear off a short section – enough to wind two or three times (sticky side out) around your open hand with fingers straight together (keep thumb clear). With a firm “patting” action, work over the affected areas, shifting the tape around your hand as it becomes loaded. The process may need repeating if contamination is heavy. I carry a roll of masking tape in my car for last minute tidy ups when I’m out and about.
Note – This method is not suitable for fluffy fabrics.