We've all got at least one: a pearl of household wisdom passed down through generations.
With Mother's Day right around the corner, I've been thinking about the clever DIY tips I picked up from the mother figures in my life.
Thanks to my grandmother, I never struggle to pry the lids off of stubborn jars
. She taught me to grab a piece of PVC mesh no-slip shelf lining material
(pictured) and use it to twist the lid right off. The last time I lined the shelves of my kitchen cabinets, I made sure to save a few scraps for just this reason.
I also asked DIY Life readers: What's the best, most unique household tip your mother or grandmother ever taught you?
Here's what you had to say:
"My mom was a nurse, and she taught me to do 'hospital corners' when making a bed.
First, lay the flat sheet on top of the mattress. Then tuck several inches of the sheet under the foot of the mattress. On one side of the mattress at the foot of the bed, pull up the side of the sheet and lay it on top of the mattress. The bottom corner of the sheet will be hanging loose near the corner of the mattress. Tuck this corner under the side of the mattress (near the corner). Pull the side of the sheet back off the mattress. You can either let it hang down or tuck it under the mattress as well." -- Kristin Mahoney, South Orange, NJ
"The plastic bag that the bread comes in touched the hot toaster and melted. Mom put a little rubbing alcohol on on paper towel
-- no more mess and a very shiny toaster." -- Kendra Taylor, Palm Bay, FL
"The best tip I learned from my mother is that when you buy new clothes, it's best to wash them with a little bit of vinegar
to help set the color." -- Eddie Curry, Jacksonville, FL
"My grandmother's favorite household tool was a paring knife.
She used it not just to perfectly remove the "eyes" from a potato, but also to carefully clean the dirt from numerous tiny crevices and corners. She even used it to sharpen a pencil in the absence of a traditional sharpener." -- Emily McGlone, Ramsey, MN
"Filling nail holes with Dap Kwik Seal Tub & Tile Adhesive Caulk is a swift quality fix.
I watched my mother do this trick so effectively throughout many years that now I use it quite often myself. I have yet to see it fail; it lasts for years and looks absolutely flawless in punctured drywall." -- Sharon Colaizzi
, New Castle, PA
" 'Put a little salt in there,' my mom always says (about washing machines). Salt will keep the nasty suds away in case you use too much detergent." -- Jonathan Quartuccio, White Plains, NY
"The one tip I remember most, primarily because I got to help as a young child, was polishing silver spoons with Colgate toothpaste.
My mother never trusted silver cleaning products that may contain chemicals on anything that can end up in my mouth. After wetting the spoon and applying fluoride toothpaste on it, I slowly rubbed it until it turned black, waited a few minutes, and upon washing away the toothpaste was treated to a shiny spoon that I could see my reflection in." -- Joyce Zee, San Leandro, CA
"My mom was green decades before it became mainstream. A great tip I learned from her was to use popcorn - plain and air popped - instead of Styrofoam pellets to cushion the contents of packages
before shipping." -- Carrie Olivia, Kennett Square, PA
"Apple cider vinegar was Mom's solution for everything, but especially cleaning toilets.
Our old toilet bowl had a ring around the inside that wouldn't come out even with hard scrubbing . The lime in the hard water had etched it in. One day Mom poured apple cider vinegar in the toilet, and left it overnight. In the morning, one quick swipe with the toilet bowl brush and the line was gone." -- Linda Johnson, Fishers, IN
"My mom taught me to never clean your windows on a sunny day.
The sun causes the glass cleaner (typically alcohol-based) to dry very quickly causing streaks. The more you wipe, the more streaks you get." -- Cindy Coulter, Berea, OH
"Ever since I was little my mom always lit a match or two right before chopping an onion.
Something in the sulfur makes the onion-chopping process tear-free." -- Wyatt J. Yates, Plano , TX