6 Tips For Cleaning During The Holidays

Wine - Freeze cubes of leftover wine and save them for recipes that call for vino. Or consolidate half-consumed bottles to make a boozy syrup that you can drizzle over waffles, ice cream, pound cake, ricotta, or fruit.

Water Ring - Try rubbing a bit of nongel toothpaste onto a water ring, then buff with a clean cloth. Or substitute full-fat mayonnaise for the toothpaste; leave it on for at least an hour before wiping clean and buffing.

Club Soda - Use flat club soda to hydrate houseplants. It usually contains a phosphate, which promotes growth and root development, says Deb Donaldson, a blue-ribbon winner at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Candy Canes - Enlist extras as stirrers to infuse drinks with peppermint; crush them and add a minty layer to s’mores; or create heart cupcakes. 

Fallen Needles and Branches - Repurpose needles as mulch; use sprigs in lieu of gift bows; and in temperate areas, cover delicate outdoor plants with branches to protect from frost.

Tissue Paper and Ribbon - Separate layers of clothing in a suitcase with gift-bag tissue to prevent wrinkles; crumple it into little balls to prettily cushion homemade treats in a gift tin; or wrap it around votive candle holders for instant mood lighting. Use leftover ribbon to tie up clusters of silver-ware at the table or to hang ornaments from the tree.

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