How to Solve 5 Sticky Situations

From clogged drains to dirty floors, try these clever solutions to life's sticky problems.

from Reader's Digest | March 2011

1. Get rid of religious proselytizers at your door. Acknowledge intent, not content, says British Esquire. It’s not that you don’t want to hear what they have to say (though you don’t—you really, really don’t). It’s a matter of time: Say “I appreciate your commitment to your faith in going door-to-door and spreading the word. I’m sorry I don’t have the time right now to give you what you deserve.”

2. Get rid of robocalls. Press the pound key (#) or the star, pound, and zero keys at the same time (*#0). That’s what commenters at lifehacker.com and a New York Times blog suggest you do to foil annoying calls from politicians (luckily, not so prevalent after the elections) and car- warranty “providers” (why won’t they just stop already?).

3. Get rid of clogged drains. The Family Handyman recommends a “cheap, fast, chemical-free” unclogger called Zip-it (available at Walmart, Walgreens, Ace, and Lowe’s), a jagged plastic wand with “teeth” you insert to bring up hair and goop. Another Family Handyman tip, from a reader: To unclog a shower drain, remove the drain plate, insert the hose of a shop vacuum, and tighten the seal, using a rag if necessary. Turn it on and suck the gunk away.

4. Unstick glue caps that refuse to budge. Dab petroleum jelly on the threads of the bottle when you first open it, one reader suggests in This Old House.

5. Get rid of dirt and add a seasonal scent. Ashley English of designspongeonline .com suggests this recipe for floor cleaner: 1 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda, 6 or 7 drops essential oil (cinnamon, pine, lavender, etc.)—mixed in a pail with hot water. Swish. Mop. Inhale.

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