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23 Summer Life Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Save time and money this summer with these homemade hacks for cleaning, organizing, and keeping bugs at bay.

iStock/Dmitry Oshchepkov

Bleach sanitizes pool toys

Dip a sponge into a mixture of two cups of bleach and one gallon of water, then wipe down pool noodles and beach balls. Scrub off grime with a brush, and rinse with water. This is one of the ways you're not using bleach—but should.

iStock/YinYang

Vinegar brightens patio furniture

Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, and spritz over chairs and tables to remove mildew stains and prevent mold from forming. Love DIY fixes? Read these 8 home remedies for summer's most annoying problems.

iStock/oohtee

Coffee grounds banish ants

Sprinkle some grounds near doorways. Coffee’s high nitrogen content burns bugs, so they won’t walk across it and into your home.

iStock/5second

Flip-flops become doorstops

Cut a wedge of rubber from an old thong and use it to prop open a door and let the summer breeze in.

iStock/Anest

Dryer sheets repel bugs

Keep sheets of this laundry staple in a cup outdoors—they mask the human scent that attracts mosquitoes. Make sure you know the 10 most dangerous bugs to watch out for this summer.

iStock/Sawayasu Tsuji

Foil cleans the grill

While the coals are still red-hot, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the grates and close the grill’s lid. The next time you grill, crumple up the foil and use it to scrub off the burned residue before you start cooking. Also note these 8 ways to avoid food poisoning and keep your food safe this summer.

iStock/christingasner

Foil also catches ice cream cone drips

Keep little kiddos from making a mess of their clothes or your house by wrapping the bottom of an ice-cream cone (or a wedge of watermelon) with a piece of aluminum foil before handing it to them.

iStock/frankiefotografie

Baby powder gives beach sand the brush-off

How many times have you had a family member return from a day at the beach only to discover that a good portion of the beach is now dusting your dining room floor? Minimize the mess by sprinkling some baby powder over sweaty, sand-covered kids (and adults) before they enter the house. In addition to soaking up excess moisture, the powder makes sand incredibly easy to brush off.

iStock/BraunS

Bathtub appliqués make a kiddie pool less slippery

A few bathtub appliqués applied to the floor of a kiddie pool will make it a lot less slippery for little feet and help prevent falls, especially if water play turns rowdy. You can also put a couple along the edges of the pool to give kids easy places to grip onto.

iStock/Charliestockis

Bubble pack keeps soda cold

Wrap soft-drink cans with bubble pack to keep beverages refreshingly cold on hot summer days. Do the same for packages of frozen or chilled picnic foods. You can wrap ice cream just before you leave for the picnic to keep it firm en route. If you want to cut down on sugar drinks this summer, 14 summer superfood recipes to beat the heat (and stay healthy).

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest