Most of us would probably agree that we reach a certain point in life and assume we’ve got the mundane day-to-day living tasks down pat. However, you may, in fact, be going about some common chores and activities the wrong way, and in doing them the right way, you may see better results, save some time, and in some cases, even save some money. We put together a list of some chores and the better way to do them!
8 Common Chores You May Be Doing Wrong:
- A Better Way to Mow
If you always mow your lawn in the same direction, you are doing it wrong. By mowing the same way every time your mower wheels pass over the same area in the same direction each time. This can cause ruts to form in your yard over time. By alternating the direction you mow you avoid having the mower blade beating at the grass in the same direction every time, which can encourage the grass to lean in one particular direction. Alternate your mowing pattern and grass will stand up straight.
The debate about whether it’s best to dust or vacuum first rages on in housekeeping circles. Dust-first advocates claim gravity will send some of that dust floorward where it can then be vacuumed up. Vacuum-first folks say vacuuming kicks up dust, which can be picked up via dust cloth after the air settles. You choose the order, but when you do break out the dust cloth, ignore what you’ve seen on TV. In commercials for dusting products and furniture polish, the product is spritzed liberally onto wood surfaces and then wiped. But if you just lightly spray the cloth instead, you’ll have to buff less and you’ll avoid the sticky buildup that can result over time from using too much polish. You’ll also use less product, which is why marketers like to show people spraying away.
- Make Better Ice
You use a plate; you wash the plate. The same is true with ice trays, right? Every time you dump out the cubes do you wash the tray before refilling? Some refrigeration experts claim ice tastes better if you wash those trays less frequently because minerals from the water build up in the trays and make the ice taste better. So stop washing them every time you empty them. Of course if you freeze anything other than water in your ice trays, or if they start to pick up food odors, run them through the dishwasher, or soak in a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and warm water.
- Brush, THEN Floss
Most people think it makes sense to use floss first to loosen food particles stuck between the teeth and then brush them away. But at your last dental appointment flossing was probably the last step in the cleaning process. That’s because flossing is more effective in getting rid of small particles after brushing removes large particles. By brushing first the floss will also transfer some of your toothpaste’s fluoride into the crevices between your teeth, making it more effective at fighting cavities. Give your mouth a final rinse after flossing.
- Don’t Freeze Your Beans!
You may have been advised to store your stash of coffee beans in the freezer to keep them fresh. That’s a mistake because every time you take out the container of beans to make coffee, their temperature fluctuates, creating condensation, which leeches out the flavor. The beans can also pick up flavors from other foods stored in the freezer. You are better off keeping coffee beans in an airtight container on your kitchen counter.
- Rake Mistake
Here’s something you might be doing wrong that when corrected will free up time for you and make your lawn healthier. Many homeowners make the mistake of raking up all the grass clippings. Grass clippings, if not too long, should be left behind to provide additional nourishment for your lawn. Grass clippings are great natural mulch.
- Don’t Wash That Chicken!
Although you probably saw your mom do it whenever she made your favorite chicken dinner, rinsing raw poultry before you cook it does not kill germs and can actually spread them. Giving your chicken a shower or bath can cause the bacteria on the bird to splatter around the kitchen, contaminating your utensils, prep area and other foods. The USDA, which has for years advised against rinsing or soaking chicken prior to cooking, says thoroughly cooking it to an internal temperature of at least 165º F will destroy any bacteria.
- Are You Driving Wrong?
Back in driver’s education you were probably taught to think of the steering wheel as a clock and position your hands at the 10 and 2. Today’s newer drivers, however, have been taught to keep their hands on the sides of the wheel at 3 and 9 or the bottom of the wheel at 8 and 4. Why? Because if an airbag were to deploy when the driver’s hands were in the traditional position, their arms could be blown into their face with tremendous force causing serious pain and injury. And since most vehicles today have power steering, the 10 and 2 hand position isn’t really necessary. Having your hands lower may also prevent arm fatigue while driving.
How many of these things have you been doing right? Or wrong? Did we leave something off the list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Judy Kneiszel is a freelance writer from De Pere, Wisconsin. She contributes to regional and national magazines and newsletters, writing on a wide variety of topics including food, farming, health, renewable energy, and running a small business.