No More Wire Hangers!

I can’t stand wire hangers, nevertheless they still end up accumulating in my closet. The dry cleaners, garage sales and thrift store buys all tend to come with wire hangers. Die-hard recycler that I am I can’t seem to throw them away so I started looking for ways that I could use them to either make my life a little easier (as in the Bottle Dryer tip below) or craft them into something beautiful. Some of these ideas came straight from the old noggin, and some came from surfing the Internet.

Bottle Dryer

To keep water spots from forming on the inside of items with a narrow neck, tape a rag to a straightened out wire hanger and use it to dry the inside of your container.

Bubble Maker

Mix one part dishwashing liquid to two parts water in a large container. Untwist the hanger and stretch it out straight leaving one end bent. Bend the bent section back on itself to make a handle. Bend the long straight section around to make a large hoop. Dip your new bubble-maker into soap solution and wave it gently to create giant bubbles.

Camping

Straighten out one or more hangers. Leave one end curved and doubled back on itself so you have something to hold onto.  Use to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire.

Christmas Decorations

Using wire cutters cut the long piece of wire away from the curved pieces. Use pliers to shape the wire into stars, hearts, diamonds, circles … whatever shapes you want for your Christmas decorations. Decorate the wire shapes by:

  • painting
  • spray with glue, then shake on glitter
  • wrap with fabric remnants
  • wrap with ribbon, lace or string

Tie ribbons to the top of your new decorations to hang them on your tree, in a window, on a mantle …

Dream Catcher

Bend a hanger into a circle. Wrap it with ribbon or raffia. Construct a web by wrapping ribbon, yarn and/or string across the open section of the hoop. String beads and feathers onto fishing line or heavy duty thread and tie onto your new dream catcher.

Halloween Costumes

Cut, bend, twist and shape hangers into all kinds of accessories for Halloween costumes. Swords, wings, halos and horns are a just a sample of what you can shape and cover with fabric, foil or paper.

Mobile For Baby

Structure of Mobile

You’ll need two wire hangers for this one and if you want to get really creative you can add more layers and use up more hangers.

With a pair of wire cutters cut the long straight portion of each hanger at the point just above where it curves up so that you have two straight rods with a slight curve up at each end.  With a pair of pliers make a loop in the center of one of the rods. Thread the other rod through the loop and bend the loop downwards and twist so that it locks the two rods together. Now use the pliers bend the end of each rod so that it curves back onto the rod creating a closed loop and making sure that there are no sharp edges exposed.

Mobile Design

Decide what you want to hang on your mobile. You can print something onto card stock and cut it out, use small toys, whatever suits you or in the case of a true DIY’er, whatever is laying around the house. Poke a hole in whatever you’re using, thread string, ribbon or fishing line through the hole and tie to the loop at the end of each wire. Tie string, ribbon or fishing line to the center loop to use for hanging your mobile.

Plant Hanger

Cut away curved pieces from 4 hangers. Twist a small loop at the end of each wire. Thread 3 sections onto the 4th section. Wrap the straight piece that all the others pieces are strung onto around a 6″ to 8″ pot just below the lip. Thread one end of the wire through the loop at the end of this wire and then twist the wire back on itself to secure.

Wreath

Cut the straight sections away from the curved sections. Bend one or more pieces of wire into a wreath shape. If using more than one piece of wire, use pliers to make a loop at the end of one wire. Slip the other wire through the loop then make a loop at the end of the second wire and bend it over the other loop to secure. After bending into your wreath shape do the same with the other two ends to hold the wreath together. You can make a single strand wreath or multi-strand wreath (which makes it easier to attach decorations to). Use florists wire to attach holly, evergreen or vines branches to your wreath. Leave as is or continue adding other decorations such as:

  • bows
  • ribbon
  • lace
  • silk flowers and/or leaves
  • small toys

 

 

Uses For Expired Baking Soda

I consider baking soda to be second only to vinegar. Both have a robust afterlife. When your baking soda expires there are so many uses for it in your kitchen, your bathroom, your garden, your closet … that it almost makes me smile when I find an expired box. Transfer it into clean and empty spice jars, the kind that have a plastic insert with holes. Keep one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom and one in your closet. Then it’s easy to grab and sprinkle whenever and wherever you need it.

 

Natural Cleaner

Bathroom Cleaner: mix baking soda with liquid soap to form a paste you can use to clean the bathtub, shower and sink. This works just as well as more expensive and chemical-laden cleaners.

Kitchen Cleaning Arsenol: baking soda is great for cleaning pots, pans, glass and Pyrex cookware and buffing stainless steel cutlery.

Natural Oven Cleaner: Make a paste with baking soda and a little water and rub all over your oven walls and door. Close the oven and turn on to 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Then turn the oven off and let it cool. Wipe clean.

 

Health and Beauty

Antacid: mix 1 teaspoon baking soda with 4 ounces of water. Drink and you’ll feel much better. Caution: do not use more than 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Bath Soak: add a cup to your bathwater to soften your skin.

Body Scrub: some will suggest you also use it as a face scrub but it’s much too abrasive for your face. You’ll eventually end up with broken capallaries. But as a body scrub it’s fine.

Breath Freshener: gargle with half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. Do not swallow.

Canker Sore Relief: gargle with half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. Do not swallow.

Decongestant: loosen up a stuffy nose by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to your vaporizer.

Deodorant: apply with a powder puff or cotton ball.

Diaper Rash: put two tablespoons in baby’s bathwater to help relieve diaper rash.

Itch Relief: either use the bath soak above or mix with water to form a paste to relieve itchiness from insect bites, rashes, bee stings, jellyfish sting and poison ivy. Once the paste is dry you can rub it off or wash it off. It is amazing how this paste takes the itch away for hours.

Odors Be Gone: by rubbing your  hands with baking soda and water. This is especially helpful in the kitchen when working with garlic and/or onions.

Sunburn Relief: use the bath soak above to gain relief from sunburn or windburn.

Teeth Whitener: dip your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide and then in baking soda. Caution: this trick has been around for a very long time, however my dentist feels that the baking soda is too abrasive and that the hydrogen peroxide kills healthy tissue.

 

Around the House

Air Freshener: mix baking soda with perfumed bath salts. Put the mixture in small sachet bags and leave in any rooms that need a little pick-me-up.

Ashtray Prep: sprinkle in ashtrays to help reduce the odor and prevent smoldering cigarettes from catching fire.

Brush Restorer: boil  stiff brushes in a mixture of 1/2 gallon water, 1/4 cup white vinegar and a cup of baking soda.

Bug Deterrant: place an open container of baking soda under sinks and along basement windows to repel cockroaches and ants.

Fire Extinguisher: keep near your stove, the fireplace, with your candles … anywhere where there is danger of fire. Dump it on a small fires to extinguish them.

Flower Freshener: keep cut flowers fresh much longer by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the water in your vase.

Fridge Freshener: put an open container of baking soda in the fridge and in the freezer to absorb any odors.

Laundry Freshener: soak yucky smelling items such as dish rags, babies bibs and anything musty smelling in baking soda and water.

Play Dough: mix 2 cups Baking Soda with 1 cup Cornstarch and 1 and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continually until it looks somewhat like mashed potatoes. Place the dough in a owl and cover with a damp cloth until it’s cooled. Turn out onto a work surface that’s been liberally sprinkled with cornstarch. Knead until it’s the desired consistency.

Rain Deterant: wipe your windshield with baking soda to repel rain.

Rug and Vacuum Freshener: sprinkle on your carpet and let sit for about 30 minutes. Then vacuum up. It will freshen both the rug and the vacuum cleaner.

Shoe Freshener: sprinkle in your (or kiddos, or hubbies …) slippers, boots, shoes, and socks to eliminate yucky odors or follow Nicole’s lead and use an old pair of pantyhose – well let her tell you her no mess way to freshen your shoes.

 

In The Garden

Rabbit Deterrant: sprinkle baking soda around your garden to keep the rabbits from eating your herbs and veggies.

Tomato Sweetener: sweeten your tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda onto the soil around the plants.

Pet Helper

Litter Box: sprinkle baking soda into your cat’s litter box to help absorb the odor.

Pet Freshener: sprinkle on your pet’s comb or brush to deodorize both fur and skin.

 

Cooking Helper

Baking Powder Substitute: if your recipe calls for baking powder and you have none, baking soda is a perfect stand in when mixed with cream of tartar or vinegar. Mix 2 parts cream of tartar with 1 part baking soda. Use the same amount of this mixture as the recipe calls for of baking powder.

Bean De-gasser: soak dried beans in a baking soda solution before boiling them to make them more digestible. Rinse well before boiling.

Chicken: if you live on a farm, you may already know this trick. When boiling a freshly caught chicken, add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water. The feathers will come out much easier, and the meat will be clean and white.

Fish: I’ve heard that you can remove the fishy smell from your fillets by soaking the raw fish in a baking soda solution for an hour inside the fridge but if my fish smells fishy I would toss it.

Omelets: Make fluffier omelets by adding half a teaspoon of baking soda for every three eggs used.

Produce Cleaner: wash fruits and vegetables with a little baking soda.

Sports Drink: Make a sports drink by mixing 1/16 teaspoon baking soda with boiled water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and Kool-Aid.

Tomatoes: Reduce the acid content of your tomato-based recipes by sprinkling them with a pinch of baking soda.

Wild Game: Remove the distinctive taste of wild game by soaking it in a baking soda solution.

 

Cleaning

Ashtrays: Clean your ashtrays with a baking soda solution with just enough water to make a paste. This will not only remove debris but deodorize as well.

Baby Bottles: Combine with hot water to clean baby bottles.

Barbecue Grills: Sprinkle it on barbecue grills, then rinse it off.

Bathroom: Use it to scrub sinks, showers, plastic and porcelain tubs.

Brush & Combs: Soak brushes and combs in a baking soda solution.

Carpet Cleaner: Dry clean carpets and upholstered furniture by sprinkling baking soda over the fabric and gently brushing it. Leave it for an hour or overnight, then vacuum.

Chrome Cleaner: Combine it with water to make a paste for polishing stainless steel and chrome.

Coffee Maker: Run your coffee maker with a baking soda solution, then rinse.

De-greaser: Remove grease from pots and pans.

Dentures: Use it to clean your retainers and dentures.

Deodorize Thermos’ & Water Bottles: Use it to get rid of stale odors from cooling containers and thermos bottles.

Diaper Deodorizer: Use it to wash diapers.

Dishes: Mix it with water to wash food and drink containers. Use less water if you need a little extra scrubbing power.

Dishwasher: Add a spoonful to your dishwasher to make scrubbing dishes easier.

Drains: Keep your drains clean by putting four tablespoons of baking soda in them each week. Flush it down with hot water.

Enameled Pots: Make a thick paste with baking soda & water to scrub enameled cast iron & stainless steel pots and pans.

Formica: Absorb it with a damp sponge, then clean Formica countertops with the sponge.

Fresh Smelling Garbage: Clean garbage cans with it.

Fridge Deodorizer: Clean the fridge with it.

Garages & Grease: Scatter it on your greasy garage floor, scrub the floor, and rinse.

Laundry: Boost your laundry detergent’s cleaning power by sprinkling a handful on dirty clothes.

Marble: Put three tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of warm water, then use the mixture to wash marble-topped furniture.

Marked Up No More: Remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls.

Ovens: Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with a quart of warm water, and use it to clean the inside part of an oven.

Pots & Pans: Remove burned-on food from a pan by soaking it in a baking soda solution for 10 minutes before washing.

Purses: Dip a scrub brush or toothbrush in baking soda to scrub canvas handbags. Rinse well by running under water and hanging to dry or going over with a wet wash rag until all traces of the baking soda are gone.

Shoe Polish: Clean your shoes with it.

Shower Curtains: Clean your shower curtains by soaking them in baking soda and water.

Toaster Oven: Next time you leave a plastic bag on top of your toaster oven you can use baking soda to remove the melted plastic. Sprinkle the baking soda on a damp rag or sponge, then use the rag to clean the toaster.

Toilet: Add a cup to the toilet, leave it for an hour, and then flush. It will clean the toilet and absorb the odor.

Pantyhose & Tights Recycled into Amazing Things

recycle your pantyhose

I don’t know if anyone is still wearing pantyhose. Personally I don’t buy them anymore and I’m using up all my old pairs to keep warm under my long skirts, jeans and as a second layer under tights, but eventually they will run and so I’ve found some great ways to use them around the house. FYI: I use the techniques below also with tights that have a run or snag.

Air Freshener

Cut a pair of old pantyhose off at the knees. Spoon one of the mixtures below into the foot and tie closed. Then just put it under the seat in your car, stash it in a dresser drawer, in an inconspicuous spot in the bathroom or kitchen. Yes it’s ugly, but that’s why you hide it.

  • approximately 1 tablespoon each whole cloves and allspice and several cinnamon sticks
  • store-bought potpourri – you can buy the ugly potpourri which is much cheaper but smells wonderful, remember you’re going to be hiding this air freshener.

Arm Warmers

A pair of thick tights can be used as arm warmers to allow you to wear your favorite short sleeve t-shirt into colder weather or under long sleeved shirts and sweaters to keep you even warmer. Just cut off the foot section and then cut off each leg at the top. Leave as is or turn under and hem to give it a more finished edge. You can even cut a little thumb-slit at the foot end for a cooler look and a warmer warmer. Pantyhose arm warmers work if you’re going to be using them under long sleeves, but they look a little strange if you’re wearing them with a short sleeve shirt.

Candle Cleaner

Cleaning a dusty candle is easy when you have a pair of old pantyhose on hand. Just slip the candle inside the leg of the hose and roll it around, making sure to carefully wipe the top of the candle with the hose.

Candle Making

Smooth rough spots on your homemade candles by rubbing them with a piece of pantyhose.

Car Emergency Kit

Wrap a quilt made from old blankets (doesn’t matter if it’s ugly) around a large coffee can filled with emergency supplies and secure with a pair of old pantyhose or tights which can then be used for a variety of emergencies such as:

  • to replace a broken belt in your car’s engine
  • as a tourniquette
  • to filter liquids (hey, you never know where you might get stranded)
  • to secure a splint to a broken arm or leg

China Cleaner

Delicate china can benefit from a gentle cleaning with a pair of old pantyhose. The pantyhose are abrasive enough to get the china clean and gentle enough to avoid scratching it.

Computer Protector

Stretch a pair of panty hose over the back of your hard drive to keep dust out.

Deodorant Stain Remover

Remove deodorant stains from clothing in a flash by rubbing with a wadded up length of pantyhose.

Doll

Ehow has a great tutorial for making pantyhose dolls.

Draft Dodger

Stuff the leg cut from a pair of pantyhose or tights with newspaper or scrap fabric. Position at the bottom of a door that’s letting in a little too much air.

Elastic

Cut pantyhose into strips to give you the length of the elastic that you need. I like to use them to replace the drawstrings in my workout pants and shorts because I can tie them at the length that will hold my pants up and they are stretchy enough that I can take them off and put them on without having to constantly untie and retie the drawstring. Love a makeover that makes life a little easier :)

Eyeglass Cleaner

One pair of pantyhose with a run can save you from ever having to purchase disposable eyeglass cleaners again. Pantyhose are lint free and have enough of an abrasive surface to clean without scratching.

Cut a pair of pantyhose which you can no longer wear into small squares and stash them where you can easily grab them to clean your eyeglasses and sunglasses. Stash a few in your purse, in a desk drawer, in your automobile glove compartment … I’m a bit obsessive so I store them inside snack-size baggies but you could use recycled envelopes as well.

You can also use them to clean your computer screen and the glass or acrylic in your picture frames.

Place used pantyhose squares in a mesh lingerie bag, wash and re-use them over and over again.

Filter

A clean pair of pantyhose makes a great filter. Make sure that if there is a run you are not using that area for your filter as it will not filter effectively. Here are some of the ways I’ve used them, but I’m sure once you get the idea you’ll come up with many more uses for them:

  • Stretched over a paint bucket. Pour paint with debris in it through the pantyhose into the new container.
  • When I forgot to bring a colander on a camping trip a pair of pantyhose stretched over the pasta cooking pot was a lifesaver. And for those of you who are wondering – no I did not pack pantyhose to wear on a camping trip; an old pair of pantyhose is part of my emergency gear kit.
  • An old pantyhose leg can stand in for an expensive metal lint trap for the hose on your washing machine. You can easily attach an section of a pair of old pantyhose to the washing machine hose with a rubber band then just throw the pantyhose away when it’s full.

Find Lost Items

Next time that you drop a small earring, a contact lens or a beaded necklace breaks don’t despair. Slip the leg of a pair of pantyhose over your vacuum cleaner hose. Move the hose over the area where the dropped item is and in a flash you’ll find it clinging to the mouth of the hose.

Fishing Net

If you have an old tennis, badmitten or racquetball racquet that’s no longer fit for a good game you have the beginnings of a new fishing net. Remove the strings from the racquet. Cut off one leg from an old pair of pantyhose. Using a staple-gun, staple the leg to the racquet. Grab you pole and head to the river!

Flowers

refashioned pantyhose flowers

This doesn’t work well for nude pantyhose, but colored pantyhose and tights can be easily made into flowers to use for your refashions,  flowers for pillows or curtain trim or curtain tiebacks … Check out these tutorials for detailed instructions with pictures:

Wired Pantyhose Flowers

More Wired Pantyhose Flowers

Flowers for Fashion

Note: you can toss your nude pantyhose into a dye bath if you want to use them to make up some flowers.

Frisbee

Frisbee? Yes, you can make a frisbee out of old pantyhose or tights.

Garden Pest Control

This one is a bit odd and many of you may forgo doing this, but I’m here to give you options and this is a viable option AND a two-fer since you’re also recycling cut hair. Ask a local salon or barbershop for swept up hair. Wearing gardening gloves (the hair ends can be sharp), stuff used unwashed panty hose with the hair scraps. Place these in your garden. You may want to hide them under bushes or in trees since let’s face it, they’re ugly. The human smell generated from the hair and unwashed pantyhose will help to keep many pests and animals away from your garden.

Garden Ties

Cut pantyhose across legs into ½ inch wide bands. Cut each tube band apart so that you have ties approximately six-inches long. These are ideal to train climbing plants and to tie plantings to stakes.

Garden Hammock

For fruits and vegetables that are growing on a trellis and need to be supported a pantyhose hammock is a great solution. Tie both foot ends of the pantyhose to the trellis arranging them so that the pantyhose  is supporting the produce in its own hammock. For extra protection tie a knot at the top and bottom of each fruit or vegetable. Don’t worry about making these knots close to the produce as the pantyhose will stretch as the produce grows.

Hair Scrunchies

Cut pantyhose across the leg for ponytail scrunchies. What I love about these is that pantyhose scrunchies look so much more elegant than the ones you buy at the store that have gathered cotton fabric sewn into a tube. Don’t believe me? Try it. They really look quite elegant. Or if you want a really unique scrunchie check out this tutorial on Fingerweave Hair Scrunchies.

Hair Headbands

Cut your pantyhose across the top for headbands. If your pantyhose are the same color as your hair they’ll appear invisible while holding your hair in place. If your pantyhose are colored you can pair them with several different color pantyhose for the effect you want. You can even clip a lightweight brooch to the headband for a different look.

Paint Saver

A pair of pantyhose can save a can of paint. Stretch the pantyhose over a paint bucket that has debri in it. Pour paint through the pantyhose into a new container.

Poster Storage

Slip a rolled up poster into a pair of pantyhose leg to keep it from unrolling and the edges from tearing. If the leg isn’t staying up around the poster, use the waistband of the pantyhose as a tie around the poster.

Recycling Helper

Use the waistband cut from a pair of pantyhose to hold a pile of newspapers or broken down boxes together.

Scrubber

Slip a sponge into a length cut from a leg of pantyhose. Knot both ends to keep the sponge inside. You now have a non-abrasive scrubbing pad you can use for dishes and cleaning up around the house.

Shine Shoes

Rub pantyhose over your leather shoes to shine them right up.

Soap Mitt

Drop bits of soap into the cut-off leg of a pair of old pantyhose. Tie the top of the leg just above the soap pouch and tuck the end of the long leg into the tied portion so that you have a loop. Hang your pre-soaped mitt in the shower.

Stuffed Animals

stuffed animals made from tights

Use old tights to make stuffed animals for your little ones. Bonus – these tend to have a nice vintage look.

Stuffed Animal Repair

If your child has a favorite stuffed animal that has seen better days you can give it new life by picking a couple of inches apart along a seam and stuffing a pair or two of pantyhose inside then stitching it back up.

Trash Can Liner

Cut the waistband from a pair of old panty hose and use as a giant band to secure the trash bag onto the trash can.

Wrapping Paper Storage

Slip a roll of wrapping paper into a pair of pantyhose leg to keep it from unrolling and the edges from tearing. If the leg isn’t staying up around the wrapping paper roll, use the waistband of the pantyhose as a tie around the roll.