Best trick with foil
Before you fire up the grill for your next cookout, get out the aluminum foil. A wadded up ball of foil creates the right amount of friction for removing cooked-on grime. I recently took my grates inside for an annual soaking and scrub down with dish soap, water and a wired brush. When I placed the grates back on the grill, I ran a ball of foil over them for good measure, and the last stubborn bits of residue came right off. After dinner, I turned the grill to high to burn off the grime, let the grates cool and balled up leftover foil from dinner prep. They came clean with minimal effort.
Best for washing sheet sets
You’ve been washing bed sheets for years, but you might not have been washing them correctly. Carolyn Forte of the Good Housekeeping Institute shares some of the most common mistakes. We’ve excerpted a few of them here:
1 Overloaded washer: “Today’s enormous washers can probably hold several sets (of sheets), but you should never cram them in,” Forte says. “And if your washer has an agitator in the middle, don’t wrap the sheets around it. This can cause them to wrinkle or tear. Instead, lay them in separately without wrapping them.”
2 Wrong washer setting: A heavy-duty cycle isn’t necessary (unless your sheets are a serious mess). “It’s fine to wash sheets on the normal, regular or colors cycle; they will still get clean,” Forte says. These options are gentler and shorter and will result in less wrinkling. Choose a setting that uses the hottest water safe for the fabric (check the care tag). “The hotter the water, the more germs you kill,” Forte says.
3 Too long in the dryer: Bedding might take longer to dry than a regular load of clothes, but leaving sheets in the dryer longer “just in case” can cause them to shrink. “It’s best to tumble dry sheets on low heat for the shortest time possible.” This reduces shrinkage and wrinkling.
4 Mixed loads: Not all linens are equal, so it’s best to keep very different loads separate to avoid over-drying. “Sheets dry faster than towels, so when the sheets are dry, the towels will likely still be wet,” Forte says.
Find the full list of laundry mistakes at http://nando.com/15p.
Best homemade salad dressing
Julie Seeley of Garner shared a homemade salad dressing for Summer Citrus Vinaigrette.
You will need:
1 small naval orange, zested and juiced
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Mix all ingredients in a blender, then slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil until combined.
Seeking homemade salad dressing recipes
We love a freshly dressed salad, especially when it is free of preservatives and things we can’t pronounce. If you have a simple, homemade dressing you love, please share your recipe. Precise measurements are a must. Send the recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name, street address and city. Put “best dressing” in the subject line.
Best reader tip
Betty Anne Lennon of Raleigh shared a tip for keeping the kitchen tidy during meal prep.
“I use an old jellyroll pan (or cookie sheet with a one-inch rim) that has lost its finish to put under a small chopping board on my countertop when chopping vegetables, slicing juicy fruit or meat with drippings. This keeps both my countertops and floor clean, and I can take the pan to the trash to empty easily. The pan can then be thoroughly cleaned in the sink. This has saved a lot of clean-up.”
Best of the tube
Upcycling the backyard space: Matt and his crew repurpose used materials to create a privacy wall and concrete pathway. Old metal pipes get new life as planters, and antique-looking window frames add visual interest to an otherwise boring fence next to a bocce ball court. Tune into “DIY Yard Crashers” at 4 p.m. Tuesday to see the transformation.
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