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The ultimate appliance for convenience, slow cookers cook dinner while you are at work or sleeping. They are really simple, consisting of an electric base, an insert or ‘crock’ and a glass lid. They haven’t changed much since the 1940s, but now they’re back in vogue. You simply toss in all the ingredients and hours later you have a delicious, wholesome meal. Cheaper cuts of meat can be used, as they tenderise with the slow-cooking process. 

1. Stylish white

The capacity is big, so it’s suitable for a large family. It has
a white ceramic bowl, which looks good enough to take straight to the table for serving. The heat settings have a time range between two and 20 hours, with a default of six hours for the high setting and eight for low. Once the cooking time is finished, the slow cooker automatically engages the ‘keep warm’ function – a useful feature. The meat and vegetables in the beef stew were really tender and soft after a six-hour cooking time on the low setting.

Taurus Lento Cuina 968210

FEATURES: 320W, 6,5l capacity, keep-warm function and two heat settings, programmable timer, digital display

R1 500 SHOP NOW
2. Small and compact

This slow cooker has three different heat settings: high, low and auto. Using the auto setting, you can cook frozen food. The slow cooker will cook on high until the food defrosts and reaches a preset temperature, and then it will switch to low. The capacity is small, but perfectly adequate for two or four servings. We made a rice pudding and after eight hours of cooking we were really impressed the result. The dried split peas we used in soup were really soft and mushy after cooking for the day.

Safeway PIA 4350,

FEATURES: 200W, 3,5l capacity, three heat settings

R499 SHOP NOW
3. DIGITAL CONTROLS

This slow cooker doesn’t have the largest capacity of the ones we tested, but it’s still a good size for a large family. The cheap cut of beef we cooked in a curry was really tender and flavourful. The whole chicken was well cooked but not as brown as we would have liked. The handle of the glass lid is metal and gets hot during cooking, so use oven gloves to remove the lid. The instruction manual comes with a useful table of cooking times for different foods and a lot of handy recipes.

Russell Hobbs RHSS70

FEATURES: 220W, 6l capacity, three heat settings, programmable timer, digital display

R1 099 SHOP NOW
4. GREAT RECIPE BOOK

This is similar to the Safeway unit we tested, with the same features. The capacity is small and the wattage is low. There is a very comprehensive recipe book that comes with the unit. We cooked potatoes on both the high and low settings and they were really soft inside, with nicely browned skins. Cooking on the low setting took almost twice as long as it did on the high setting, so choose the heat setting according to how much time you have.

Mellerware Tempo 27565

FEATURES: 200W, 3,5l capacity, three heat settings, recipe book

R600 SHOP NOW
5. GOOD BROWNER

The wattage of this slow cooker is higher than the others we tested and, as expected, the different foods we cooked were completed in a shorter time. We made a whole chicken that was beautifully browned and so tender it was falling apart after five hours. The potato skins were browner than those done in the other slow cookers. The capacity of the ‘crock’ is well suited to a larger family. The instruction manual comes with a number of useful recipes.

Kenwood SCM650SS

FEATURES: 350W, 6,5l capacity, three heat settings

R881
6. BUDGET BUY

This slow cooker has manual controls and a power indicator light. It is big and is suitable for a large family. It has low, high and auto-heat settings. The whole chicken we cooked was nicely browned and extremely tender. The dried split peas were soft and well cooked after about four hours on high and made a delicious soup. The baked potatoes’ potato skins were brown and the insides were soft. The instruction manual comes with a few handy recipes.

Kambrook PIA 4340

FEATURES: 300W, 6l capacity, three heat settings

R559
7. MULTITASKERS

This cult US seven-in-one single-use appliance lets you do everything from cook rice to make yoghurt, slow-cook stews and pressure-cook soups. The sauté function of this 1 000W, 6l capacity pot is really handy, and because it will keep food warm and since you can set the timer to start cooking when you’re not around, it’s deserving of its must-have status.

Instant Pot

R2 199 
8. MULTITASKERS

Essentially a pressure cooker, this appliance has a slow-cook function, so it can be used to make stews and soups. The round shape is not as convenient for doing a whole chicken or joints of meat. It can also be used to fry, which is useful for sautéing onions and meat before starting the slow-cooking process. The meat we used in a stew was really tender after six hours of cooking.

COOKING TIPS

MAKE SURE you don’t fill the slow cooker more than two-thirds of its capacity.

THE LID is not a sealed fit and should not be removed unnecessarily, as heat will escape. Add an additional 10 minutes to the cooking time each time you take off the lid.

HARD VEGETABLES generally take longer to cook than meat, so cut them into fairly small pieces and place them at the bottom of the crock.

SOME RECIPES suggest browning the meat and onions before adding them to the slow cooker to seal in the juices and reduce the fat content. This is not essential, but will improve the flavour.

SOME INGREDIENTS like pasta, seafood, milk and cream are not suitable for slow cooking and should only be added near the end of the cooking time.

THE GLAZE on the cooking pot may become crackled after using it for a few months. This is quite normal with glazed stoneware and won’t affect the cooking efficiency.

VERY LITTLE liquid boils away in a slow cooker so, as a general rule, the amount of liquid used in standard recipes can be halved.

Photo: iStock/sumnersgraphicsinc

The post Tested products: Slow cookers appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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Have you ever stopped to admire a child’s drawing of a room? They let their imaginations loose, conjuring up designs that are filled with colour, pattern and fun. Imagine if those drawings were brought to life. Children would be able to stay in the room of their dreams! 

Angie’s List, a home-service recommendation site in America, decided to turn children’s bedroom drawings into a reality. Inspired by the playfulness and creativity of their art, Angie’s List asked children around the world to design their dream bedrooms with no limitations. They then created them. 

Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest.

Take a look at what they achieved: 

Inaya (5) from Pakistan

Inaya, who loves nature and the outdoors, drew a flower bed sheet and grass around the bed. She also included a swing or slide for her to play on. Her wall is also made up of jigsaw-puzzle pieces. 

Martín (6) from Spain 

Who says you can’t have a five-storey bunk bed? Martín’s dream bedroom has a bed that looks like a skyscraper. The best part is that there is a spiral slide attached to the top bunk of the bed, making coming down a lot more fun. 

Gala (6) from Argentina

Gala’s entire design centres around a massive tree. According to Gala, inside the tree lives a parrot that is free to fly in and out of the window at any time. 

Elias (7) from Greece 

It is clear that Elias loves green and nature, so Angie’s List created an incredible indoor forest, complete with a little pond in the corner. Elias loves squirrels and nuts, so his room is designed so he can have real squirrels come and live with him.

Viola (9) from Ukraine 

Viola created a colourful land full of rainbows for her dream bedroom. There are clouds in the sky and a little garden for her to enjoy. The whole room is bright and full of joy. 

Harry (10) from England 

When he grows up, Harry wants to be either a police officer or a racing-car driver, so his bedroom is the perfect training space for both of those careers. 

Briana (10) from the Philippines

Briana thinks big. Big pink rug, big bed so her friends can sleep over and big notice board for her to pin up all her ideas. 

Image Source: Angie’s List 

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The post Designers create bedrooms from children’s drawings appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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WhatsApp users are being urged to update the messaging app immediately after it was revealed some users had their phone’s cameras and microphones accessed by Israeli hackers.

A flaw in the messaging app allowed the hackers to surreptitiously install software on both iPhone and Android smartphones. As well as accessing the camera and microphone, the software let hackers trawl through emails on the phones too.

Sneaky install

The malicious software was installed by ringing the recipient using WhatsApp’s calling function. Worryingly, even if the call was not answered, the software was still installed and hackers could even delete the call from the phone’s log.

“We believe a select number of users were targeted through this vulnerability by an advanced cyber actor”, WhatsApp said about the attack.

What can I do?

The firm has closed the flaw, which it says was discovered in early May, but is encouraging everyone to make sure they have the latest version of the app installed. On an iPhone, open the App Store and press Updates in the bottom right hand corner. Scroll though the list and if WhatsApp has ‘Update’ next to it (rather than ‘Open’) it’s not the latest version. Press update and the newest version will be installed.

On an Android smartphone, open the Google Play Store and tap the menu icon (looks like three horizontal lines) from the top left hand side. Choose My Apps & Games, then if WhatsApp is listed under the section marked Updates Pending, press Update (to the right-hand side) and the latest version will be installed.

From: Goodhousekeeping.com

Photo: iStock/bombuscreative

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The post You need to update your WhatsApp app right now – here’s why appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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One of life’s little pleasures is the sound of birds tweeting in a garden, and one of the easiest ways to draw birds to your garden is with a bird feeder. Follow this handy step-by-step video to make your own. 

What you need:

Measuring tape

Pencil

Wood cut to size: 250mm x 92mm x 11mm (four planks)

Drill

Wood drill bit (10mm to 12mm)

Wood glue

Panel pins

Hammer

Wooden dowel stick: 12mm dowel stick (100mm) 

Woodoc Colours Brights in Yellow

Woodoc Water-Borne Deck Clear Matt/Low Gloss. (1 litre)

Paintbrush and tray/bowl

Sandpaper

Small plate or catch tray for mini terracotta pot (from a nursery)

Superglue

Rope

Step-by-step video: how to make a bird feeder 
Step-by-step: how to make a bird feeder - YouTube
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Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest.
6 steps to make a bird feeder:

1. The four planks will create a cube box as the frame of the bird feeder. In the centre of two of the planks drill holes for the rope and the wooden dowel (10 – 12mm wood drill bit for the dowel to fit in snugly) on which the plate for the birdseed will be mounted.

2. Join the planks to create the cube, with the planks with the holes in them opposite each other (top and bottom of cube). Fasten with wood glue and hammer in panel pins.

3. Dab (or dribble) wood glue on the tip of the dowel stick and insert it into the bottom plank’s hole.

4. Mix the yellow Woodoc Brights Colour into the sealer and paint the box with a light coat, leave to dry and sand lightly. Paint two to three coats depending on the intensity required.

5. Thread the rope from which the bird feeder will hang through the top hole and secure with a knot.

6. Glue the small plate for the seeds onto the dowel with superglue.

Scoop birdseed into the feeder and hang your project in the garden for the birds to enjoy.

Woodoc Water-Borne Deck Clear Matt/Low Gloss is developed in South Africa using the most advanced international technology and is high in UV-absorbers to withstand the harsh African sun and extreme weather. It’s the answer to keeping decks looking beautiful for longer.

Woodoc Colours are formulated to be added to the Clear Woodoc Sealer of your choice to ensure an easy and controlled application. Woodoc Colours are available in various fashion shades and eight wood shades, and can be used on pine furniture, wooden floors, wooden toys, wooden patio furniture, garage doors and gates.  

For more information on Woodoc wood-care and maintenance products, visit www.woodoc.com.

ALSO READ:

Step-by-step: how to make a desk organiser

Step-by-step: how to make a notice board

Step-by-step: how to make a herb planter

The post Step-by-step: how to make a bird feeder appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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If you regularly host functions at your home and have been listed as the “host with the most” amongst friends and family, then you know just how important preparing your home for a party is.

If you’re anything like us and find yourself scurrying around like mad trying to get your house presentable, follow these pointers for getting your house ready for guests in a flash!

The guest bathroom:

A sparkling restroom will show that you are attentive to cleanliness and your guests’ comfort.

  • Give the taps and mirrors a quick wipe to make them sparkle.
  • Brush down the bowl of your loo and drizzle it with toilet cleaner.
  • Make sure the floors are clean!
  • Clear the counters of unnecessary clutter – hide them in your bedroom cupboard for today!
  • Replace hand towels with fresh ones, and make sure there is enough hand soap available.
  • Ensure that there are a couple of spare rolls of toilet paper stacked neatly in the restroom.
Your kitchen:
  1. Clear an area in your kitchen for any last-minute food preparation.
  2. Make space in your fridge by freezing leftover food or getting rid of expired goods. Place large containers, such as milk cartons, yoghurt and items that you don’t need for the festivities at the back of the refrigerator to make way for party food and beverages.
  3. Scan the house for dirty plates, glasses, etc. and, if you’re lucky enough to have one, pack it away in your dishwasher. If you don’t, delegate a member of your household to wash these up and put them back where they belong.
  4. Empty the bins in the rooms that will be used by guests (like the kitchen, bathroom or living area). Line the containers with clean liners (ones that smell nice are a bonus!).
The living area:
  • Straighten and fluff up sofa pillows.
  • Fold throws neatly and put unnecessary accessories out of sight.
  • Arrange stacks of magazines and books neatly.
  • Create a place for your guests to leave their handbags and personal belongings like jerseys etc. so that these don’t clutter your house.
  • Light scented candles. Candlelight is flattering, and the wafting aroma will add a lovely ambience. Fresh flowers also really brighten a room!

By following these hacks and making sure you have comprehensive home and contents insurance, you and your guests will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy your party (there’s only the cleaning up afterwards – but that’s another story)!

If you want to know more about how you can save on your insurance policy, apply for an insurance quote today so you can start living your way.

The post Get your home guest-ready in 30 minutes or less appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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Start browsing for mental health apps on your phone and it’s easy to feel a sense of anxiety just scrolling through all of the options. It’s not just you, though. Right now there are up to 15 000 different ones available to download, says Stephen Schueller, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Psychological Science at UC Irvine in the US. Schueller is also the Executive Director of PsyberGuide, a non-profit online resource that evaluates mental health apps for their credibility, user experience, and data security and privacy.

Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest.

PsyberGuide recently named the five best apps for people with anxiety, and surprisingly the popular meditation apps Headspace and Calm aren’t on the list. ‘The research on meditation for anxiety is still mixed a little bit at this point,’ Dr. Schueller explains. ‘There’s so much content in these apps that sometimes it’s hard to find those specific meditations that align with what you need.’

The apps that did make the cut specifically feature evidence-based methods shown to help with diagnosable anxiety disorders, but they may also benefit anyone experiencing anxiety or stress. Each one in the list represents the variety of different options and strategies available, Dr. Schueller says. To get the biggest benefits, do a deep-dive into an app’s features during the first week and use it for at least another month or two before deciding whether it’s making a difference, he advises. The same app won’t work for every person, and they’re just one aspect of addressing mental health.

‘Apps are not a replacement for treatment,’ Dr. Schueller states. ‘You do have to think about if you aren’t in treatment, where you’re going to get the human support and motivation.’ With that in mind, here are the five best apps you can try for anxiety:

1. ReachOut Breathe

‘Sometimes when we’re anxious, we shift into the fight-or-flight mode where we have these really shallow breaths,’ Dr. Schueller says. ‘Breathing exercises, especially in the moment, can actually counter some of those physiological measures that can happen.’ ReachOut Breathe implements this technique by guiding your breathing, telling you when to inhale and exhale. The uncomplicated interface can also measure your heart rate using your phone’s camera. 

Get it for iOS.

2. Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)

Developed by scientists in the U.K., SAM is an unusual app because it encourages users to think about situations that make them anxious and how they would think and act in each scenario. “What we see in anxiety disorders often is that people get trapped in this avoidance cycle where they avoid the things that make them anxious and therefore don’t master the skills to cope,” Dr. Schueller says. “One of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorders are exposure-based treatments, so things that actually get us to face our fears.”

Get it for iOS and Android.

3. Pacifica

This app draws on a lot of strategies used in cognitive behavioural therapy, including progressive muscle relaxation. This guided technique can teach people with a generalised anxiety disorder to recognise the tension carried in their bodies and how to release those muscles, Dr. Schueller says. Plus, Pacifica has some research to actually supports that it is effective at reducing depression and anxiety in individuals.

Get it for iOS and Android.

4. Mindshift

Whether you’re struggling with general worry, social anxiety, perfectionism, panic, phobia, or another kind of anxiety, Mindshift offers customised tips depending on what you’re dealing with. ‘A lot of apps tend to go wide in that, because they’re commercial products, they want to try to attract as many people as possible,’ Dr. Schueller says. ‘This one is more specific, which I really like, and it walks people through these different areas to come up with tailored coping plans.’

Get it for iOS and Android.

5. MoodMission

If you love playing games on your phone, try out MoodMission. This app rewards you for completing different types of challenges designed to benefit your mental health, like repeating a coping statement or going for a walk. ‘It ‘gamefies’ this process of getting people to go out and do these missions in way that’s more fun and engaging,’ Dr. Schueller says.

Get it for iOS and Android.

From: Good Housekeeping US

PHOTO: iStock/Primorac91

ALSO READ:

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The post The 5 best apps for people with anxiety, according to experts appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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Decluttering can be a daunting task, and for some people the thought of going through cupboards, wardrobes and storage boxes and attempting to get rid of the mountains of stuff that’s accumulated is just too much, meaning they put it off completely. While it can be time-consuming and sometimes a little overwhelming, there is an easier way and it involves easing yourself into decluttering and chipping away at your to-do lis. Nicola Lewis, organising expert and author of Mind Over Clutter, gives her top tips for decluttering if you only have an hour to spare.

Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest.  How to declutter with an hour to spare

‘I always say start off with small steps,’ Nicola advised. ‘Always plan what you’re going to do before,’ Nicola said. Have your to-do list at hand, and make sure it’s not too ambitious. ‘If you go into a bedroom and you know you’re only going to have an hour, don’t empty the whole wardrobe out. Instead, choose a section in the wardrobe that you think you’ll be able to complete in the amount of time you have. Another manageable task would be a chest of drawers,’ she told us.

‘Empty a couple of drawers out onto the bed and start going through the process of sorting out the items you want to keep, the items you want to donate and the ones that need to go in the bin. Work out what you love and what fits then organise those items you’re going to keep in colour order. When I organise clothes I always put them in category order then within that, colour order. It makes it so much easier for you to see what you have. It takes the stress out of finding clothes and allows you to wear everything that’s in your wardrobe because you can see it all,’ Nicola said.

Nicola has a top tip for powering through your first quick decluttering session. ‘If you find decluttering overwhelming, find your happy place while you’re doing it,’ she said. ‘I always have music on, it motivates me, but some people might want to burn a candle or listen to the radio. Always try to create a fun setting.’

For those with slightly more time to dedicate than an hour, Nicola advises making a good plan and calling in backup if you can. ‘If it’s a bigger task you should always think about asking someone to come and help you, but if you feel you can tackle it and do it on your own, try and make it fun and set measurable goals,’ she said.

How to keep your home clutter-free

Of course, decluttering is one thing, but maintaining it is something else entirely. Nicola believes the key to doing that is to do a proper review every three months. ‘I recommend that people review their space every quarter to see what has crept in. There’s always something that can creep back into the house and it’s important to keep on top of it with a quarterly review,’ she said.

‘It’s also about planning what you need before going shopping. With summer clothes, I store mine up in the loft and bring them down before summer to review. Once I’ve done that I can see I need a new swimsuit or would like to buy a couple of dresses. With shoes, when one pair comes in, another goes out. I only have a small space at home for my shoes so there’s no point be over-buying them,’ she added.

From: Good Housekeeping UK

PHOTO: iStock/nito100

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The post How to declutter a space in just 60 minutes! appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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When you think about factors that may aggravate your allergies or asthma, your bed doesn’t usually come up. You spend every night in it, so how could it be making you sick? But there are thousands of tiny dust mites in your mattress that could become a problem. This week (7 to 13 April) is World Allergy Week, and while we think about ways to relieve our allergies, let’s tackle the issues with our beds.

Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest. What are dust mites? 

Dust mites are the microscopic relatives of spiders and are the main causes of allergies and asthma symptoms. While many of us adopt the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach when it comes to dust mites, they can be quite problematic. 

The problem lies in their poop. Dust-mite droppings contain a potent protein allergen that can trigger allergy symptoms such as eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma.

Wherever you have soft furnishings in the house – carpets, couches, curtains, beds – you’ll find a dust-mite colony. But by far the highest concentration of dust mites and their waste can be found in beds, where we spend roughly a third of our day.

Dust mites need warmth, moisture and a good supply of dead skin cells, and our beds tick all the boxes. That’s why the average mattress harbours anywhere from 100 000 to 10-million mites, while 10% of a two-year-old pillow’s weight can be made up of their waste. 

How can you combat them? 

The first step in managing allergy symptoms is to avoid triggers and reduce your symptoms by cutting down your exposure to dust mites.

One of the simplest and most effective weapons is the mattress protector. To be mite-proof, a mattress protector must be woven tightly enough to be waterproof, like those in the Protect-A-Bed range, which form an impenetrable barrier to dust mites while still being breathable. And don’t forget the pillows. Encase pillows in zippered pillow protectors so you’re not breathing in dust-mite droppings all night!

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The post Your bed could be making you sick appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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After laying (and eating) on it, your couch could likely use a cleaning session. Whether you need to remove stubborn stains or vacuum out the surprising number of crumbs hiding in every crevice, the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute in the US has got you covered. 

Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest. For a fabric sofa, you’ll want to to take six basic steps:

1. Steam it.

2. Vacuum it.

3. Check the fabric care codes.

4. Spot clean stains.

5. Refresh with a portable cleaner.

6. Banish bacteria and odours.

Ready? Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning a couch:

How do you clean upholstery on a couch?

Use a handheld garment steamer or bursts from your steam iron to kill any dust mites lurking near the surface. Go over the entire couch allowing just the steam to touch and penetrate the fabric. If you don’t have a steamer or iron, skip this step and go straight to vacuuming.

With your vacuum’s upholstery attachment, go over the entire couch: back, arms, skirt, and all sides of the cushions. If the cushions are removable, take them off and vacuum the fabric underneath, going as far under the back and arms as your vacuum can reach. With the crevice tool, go along the seams, around any buttons, and along the trim. 

Related: 3 tips to keep your couch looking great

How do you get stains out of a couch?

For fabrics that can safely be cleaned with water, treat food and pet stains with a good carpet and upholstery cleaner. The enzyme-containing formula tackles both spots and the lingering odours that come with them. In a pinch, you can also use a little mild dish soap mixed in warm water. Always test any cleaner on a hidden part of the fabric for safety first.

If your cushions have removable covers, unzip them and place a paper towel between the fabric and the filling to absorb any stain and cleaner as you work. Apply the cleaner to a cloth and blot the stain carefully, working from the outside in to keep it from spreading. Apply more cleaner sparingly, if needed. Once the stain is removed, dab the area with another damp cloth to rinse thoroughly and blot dry. 

How do you deep clean a couch?

Once the stains are gone, if you want to give the whole piece a refresh, it’s best to use a portable extraction cleaner. These machines can help clean up dingy arms and headrests on your furniture, not to mention spots on carpets, rugs, and car interiors.

Simply dispense the cleaner and water mixture through the hose, agitate the fabric with the brush nozzle, and vacuum up the dirt into the tank. For solvent-only fabrics or if you don’t want to invest in a machine, it’s best to call in a professional for a safe and thorough cleaning.

How do you sanitise a couch?

Once your sofa is clean and dry, you can kill any lingering germs and odours on water-safe upholstery with a fabric sanitising spray. Spritz from a distance of 15 to 20cm away and let the fabric remain wet for five minutes to sanitise. You can also use it on pet beds, stuffed animals, kids’ sports equipment, and other hard-to-wash items — just test it in an inconspicuous area first.

From: Good Housekeeping US

PHOTO: iStock/seb_ra

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The post How to clean a couch like a pro appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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1. Calculate your carbon footprint

Determining the amount of CO2 you produce through your daily routine is the first step to fixing it. This is one of those things you can’t ‘un-know’ once you know. Warning: The results come with a little side of guilt.

Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest. 2. Leave the car at home

It’s never been easier to ditch your car. Organise a carpool with co-workers, take public transit, or be the most health-conscious and ride a bike. Less cars on the road not only means less air pollution, it also means less traffic. Not to mention all of the gas money you’ll save!

3. Give your home a ‘green’ makeover

Going ‘green’ doesn’t necessarily require you to get on your roof to install solar panels. There are little switches you can make, like buying energy-efficient light bulbs that could even save you some money in the long run.

4. Turn the taps off

We all do it from time to time. If you stop and think about it though, there are few opportunities that require you to leave the water running. Brushing your teeth isn’t one of them. You can even save around 22 litres a day by shutting it off while you scrub your hands with soap before washing. You can also conserve water by pre-filling containers and refrigerating them instead of waiting for your tap to get cold every time you want a drink.

5. Fix something

Not everyone is good at handy work, but that’s no reason to just throw away something that’s on the fritz. Online tutorials and apps like TaskRabbit have made it possible to salvage your malfunctioning products without having to shell out the dough for a replacement. The less waste heading to the dump the better.

6. Unsubscribe from junk mail

Everyone still has that mail they get that makes them think ‘How did I end up on this list?’ It’s time to save some trees and get your name off that mailing list once and for all. Opting out of the printed phone directory is also worth looking into. Try Google instead.

7. Go paperless

Everything is online these days. Think about how much paper you can save just by getting bank statements and bills sent electronically and paid the same way. It’s the same deal with event or travel tickets. Most places don’t require physical copies anymore.

8. Switch to e-books

Turn the page with a single swipe. Sure, there’s a certain excitement that comes along with cracking open a new book, but there’s also a certain satisfaction that comes from sliding your fingers across a screen. Some publishers even offer interactive editions when you purchase an e-book. Audiobooks are a great option too. Both also free up a lot of space in your bag.

9. Unplug at night

It helps to get into the practice of powering down your electronics overnight. They need to sleep too. It’s worth noting that your devices are wasting energy even when they’re not turned on. The best way to maximise your energy efficiency is to totally unplug and shutdown.

10. Recycle old electronics

Your old iPhone doesn’t need to collect dust in a drawer somewhere and it can’t just go in the trash. Phones and other electronics can be brought to special centres in your area. Some places even have buyback programs.

Related: Disposing of and recycling electronics and household items

11. Add plants to your home

Bringing a little greenery into your home can help regulate the temperature through the moisture they release into the air. This also helps reduce the energy required to heat and cool your home. Plus, they look good!

12. Make your garden creature-friendly

Want to feel like a Disney princess by waking up to the sounds of birds chirping outside your window? Make your garden a welcoming place for local wildlife by installing bird feeders. It’ll make you feel more harmonious with nature and give you something to look at while you enjoy your morning coffee.

13. Start a garden

Developing your green thumb can save you money and reduce food waste. Even something as simple as an herb garden on your windowsill is a great start.

14. Shop at a farmer’s market

If you can’t grow it yourself, at least shop locally. Buying produce farmed near your home usually gives you access to better quality food than you find at a grocery store. You can speak to the farmer’s directly to learn more about the food and you’re supporting small business.

15. Switch to reusable bags

Those plastic bags we get from nearly every shopping experience can’t be recycled. Make all of your shopping outings BYOB (bring your own bag) and reduce the need for plastic. 

16. Get cooking

You probably have some long-standing resolution to eat less take-out and now here’s the push you need. Cooking your own meals cuts back on the waste produced by takeout bags, containers, and plastic cutlery. Of course, stepping into the kitchen comes with its own set of energy-efficient tips.

17. Go meatless

Not only will giving up meat for a meal open you up to other food options, it’s better for the planet. The U.N. reports that the meat industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also estimated that over 6 000 litres of water is used to produce just 500g of beef.

18. Compost food waste

Setting aside food waste and other organic trash and letting it decompose is recycling in its natural form. This type of garbage doesn’t decompose properly at landfills because it doesn’t get enough air and ends up creating methane gas in the process. Composting requires a little bit of work that is actually minute when thinking about the bigger picture.

19. Repurpose jars (and other containers)

Empty jars and other food containers don’t need to be tossed away. Jars can become drinking glasses or even small serving bowls. Larger containers can be used to store other items like loose change or things that might just be sitting in your junk drawer.

20. Make your own cleaning products

If you’re in a DIY mood, you can also help the planet by ditching the harmful ingredients found in store-bought cleaning products and just make your own. It’s amazing what some vinegar and baking soda can do.

Related: 8 items you should be deep cleaning way more often

21. Clean dishes by hand

The convenience of a dishwasher is undeniable, but so is the amount of water it wastes and the energy it consumes. If you have a quick scrubbing hand, you can save a lot. The average dishwasher uses 23 litres of water and a sink tap usually flows at 7,5 litres a minute.

22. Manually wash clothes

Doing laundry by hand might be a tougher sell than the dishes, but at the very least you could let your clothes air dry. Hang it all on a line and let the wind take care of the rest.

23. Hold a sale

Before you kick your old stuff to the curb, try and make a buck off of it. You’ll be surprised at how much you could avoid throwing in the trash just by inviting people to take it off your hands at a low cost.

24. Shop second-hand

It’s new to you! Buying used items, whether it’s clothes or equipment, can reduce waste (packaging materials) and your spending. What’s not to like?

25. Shop eco-friendly clothing brands

If you’ve got the shopping bug, there are a ton of eco-friendly brands out there making clothes with minimal impact on the environment. 

26. Go for a hike

The simplest way to celebrate the Earth is to explore it. Find your nearest park or hiking trail and just walk. Keep your phone away for a bit and just enjoy your surroundings.

27. Organise a cleaning effort

Ain’t no party like a clean-up party! It’s always nice spending the day at the beach or the park. It’s even nicer if you could leave that place in better shape than how you found it. The side of a highway is a far less glamorous place to spend your time, but they could use a little TLC too.

28. Start a ‘zero waste’ challenge

If you’re looking for a more prolonged way to honour Mother Earth, consider a whole month of minimising your waste production. Each day presents a new challenge for you to take on. It will definitely make you rethink your whole lifestyle and the amount of garbage you’re creating.

29. Plant a tree

Perhaps the most obvious of the bunch, but what better way to care for the Earth than to replenish it. Billions of trees are cut down every year to create the things that we use every day. Why not give one back?

30. Volunteer at an environmental organisation

There are so many ways you could celebrate the planet just by donating your time. Organisations work all year round to protect the environment for future generations. Find a group near you and see what you could do to help.

PHOTO: iStock/MicroStockHub

From: Good Housekeeping US

ALSO READ:

7 earth-friendly alternatives for things you use every day

5 simple ways to help save Mother Earth

Tips on what to order at restaurants when on a plant-based diet

The post 30 tiny changes you can make to save the Earth appeared first on Good Housekeeping.

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