It’s no secret that running a home is difficult, but a few tricks of the trade can make your life easier. Lifestyle expert Martha Stewart is revealing her secrets on how to conquer every task in your home. Whether it’s getting rid of a stain on a brand new piece of furniture or breathing new life into kitchen items headed towards the trash, she has an answer (and a trick!) for everything. Become the master of everything home-related with these tips from her book The Martha Manual: How to Do (Almost) Everything.
How to Properly Load a Dishwasher
Get your dishes completely clean by organizing the dishwasher the right way. Put glasses on the top rack and load all the glassware on an angled row, instead of over the tines, to prevent any pesky spotting.
Stack plates, pots, and pans on the bottom rack close to the water spray unit, usually located in the center, to get the cleanest dishes. Be sure to place everything toward the sprayer and keep tall items from blocking your spray unit.
Alternate pieces in the flatware basket, handle up and handle down, to prevent nesting and to make sure all food particles get removed. If you don’t want to clean out your dishwasher grate all the time, it’s wise to pre-rinse your dishes – this means getting bulk foods items off (so they don’t get stuck in the grate) but not washing the dishes completely.
Bonus tip: Don’t put metal knives or wooden spoons in for the cycle as the dishwasher could ruin them.
How to Get Out the Toughest Liquid Stains
If a liquid, like red wine, spills on carpet blot it up with paper towels as soon as possible. Remember to never rub the stain, as it will only make the spot harder to clean. After you’ve blotted as much out as possible, apply a spot-cleaning solution of dishwashing liquid and water in continuous blotting motions.
If the stain won’t budge, dilute the spot with seltzer water or club soda – still blotting, not rubbing or wiping Let it sit for a few minutes before continuing to blot the area. For stain removing tips for all different tips of stains, get Martha’s guide here.
How to Fold a Fitted Sheet
For an easy folding process of the dreaded and difficult fitted sheet, follow these steps:
- With the sheet inside out, place one hand in each of the two corners (on the short end).
- Bring your right hand to your left and fold the corner on your right hand over the one on your left, enveloping it.
- Next, reach down and pick up the corner that is hanging in front and fold it over the other two corners in your left hand. This corner will be inside out.
- Bring the last corner up and fold it over the other so it’s right-side out.
- Lay the sheet on a flat surface and fold two edges in to hide the elastic.
- Fold the strip of fabric into a rectangle. Continue folding until the rectangle is the desired size.
How to Create a Non-Stick Cake Pan
Before you pour in your batter, make sure to grease the pans with softened butter. For easy application, a pastry brush will help spread an even coat and reach into all corners of the baking dish. Then, lightly dust the pan with flour or cocoa powder.
Though it’s not necessary, applying an even layer of parchment paper can help to really guarantee your cake won’t stick to its pan. After greasing the pan, stick parchment paper down and butter. Then, add flour or cocoa powder. Remember to fit the parchment paper to the pan – if it is too big the wrinkles in the paper will also appear on the cake.
How to Frost the Perfect Cake
Begin by applying a layer of frosting to a cooled cake. Known as the “crumb coat,” this layer helps to prevent any crumbs from showing through the frosting in your final cake. To obtain the flawless finished product, spread on a second, thicker layer of frosting.
A turntable is a helpful tool to make sure the layers of frosting are applied evenly and easily. Before placing the cake on the turntable, apply a dab of frosting to glue to the cake down to the surface.
Bonus tip: Always finish frosting the sides of the cake before the top. The top is the last thing to do in order to cover mistakes and perfect any additional decorations.
How to Repurpose Cheese Rinds
Cheese rinds can be used to add delicious flavor and richness to your favorite soups and stews. If well-wrapped, a rind from a wedge of Parmesan cheese will last for months in the freezer. Simply add it during the last five minutes of cooking to add extra flavor — remember to remove and discard before serving.
How to Make a Delicious Dressing
Try making Martha’s tangy vinaigrette using your nearly-empty jar of mustard. Drop in a crushed garlic clove, a teaspoon of minced shallot, and some freshly chopped herbs like tarragon and thyme. Then, add enough vinegar to fill about 1/3 of the mustard jar. Season with salt and paper, add olive oil to fill the rest of the container, and close the lid and shake. Shake again to emulsify. This delicious dressing will last about a week in the fridge.