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"Can't WAIT to try this": Tradie's simple bin night hack

<p>Taking the wheelie bins out and having to drag them back in is a chore that many dread, but one Aussie tradie has made life so much easier with his simple hack. </p> <p>Kyle Hume took to TikTok to share his simple yet effective trick to bring in two bins back from the curb at the same time, without having to wrangle two bins with both hands or make multiple trips. </p> <p>"I've been wheeling two bins my whole life until I noticed this," he shared. </p> <p>Hume's trick is to line up two bins in front of each other, resting the lid of the bin at the front on top of the bin at the back, and then closing the lid so it creates a makeshift hook that allows you to tip both bins back and wheel them in unison. </p> <p> </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important; width: 573px; max-width: 100%;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7360205539604696336&display_name=tiktok&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40kylehume7%2Fvideo%2F7360205539604696336%3Flang%3Den&image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign-sg.tiktokcdn.com%2Fobj%2Ftos-alisg-p-0037%2FoYPnEqGncBAAtH22Eli4AIzBQC4wEANEIsf1ki%3Fx-expires%3D1715479200%26x-signature%3Di%252BOzi1g942kcQ1F0%252FqQuNd7eiho%253D&key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>Many Aussies were "flabbergasted" by the trick, taking to the comments to express their shock at the simple method. </p> <p>"I've learned more on TikTok about adulting than I ever did in school," one joked. </p> <p>"I have four bins - this is going to save my life," another added. </p> <p>"What? Are you kidding me?" a third exclaimed. </p> <p>However, not everyone was impressed with his method, with some saying that it wouldn't work and there is a risk of damaging the bins. </p> <p>"Guessing that green bin slipped over and split using this hack, lol," one wrote. </p> <p>"This seems awkward and clunky," another added. </p> <p>"Don't you have two arms?" a third wrote. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Outraged Qantas flyer captures "absolutely unacceptable" act

<p>Qantas staff have been condemned for leaving a pet crate abandoned on a Sydney tarmac in torrential rain. </p> <p>An outraged passenger captured the moment she saw the pet carrier, and a trolley full of suitcases, left in the rain at Sydney Airport on Friday, and shared it to social media. </p> <p>Sydney was hit with heavy rain on Friday, with some parts of New South Wales recording a month's worth of rainfall within a single day. </p> <p>After passengers had been loaded onto the Qantas aircraft, the concerned traveller noticed the animal had been abandoned in the rain.</p> <p>"Unfortunately the weather was unavoidable, but this luggage was left out in the open in Sydney for 30 mins and the animals for 15 minutes — one facing the rain," the furious passenger wrote on Facebook. </p> <p>Travellers on the same flight were quick to comment on the woman's post, saying their luggage had arrived soaking wet. </p> <p>"[I was on] on same flight, my luggage came home wet. Thinking a cover in these conditions would be nice," they wrote. </p> <p>Others expressed their concerns for the animal left in the crate in the rain, saying it was "animal abuse" to leave a furry friend in those conditions. </p> <p>"Those poor fur babies," one person wrote.</p> <p>"I'd report this if I saw it. Should have brought this to the attention of ground crew ASAP."</p> <p>A third added, "I'm unimpressed by the luggage but those pet carriers out there is absolutely unacceptable. I'd be fuming if my boy was stuck on the tarmac in a cage in torrential rain, making an already stressful situation even worse."</p> <p>"Disgusting to leave those fur babies out in the rain. Almost animal abuse," another said.</p> <p>A spokesperson from Qantas told <em><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/qantas-photo-catches-airline-in-unacceptable-act-id-be-fuming-222149288.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yahoo News</a></em> that they are investigating the incident and that the airline "takes the safety and welfare of pets travelling with us very seriously".</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Vinegar and baking soda: a cleaning hack or just a bunch of fizz?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-kilah-599082">Nathan Kilah</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p>Vinegar and baking soda are staples in the kitchen. Many of us have combined them in childhood scientific experiments: think fizzy volcanoes and geysers.</p> <p>But people also frequently mix vinegar and baking soda to produce a reportedly effective household cleaner. Unfortunately, the chemistry behind the bubbly reaction doesn’t support the cleaning hype. The fizzy action is essentially <a href="https://theconversation.com/six-surprising-things-about-placebos-everyone-should-know-220829">a visual “placebo</a>”, formed by the combination of an acid and a base.</p> <p>So, how does it work, and is it worth using these chemicals for cleaning? To understand all this, it helps to know a little more about chemistry.</p> <h2>What’s an acid?</h2> <p>Foods with a sour taste typically contain acids. These include citric acid in lemon juice, malic acid in apples, lactic acid in yoghurt and <a href="https://theconversation.com/kitchen-science-everything-you-eat-is-made-of-chemicals-56583">phosphoric acids in soft drinks</a>. Most vinegars contain around 4–10% acetic acid, the rest is water and small amounts of flavour chemicals.</p> <p>There are other naturally occurring acids, such as formic acid in ant bites and hydrochloric acid in our stomachs. Industrially, sulfuric acid is used in mineral processing, nitric acid for <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-ammonium-nitrate-the-chemical-that-exploded-in-beirut-143979">fertiliser manufacturing</a> and the highly potent hydrofluoric acid is used to etch glass.</p> <p>All of these acids share similar properties. They can all release hydrogen ions (positively charged atoms) into water. Depending on their potency, acids can also dissolve minerals and metals through various chemical reactions.</p> <p>This is why vinegar is an excellent cleaner for showers or kettles – it can react with and dissolve mineral deposits like limescale.</p> <p>Other common acidic cleaning ingredients are oxalic acid, used for revitalising timber decks, hydrochloric acid in concrete and masonry cleaners, and sulfamic acid in potent toilet cleaners.</p> <h2>What’s a base?</h2> <p>In chemistry, bases – the opposite of acids in many ways – can bind, rather than release hydrogen ions. This can help lift and dissolve insoluble grime into water. Bases can also break apart fat molecules.</p> <p>Baking soda (also known as sodium hydrogen carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, or bicarb) is a relatively weak base. Stronger common bases include sodium carbonate (washing soda), sodium hydroxide (lye) and ammonia.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/spill-at-a-nuclear-facility-shows-potential-burn-risks-from-a-household-chemical-112763">Sodium hydroxide</a> is a potent drain cleaner – its strong base properties can dissolve fats and hair. This allows blockages to be broken down and easily flushed away.</p> <h2>Mixing a base and an acid</h2> <p>Mixing vinegar and baking soda causes an immediate chemical reaction. This reaction forms water, sodium acetate (a salt) and carbon dioxide – the fizzy part.</p> <p>The amount of carbon dioxide gas that is produced from baking soda is remarkable – one tablespoon (around 18 grams) can release over <a href="https://www.chemedx.org/JCESoft/jcesoftSubscriber/CCA/CCA8/MAIN/8/06/2/4/movie.html">five litres of gas</a>! But only if you add enough acid.</p> <p>Reactions in chemistry often use equal quantities of chemical reagents. A perfect balance of acetic acid and baking soda would give you just water, carbon dioxide and sodium acetate.</p> <p>But the majority of vinegar and bicarb cleaner recipes use a large excess of one or the other components. An example from TikTok for a DIY oven cleaner calls for one and a half cups of baking soda and one quarter cup of vinegar.</p> <p>Crunching the numbers behind the chemical reaction shows that after the fizz subsides, over 99% of the added baking soda remains. So the active cleaning agent here is actually the baking soda (and the “elbow grease” of scrubbing).</p> <p>Ovens can be cleaned much more rigorously with stronger, sodium hydroxide based cleaners (although these are also more caustic). Many modern ovens also have a self-cleaning feature, so read your product manual before reaching for a chemical cleaner of any sort.</p> <h2>What about the sodium acetate?</h2> <p>Devotees of vinegar and baking soda mixtures might be wondering if the product of the fizzy reaction, sodium acetate, is the undercover cleaning agent.</p> <p>Unfortunately, sodium acetate is an even weaker base than baking soda, so it doesn’t do much to clean the surface you’re trying to scrub.</p> <p>Sodium acetate is used in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vABpel-11Nc">crystallisation-based heating packs</a> and as a concrete sealant, but not typically as a cleaner.</p> <p>Fun fact: sodium acetate can be combined with acetic acid to make a crystalline <a href="https://theconversation.com/busting-the-myth-that-all-food-additives-are-bad-a-quick-guide-for-label-readers-82883">food additive</a> called sodium diacetate. These crystals give the vinegar flavour to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0hEutu_goY">salt and vinegar chips</a> without making them soggy.</p> <h2>Sorry to burst your bubbles</h2> <p>There are a few rare cases where mixing vinegar and baking soda may be useful for cleaning. This is where the bubbling has a mechanical effect, such as in a blocked drain.</p> <p>But in most cases you’ll want to use either vinegar or baking soda by itself, depending on what you’re trying to clean. It will be less <a href="https://theconversation.com/visually-striking-science-experiments-at-school-can-be-fun-inspiring-and-safe-banning-is-not-the-answer-195362">visually exciting</a>, but it should get the job done.</p> <p>Lastly, remember that mixing cleaning chemicals at home can be risky. Always carefully read the product label and directions before engaging in DIY concoctions. And, to be extra sure, you can find out more safety information by reading the product’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-new-tiktok-trend-has-people-drinking-toxic-borax-an-expert-explains-the-risks-and-how-to-read-product-labels-210278">safety data sheet</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225177/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-kilah-599082"><em>Nathan Kilah</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/vinegar-and-baking-soda-a-cleaning-hack-or-just-a-bunch-of-fizz-225177">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Heartless theft from "Garden of Little Angels"

<p>In a despicable act of heartlessness, dozens of bronze plaques dedicated to children have been stolen from a memorial park in Melbourne's southwest. The theft not only deprives grieving families of precious mementos but also desecrates a sacred space meant to honour the memory of lost loved ones.</p> <p>Victoria police were alerted to the crime when it was discovered that 75 plaques had been taken from Altona Memorial Park on Doherty’s Road. These plaques, erected in the "Garden of Little Angels", were loving tributes from families who had lost children, serving as symbols of remembrance and healing for those who visit the park.</p> <p>The theft, which occurred sometime between March 12 and 13, has left the community shocked and appalled. It is a violation not only of property but of the sanctity of a space meant for solace and reflection. The perpetrators have callously disregarded the pain of grieving families and the significance of the memorial to the community.</p> <p>In response to this reprehensible act, detectives have issued a warning to scrap metal dealers in the area to remain vigilant against any attempts to sell the stolen plaques. These plaques, though they may hold some monetary value as scrap metal, are priceless to the families who placed them in the memorial park, with their sentimental worth far outweighing any material gain.</p> <p>The police are actively investigating the theft and are urging anyone with information to come forward. The return of the stolen plaques to their rightful place is paramount in restoring a sense of peace and closure to the families affected by this crime.</p> <p><em>Images: Altona Memorial Park</em></p>

Legal

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Bold idea sees hotel offer thousands in cash back if it rains

<p>In a move that's making waves in the travel industry, a posh hotel in the heart of Singapore has rolled out a revolutionary offer: rain insurance. Yes, you heard it right – rain insurance!</p> <p>InterContinental Singapore, a sanctuary for jet-setters seeking respite from both the humidity and the occasional tropical deluge, has unleashed a game-changer for travellers. Dubbed the "Rain Resist Bliss Package", this offer promises to keep your spirits high even when the rain gods decide to throw a dampener on your plans.</p> <p>Picture this: you've booked your suite at this 5-star haven, eagerly anticipating your Singapore escapade. But lo and behold, the forecast takes a turn for the soggy, threatening to rain on your parade – quite literally. Fear not, dear traveller, for with the Rain Resist Bliss Package, you can breathe easy knowing that if your plans get drenched, your wallet won't.</p> <p>Now, you might be wondering, how does this rain insurance work? Well, it's as simple as Singapore Sling on a sunny day. If the heavens decide to open up and rain on your parade for a cumulative 120 minutes within any four-hour block of daylight hours (that's 8am to 7pm for those not on island time), you're entitled to a refund equivalent to your single-night room rate. The package is available exclusively for suite room bookings starting from $SGD850 per night – so that’s around $965 rain-soaked dollars back in your pocket, no questions asked. No need to jump through hoops or perform a rain dance – just sit back, relax, and let the rain do its thing.</p> <p>And fret not about having to keep an eye on the sky – the clever folks at InterContinental Singapore have got you covered. They're tapping into the data from the National Environmental Agency Weather Station to automatically trigger those rain refunds. It's like having your own personal meteorologist ensuring that your plans stay as dry as your martini.</p> <p>But hey, if the rain does decide to crash your party, fear not! The hotel has an array of dining options to keep your tastebuds entertained while you wait for the clouds to part. And let's not forget, Singapore isn't just about sunshine and rainbows – there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you occupied, from feasting at Lau Pa Sat for an authentic hawker experience to retail therapy at Takashimaya.</p> <p>And here's a silver lining to those rain clouds: fewer tourists! That's right, while others might be scrambling for cover, you could be enjoying shorter lines, less crowded attractions, and even snagging better deals on accommodations. Plus, let's not overlook the fact that the rain brings a welcome respite from the tropical heat, making outdoor adventures all the more enjoyable once the showers subside.</p> <p>So, pack your umbrella and leave your worries behind. With InterContinental Singapore's Rain Resist Bliss Package, you can embrace the unpredictable and turn even the rainiest of days into a memorable adventure. After all, as they say, when life gives you lemons, make Singapore Slings and dance in the rain!</p> <p><em>Images: InterContinental Singapore / Getty Images</em></p>

International Travel

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Better Homes and Gardens star's dream rural property up for grabs

<p><em>Better Homes and Gardens </em>star Charlie Albone and his wife interior designer Juliet Love, have listed their dream Ourimbah home. </p> <p>The 2.07ha property located on the Central Coast has been listed by McGrath Gosford agents Peter Morris and Nate Waters with a $3m to $3.2m price guidance.</p> <p>The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home sits deep behind a gated entry, which ensures privacy and is surrounded by plenty of greenery with its garden alcoves, a stunning wisteria-covered arbour, fruit trees, and a few garden beds for vegetables. </p> <p>There is also a feature dry-stone wall fire pit built by Scottish stonemason Callum Grey, that's perfect for winter and colder nights.</p> <p>The English cottage-style home  comes with a separate self-contained unit that includes a bedroom and kitchenette. </p> <p>The home is every animal lovers' dream with five paddocks that come with animal shelters, plumbed water troughs and a three-stall stable. </p> <p>For those hot summer days, whoever the new owners are can dip into the saltwater pool located on the property. </p> <p>The property is equipped with 100,000-litre tanks and has town water. </p> <p>Albone and his family bought the property in 2012 for $840,000 which means that if it was sold at the price guide then it's almost four times the original price they bought it at. </p> <p>The top acreage sale at Ourimbah currently sits at $3,725,000 for a 13.93ha Dog Trap Rd six-bedroom house, which sold in 2021.</p> <p><em>Images: news.com.au</em></p>

Real Estate

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Bunnings' inspired makeover proves a smash hit with Bluey fans

<p>Bunnings' latest <em>Bluey</em> inspired makeover has proven to be a hit among fans, as they brought to life part of the cartoon-world. </p> <p>The hardware giant collaborated with the hit children's cartoon and rebranded six of its Australian stores and one New Zealand outlet with the moniker "Hammerbarn."</p> <p>This is an homage to a popular episode with the same name, where the cartoon heelers go to a hardware store that looks exactly like Bunnings. </p> <p>“We’re excited to be working with BBC Studios and Ludo Studio to bring Hammerbarn to life in stores across the country,” says Ryan Baker, chief customer officer of Bunnings.</p> <p>The rebranding goes beyond the exterior with special Hammerbarn merch, Bluey-branded trolleys, and Bluey-themed workshops, meet-and-greets and scavenger hunts every weekend.</p> <p>“Our team across Australia have had kids and parents referring to Bunnings as Hammerbarn ever since the episode aired, so making this a reality in our stores for customers is really special," Baker said. </p> <p>“We wanted the Hammerbarn experience to be accessible to as many ‘Bluey’ fans and customers as we could, so it’s great to have a Hammerbarn transformation in each state – even down to the kids’ trolleys that have been rebranded."</p> <p>Hammerbarns resemblance to Bunnings is no coincidence as the episode reportedly took inspiration from a real store in Keperra, Queensland.</p> <p>“The design of Hammerbarn draws inspiration from the Bunnings Keperra store in Brisbane, the home of Bluey, which adds an extra layer of significance," Ludo Studios, the creators of the series said. </p> <p>“We are thrilled to offer fans the opportunity to experience Hammerbarn for real life; it’s everything we’ve ever wanted!”</p> <p><em>Images: Perth Now</em></p> <p> </p>

Home & Garden

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Simple, cheap remedies you’ll wish you knew sooner

<p><strong>Pull nails out gently</strong></p> <p>If you’re planning to pull a nail out of wood but worry that the hammerhead will hurt the grain, protect the wood before using the hammer. How? Slip a plastic spatula under the head of the hammer before you start the job.</p> <p><strong>Replace the oil in baking </strong></p> <p>Fat makes baked goods moist and tender. It’s also incredibly kilojoule-dense, and if you’re cutting kilojoules, it’s an easy place to start. But say you don’t like your cakes and muffins dry and tough? Then applesauce is the answer. Replace up to 2/3 of the oil called for in a cake or muffin recipe with applesauce, and you’ll add moisture and flavour while ditching the fat.</p> <p><strong>Sweeten the house </strong></p> <p>People who are allergic to air fresheners and sprays can still enjoy the benefits of a sweet-smelling house. Wet a cotton ball with vanilla and dab it very lightly on the outside of a regular light bulb (not a halogen bulb) in your lamps. When you turn on the lamp, the bulb heats up and a faint but alluring scent of vanilla drifts out.</p> <p><strong>Soften beans </strong></p> <p>Afraid those dry beans have been on the shelf too long? Help soften them by adding a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water. Add a fresh pinch to the cooking water, too, and you can significantly reduce the aftereffects of bean consumption.</p> <p><strong>Neutralise mouth ulcers</strong></p> <p>Place an antacid tablet directly on the ulcer, giving it time to dissolve, or simply chew one. The medicine will stop the acids and enzymes in your mouth from attacking the tissue in the sore, and more importantly, it will stop the pain. (Be sure to check the product’s label for correct dosage instructions.)</p> <p><strong>Rip it off the right way </strong></p> <p>Pulling an adhesive bandage off your child’s skin can be tough on both of you. Make it easier by rubbing the bandage with a cotton ball soaked in baby oil. Rub until you can easily pull the bandage off. This trick works well for adults with sensitive skin, too.</p> <p><strong>Clean your carpet overnight </strong></p> <p>Whether your carpet smells dank and musty because of a pet, a smoker, or a season of rain, take the odour out with baby powder. Using a flour sifter, spread the powder generously over the carpet. Let it sit overnight – a few hours will suffice, but overnight is better – and vacuum up the powder and the smells in the morning.</p> <p><strong>Hold a nail</strong></p> <p>Stop hitting your fingers every time you hammer a nail in place. Use the teeth of an ordinary comb to hold the nail while you hammer.</p> <p><strong>Get rid of fishy odours</strong></p> <p>Been chopping something pungent? The smell of garlic or fish can linger on your fingers long after the food is gone. Avoid that by scrubbing your wet hands with baking soda, just as if it were soap, then rinse in warm water. Your hands will smell sweet – and feel softer, too.</p> <p><strong>Remove splinters</strong></p> <p>Make a paste of Epsom salt and water and apply it to the area harbouring a splinter. The paste will pull the splinter to the surface of the skin in about 10 minutes. It will pull insect stingers out of your skin, too.</p> <p><strong>Skip the shaving cream </strong></p> <p>Use hair conditioner for a smooth, clean shave – on your legs, under your arms, and (for men) even on your face. The conditioner will pamper your skin as well as your hair! You can also use hair conditioner as a soothing agent for legs irritated by shaving.</p> <p><strong>Preserve your bouquet </strong></p> <p>Spray the undersides of your cut flowers – leaves and petals – with hair spray to prolong their life. Be sure to stand about 30 cm away when you spray them for best results.</p> <p><strong>Numb your eyebrows </strong></p> <p>Make plucking your eyebrows much less painful by putting an ice pack on them until they’re uncomfortably cold. At that point your skin will be numb enough to begin plucking. You won’t even feel the tug!</p> <p><strong>Train a dog </strong></p> <p>Most dogs hate the sound of dried beans rattling in a can. Use that to your advantage when training a dog by putting a handful of beans in the bottom of an empty aluminium soda can. Seal the top with a strip of tape. When your dog misbehaves, shake the can a couple of times.</p> <p><strong>Refresh tired feet </strong></p> <p>Take this tip from marathon runners, who know that a ten-minute soak in a sugarless mouthwash will take your tootsies from tired to terrific. Alcohol invigorates and mint will make them smell sweet again.</p> <p><strong>Remove crayon from walls </strong></p> <p>If you find crayon markings on your wall, don’t get mad – get shaving cream. Spray the shaving cream directly onto the offending artwork, and scrub it off with a toothbrush or scrub brush.</p> <p><strong>Make a close-fitting hot pad</strong></p> <p>Soothe aching muscles with a custom-made hot pad. Fill a long sock, such as a tube or athletic sock, with dried beans, and tie the top tightly closed with ribbon or string. Heat in a microwave on high for 30 seconds. Place it right on your painful spot. You can drape it around a stiff neck or wrap it around a sore wrist, and it will mould to you, providing faster relief.</p> <p><strong>Keep cookies fresh </strong></p> <p>Homemade chocolate chip cookies can go from tasting deliciously soft and cakey to feeling hard and crunchy in a matter of days. To keep your freshly baked cookies tasting freshly baked, put a couple of slices of bread into the tin or jar where you store the cookies, laying the bread right on top of the cookies. The bread will keep that just-out-of-the-oven flavour and texture intact for up to a week.</p> <p><strong>Wax your windows </strong></p> <p>Do your double-hung windows have a bumpy ride every time you open or close them? If your windows don’t slide up and down with ease, let a candle help them. Clean the insides of the window frame where the sashes travel, then rub the same area with a candle. The windows will have a much smoother journey.</p> <p><strong>Make your garage floor sparkle </strong></p> <p>If you find a puddle of oil on your concrete garage floor, pour paint thinner over it, and then cover the area with kitty litter. (Make sure that the garage is well ventilated by keeping the garage door open, and don’t let anyone smoke or strike matches anywhere near the affected area – and keep the cats away.) The kitty litter will absorb the oil. Just sweep up the mess and you’re done.</p> <p><strong>Clean smudges off suede </strong></p> <p>Suede jackets, shoes and handbags look great, but they’re prone to picking up dirty marks. Clean fresh smudges off quickly and easily before they set into stains by rubbing the suede gently with a piece of fresh white bread. Use a small, circular motion. You may need a second piece of bread to get the spot clean.</p> <p><strong>Keep down items from clumping </strong></p> <p>Throw one or two tennis balls into the dryer the next time you dry down-filled items like pillows, comforters and jackets. They’ll ditch the flat look they get from the washing machine and puff up again with pride.</p> <p><strong>Repel mosquitos </strong></p> <p>You may love the mild apple-like flavour of chamomile tea but mosquitoes absolutely hate it. Brew a very strong batch of chamomile tea and keep it in a spray bottle in the fridge. Before you relax in the back yard or run through the tall grass, spray exposed skin liberally. It’s fragrant, potent and totally safe for children.</p> <p><strong>Fill a stripped screw-hole </strong></p> <p>If the screw keeps turning and turning in a piece of wood, push a bit of foil loosely in the hole and try again. It will grab tight.</p> <p><strong>Freshen a fridge </strong></p> <p>If something soured in your fridge or the freezer failed, clean it out, then fill a wide, shallow bowl with fresh coffee grounds and leave it in the fridge or freezer overnight. The strong scent of coffee will permeate the space, eradicating any hint of what went wrong.</p> <p><strong>Banish burned-on food </strong></p> <p>Liquid fabric softener is your best friend when it comes time to scrub pots and pans soiled by your worst enemy, baked-on grime. Soak the offending vessel in water and a squirt of fabric softener. Let it sit for an hour. Wash and rinse it all away.</p> <p><strong>Feed your plants </strong></p> <p>Used coffee grounds are full of nitrogen, so it’s a shame to throw them away each day. Coffee is especially good for acid-loving plants, like camellias, evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and rose bushes, so be sure they don’t miss out on the occasional cup of coffee – grounds, that is.</p> <p><strong>Oil squeaky hinges </strong></p> <p>Spray a little oil-based furniture polish on a squeaky door hinge, then open and shut the door several times to work the lubricant into the hinge. The furniture polish is a lot cleaner than the oil you’d usually use for a noisy hinge, and it works just as well to silence the squeak.</p> <p><strong>Untangle a shoelace </strong></p> <p>Junior got a knot in his sneaker and pulled and pulled until it became an impenetrable mass. Sprinkle the knot generously with cornflour, and then work the knot again. The laces will start to slip and slide, and you’ll be able to get the kinks out.</p> <p><strong>Breathe better with a paper bag </strong></p> <p>Got a case of the hiccups? Stop them before you start to hurt. Breathe in and out of a paper bag for a few minutes. You’ll create a build-up of carbon dioxide in your lungs, which helps relax your diaphragm – whose involuntary tightening causes the hiccups in the first place. This trick works if you’re hyperventilating, too.</p> <p><strong>Give the jar a hand </strong></p> <p>No more banging a jar on the floor to loosen a tight lid. No more running it under hot water. And no more fancy tools designed to do the trick – that somehow don’t work. Just put on a pair of rubber gloves, and open the jar with ease. (Psst – sandpaper also works wonders!)</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/1-solutions-youll-wish-you-knew-sooner?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

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“Don’t be alarmed”: Better Homes and Gardens star makes shock announcement

<p dir="ltr"><em>Better Homes and Gardens</em> star Karen Martini has announced she will be “stepping back” from her role on the program. </p> <p dir="ltr">After almost two decades on the show, the 52-year-old admitted she has “so much on my plate” this year as she balances a range of different projects. </p> <p dir="ltr">The chef and restaurateur will be taking a break from the show to focus on work, while also making more time for her teenage daughters, Stella, 17, and Amber, 15.</p> <p dir="ltr">She told <em><a href="https://7news.com.au/entertainment/tv/better-homes-and-garden-star-karen-martini-makes-shock-announcement-stepping-back-c-13310981">7News</a></em>, “With my two new restaurants— Johnny’s Green Room already open and Saint George set to launch soon — as well as so many other projects on the go, 2024 is shaping up to be my busiest year ever.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“My daughters are in their last teenage years too — it’s quite daunting as Stella is in year 12 and also on her Ls.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“With so much on my plate, I’ve made the decision to step back from <em>Better Homes and Gardens</em> (BHAG) this year while I focus on some of my other exciting projects.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“So don’t be alarmed if I’m not in your living room every Friday night.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Karen will continue to make the occasional guest appearance on the show, but will not feature in every episode. </p> <p dir="ltr">After the news of Karen’s departure was announced on the <em>Better Homes &amp; Gardens</em> Instagram account, longtime viewers shared their messages of support to the chef in her next ventures. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “Been watching since you joined in 2007 and I’ve loved watching you in the kitchen. All the best.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The 52-year-old also shared her excitement over the newest addition to the <em>Better Homes</em> line-up: chef and <em>MKR</em> judge Colin Fassnidge.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m so excited that my mate Colin Fassnidge is entering the <em>Better Homes</em> kitchen,” she went on.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think his cheeky flavour is sure to spice up the show and I can’t wait to see him on air when we are back on Friday, February 2.”</p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><em>Image credits: Instagram</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-f58c99fe-7fff-4b7e-1eb4-bc9024fbdc3d"></span></p>

TV

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7 ways you’re shortening the lifespan of your refrigerator

<p><strong>How you may be shortening the lifespan of a refrigerator</strong></p> <p>Refrigerators are a necessity in the home, but they cost a pretty penny. They can range in price from $700 to thousands of dollars, depending on which refrigerator brand you buy and which bells and whistles you want. Since it takes a good chunk of change to pay for this appliance, it makes sense to take great care of it so it lasts as long as possible. The typical lifespan of a refrigerator is 10 to 15 years, but it could last up to 20 years if you take superb care of it.</p> <p>Knowing how you may be shortening the life of your fridge helps you nip bad habits in the bud and make those well-spent dollars go the extra mile. That’s why we’ve rounded up the ways you may be knocking valuable time off your fridge’s life – read on and take note! Then, brush up on the signs your refrigerator is about to die and what your refrigerator temperature should be – both important things to know for fridge upkeep.</p> <p><strong>You’re not cleaning the internal mechanics</strong></p> <p>“If the defrost drain is clogged with debris, or frozen, the water dripping off the coils will overflow the drain trough and drip into the bottom of your refrigerator,” experts at the Repair Clinic told Reader’s Digest. Not only can this overwork your fridge, leading to a shorter lifespan, but it potentially causes your fridge/freezer to leak water all over your kitchen floor.</p> <p>Leaking water is a sign you should get any appliance looked at – it’s also a symptom of some of the ways you’re shortening the life of your washer and dryer.</p> <p><strong>You’re not cleaning the fridge itself</strong></p> <p>Additionally, debris, foodstuff, sticky spills and more common food mishaps that stay on the gasket of the refrigerator’s door too long can tear or break the seal of your refrigerator door. That can cause a leak, allowing cold air to escape. This makes learning how to clean your refrigerator properly all the more important (psst – these are the best fridge cleaners that’ll get the job done).</p> <p>To keep your fridge in tip-top shape as long as possible, wipe down the door edges often. And while you’re wiping down your fridge, see if you’ve organised your refrigerator the right way to keep ingredients fresh and avoid food poisoning.</p> <p><strong>You’re not cleaning the coils</strong></p> <p>More than 70 per cent of service calls for your fridge can be eliminated by cleaning your coils once a year – so experts recommend upping that to twice a year if you have furry pets (like an adorable but extra-fluffy pup).</p> <p>Debris on the coils can stop your fridge from properly dissipating heat, which means your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to. That makes your fridge use more energy and shortens its lifespan.</p> <p><strong>It's too full </strong></p> <p>We’ve all played a few games of Tetris with our refrigerator after we get home with the groceries, but be careful when stocking up and storing. While this isn’t a huge problem with newer models, some older models have fan blades that are less protected. You may even be able to see the fan blades in your freezer or fridge.</p> <p>Cramming your food into the fridge and freezer to the point of applying undue pressure on this small part can affect its shape and fit among related parts of your fridge, risking a break. Ineffective fridges are overworked fridges, which will eventually lead to a refrigerator that doesn’t work. To avoid overfilling your fridge, do a deep clean of the contents of your fridge every once in a while and eliminate clutter.</p> <p><strong>You’re not changing the water filter often enough</strong></p> <p>If you have the type of fridge that makes ice – with the dispenser either within the freezer or on your door – the water filter is key to keeping this part of your refrigerator in great condition. An old, broken or dislodged water filter can create all kinds of problems for your fridge. At best, your ice dispenser breaks. At worst, your fridge overworks itself to an early death and you’re stuck footing the bill for a new one.</p> <p>Luckily, CNET reports that you likely can detect this problem early, as your ice cubes will start coming out smaller, oddly shaped or not at all. Keep this in mind next time you’re filling up your water bottle.</p> <p><strong>Your freezer temperature is too high</strong></p> <p>“Ideally, the temperature should be set -18 degrees Celsius,” said experts at Repair Clinic. The wrong freezer temperature can affect the longevity of your ice maker, as well as the safety of the food you’ll be eating.</p> <p>A temperature higher than -9 degrees Celsius can also cause the defrost thermostat to stop working, which, in turn, overworks your refrigerator and shortens its life.</p> <p><strong>You ignore weird noises or constant running</strong></p> <p>If you notice that your fridge is always running, or is running louder than usual, do something about it right away. Some fixes are easy enough that you can do them yourself, or they’re inexpensive for a professional, but even if that’s not the case, allowing a fridge to work itself harder than it is intended to is a good way to put an early expiration date on it. Depending on the age of your fridge, you may want to decide not to fix it and invest in a new, more energy- and cost-efficient option.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/7-ways-youre-shortening-the-lifespan-of-your-refrigerator" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p> <div class="slide-image" style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 16px; font-style: inherit; box-sizing: border-box; border: 0px; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"> </div>

Home & Garden

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10 dumb hiding spots burglars always find

<p><strong>Under the mattress</strong></p> <p>Burglars will make a beeline to the room with the most valuables. “The good stop is always going to be in the master bedroom,” says Chris McGoey, CPP, CSP, CAM, president of <a href="http://www.crimedoctor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">McGoey Security Consulting.</a></p> <p>“That’s where you have your clothes, your jewellery, your extra cash, your prescriptions – anything of value.” Hiding things under the mattress is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so a thief will likely check there for hidden treasures, he says.</p> <p><strong>Bedroom closet</strong></p> <p>A thief might rummage through your entire closet – pockets and all – looking for cash or other valuables. If you do decide to store valuables in your closet, leave them in a box purposely mislabelled with a boring name (think: “uni textbooks 1980” or “baby clothes”) to keep sticky fingers out, suggests McGoey.</p> <p><strong>Dresser drawers</strong></p> <p>While burglars are in your bedroom, a jewellery box on top of the dresser is a hot commodity. Even if you don’t store your jewellery in plain sight, a thief will probably hunt around in dresser drawers for a shoebox or other unique box that could be filled with watches, jewels, and other valuables, says Robert Siciliano, CSP, security analyst with <a href="https://www.hotspotshield.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hotspot Shield</a>.</p> <p>Instead of putting your high-value belongings in an obvious box, ball them up in a sock, he suggests. Pick a pair with a bright pattern that will stand out to you but won’t look fishy to a crook.</p> <p><strong>Portable safe</strong></p> <p>You probably want to keep your precious items locked away, but it won’t do much good if the safe isn’t attached to the floor or a wall. “If it’s closed and locked, it implies there are things of value in there,” says McGoey. “If it’s small and portable, they’ll take the whole thing.” On the other hand, burglars are generally trying to get in and out as quickly as possible. They won’t bother using a stethoscope to crack the combination, so a heavy safe they can’t lift is your best bet, he says.</p> <p><strong>Medicine cabinet</strong></p> <p>Robbers want to make quick cash off your belongings, so they’ll be sure to browse your medicine cabinet for prescription pills they can sell. The pills might not be a concern because you can get a refill easily, but be careful what you store nearby.</p> <p>“You want to avoid putting anything of significant value around medication of any kind,” says Siciliano. For instance, using an old pill container as a hiding spot for jewels could actually make them a target.</p> <p><strong>Freezer</strong></p> <p>If you’ve thought of the freezer as a sneaky hiding spot, chances are a robber has, too. A burglar won’t rummage through your entire stack of frozen peas and fish sticks, but if you leave your treasures in something out-of-place, such as a sock, the thief will be onto you.</p> <p>“If you’re going to put something in the freezer, you want to put it in with something that looks legit, like wrapping it in a bag that used to have blueberries in it,” says Siciliano. Use the same rule of thumb if hiding anything in a pantry. Just give a loved one a heads up so that if anything happens, your valuables won’t be trashed with the rest of your food.</p> <p><strong>Office drawers</strong></p> <p>Think twice before stashing important papers like birth certificates or passports in your office drawers. “People want to be convenient. They have a file labelled,” says McGoey. Unfortunately, that also means you’re leading burglars straight to everything they need to steal your identity. Use a locked drawer to keep sensitive data safe, recommends Siciliano.</p> <p><strong>Vase</strong></p> <p>An empty vase could act as a hiding place for valuables, but swindlers are onto your tricks. They’ll likely tip the vase over or even break it, hoping to find goods inside. “Have something additional in it, like flowers, that would obscure somebody looking in it,” he says. They’ll also be less likely to empty your vase if it means dropping flowers all over the floor.</p> <p><strong>Liquor cabinet</strong></p> <p>A liquor cabinet might not seem like an obvious spot for thieves to hunt for valuables, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe. “It’s a target for kids looking for [alcohol],” says Siciliano. You might not be devastated if your whiskey goes missing, but you don’t want to lose an heirloom along with it.</p> <p><strong>Suitcase</strong></p> <p>Your luggage might seem like a waste of valuable storage space when you’re not travelling, but don’t keep anything irreplaceable inside. “Suitcases are common things people use as a safe even though it’s not a safe,” says McGoey. Criminals will open a suitcase up if they find one in your closet, he says.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/10-hiding-spots-burglars-always-look-first" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

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Better Homes and Gardens unveils new celebrity chef

<p>Last November, <em>Better Homes and Gardens </em><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/better-homes-and-gardens-star-announces-exit-after-20-years" target="_blank" rel="noopener">farewelled</a> chef "Fast" Ed Halmagyi, after 20 years on the show. </p> <p>Fans have since been left wondering who will replace him, but the wait is now over. </p> <p>Celebrated chef and <em>My Kitchen Rules</em> judge Colin Fassnidge is set to join the cast  from Friday, 2 February 2024. </p> <p>The Irish TV personality will share his much-loved family recipes as the show celebrates it's 30th anniversary.</p> <p>“Working on Better Homes and Gardens really feels like coming home,” he told<em> 7Life</em>. </p> <p>“I’ve been friends with Johanna Griggs ever since I started at Channel 7, and the rest of the cast and I get on like a house on fire.</p> <p>“I can’t wait to get out on the road and travel around this beautiful country, cooking with some of the best and freshest produce in the world.”</p> <p>He also added that he is a bit intimidated as he has big shoes to fill in after Fast Ed's departure. </p> <p>“It’s a little bit scary, but it’s a good challenge and a lot of fun as well,” he said.</p> <p>Fassnidge also shared what he is planning to bring to the table in the coming year. </p> <p>“This show means a lot of things to a lot of people. I’m going to bring a bit of Irish spice to the table!</p> <p>“I want to do fun, affordable cooking — I’m a chef, but I’ve also got kids as well, so I know how hard it is to put food on the table in this day and age with the cost of living and interest rate rises.</p> <p>“I want to show people how they can use cheaper cuts of meat, how to save time, how to feed the family on a budget, but still make delicious meals.”</p> <p><em>Better Homes and Gardens </em>executive producer Russell Palmer said he was excited to welcome the <em>MKR</em> star to the team, saying it marked the beginning of a new chapter for the show. </p> <p>“He’s a talented and well-respected chef and brings his own charm and innovation, which is sure to inspire our audience,”  he said. </p> <p><em>Images: 7News</em></p>

Food & Wine

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How often should you wash your sheets and towels?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rietie-venter-100529">Rietie Venter</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Everyone seems to have a different opinion when it comes to how often towels and <a href="https://7news.com.au/video/lifestyle/cleaning/dr-karl-on-how-often-you-should-wash-our-sheets-bc-6320410318112">bed sheets should be washed</a>. While many people might wonder whether days or weeks is best, in one survey from the United Kingdom, <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-61259074">almost half of single men</a> reported not washing their sheets for up to four months at a time.</p> <p>It’s fairly clear that four months is too long to leave it, but what is the ideal frequency?</p> <p>Bed linen and towels are quite different and so should be washed at different intervals. While every week or two will generally suffice for sheets, towels are best washed every few days.</p> <p>Anyway, who doesn’t love the feeling of a fresh set of sheets or the smell of a newly laundered towel?</p> <h2>Why you should wash towels more often</h2> <p>When you dry yourself, you deposit thousands of <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2018.02362/full">skin cells</a> and millions of <a href="https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(23)00402-9/fulltext">microbes</a> onto the towel. And because you use your towel to dry yourself after a shower or bath, your towel is regularly damp.</p> <p>You also deposit a hefty amount of dead skin, microbes, sweat and oils <a href="https://theconversation.com/your-bed-probably-isnt-as-clean-as-you-think-a-microbiologist-explains-163513">onto your sheets</a> every night. But unless you’re a prolific night sweater, your bedding doesn’t get wet after a night’s sleep.</p> <p>Towels are also made of a thicker material than sheets and therefore tend to stay damp for longer.</p> <p>So what is it about the dampness that causes a problem? Wet towels are a breeding ground for bacteria and moulds. <a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/housing/public-community-housing/public-housing-tenants/looking-after-your-home/safety/mould">Moulds</a> especially love <a href="https://www.asthmaandlung.org.uk/living-with/indoor-air-pollution/allergies">damp environments</a>. Although mould won’t necessarily be visible (you would need significant growth to be able to see it) this can lead to an unpleasant smell.</p> <p>As well as odours, <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/infections/can-clothes-and-towels-spread-germs/">exposure to these microbes</a> in your towels and sheets can cause <a href="https://aafa.org/allergies/types-of-allergies/insect-allergy/dust-mite-allergy/">asthma</a>, allergic skin irritations, or other <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/4/04-1094_article">skin infections</a>.</p> <h2>So what’s the ideal frequency?</h2> <p>For bedding, it really depends on factors such as whether you have a bath or shower just before going to bed, or if you fall into bed after a long, sweaty day and have your shower in the morning. You will need to wash your sheets more regularly in the latter case. As a rule of thumb, once a week or every two weeks should be fine.</p> <p>Towels should ideally be washed more regularly – perhaps every few days – while your facecloth should be cleaned after every use. Because it gets completely wet, it will be wet for a longer time, and retain more skin cells and microbes.</p> <p>Wash your towels at a high temperature (for example, 65°C) as that will <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34465009/">kill many microbes</a>. If you are conscious of saving energy, you can use a lower temperature and add a cup of vinegar to the wash. The vinegar will kill microbes and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8231443/">prevent bad smells</a> from developing.</p> <p>Clean your washing machine regularly and dry the fold in the rubber after every wash, as this is another place microbes like to grow.</p> <h2>Smelly towels</h2> <p>What if you regularly wash your towels, but they still smell bad? One of the reasons for this pong could be that you’ve left them in the washing machine too long after the wash. Especially if it was a warm wash cycle, the time they’re warm and damp will allow microbes to happily grow. Under <a href="https://textbookofbacteriology.net/growth_3.html">lab conditions</a> the number of these bacteria can double every 30 minutes.</p> <p>It’s important to hang your towel out to dry after use and not to leave towels in the washing machine after the cycle has finished. If possible, hang your towels and bedding out in the sun. That will dry them quickly and thoroughly and will foster that lovely fresh, clean cotton smell. Using a dryer is a good alternative if the weather is bad, but outdoors in the sun is always better if possible.</p> <p>Also, even if your towel is going to be washed, don’t throw a wet towel into the laundry basket, as the damp, dirty towel will be an ideal place for microbes to breed. By the time you get to doing your washing, the towel and the other laundry around it may have acquired a bad smell. And it can be difficult to get your towels smelling fresh again.</p> <h2>What about ‘self-cleaning’ sheets and towels?</h2> <p>Some companies sell “quick-dry” towels or “self-cleaning” towels and bedding. Quick-dry towels are made from synthetic materials that are weaved in a way to allow them to dry quickly. This would help prevent the growth of microbes and the bad smells that develop when towels are damp for long periods of time.</p> <p>But the notion of self-cleaning products is more complicated. Most of these products contain <a href="https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/chem-2016-0005/html">nanosilver</a> or copper, antibacterial metals that kill micro-organisms. The antibacterial compounds will stop the growth of bacteria and can be useful to limit smells and reduce the frequency with which you need to clean your sheets and towels.</p> <p>However, they’re not going to remove dirt like oils, skin flakes and sweat. So as much as I would love the idea of sheets and towels that clean themselves, that’s not exactly what happens.</p> <p>Also, excessive use of antimicrobials <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6636436/pdf/idr-12-1985.pdf">such as nanosilver</a> can lead to <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2021.652863/full">microbes becoming resistant</a> to them.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/216083/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rietie-venter-100529"><em>Rietie Venter</em></a><em>, Associate professor, Clinical and Health Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-often-should-you-wash-your-sheets-and-towels-216083">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Aussies lament the end of ancient "Beers for Garbos" tradition

<p>Here in Australia, where rubbish collectors are celebrated annually with a frosty brew (or six), a cherished tradition is facing its untimely demise.</p> <p>Yes, you guessed it right – the legendary "Beers for Garbos" tradition, where grateful locals adorn their wheelie bins with a six-pack of beer as a token of appreciation, is disappearing faster than a cold beer on a scorching summer day.</p> <p>For generations, Aussies have upheld this festive practice, a heartwarming exchange between citizens and their garbage collectors during the most wonderful time of the year. But alas, the tides are turning, and it seems the days of beer-topped bins are numbered.</p> <p>The alarm was sounded when a concerned citizen took to the virtual streets of Reddit to lament the decline of this time-honoured tradition. "I've been doing this for 20 years, only the last two years they don't seem interested. Is this a tradition we are losing?" cried out the desperate Redditor, faced with the heartbreaking prospect of having their VB left unwanted and <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">unclaimed</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">.</span></p> <p>Speculations ran wild in the digital realm, with theories ranging from light-fingered neighbours to the outrageous notion that beer might not be as popular as it once was. However, Veolia, the giant among waste management companies in Australia, quickly extinguished the fiery speculations.</p> <p>Veolia's chief operating officer of environment, Tony Roderick, delivered the crushing blow, confirming that the "Beers for Garbos" tradition had taken its last bow. The culprit? Health and safety concerns, the perennial party poopers of workplace festivities. Roderick explained, "Packages of beer become missiles in the cabin of the truck under emergency braking."</p> <p>Picture this: a garbage truck hurtling down the suburban streets, emergency brakes screeching, and inside, a symphony of exploding beer bottles. It's a hazardous scenario that even the most seasoned garbage collector might find hard to navigate. Moreover, Veolia has a company-wide dry workplace policy, dashing hopes of a beer-fuelled trash pickup.</p> <p>But fear not, for Roderick is not entirely Ebenezer Scrooge. He encourages alternative forms of gift-giving. "Should people want to leave a small gift for their local driver, it is possible to leave it at the local depot where the driver can collect it at the end of the shift."</p> <p>So, instead of a six-pack perched on the bin, envision a quaint scene of a garbage collector picking up a thoughtful gift basket at the depot – the stuff of modern Aussie holiday magic.</p> <p>As we bid adieu to the "Beers for Garbos" era, let's raise a glass in fond remembrance. May your wheelie bins be forever adorned with the spirit of giving, even if the contents are now strictly non-alcoholic. Cheers to a new era of sober, yet equally heartfelt, expressions of gratitude for our unsung garbage heroes!</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Home & Garden

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9 things you should never touch in someone else’s house

<p><strong>A hands-off approach</strong></p> <p>Nothing like a global pandemic to critically alter your lifelong and intrinsic sanitary practices, huh? And while we know coronavirus does not spread easily from surfaces, there are still plenty of other germs and bacteria that do. And it’s not always a matter of good hygiene – sometimes it’s just a matter of good manners!</p> <p><strong>The door </strong></p> <p>Of course, you can actually touch the door, but you should never do so to let yourself into someone else’s home without them, or without being invited. Always knock or ring the bell, even if it’s been left unlocked, unless someone has expressly told you that you don’t have to.</p> <p>And please, don’t show up knocking earlier than expected – it could be a huge inconvenience to your host.</p> <p><strong>Their bathroom </strong></p> <p>As with most of the things on this list, you should avoid this unless you’re specifically invited. Try not to stray after your trip to the bathroom for a look around – it’s definitely off-limits if you don’t have permission or are going in without your host knowing. Of course, there are exceptions, as it may not be so serious an offence if you know the person very well, or if one lives in a shared living space, a studio, or an apartment with limited space.</p> <p>And on that note, it’s best to wait until you’re invited to sit or relax on someone’s bed. Many people also find that a bedroom is a convenient place to store coats if there are guests coming over, but wait until they offer instead of assuming it’s OK.</p> <p><strong>The floor - with your shoes on</strong></p> <p>Depending on personal preferences or cultural norms, many households have a no-shoes-inside policy. Take the tip from your host – if they’re wearing shoes in their house, you can probably assume it’s OK for you. When in doubt, ask what they would prefer.</p> <p>Another place you shouldn’t be putting your feet? On the couch or coffee table. I can think of five good reasons you should ban shoes in the house, period.</p> <p><strong>The fridge and cupboards </strong></p> <p>This one might sound like it should go without saying, but some might not realize just how rude it is to help yourself to someone else’s food. If you’re hungry, let your host know, or suggest going out to eat. If you’re staying for a long time, your host will probably prepare and shop for food accordingly, but it’s a good idea to offer to bring or buy some groceries yourself. And if you came for dinner, eat what’s been prepared for you, and offer to bring a dish or wine to share.</p> <p>If you have a restricted diet, let your host know beforehand and prepare a dish to bring if it’s difficult to accommodate. Offer to help cook, and lend a hand with the dishes and cleanup. Countertops are absolutely one of those things you should be cleaning every day, regardless.</p> <p><strong>The windows or thermostat</strong></p> <p>Always let your hosts set the thermostat number – it’s their house, after all, and they’re the ones paying the bill for it. If you’re really too cold, a better option might be to ask to borrow a jumper, or extra blankets if you’ll be staying overnight.</p> <p>Too hot? Suggest an activity to help cool off, like going to a place with air conditioning. If you have a medical condition that makes you particularly sensitive to heat or cold, you should always inform your host ahead of time so you can make plans accordingly.</p> <p><strong>Drawers and cabinets</strong></p> <p>This one is definitely invasive of your host’s privacy. Don’t go rummaging for anything that’s not in plain sight or in the rooms your host is expecting you in. You might find it tempting to snoop, but the medicine cabinet is certainly off-limits.</p> <p><strong>Workspaces, mail, or bills</strong></p> <p>To go along with the last one, it’s always best to avoid snooping. In some homes, a guest bedroom might also double as a home office, so steer clear of using these spaces to store your things. You have no idea how they might have organised their things, so try to leave it as is. Not going through someone’s mail is basic manners!</p> <p><strong>Cigarettes or e-cigarettes </strong></p> <p>Unless your host is doing the same and gives you permission, you should never, ever start smoking a cigarette or e-cigarette in someone’s home. This rule is especially inflexible if there are children in the house. Not only can you expose them to the harmful ingredients and chemicals in cigarettes, but the effects – and the smell – can linger long after you’re gone.</p> <p>If you can’t wait, excuse yourself to go outside, and try to move away from doors and windows so it doesn’t waft into the house. Removing the cigarette and cigar smell is quite the cumbersome task. </p> <p><strong>The Wi-Fi</strong></p> <p>Try to refrain from asking for the Wi-Fi password unless you’re a long-term guest or a very frequent visitor. If you’re asking at the beginning of a dinner party, it’s sending the message that you’d rather be on your phone. Try to stay off of your phone as much as possible to really have quality time when you’re visiting.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/9-things-you-should-never-touch-in-someone-elses-house" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

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Better Homes and Gardens star announces exit after 20 years

<p>After 20 years of sharing his quick and easy recipes on <em>Better Homes and Gardens</em>, Ed Halmagyi - or as viewers know him, Fast Ed - is leaving the show</p> <p>Ed will step away from the show in two weeks to focus on a personal business venture, with his final appearance airing on Friday December 1. </p> <p>“I got closer and closer to marking 20 years of Better Homes and I thought about what I want to do in the next 10 years,” he told <em>7News</em>. </p> <p>“I’ve been incredibly lucky over the course of the last 20 years to be able to tell some really cool stories about some really amazing people.”</p> <p>“I have been honoured to get the chance to tell stories to people who love food every week and be part of this amazing show that is part of Australia’s fabric.</p> <p>“I will certainly miss being a part of Australia’s Friday nights and working alongside my Better Homes family.”</p> <p>Ed also said that agrees with his friends who have told him that his role on the show is the "best job in the world." </p> <p>“It’s pretty darned incredible,” he told the publication. </p> <p>“I’ve worked with the most incredible places, with the most incredible team.</p> <p>“I’ve had the best time, and will be forever grateful to Joh, my fellow presenters, the Better Homes team behind the scenes and to everyone who watches our show each and every night.”</p> <p>Prior to starring in the show, Ed was running a restaurant in Sydney, and was recruited after he impressed the producers with his upbeat personality when they filmed a Sydney Weekender there. </p> <p>“Twenty years ago, after what I considered an unremarkable Sydney Weekender appearance, I was asked to do a screen test,” he recalled. </p> <p>Ed never thought he would get a career in media, and it all worked out for him in the end. </p> <p>“To be honest, I never felt more ridiculous in my life than I did on that day, but I just kind of decided to be me, and…..what the hell.</p> <p>“That I’m still doing it 20 years later is equal parts fantastic and bizarre.”</p> <p>Although Ed's replacement on the show is yet to be announced, the one piece of advice that he has for them is this: “Be you and start out with the absolute most sincere respect for your audience.”</p> <p><em>Image: Seven</em></p>

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This bathroom item is dirtier than your toilet seat, according to a microbiologist

<p><strong>Bathrooms and germs </strong></p> <p>Bathrooms are filthy – there’s just no way around it. They’re home to toilets, sinks and showers and tend to be one of the dirtiest places in the home, no matter how often they’re on your cleaning schedule. And because the toilet seat plays host to your derrière, it’s easy to label this as the germiest spot in the bathroom. But research is disproving that notion.</p> <p>Overall, the hard surfaces – such as the toilet seat and floor – are scrubbed down often because they’re the first lines on your bathroom cleaning checklist. And many people focus on cleaning the toilet because nothing screams dirty like a line of biofilm in the toilet bowl. But what about other bathroom-specific items? Dr Charles Gerba, a microbiology professor at the University of Arizona, says that it’s the fabrics in our bathroom that deserve the most attention. Yes, your bathmat is actually dirtier than your toilet seat, followed by towels, including those facecloths (which is why you need to wash your towels often). Here’s what you need to know.</p> <p><strong>Are bathmats really that dirty?</strong></p> <p>“We’ve done a lot of research on the microbiology of homes and, more recently, the bathroom,” says Gerba. The bathmat is problematic for two reasons, he says. First, it gets wet when you’re getting out of the shower, and it stays wet and moist, often in a dark and damp room.</p> <p>The second issue is that many people wear shoes in the bathroom, a huge contributing factor to the dirt, grime and bacteria found on bathmats. “Almost 90% of all shoes have faecal bacteria on them,” Gerba says. “You’re walking in dog poop all the time, and you don’t know it.”</p> <p>Beyond tracking shoes throughout the house and across bathmats, Gerba also pointed out the potential of spray from the toilet to land on bathmats. The Ecological Fluid Dynamics Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder experimented to see how far water droplets were ejected into the air when flushing public restroom toilets. The airborne particles shoot out quickly, reaching as much as 1.5 metres above the toilet within 8 seconds. The droplets were unpredictable and landed on the walls around the toilet, including behind it, and also on the ceiling. Which means that depending on the proximity, spray from a toilet can easily touch down on a plush bathmat.</p> <p>But while some research might suggest closing the toilet seat cover at home before flushing, not everyone agrees with that solution. “When you close the lid, the spray then goes over the top of the toilet seat and hits the walls on the side because you’ve narrowed the opening, which makes the water shoot out at a higher speed,” Gerba says, adding that closing the lid also leads to the toilet seat and underside of the lid getting more contaminated.</p> <p><strong>How to prevent dirty bathmats</strong></p> <p>Whether or not you close the toilet seat, one thing is certain: Keeping your bathmat as dry as possible is important. One of the factors that make bathmats the dirtiest spot in the bathroom is that they sometimes stay damp for hours, depending on how humid your environment is, how many people are showering and how much water splashes on them. Drying off in the shower will keep your bathmat from getting soggy. You can also hang it to dry instead of leaving it on the floor, where it will stay wet longer.</p> <p>Another tip: If you don’t remove your shoes when entering your house, at least take them off before going into the bathroom (and clean your floors often). That way, you’re not tracking outside germs onto a bathmat where they can quickly and easily multiply. “When you get out of the shower, it’s moist,” Gerba says. “Any time we have a fabric, it absorbs water, and things like faecal bacteria will survive longer there than on hard surfaces.”</p> <p><strong>How to wash your bathmat</strong></p> <p>The hard surfaces in bathrooms are satisfying to spray and wipe down, which Gerba recommends doing every few days. But what about bathmats? You should wash your bathmat at least once a week, and not just to keep it fresh and fluffy, but importantly, to remove bacteria.</p> <p>The first step to washing bathmats is to check the care label and follow the instructions on the tag, including which temperature is best for the fabric. Most bathmats can be machine-washed, but be careful with rubber-backed bathmats, which shouldn’t be dried on high heat. In general, quick-drying fabrics, such as microfibre and chenille, can be good options because they dry fast and are easy to launder. Something you can easily wash twice per week is the healthiest option.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/this-bathroom-item-is-dirtier-than-your-toilet-seat-according-to-a-microbiologist" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

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Why are people putting toilet paper in the fridge?

<p>Recently, people on social media have been advising you to replace that box of bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda) in the back of your fridge with a roll of toilet paper.</p> <p>Does this weird trick work? We asked kitchen and appliance experts to see what the pros had to say!</p> <h4>Why put toilet paper in the fridge?</h4> <p>Ruiz Asri, editor of Honest Food Talks, says toilet paper’s absorbency is behind this hack. “Moisture in the refrigerator often contributes to mildew and unpleasant odour,” Asri says. The toilet paper absorbs excess moisture, along with foul smells. References to toilet paper in the fridge can be found as far back as 2015. But its dedicated use of it as an odour absorber seems to be more recent, with videos appearing on TikTok and Facebook.</p> <p><strong>Does it work?</strong></p> <p>Yes, to a point. While TP will absorb odours, other options are more efficient, take up less space and generate fewer odd looks from houseguests. Amy, from the parenting blog Amy & Rose, has tried the TP technique. She had some fishy smells in the fridge, and her daughter suggested that she try the toilet paper hack. So did it work?</p> <p>“In my experience, somewhat,” she says. But here’s the catch: It’s just a temporary fix.</p> <h4>Alternative fridge odour busters</h4> <p>So if you want something longer lasting that takes up less space, read on for some alternate odour-fighting strategies.</p> <p><strong>Bi-carbonate of soda</strong></p> <p>Bi-carbonate of soda (also known as bi-carb and baking soda) is the go-to solution for many households. It caught on in the 1970s, when one manufacturer promoted it as an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical cleaning. By 1994, a US newspaper reported “more refrigerators are likely to have bi-carb than working light bulbs.”</p> <p>Bi-carb is a base material, which means it neutralises acids. Because most odours are acidic, it can cut off the smell at the source. (Side note: After deodorising a fridge with bi-carb, don’t use the contents of that box for baking. Cooking can reactivate those acids and contaminate your cake.) As the bi-carb interacts with more acids, it becomes less effective. Most people will need to replace it every three months.</p> <p><strong>Black cumin seed oil</strong></p> <p>Corinne Segura, a building biologist practitioner and founder of My Chemical-Free House, has first-hand experience with fridge odours. “When food went bad in my fridge, it left a lingering foul odour,” she says. “I used black cumin seed oil, which has a deodorising effect, to clean up the smell.”</p> <p>Segura credits this to the essential oil’s ability to deodorise methyl mercaptan, a chemical that produces a rotten scent. “I mixed five drops of black cumin essential oil with 1 tablespoon of dish soap and applied it in a thick layer to all the plastic components inside the fridge,” she says. “I let it sit for two hours before washing it off. This worked well to get rid of foul odours in the fridge.”</p> <p><strong>Activated charcoal </strong></p> <p>Activated charcoal captures the particles that cause bad smells, just like toilet paper. It’s available as a powder, in pre-cut filters or as fabric you can cut to size. It functions by collecting the volatile compounds given off by smelly items, reducing odour. Swap out the charcoal every month or so to keep it effective.</p> <p><strong>Vanilla extract</strong></p> <p>For those who prefer a more pleasant scent, especially around their food, Asri offers a particularly sweet recommendation. “Soak a cotton wool ball in vanilla extract and place it in the refrigerator,” he says. “This combats bad odours and leaves your fridge smelling like a bakery.”</p> <p><strong>Crumpled newspaper and charcoal </strong></p> <p>If you want a deep-clean on your fridge or freezer at minimal expense, go with one paper product that’s even cheaper than toilet paper. Fill up a particularly stinky fridge with crushed charcoal and crumpled newspaper (you can buy unprinted newsprint paper).</p> <p>You’ll need to replace the newspaper every day for about a week, but it’s a low-cost way to deal with a foul-smelling situation.</p> <h4>UV light purifier</h4> <p>If you gravitate towards high-tech solutions, consider a fridge with a UV light filter. “Ultraviolet light can destroy bacteria, mould and other pathogens,” says Alexander Hill, a sales rep for UK-based Appliance Depot. “Some fridge purifiers use UV light to sanitise the air and surfaces inside the fridge, thus reducing the source of many odours.”</p> <p>Take that, toilet paper.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/diy-tips/why-are-people-putting-toilet-paper-in-the-fridge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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Homeowners often feel better about life than renters, but not always – whether you are mortgaged matters

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hiroaki-suenaga-1477343">Hiroaki Suenaga</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ryan-brierty-1477346">Ryan Brierty</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>Homeownership has long been thought of as the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-23/why-australians-are-obsessed-with-owning-property/8830976">great Australian dream</a>. For individuals, it’s seen as the path to adulthood and prosperity. For the nation, it’s seen as a cornerstone of economic and social policy.</p> <p>Implicit in this is the assumption that owning a home rather than renting one makes people better off.</p> <p>It’s an assumption we are now able to examine using data from the government-funded <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/hilda">Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia</a> (HILDA) survey, which for two decades has asked questions both about homeownership and satisfaction with life.</p> <p>The <a href="https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/4694137/ContinuingPersonQuestionnaireW23M.pdf">overarching question</a> asks "all things considered, how satisfied are you with your life? Pick a number between 0 and 10 to indicate how satisfied you are".</p> <p>We also looked at people’s satisfaction with their financial situation, their home and the neighbourhood in which they live.</p> <p>In a study published in the journal <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00420980231190479">Urban Studies</a>, we linked those answers to home ownership and characteristics including age and income.</p> <p>As expected, we found homeowners were generally more satisfied with their lives than renters. But we also find the extent to which they were more satisfied depended on whether or not they were still paying off a mortgage.</p> <h2>Mortgaged homeowners about as satisfied as renters</h2> <p>Outright home owners were 1.5 times as likely to report high overall satisfaction as renters. But home owners still paying off a mortgage were only a little more likely to feel high overall satisfaction.</p> <p>Similarly, outright owners were 2.3 times as likely to report high financial satisfaction as renters – but mortgaged owners were only 1.1 times as likely.</p> <p>When it comes to satisfaction with their home and neighbourhood, the differences were less extreme.</p> <p>Outright home owners were 3.1 times as likely to report high satisfaction with their home as renters, while mortgaged owners were 2.8 times as likely.</p> <p>Outright owners were 1.6 times as likely to report high satisfaction with their neighbourhood as renters, and mortgaged owners 1.4 times as likely.</p> <p>The results also varied with age and income.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="hK9Ua" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/hK9Ua/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>As shown in the graph above, outright owners were more likely to report high financial satisfaction than renters across almost the entire age range.</p> <p>But mortgaged owners only showed a demonstrably greater financial satisfaction than renters between the ages of 25 and 50.</p> <p>Beyond age 50, the existence of a mortgage debt burden appeared to cancel out any boost to financial satisfaction from homeownership. This potentially reflects the growing financial stress of making mortgage payments as retirement approaches.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="f2GSl" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/f2GSl/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>By income, mortgaged owners reported experiencing more financial satisfaction compared to renters the more they earned between A$80,000 and A$240,000. Outright owners experienced more financial satisfaction than renters up to A$320,000.</p> <p>Beyond these income levels, owners did not have greater financial satisfaction than renters, perhaps because high-earning renters have other sources of financial satisfaction.</p> <h2>How satisfied people feel beyond 60</h2> <p>In other respects, outright owners and mortgaged homeowners showed similar patterns, becoming more satisfied with their homes relative to renters the more they age up – until the age of 60. That’s when their satisfaction relative to renters declined, as illustrated below.</p> <p>This decline might reflect the growing physical burden of maintaining an owned home as people age.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="oLrHz" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/oLrHz/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Our study has important implications. One is that age matters.</p> <p>Although older people consistently express a desire to <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/analysis/brief/whats-needed-make-ageing-place-work-older-australians">age in place</a>, we found satisfaction among those who owned vs rented their home declined beyond age 60. This suggests better integration between housing and care is critical to support people ageing in place.</p> <p>Another implication is that as low-income owners are more reliant on their homes as a source of relative financial satisfaction than high earners, they are <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-social-policy/article/housing-equity-withdrawal-perceptions-of-obstacles-among-older-australian-home-owners-and-associated-service-providers/268F54A8EAA1E9ECA118E243505AA9FD">more exposed</a> in times of crisis. They may face the risk of being forced to sell suddenly with little time to consider the consequences.</p> <p>And another implication is as the relative financial satisfaction of mortgage holders disappears after the age of 50, and as more of us approach retirement with mortgages intact, more of us will either <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00420980211026578">postpone retirement</a> or become dissatisfied.</p> <p>Our findings suggest the extension of mortgage debt into later life should be discouraged if the benefits of the Australian dream are to be preserved.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/215147/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482"><em>Rachel Ong ViforJ</em></a><em>, ARC Future Fellow &amp; Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hiroaki-suenaga-1477343">Hiroaki Suenaga</a>, Senior Lecturer School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ryan-brierty-1477346">Ryan Brierty</a>, PhD candidate, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/homeowners-often-feel-better-about-life-than-renters-but-not-always-whether-you-are-mortgaged-matters-215147">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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These 7 genius hacks will revive almost any plant

<p><strong>Look for signs of life </strong></p> <p>If your plant has turned brown and lost some leaves, don’t give up on it just yet. There is hope that you can revive a dead plant if the plant still has a few green leaves and pliable stems – buds are a sure sign too. Melinda Meyers, star and producer of Melinda’s Garden Moment TV and radio segments, says that reviving a plant takes patience (sometimes even years).</p> <p><strong>Think about the water</strong></p> <p>Plants that are over-watered appear wilted and may have brown or yellow leaves that make it look dead but with very moist soil. By contrast, if you have forgotten to water your plants,  the leaves will be brown but dried around the edges or curled up. Master gardener, Kristena LaMar, says that if you suspect over-watering is the cause of your plant’s demise, repot your plant in dry dirt.</p> <p>And if your plant is thirsty, water it! However, hold off on fertilising until the plant is in better health. Meyers warns that, “Fertilising a struggling plant can injure the tender roots of a recovering plant.”</p> <p><strong>Consider your lighting situation</strong></p> <p>If you recently moved your plant to a new spot, it’s possible it’s no longer getting enough light. Even if you didn’t move it, it’s possible its lighting situation changed. Did you recently buy heavier drapes? Plant a tree outside that’s now blocking the indoor sunlight?</p> <p>Try moving your plant to a sunnier window if it needs a lot of light. (Same goes with a plant that’s now getting too much sun; try a different location in your home.)</p> <p><strong>Find a humid spot</strong></p> <p>Plants absorb water through leaves as well as roots. So keep your plant in a humid spot that’s not too sunny and not too dry to help it recover.</p> <p><strong>Feed your plant carefully </strong></p> <p>People and pets aren’t the only things in your house that need food; plants can get malnourished, too. (Signs are discoloured leaves or slow or no growth.) Meyers recommends a fertiliser/nutritional supplement. Depending on the nutritional deficiency, providing the nutrition can help the plant recover nearly immediately within days.</p> <p>Other deficiencies may take longer – as in weeks – while others are chronic and may not ever fully recover, although these are rare with houseplants.</p> <p><strong>IV for plants </strong></p> <p>Another option for malnourished plants is a water-soluble fertiliser that will slowly release nutrients and is less likely to burn your plant’s roots. Add it to the watering can before watering plants. Only use fertiliser during the time when your plant should be growing. Over-fertilising or using the wrong fertiliser can burn the roots of the plant.</p> <p><strong>Compost</strong></p> <p>If you’ve tried everything, and your plant still can’t be revived, it might be time to let go. By composting your plants, the remains can be recycled as nutrient-rich dirt that can help your next houseplant thrive. Don’t beat yourself up – and next time buy a hearty, nearly kill-proof cactus.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/7-hacks-that-will-revive-almost-any-plant" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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