SAVE MONEY ON DETERGENT: Cheaper laundry detergent can clean better than expensive brands, according to Consumer Reports. Warehouse store brands Member’s Mark and Kirkland from Sam’s Club and Costco, respectively, scored high in a recent Consumer Reports’ test of laundry detergents.
While Tide Ultra Stain Release earned the highest score, Member’s Mark Ultimate Clean, a Sam’s Club exclusive, and Costco’s Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean performed very well overall in Consumer Reports’ tests and cost about half the price of the top-rated Tide per load.
The full report and ratings of 50 laundry detergents can be found in the August 2014 issue of Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports also tested pods and packs, which are single-load detergents that eliminate the need for measuring. None made the recommended list, but All Mighty Pacs Oxi and Tide Pods performed very well overall.
Since 2012, poison-control centers have received more than 20,000 calls concerning incidents involving pods and children 5 or younger, so Consumer Reports recommends keeping those candy-like packets out of reach.
Confused by all of the choices? Here’s advice from Consumer Reports for choosing the right laundry detergent:
Match the detergent to the machine. Dual-use-detergents tend to perform better in high-efficiency (HE) machines, which don’t use as much water to dilute the detergent. Never use standard detergent in a HE machine, as it will cause excessive suds. Decide on liquid, powder or packet. Liquids dissolve easily, so they’re less likely to leave residue. Powders are more compatible with bleaching agents, which can improve their cleaning power, but too much can cause caking on clothes. Single-load packets are convenient, but can’t be cut in half for small loads.
DIY WALLPAPER IDEAS: Wallpaper can transform any space – or even a piece of furniture. Explore the creative possibilities with these ideas for DIY wallpaper projects from York Wallcoverings.
Cover a thrift-store nightstand or screen with wallpaper. Create a feature wall will a bold wallpaper design. It’s easy to cover a large area when there are no doors, windows or corners to deal with. Line the backs of open shelves or closed cupboard with wall paper to break up the all-one-color monotony. Jazz up an entryway, powder room or other small space with a bold wall design. Place squares of wallpaper in decorative frames to create inexpensive, changeable art.
COCKTAILS FROM THE GARDEN: Use plants from your garden to make delicious summertime drinks. Birds and Blooms, a leading bird and garden magazine, has tips for using fruits, vegetables and flowers in cocktails:
Use basil to balance the sweetness of a watermelon margarita, or to spice up citrus drinks like grapefruit martinis.
Float a marigold bloom on top of a blood orange martini. Pansies can dress up a glass of champagne.
Add fresh strawberries to champagne punches or spritzers. Watermelons make great margaritas, as do the fresh limes plucked off your own tree. (You can grow lime trees in a container and bring them inside for the winter.)
Add jalapeno peppers directly to the cocktail of your choice or infuse your favorite booze or mixer—vodka, tequila or simple syrup are fun options.
Read the entire Birds and Blooms article here.