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Home > City Resources > Home Needs > Tips

Home Needs
Tips to make life easier

Do you feel that there are simply not enough hours in a day to accomplish everything? Do you wonder where you'll find energy to go to work, fix the meals, maintain your house, manage your money, educate your children, etc. In short, do you wish to make your life less difficult?

Here we present some practical solutions for everyday life.

Tips on removing stains

*The best way to remove gum from cloth is to freeze the cloth and then peel off the gum.
* To remove ink and ball-point pen stains, just soak cotton in eau-de-cologne and rub it on the stained area.
*To remove blood-stains, soak the cloth in cold water and then soak it in hydrogen peroxide solution.
* To remove oil stains, just clean the cloth with lemon juice dipped in salt.
*To remove rust stains from cloth, rub lemon juice over the stain, cover it with white cloth and iron it.
*Cooking or edible oil stains can be removed by first putting talcum powder to absorb the oil. Then apply
shampoo over the satin and wash it with hot water.
* To remove soft drink stains, soak the cloth in cold water and clean it with isopropyl alcohol and cold water solution ( 50: 50 ratio).


Rain water harvesting from rooftops

Rain Water HarvestingWHAT is rooftop rainwater harvesting?
The process of collecting, storing and using rain falling on rooftops of houses or other constructions is called, rooftop rainwater harvesting.

WHY harvest rainwater?
Because rainwater is a pure natural resource and saving it makes ecological and financial sense.

WHO can harvest rooftop rainwater?
*Persons in apartments can also harvest rainwater but a community approach may be required in such a case.
*Industries and factories can harvest rainwater since large roof areas are usually available in such constructions.
*People who are purchasing water from private water tankers can harvest rainwater to lessen their financial outflow.

DESIGN your roof well for rainwater collection.
*A flat roof can be gently sloped to drain water towards the storage system. A ‘nahani trap’ or ‘floor trap can be placed at the time of casting the roof just near the inlets of the down water pipes.
*Sloping roofs should have a gutter of PVC or Zinc sheet to collect water and channel it to the down water pipe system.
*Roofs should be uncluttered and should be easy to clean by sweeping and swabbing if necessary.
*Down water pipes should be designed well - 90 mm diameter. PVC pipes resistant to UV rays appear to be the best bet as down water pipes. Of course this depends on the roof area to be drained.
*3 to 4 down water pipes seem enough for a 1,000 to 1,200 square feet area.
*Filter the rainwater before storage: filtering can be as basic as a floor trap placed before the water enters the down water pipe or a piece of sponge placed at the inlet of the down water pipe. A PVC bucket with gravel, sand and charcoal is a good filter before rain water is stored. A PVC drum with sponge on the inlet and outlet is also a filter. A small two chamber inspection filter tank can also be devised.

DESIGN tips for rainwater harvesting.
Try to determine your storage system at the planning stage itself. Would it be a:
* roof level storage tank
* a ground level drum or masonry tank
* a below the ground sump
*a partially below ground and partially above ground tank.

Locate the storage system appropriately.
Roof level storage tanks may need to be at the rear of the house or on the sides so that it is neither obstrusive or visually offensive.
Ground level drums or tanks occupy space and should not hinder movement or appear unsightly.
Below the ground sump is a good option since most new constructions in Bangalore go in for sumps anyway. Sumps are hidden from view, less costly to build and do not obstruct movement.
Note: Always provide for an outlet for excess collection of water from the storage system.

Further treatment of stored rainwater
It is a common perception that water stored for long goes bad. If water does not contain any organic material and if it is stored in a clean container it can stay for very very long.
Some small treatment like ‘alum dosing’ or ‘chlorination’ can also be done to stored water to improve its quality.
Addition of a small quantity of alum dissolved in half a bucket of water will bring down the suspended solids and clear the stored rainwater.
Similarly adding a small quantity of bleaching powder to half a bucket of water and then mixing it with the stored rainwater will kill bacterial contamination.
Great care should be exercised while chlorinating and it is not particularly recommended.
It is always recommended that water used for drinking should be boiled and filtered invariably.

Courtesy: Environment and Health Foundation (India).
For more tips on rain water harvesting contact EHF (India) at:
web site:


Around the house

Keep your carpet smelling fresh and clean with baking soda - just sprinkle the soda liberally over the entire carpet and let it sit for an hour. Then vacuum it up.

For a sweeter smelling house, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the dust-bag of your vacuum cleaner before you start it up.

You can use mayonnaise to remove crayon marks from wood furniture. Just let it sit for ten minutes and then rub with a soft cloth.

Vinegar is an inexpensive and effective cleaning agent and it has many practical uses:

      - To remove white water deposits from your pots and pans, simply pour white vinegar into the pot and boil for 15 minutes.

      - Cleaning your dishwasher is child's play if you run an empty cycle with white vinegar.

      - White vinegar can also remove stains and odours of pets from the carpet.

      - When you are painting, just add a few drops of vanilla essence to the paint when mixing. This will remove the unpleasant smell and still won't affect the colour.

      - To keep the toilet bowl sparkling, mix equal parts of baking soda and borax; add white vinegar and use this mixture as a cleaning fluid.


Avoid long, uninterrupted use of your blender. Such misuse can overheat the motor and possibly cause a breakdown.

Keep the mixing bowl from slipping on the countertop when using a handheld mixer by putting a rubberised mat or a damp cloth underneath it.

Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of your processor's bowl before you put on the lid. After processing, you'll discover that the usually splatter-splashed lid is spotless.

Dispel offensive odours from your microwave by placing a thick slice of lemon on a paper towel and microwaving it on high for about a minute and a half.

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