1st May 2020

Craft / Culture / Featured / Food / Outdoors / Jimmy Sandison

Some Good Techniques: For The Home

47 12 mins 0

GGood things to help you be a better gardener, baker, cleaner, walker, painter, work-from-homer… These are the simple things to help you live the good life at home.

We’ve asked you all, our home experts, to share your wisdom and good techniques, sent via Instagram and in response to our newsletter, and here they are compiled together. I hope they bring you entertainment, information and things you didn’t know.

Like all Good Ideas, we hope for this to grow and grow, and will add to it over time. So keep your Good Techniques coming!


If you have a kitchen pan that’s got really bad baked-on stains that are hard to shift, use Coca Cola. Just pour in enough Coke to cover the baked-on stuff, leave it for a few hours and then the pan should be easy to clean. (Steve Rose)

Use lemon juice as a natural bleach or stain remover. Use either the neat juice or rub a half lemon that has been squeezed for something else onto the stain. Then wash as normal. (Caroline Gladstone)

All you need to make a good multi-surface cleaner is apple cider vinegar, water, some nice smelling essential oils, like orange or lavender. You’ll need 100ml of apple cider vinegar to 500ml of water and then a good few drops of essential oils to get rid of the apple cider vinegar smell. Put into a spray bottle and use on your surfaces as a non-toxic, zero waste multi-surface cleaner. (Xanthe Gladstone)

If you get wax on clothes, scrape off the excess wax before lying the garment on an ironing board and covering it with an old tea towel. With an iron, apply moderate heat to the tea towel and the wax will stick to that. Then remove the rest of the wax with rubbing alcohol which is cheap and easy to get hold of. (Tony Gaskin)

Any kind of tape makes a decent lint roller. (Sarah Hellen)

If you’ve accidentally shrunk your favourite woollen jumper, massage it with a load of hair conditioner to release the fibres and it should start to ease back into shape. Provided it didn’t go barbie size, you should be able to bring it back to life. (Sarah Hellen)

Use old newspaper to clean mirrors and glass for a streak free shine! (Scarlett Hall)

The best way of removing oil stains from clothes is to put a big drip of washing up liquid onto the stain and leave it to soak in overnight before washing as normal. It really works. (Tony Gaskin)

Red wine. Ugh. All is not lost. Poor white wine on top of the stain. If you have to open a new bottle of white wine for that, then make up for the spilt red wine by drinking that; it’s win/win. Then put baking soda on top of the white wine, rub it in and leave overnight. Then wash as normal the next morning. (Charlie Gladstone)

If you have wax on a candlestick, pour boiling water over it. But make sure the wax runs into a bowl or whatever, or it might block the plug hole. If you have old candlesticks they often have lead bases that are covered in felt; don’t get that wet or it will all fall apart. Alternatively, put the candlestick in the freezer for a few hours and the wax will become brittle and snap off. You can then finish the process by pouring a tiny bit of boiling water over the residue. (S Lamplugh)

Use the freezer to get rid of chewing gum. And smearing toothpaste over the gum can often loosen it, too. Amazing. But it’s not so easy to get chewing gum out of children’s hair, so try to avoid that happening too often. My brother used to store his behind his ear which rarely ended well. (Charlie Gladstone)


Store tomatoes upside down in the fridge for them to keep longer. This prevents moisture from getting in where the stalk was and stops them going squishy and off. (Caroline Gladstone)

Oil the steak, not the pan. (Tom Cronk)

To cook salmon perfectly, fry for exactly two mins on each side, start with skin. It’ll be PERFECT! (Tara Gladstone)

Each time you feed your sourdough starter you’ll have a bit left over, don’t throw it away. Get your frying pan nice and hot, put a dash of olive oil or butter into your pan and spread your spare starter evenly into it. Top it with sea salt and any other herbs you have, fry on each side for about 2 mins, and enjoy! (Xanthe Gladstone)

The best way to peel ginger is with the tip of a teaspoon. (Sarah Hellen)

Use a wooden spoon on a pan to stop it boiling over. (Sarah Hellen)

Don’t throw away the bottom of onions. Plant them and new onion shoots might grow! (Home Expert)

For the perfect boiled egg: put room temperature egg into boiling water for exactly six minutes. (Home Expert)

Keep all your vegetable trimmings for veg stock (George Blower)


Use loo roll tube for germinating beans. Beans don’t like their roots being disturbed, so you plant the loo roll directly in the ground, the cardboard decomposes, and their roots can grow happily. (Jimmy Sandison)

If you have a garden, get a rain barrel/water butt to collect rainwater. This saves water, money and the environment PLUS plants much prefer rainwater to chlorinated tap water! (Jimmy Sandison)

I have a tiny concrete garden, a puppy who likes to dig and I am determined to grow vegetables this summer! I am certainly no expert, but I have halved a blue water butt to make two puppy proof planters which I am pretty proud of. (Sarah Hellen)

Re-pot! When a lot of people have problems with their seedlings, it’s usually because they need to be put into bigger pots. You can see from the bottom of the pots that the roots are growing through, so put them into a bigger pot with some new composts and give them a good watering and watch them grow a lot faster! (Xanthe Gladstone) 

Use old egg cartons as seedling starter trays…they are also biodegradable. (Home Expert)


If you are really sunburnt, get some black tea bags. Make a big bowl of tea and let it cool COMPLETELY. Then get an old tea towel and soak it in the liquid and dab onto the burn. Let it dry and repeat for as long as you can bear it. The sunburn will be so much better in the morning. (Tara Gladstone) 

Clear nail varnish over bites. It doesn’t always work but tends to for me. (Tara Gladstone)

Coconut oil can be used as a natural deodorant! (Rachel Sedgwick) 

For minor burns and scalds in the kitchen, a couple of drops of neat lavender oil help the healing process and reduce scarring. (Rachel Sedgwick) 

Hang fresh rosemary in your shower to help you wake up in the morning. (Harriet Coleman) 

Apple cider vinegar is the best cure for anything. If you have a headache or a stomach ache in particular, pop 2 caps worth into warm (not boiling or cold) water and I promise you’ll almost instantly feel better. If the headache is more like a migraine, do this but also do an apple cider vinegar steam – boiling water into a bowl, a few glugs of ACV, a towel over your head and inhale. (India Price) 

If you’re feeling anxious, google Wim Hof and do his breathing exercise. It’s honestly life changing, and you actually get a high from the amount of air that you are inhaling – it’s crazy. Breath in (through your nose) and out through your mouth quick harsh and strongly for 30 breaths. He says, ‘inhale peace, exhale stress’. Then you hold your breath for as long as you can – 1 min is the aim – and then slowly exhale for 15 seconds. Then repeat. Try and do it 3 times at least once a day, and try and hold your breath for 10 seconds every time. It’s MAD. (India Price) 

Sticky willy (aka cleavers) is incredible to get your system moving. Pick a handful, pop it in a teapot with boiling water and let it steep for an hour or so. My herbalist Vicky also says it’s incredible if you have acne or acne-prone skin too as it’s a great detoxifier. It normally grows right next to nettles. (India Price)


For dogs that suffer from itchy ears – add two drops of lavender oil and two drops of tea tree oil to a good tablespoon of melted coconut oil.  Once it has set, rub a small dollop into the ear (allowing it to melt into the ear canal). (Rachel Sedgwick)

If you have dogs, the bitches’ pee is going to burn the lawn and that ends up looking gross. If you buy Dog Rocks and put them in the dog’s water, the pee won’t stain the lawn. This actually works. (S Lamplugh)


Instead of using BBQ lighters (which have lots of chemicals) use a bundle of dried rosemary twigs. (Jimmy Sandison)

Dry orange and tangerine peel to use as natural firelighters. Leave them to air dry, or slow dry them in a very low oven or in an airing cupboard. (Caroline Gladstone)


This list is set to grow and grow and grow. And we need your help. to get involved.

Email your Good Techniques to Jimmy, or send us a message on Instagram to get involved.

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Jimmy Sandison

Jimmy Sandison is passionate about the climate, food sustainability, design, craft and equality, which makes her quite a good fit as the editor of Some Good Ideas.

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