Life hacks, tips and tricks from Farmers’ Almanac

It gets dark so early now that some drivers might wish their car’s headlights were brighter — and the Farmers’ Almanac knows something they can try.

Mention the Almanac, and charts for full moon phases and solar eclipses might come to mind, but the publication also collects life hacks, tips and helpful hints.

Headlights, for example, that seem dim might not need new bulbs.

“You might think ‘OK, I’ll grab the Windex,’ but we’re saying you should actually grab the toothpaste,” said managing editor Sandi Duncan.

Begin by cleaning the headlamps with window cleaner, then take a little bit of toothpaste and mix it in with some baking soda on a clean cloth and rub it onto the headlight. Then wipe the mixture off using a cloth dampened with plain water.

“And you should be able to see the dirt on your rag,” Duncan said.

Another automotive related hack helps window defrosters work better by removing moisture from inside the vehicle.

To help cut down on condensation that fogs the inside of windshields, stash a sock filled with clean kitty litter under the seat.

“And since kitty litter is super absorbent, it’ll help absorb the extra moisture in your car. It might take a couple of days in order for it start working, but once it does, this sock and kitty litter will help keep your car windows fog free,” she said.

Around the house, the Farmers’ Almanac has a quick tip for cleaner cutting boards. To deep clean a wooden cutting board, scrub it down using half a lemon dipped in coarse salt.

A helpful hint the almanac revisits frequently at the request of its readers is how to get stubborn underarm stains and odors out of shirts.

“You can use meat tenderizer — and pretty much the meat tenderizer breaks down the chemicals that are embedded in the fabric,” Duncan said.

Sprinkle the product on the shirt’s underarm area that’s dampened with water, work it in, soak for 20 minutes then wash according to product directions.

“And you’ll smell fresh and new,” Duncan said.

This year’s Almanac also has a feature on popular superstitions and how they came about.

“And one of my favorites is — do you ever wonder why you cross your fingers when you hope for something good to happen? And the reason is that it used to be believed that bad luck would be trapped in your fingers where your fingers connect or cross over each other so that the bad luck would not be let out and you would have good luck going forward,” she quipped.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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