Household Uses for Soap



A bar of soap serves more purpose than just cleaning us! Here are some of our favorite uses for soap around the house.

What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.

A drawer will slide more smoothly and quietly if you rub both sides and the underside with soap.

To lubricate a stubborn zipper, rub soap on both sides while closed, then unzip it and rub soap over the opened teeth.

Protect windowpanes, doorknobs, hardware, glass doors, and switch plates when painting by coating them with soapsuds. Paint spatters will settle on the suds, and both can be washed away together.

A squeaky hinge gets the soap! Wedge moist soap between the doorframe and hinge, and work the door back and forth; also rub soap directly onto the hinge.

Place unwrapped soap in drawers, closets, and empty suitcases to prevent musty odors.

To make a saw slide more smoothly and easily, coat both sides with soap. The cutting edge will go through any wood much faster.

To halt squeaks in floorboards, work a little moist soap into the cracks between the boards.

Loosen a tight ring by rubbing soap over the finger. The ring will slide off when the hand is washed.

To pick up bits and pieces of broken glass safely, rub a damp bar of soap over the area where glass has splintered, then shave off the surface of the soap of which the glass has adhered. Wrap these soap “peelings” in newspaper and discard.

Prevent a watering can from dripping by rubbing moistened soap under the lip or spout.

To loosen a stiff door lock, lubricate the key by rubbing it with soap.

Rub sled runners generously with soap for a slicker ride.

Pins and needs will go through material more easily if you first stick them in a bar of soap.

To prepare paper logs for a cozy fire, roll old newspapers tightly into small logs, tie firmly, and soak them in soapy water. Stand them on end to drain and dry.

Planning to cook outdoors? First coat the bottom surfaces of pots and pans with soap; soot will wash off with the soap afterward.

To keep eyeglasses from steaming in cold weather, rub both sides of each lens with soapy fingers, and then polish.


Helsinki is the world’s most livable cities,



Helsinki already ranks as one of the world’s most livable cities, but by 2050, it may top the list, especially as other cities struggle to figure out how to accommodate swelling populations in limited space.

Over the next few decades, Helsinki expects to add around 250,000 new residents. But the more the population grows, the fewer cars will be on city streets as Helsinki transforms itself into a network of dense, walkable neighborhoods that are virtually car-free.

Right now, like many cities, Helsinki has a compact urban core linked to far-flung suburbs by expressways. As the city grows, each suburb will change into a mini-urban center surrounding tram or rail stations.


Even though the city population grows, the use of the private car should not rise,” saysRikhard Manninen, director of the Strategic Urban Planning Division for the city. “Key to achieving this goal is improving public transport, densifying existing areas, and expanding the inner city.”

Helsinki envisions its busy expressways becoming boulevards lined with new housing, sidewalk cafes, bike lanes, and trams and buses. Residents will run everyday errands on foot or by bike; the city hopes that homes, businesses, schools, and stores will all be close enough together that many people might not even have to commute anymore.

But an expanded network of tram and metro stations will connect the entire city. New services, like a “mobility on demand” app that the city is already beginning to test, will make it simple to call up a bus, taxi, or shared car or bike, exactly when someone needs it.


As the city fills up with new housing and commercial space, it also plans to keep, and even add, parks.

“Helsinki is described as a green network city,” says Manninen. “We, for instance, have five ‘green fingers’ running through the city from sea to surrounding forest network. Most of the new development will be located on brownfield areas, residential areas, and on transforming motorway corridors.” The city also plans to add parks along the shoreline and add new connections to nearby islands.

The city’s vision was all based on detailed feedback from current residents. “In a couple of months we were able to gather over 30,000 markings made by thousands of people,” says Manninen. “The answers have been published as open data for anyone to use. This is one aspect in which we have been showing the way for many other cities that are dealing with questions concerning public participation.”


Herald the Start of Summer


This year, the summer solstice coincides with Father’s Day (Sunday, June 21). What a way to herald the beginning of summer!

Summer Solstice
The timing of the summer solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually sometime between June 20 and 22. This year, it occurs exactly at 12:38 P.M. EDT on June 21.


Amazing Solstice Conjunction

This Saturday night (June 20), we will see the year’s best conjunction

The crescent Moon joins Venus and Jupiter just after sunset. Look west toward the horizon. Read more in Bob’s new column,

You should be able to see this view with your bare eyes, although it’s greatly enhanced with a simple pair of binoculars.


Pluto Flyby Today!


After traveling for 9 years, the New Horizons spacecraft will fly by Pluto today, July 14! Get the latest in Bob Berman’s new post, “Pluto Is Getting Stranger by the Minute.”


Longer Days

June offers the most hours of daylight of any month of the year! For      gardeners, this is a great boon, allowing them to concentrate on their fields and flowers. Click here to see your own sunrise and  sunset times.
June is named for the Roman goddess Juno, patroness of marriage and women. Since ancient times, cultures have adopted June as the perfect time for revelry, weddings, and feasts.Know all of the months’ origins!

One old proverb says, “Calm weather in June sets corn in tune.” Like   Goldilocks, gardeners hope for weather that is just right: not too hot, not too cold, not too wet, not too dry. Even the tenderest plants softies like basil and tomatoes are put in the ground in June. Folk wisdom tells us that plants will catch up by the end of the month regardless of how early we got them in the ground thanks to the long hours of sunshine.

When elm leaves are as big as a shilling,
Plant kidney beans, if to plant ’em you’re willing;
When elm leaves are as big as a penny,
You must plant kidney beans, if you mean to have any.


 It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes,
And pleasant scents, the noses. 


O summer day, surpassing fair,
With hints of heaven in earth and air. 


When the heat like a mist veil floats,
And poppies flame in the rye,
And the silver note in the streamlet’s throat
Has softened almost to a sigh.


In this month is St. Swithin’s Day;
On which, if that it rain, they say
Full forty days after it will,
Or more, or less, some rain distil