9 Ways to Keep Your Stuff Looking Like New

Use these tips to extend the life of your expensive and precious belongings.

1. Extend the shelf life of your blades by keeping them immersed in mineral oil.

After each use, store your razor with the blade submerged in a cup of mineral oil. The oil will prevent oxidation that leads to nick-causing imperfections, and you’ll enjoy close, smooth shaves for a lot longer before you need to replace the blade or disposable razor.

2. Vacuum out your hairdryer.

Take a look at the intake vent at the back of your handheld hair dryer. All that dust you see stuck in there is making the motor work harder to draw in air to blow on your hair. Press the tube of your vacuum cleaner — with no attachment — directly against the vent to suck out the dust. If the dust doesn’t come right out, pluck it loose with a toothpick and vacuum again. Your dryer will last much longer if you keep the vent clean.

3. Don’t store quilts or textiles in airtight bags.

This can trap heat and moisture and result in mold and mildew growths. Some plastics also produce fumes that can hasten disintegration of antique textiles. Acid-free boxes (available online or at your dry cleaners) are the safest option for storing your quilts. It’s best to lay your quilts as flat as possible in storage, but you can also keep them folded in pillowcases or well-washed cotton sheets. Place the quilt over a sheet and fold them together. Wrap the quilt and sheet in a second sheet for added protection. Remove your quilts every three to six months and refold them in a different way to prevent creases and dirt lines.

4. Run your car’s air conditioner in the winter.

To keep your car’s air conditioning system fit for the next warm season, run it a few times throughout the winter. This will prevent moving parts in the compressor from seizing. Also, circulating the refrigerant will help keep the seals soft and pliant. Want to know more hush-hush car care tips? Get the complete list of 75 Secrets to Extend the Life of Your Car.

5. Spraying on some starch will keep the paint looking fresh.

A light coating of spray starch on hallway and stairway walls protects against stains and makes it easier to clean grime off, thereby prolonging the life of your paint job.

6. The secret to preserving your fluffy towels? Skip the fabric softener.

Fabric softener and dryer sheets added to the washer or dryer will coat your towels with silicones, which interfere with their absorbency. Instead, try adding a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your wash. It will act as a natural fabric softener, reduce static cling, and get rid of extra suds and soap deposits. Using vinegar instead of fabric softener will leave your towels soft and fresh and save you money, too.

7. Don’t transfer old photos into a new album.

Leave old albums alone! The antique paper probably isn’t harming the photographs, whereas removing them can cause serious damage. The best way to preserve an old photo album is to layer each page with a sheet of acid-free tissue or photographic conservation paper.

8. Say no to hangers for sweaters!

They will lose their shape if hung up in your closet. Instead, fold and place them in a drawer. If your only choice is to hang a sweater, fold it in half and hang it on a hanger that has cardboard over the crossbar (or make your own by splitting a paper towel tube lengthwise and placing it on the hanger).

9. Don’t wrap ornaments in newspaper.

Never use newspaper to wrap your holiday ornaments. The ink may transfer to the ornaments and ruin them. Stick to tissue paper!

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest