Wednesday, October 06, 2021

I’m a helpful blogger

There’s no sense denying it: I’m a helpful blogger. Whether it’s my “AmeriNZ Test Kitchen” posts, in which I try all sorts of products and recipes, through to my “Projects” posts, where I talk in detail about things I’ve worked on, I talk about things I do so that others don’t have to. There’s another (sadly neglected) category of posts, “Household Hints”, in which I shared specific information to help with everyday challenges. Today I revive those posts.

Among the many things that I personally find the most annoying about chores associated with daily life is refilling the liquid soap dispensers next to all of my sinks. It’s something I have to do more often than ever, thanks to the frequent handwashing required by living with Covid, but even before that it was always annoying and even frustrating—until I thought of a workaround.

The photo up top illustrates the tip: How to refill a liquid soap dispenser quickly, easily, and with no waste or spills.

To to use this tip, you’ll need the empty soap dispenser, of course, a funnel that will fit inside the mouth of your soap dispenser, and a twist tie. That’s it! Well, a bottle of soap to pour into the bottle, too.

First, wrap the twist tie around the threads of the bottle, making sure it’s within the groove of a thread (so it doesn’t slip). You can twist two twist ties together if your soap bottle has an extra wide opening. Twist the ends of the twist tie together. That’s shown in the left photo in the bottom row.

Next, bend the twisted ends into the mouth of the bottle (middle photo), and insert the funnel (right photo). Don’t push it too hard—it’ll be askew and that’s what you want! Then, pour the new soap into the funnel and let it drain in.

The point of this is that it allows air to enter the bottle around the base of the funnel, and that speeds up the funnel emptying. Without the twist tie, the funnel will form a seal with the bottle opening and it’ll drain slower than maple syrup on a Vermont winter morning. This tip saves a lot of time.

There’s an important warning: You need to know what the capacity of your bottle is so that you don’t over-fill the funnel. In my case, I already knew what the capacity of my bottle was, and I’d measured how much the funnel holds, so I knew how far to fill the funnel so I don’t spill any soap. This can take some trial and error.

The point of this process is to speed up filling the bottle, of course, but there’s also another goal that others may or may not share: Until I came up with this, I always spilled some soap because pouring it into the bottle without a funnel meant I always misjudged the flow rate (or whatever it’s called) and the soap would gloop out and onto the bottle. When I started using a funnel, I had to leave it for ages as it slowly drained into the bottle. Now, it’s over in minutes, and with no spillage.

I’m being thoroughly tongue-in-cheek in this post, however, I really do use this method and highly recommend it. I’m absolutely certain I’m not the first person to come up with a way (in fact, this is my final, refined method) to make sure that the funnel doesn't form a seal, and so, make the bottle fill slower. However, so far this is the first place I’ve seen anyone spell it out.

This public service of mine is all the more remarkable given that I’ve never received a single cent in payment, nor any other form of compensation, in the entire 15 years I’d done this blog. What can I say? I’m a giver. And today is no different.

In all seriousness, though, I do swear by this method.


Roger Owen Green said...

So you're Julia Child, Heloise, and, who?

Arthur Schenck said...

Hm… good question. Well, certainly not “Tim the Toolman”, because I never liked that show or the actor. Maybe Norm Abram, but without biscuit joiner (and I’d have to say, that particular cultural reference) is probably among the most obscure I’ve ever made…)

Roger Owen Green said...

I used to watch This OLd House in the early days

Arthur Schenck said...

That programme is what kindled the embryonic flame of my interest in DIY and home renovation, which now, of course, is a raging wildfire—when I have the energy. I watched "The New Yankee Workshop" when I lived in the USA, but it was rarely shown here, sadly. Still it at least exposed me to the concepts of joinery, including the biscuit joiner Norm always seemed to turn to. My education is far from complete, though: I still have trouble remembering the difference between a dado and rabbet joint (just for starters). Still, Nigel and I shared a dream of having a workshop where we could do woodworking, and I'm determined to make that happen.