Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping

  • 5 Rules for Finding the Right Perfume

    Follow these rules when fragrance shopping.Follow these rules when fragrance shopping.

    I just finished a course at the Pratt Institute where I learned about every step in the perfume production process, among them some some important tips about fragrance shopping. These five will come in handy the next time you're looking for a new scent:

    Related: The Winners of the 2014 Beauty Awards for Best Perfumes

    1. Don't base your opinion on the perfume's description.
    A fragrance can contain hundreds of ingredients, so don't let a couple of notes sway your decision. You may know that there's a particular smell you're not fond of -- for instance, I'm not really a fan of tuberose -- but it doesn't mean you won't love a fragrance that features it, and you may not even detect it in the final product at all.

    2. Fragrances don't smell differently on different skin types.
    Or, at least they shouldn't, as we all have the same skin pH. What can change how a fragrance smells from person to person is the products they already have on their skin, such as lingering body wash or

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  • 7 Biggest Mistakes You Make with Area Rugs

    They anchor a room — so you need to choose wisely.They anchor a room — so you need to choose wisely.

    1. Choosing a rug that's too small
    Skimp on size, and your room will look smaller. "You need your rug to set boundaries, and ground your furniture," says interior designer Danielle Oakey. "In a living room, your rug defines the conversation area, and it should be large enough so at least the front legs of the furniture are on it."

    "In the bedroom, you want to feel the rug on your feet when you get out of bed," says interior designer Amber Lewis. "I like two feet to extend beyond the bed on each side."

    2. Not trying layering
    Why do people often choose a too-small rug? Tinier rug = tinier price. "We're the layering queens," says Lewis, about her design team. "Buy a neutral jute rug -- which cleans up really well, even if you have stain-prone kids or pets -- and place your patterned rug over it."

    Related: 7 Genius Ways to Design a Small Space

    3. Leaving your wall-to-wall carpeting bare
    "Don't be afraid to layer an area rug over carpet," says Oakey. "It adds

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  • 5 Biggest Mistakes You Make Recycling

    If you're making the effort to recycle (and you should be!), make sure you're doing it right.If you're making the effort to recycle (and you should be!), make sure you're doing it right.

    You're probably on autopilot when it comes to tossing your bottles and plastic, but it's worth taking stock of how you recycle. Are you making these common missteps?

    Related: 11 Chemicals You Might Have Already Eaten Today

    1. Assuming an item isn't recyclable
    You might be surprised to learn that you can keep old CDs, furniture, mattresses, wine corks, aluminum foil, and lots more out of landfills these days. Often, you'll have to take these items to a recycling center, but some may be left curbside. Check Earth911.com/recycling (or download their handy smartphone app) to find out more about your local policies.

    Related: Start Your Garden With Some Help From Your Garbage

    2. Throwing away plastic bottle caps
    Tossing caps before recycling the bottles is no longer a household rule. In 2012, thanks to new technology and increased demand for recycled plastics, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers announced that recycling facilities throughout the US would begin accepting

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  • Are Your Sleep Patterns Making You Fat?

    And here's yet another reason to get a good night's sleep.And here's yet another reason to get a good night's sleep.

    Same time to bed, same time to rise makes a woman healthy...and trim?

    Related: 9 Causes of Sleeplessness (And What to Do About Them)

    When Brigham Young University researchers looked at the snooze patterns of 330 students, they found that those with the most consistent lights-out and wake-up times had nearly 6% less body fat than those with the most erratic habits.

    Related: Lose Major Weight with This Meal Plan

    But you don't have to follow the plan to the minute: A one-hour window is OK. And at bedtime, aim for 6 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours of shut-eye.

    More from Good Housekeeping:

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  • 5 Million American Homes Are Missing This Major Item

    Does your house have this crucial, life-saving device?Does your house have this crucial, life-saving device?

    We just came across this scary stat from the National Fire Protection Association: Five million American homes don't have any smoke detectors. And what's more, First Alert reports that a study by the Institution of Fire Engineers found that US homes are lacking a whopping 100 million smoke alarms in total.

    Related: 17 Jaw-Dropping Kitchen Makeovers

    You should have an alarm in every bedroom. And more.
    One or two smoke alarms are far from enough in the average household. The NFPA recommends that you have a detector in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of your house, including the basement. So, if you live in the average two-story, three-bedroom home, you should have at least five smoke alarms. (And while we're at it, four carbon monoxide detectors, which should be on each floor and outside bedrooms, too. Often smoke alarms have built-in CO detectors -- double check your models.)

    Related: 7 Places You Should Be Checking Around Your Home (But

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  • 5 Smarter Ways to Use Your Washing Machine

    We reveal our wise-washing laundry day tips.We reveal our wise-washing laundry day tips.

    Sure, you've been doing laundry for years -- but are you doing it correctly? Try these strategies for perfectly clean clothes (and a happy machine!) every time.

    Related: Your Mattress's Dirty Little Secret

    1. Reduce your load size.
    Cramming the tub isn't a shortcut -- clothes need to move to get clean! Adjust the water level (newer models automatically do this) and drying time, and if your washer and dryer have different capacities, go for the smaller volume.

    2. Use the presoak cycle.
    This setting agitates the contents and may dispense detergent before starting the main cycle, so extra-dirty loads get cleaner without going through twice.

    Related: How to Fix the Worst Laundry Mistakes

    3. Add bleach yourself.
    Don't have a timed bleach dispenser, but want its extra cleaning power? Add chlorine bleach (as long as it's safe for your fabrics) to the load five minutes after the cycle starts (earlier, and it will kill stain-fighting enzymes in the detergent).

    4.

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  • How to Banish 6 Easter and Passover Stains

    Fend off chocolate smudges, egg dye spills, and more.Fend off chocolate smudges, egg dye spills, and more.

    If an Easter egg hunt leaves your son's new khakis grass-stained or a glass of Manishewitz spills on your best tablecloth, don't let it spoil the festivities. With these techniques, you'll forget the stains and keep the happy memories, instead.

    Related: 10 Surprising Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher

    1. Easter Egg Dye
    On countertops that wind up just as colorful as the eggs hidden in the backyard, use an all-purpose cleaner that contains bleach to erase the stains.

    2. Chocolate Candy
    Wait -- don't touch! Scraping chocolate from clothing while it's melty can push the stain further into the fabric. Allow the chocolate to dry and harden, then scrape off the pieces and treat with a stain remover. Wash in warm water with an all-fabric-safe bleach, or Clorox's Smart Seek Bleach, which is safe to use on most printed and patterned whites.

    Related: How to Fix the Worst Laundry Mistakes

    3. Gravy
    If you missed the plate when serving the brisket, scrape off the

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  • Buying New Carpeting? Check Your Vacuum First

    Don't splurge on new carpeting before reading this.Don't splurge on new carpeting before reading this.

    Luxurious, super-soft carpeting has recently become popular, but it comes with one huge caveat: Your vacuum cleaner might not be able to clean it. That's right, after you shell out thousands for new carpeting, you might also need to fork over more money for a new vacuum. Let me explain why.

    Related: 5 Biggest Mistakes You Make Vacuuming

    What to Know
    These new carpets are made with longer fibers (and more of them) than traditional carpets. This makes them soft underfoot, but also more challenging to clean. For a vacuum cleaner to glide easily on a carpet, air must flow into the nozzle and through the machine. Block the air flow and the vacuum seals itself to the carpet and is hard to push. And, unfortunately, that's what many consumers have discovered when their new carpeting is installed.

    Related: Your Mattress's Dirty Little Secret

    Before you buy, check the websites of carpet brands you're considering, like Mohawk and Shaw, to see which vacuum cleaner models are

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  • 3 New Stainbusters You Need to Try

    Stock your shelves with these powerful laundry-day staples.Stock your shelves with these powerful laundry-day staples.

    These new problem-solving cleaners definitely deserve a space near your washing machine.

    Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Washing Machine Work Harder

    1. Tide Ultra Stain Release
    It has more muscle than Tide Original. A scrubber cap works wonders on tough stains like lipstick and crayon. ($14 for 48 loads' worth, tide.com)

    Related: Are You Using Too Much Detergent?

    2. Gain Flings
    These detergent pods make clothes smell as good as they look -- with Febreze odor kickers, plus 50% more scent than the liquid. ($15 for 57 packs, ilovegain.com)

    Related: 7 "Rules" for Cleaning Clothes You Should Always Break

    3. Clorox Smart Seek Bleach
    Win-win! The strength of chlorine bleach in a formula that's safe to use on most printed and patterned whites. ($2.29 for 55 oz., clorox.com)

    More from Good Housekeeping:

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  • How to Fix 4 Major Laundry Mistakes

    Our experts have seen it all. Here are their solutions for your worst laundry-day mishaps.Our experts have seen it all. Here are their solutions for your worst laundry-day mishaps.

    Don't fret over a stained blouse -- these laundry blunders might be easier to fix than you think.

    PROBLEM #1: The colors from one item bled into another.
    THE FIX: Wash the stained item again, by itself, in warm water with detergent and color-safe bleach, or try washing it with Good Houskeeping Research Institute pick Carbona Color Run Remover ($3, carbona.com), which safely eliminates dye transfer.

    Related: 4 Tools Every Laundry Room Needs

    PROBLEM #2: There are bits of tissue everywhere.
    THE FIX: Before taking out the load, rewash it with a dose of fabric softener added to the final rinse. Pull off whatever you can by hand, then tumble-dry the load (the dryer's lint filter will capture much of the stuff). Use a dry scrub sponge to remove any remaining stubborn specks.

    Related: 7 "Rules" for Cleaning Clothes You Should Always Break

    PROBLEM #3: You smell (or see) mildew.
    THE FIX: If your clothes have a sour smell (or, worse, black spots) from having been left in the

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