How to Solve Your Biggest Summer Problems

Hosts Bruce and Jennifer talk the most common summer problems and how to solve 'em seamlessly.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
4-minute read
Episode #5

Use Vanilla to Keep Mosquitoes Away

Keeping mosquitoes away from you is easier (and nicer smelling) than you might think—just use vanilla extract! Vanilla contains alcohol, which keeps mosquitoes away.

Keep Bugs Away from Your Barbecue

Mosquitoes are a pain each summer, but you don’t have to buy citronella candles, mosquito coils, or the latest gadget—you can just use cardboard egg cartons and coffee trays (the kind you get when you order more than a couple of coffees to-go). Light them on fire, then blow them out and let them smolder in a fire-safe location. The smokes goes up into the air and keeps mosquitoes away. Another way to keep bugs like bees away is to leave open cans of soda around your outdoor party. Bugs will be attracted to the cans, and not your guests! As for ants, simply put the legs of your table in some large plastic cups. Ants can swim, and won’t be able to climb onto the table!

Get Rid of Indoor Ants

Have a bad ant problem that you don’t want to solve with smelly bug spray? Use a clothes freshener spray like Febreeze instead. It contains enough alcohol to kill the ants, but will leave the room smelling fresh.

Help for Bug Bites

Covered in bug bites? Make the itchiness go away with some toothpaste. Just apply some white, non-gel toothpaste to the spot and it will stop bothering you almost immediately!

Check to See if You Have Enough Propane

Nothing gets the summertime party going faster than firing up the backyard grill. Just make sure you don’t run out of gas during your BBQ! Even without a gas gauge, there is a way to figure out how much fuel you have left. Here’s what to do a day or two before the your guests are set to arrive: Boil water, then pour it down the side of the tank. Place your hand on the side: the cool part has propane inside, the warm part is empty.

Clean Your Grill Fast

Our favorite way to clean a grill? With an onion! Pierce a half an onion with a grill fork, then run it over a warm grill. The onion contains anti-bacterial properties that help clean the grill!

Lighter Fluid Substitution

If you run out of lighter fluid, you can use sugar instead. Something else that works well? Doritos.

Keep Burgers from Breaking Up

Do your burgers fall apart on the grill? Keep this from happening by simply sticking burger patties in the freezer for 5 minutes before throwing them on the grill.

For a Guacamole Emergency!

If you bought a whole bunch of avocados for your guacamole and one or two are still not ripe enough to use, try this tip—which isn’t ideal, but will do the trick. Prick the skin of the unripe avocado in several places, then microwave it on high for 40–70 seconds, flipping it over halfway through. This won’t ripen the avocado, but it will soften it enough that you’ll be able to mash it with ripe avocados and your guests won’t notice the difference.

Iced Coffee Cubes

Who doesn’t enjoy an iced coffee on a sultry summer day? To make sure melting ice doesn’t dilute your drink, make ice cubes using the small amount of coffee left at the bottom of your coffee pot each morning. Use them in your iced coffee and it will never taste watered down. This is also a great tip for iced tea!

Cure Cloudiness in Iced Tea

Cloudiness is common in home-brewed iced tea, but it can be easily prevented. Simply let the tea cool to room temperature before refrigerating it. If the tea is still cloudy, try adding a small amount of boiling water to it until it clears up.

Chill Drinks Faster

Because salt lowers the freezing point of water, your beverages will cool more quickly if you use salt in your cooler. Simply layer ice with salt, throw in the bottles and cans, and wait for them to chill.

Keep Electronics Safe on the Beach

When you’re headed to the beach, make sure to keep your electronics in plastic freezer bags. Sand can easily get inside them, so the plastic makes the perfect see-through barrier. You can also bury this bag in the sand under your beach blanket if you’re hitting the water and not leaving anyone behind to watch your stuff. Another great way to keep thieves away? Place your valuables in a balled-up diaper. Would-be thieves will assume it’s dirty, and will never think you hid your valuables inside!

Awesome Homemade Ice Packs

Make homemade ice packs go further with this awesome trick. After you’ve used up body wash or shampoo, add a bit of hand soap to the bottle and then fill with water. Keep in the freezer until you’re headed to the park or the beach, then put in your cooler to keep everything cool. When it’s time to leave, use the soapy water for a quick clean-up!

Help for Sunburn

Did you overdo it at the beach? Instead of buying aloe vera or another expensive sunburn treatment, try vinegar, potato water, or another one of these all-natural sunburn remedies.

What are your summer problems? Let us know on our Facebook page! And don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher!

Photo by Who Knew?

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.