Make a meal
For a single working Mom or a family with children in lots of after-school activities, a homemade meal delivered to the door is a good thing. And thanks to Chinet, you don’t even have to ask for your dish back. In the supermarket, look for Chinet’s paper bakeware, which in our tests proved to be a tough baking dish that can be used in a regular oven and then migrate to a microwave oven.
Clean the house
Some people prefer to clean before company arrives and others like to clean up after they leave. Offer to expend some elbow grease vacuuming or dusting, or washing floors or bathrooms. In our tests of vacuum cleaners, many got excellent scores for bare floors, including the top-rated Kenmore Progressive 21714 canister, $400, and the Kirby Sentria, $1,350. But it’s the carpet and pet hair tests that separate the best from the rest. For cleaning the kitchen or the bathroom, our all-purpose cleaner of choice is PineSol Original, which was the only one in our tests that didn’t leave streaks on the mirror.
Do the laundry
With all the wrinkle-free fabrics these days, steam irons don’t get the workout they once did. But after the holidays there may be tablecloths or napkins to wash, iron, and put away. In our tests of steam irons, the Panasonic NI-W950A, $220, topped all others due to its prodigious steaming rate. It was excellent on all ironing tasks, including linen tablecloths. For laundry, our top laundry detergent is Tide Ultra plus Bleach Vivid White + Bright HE.