How to Clean a Hydration Bladder

Hydration bladders are amazing for outdoor adventures like hiking and biking. It’s nice to know your fluids are close by, and you don’t have to deal with the bulk or weight of water bottles. However, if not properly cleaned, they can quickly become host to a nasty lot of bacterial growth. Fortunately, with the help of some common household items, you can make sure you’re quenching your thirst without also ingesting mold or mildew!

EditChoosing a Cleaning Solution
Make a sanitizing solution from baking soda, bleach, and water. You’ll need 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of bleach. The bleach will sanitize the bladder, and the baking soda acts as a deodorizer. Mix the ingredients well, and you’re ready to start cleaning! [1]

Purchase hydration bladder cleaning tabs. Many manufacturers of hydration bladders sell cleaning kits. These kits include special brushes for scrubbing each part of the bladder and a cleaning tab that will dissolve in water. The tabs contain chlorine dioxide, which functions like bleach.
You can find the tabs at specialty outdoor retail stores and online through hydration bladder manufacturers.

Purchase denture cleaning tabs. You’ll need 1 tab per liter of water. This is a cheaper alternative to hydration bladder cleaning tabs. They are also easy to find since they are sold at grocery stores and mega stores. [2]

EditCleaning Your Hydration Bladder
Fill the bladder with warm water. You’ll want to do the cleaning process over a sink to contain any spills. Be careful not to use hot or boiling water. Though hot water can help with sanitation, it can harm the bladder materials, so use warm water only. [3]

Add the cleaning solution ingredients or tab to the warm water. Once you’ve added the cleaning agent of your choice to the filled bladder, seal the bladder. Then, gently shake it to mix. Shaking will also help distribute the solution, so it covers all surface area. [4]

Let the bladder soak. It’s time to let the solution do the heavy lifting! If you’re using a bleach and baking soda mixture, plan to let it soak for 30 minutes. [5] If you are using hydration bladder cleaning tabs or denture tabs, consult the packaging to find out how long to let the solution set.
Once the bladder is filled with cleaning solution and soaking, you can turn your attention to the tube and bite valve. [6]

Clean the tube and bite valve. Raise the sealed, filled bladder above your head. You need gravity’s help to get the solution into the tube. Make sure the tube and bite valve are positioned over the sink. [7]

Fill the tube with cleaning solution. Pinch the bite valve to release the solution from the bladder into the tube. Allow some solution to flow through the tube and bite valve into the sink. Then, release the bite valve to stop the flow and seal the solution in the tube. Now, the solution can work on the tube as well as the bladder.[8]

Let it soak. If using bleach and baking soda, leave the solution in the tube for about 30 minutes. If you’re using a tab, follow the instructions listed on the package. Whether you’re using a hydration cleaning tab or a denture cleaner, the package will let you know how long the solution needs to set to have its effect.
Cleaning tabs typically have a shorter soak time of around 5 minutes.

Empty the bladder and tube of all cleaning solution. Unseal the bladder, and dump the contents down the drain. Hold the bladder overhead, and pinch the bite valve to release any solution in the tube. Once it’s empty, you can move on to the next phase of cleaning!

Fill the empty bladder and tube with soapy water. Add a small amount of dish soap to the empty bladder. Then, fill the bladder with warm water and seal it. Holding the bladder overhead again, pinch the bite valve and allow some of the soapy water to flow through the tube into the sink. Release the valve to hold the solution in the tube. [9]

Scrub the inside surface of the bladder with a bottle cleaning brush. First, unseal the bladder. Then, grab a bottle cleaning brush. Use the bottle cleaning brush to thoroughly scrub the interior surfaces. [10]
Bottle cleaning brushes are often displayed in the baby section of grocery and mega stores. They work great for cleaning traditional water bottles as well!

Scrub the inside of the tube. You can purchase hydration bladder tube cleaner brushes to make this step really easy. Insert the cleaner brush and thoroughly scrub the inside of the tube. This step gets rid of any stubborn build up.
If you don’t have a tube cleaner brush, you can make your own cleaning tool. Find a long, clean piece of wire and a clean piece of wet cloth or towel. Make a small hook by bending one end of the wire. Cover the hook with your towel or cloth. Push the material through the tube. Repeat with a clean cloth as needed until the cloth comes out clean. [11]

Rinse the hydration bladder with water inside and out. Empty the soapy water from the bladder and tube. Then, rinse all surfaces of the bladder. Don’t forget to let clean water flow through the tube and bite valve to remove all debris and soap.
The last thing you want is a mouthful of soapy water when you’re out hiking, so make sure to take your time on this step!

EditDrying Your Hydration Bladder
Take the hydration bladder apart for drying. Separate the tube from the reservoir. If the bite valve can be released, take that off of the tube as well. If the bite valve can’t be removed, pinch it repeatedly to get rid of any remaining water. [12]

Use a clothes hanger to hang the bladder and tube for drying. Use clothespins to attach the bottom of the bladder to a clothes hanger. Make sure the bladder is fully open. You want as much air flow as possible. Hang the tube over the hanger so water can drip from both ends. [13]
If the bladder wants to collapse, you can crumple a few paper towels and put them inside to hold the bladder open.

Let the bladder and tube dry completely. If there is moisture in the bladder when you store it, you have a recipe for more of the pesky things you just eliminated by sanitizing, so be patient! Choose a room with low humidity in which to hang the bladder and tube.
Do not hang the bladder in your bathroom to dry. Showers and baths make for humidity and moisture. [14]

EditSources and Citations
Cite error: tags exist, but no tag was found

Read More

How to Shrink Rings

When a ring is too big to stay snug on your finger or the size of your finger has changed, it’s time to resize the ring. A professional jeweler can shrink the ring without affecting its value by cutting away some of the material or adding sizers to improve the fit. If you are less concerned about the value of the ring, you could try sizing it down at home, either by cutting into the band yourself with some basic tools or by adding a silicone liner to the inside of the ring as a temporary fix.

EditResizing the Ring with Silicone
Clean your ring with soap and water. Scrub the ring thoroughly using dish soap and warm water to wash off any oils or particles. Make sure the soap you use does not have moisturizing chemicals in it that might leave a film on the ring.[1]
Let the ring air dry or dab it with a cotton towel instead of paper towels, which can damage the metal.

If you use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaning machine, beware that the oscillations might knock stones loose from their settings.

Apply a layer of silicone inside the ring. Use a coffee stir stick or a narrow popsicle stick to spread the silicone around the inside of your ring. The silicone should be thickest towards the bottom of the band, directly opposite from where the stone sits on top of your finger.[2]
For safety purposes, make sure you are using only clear food-grade or aquarium-grade silicone on your ring.

Smooth out the silicone with the stir stick. Taper the coating as you work up the sides of the ring so that it’s thinnest near the top. This secures your finger against the top of the ring while the silicone at the bottom fills the gap between the ring and your skin.
Gently wipe away extra silicone with a wet cloth as you go.

Let the silicone dry. This process is called curing and will take at least 24 hours. Avoid wearing the ring during this time or until the silicone appears and feels firm.
The cured silicone should hold for a few weeks, even when you wash your hands, but might degrade if it comes into contact with certain lotions, fragrances, or chemicals.

Try on the ring once the silicone is dry. Check to see if the fit is snug or if you need to add another layer of silicone to the ring, as the curing process can shrink the silicone somewhat.
If you need to remove the silicone from the ring at any point, you should be able to easily loosen it and pull it off completely with your fingernails [3]

EditCutting into the Ring
Measure and mark how much of the ring you need to cut. Make a mark in ink at the bottom of the ring showing how much needs to cut to make it fit.
To get a better feel for how much you need to cut, measure the ring’s current size using a ring stick, which is a graduated cylinder with size measurements on the side.[4]
Compare that measurement with the correct size for your finger and you will see exactly how much of the ring you need to remove.

Cut open the ring where you marked it. Your best bet is to use a narrow jeweler’s saw, but you might also be able to use a pair of wire cutters or pliers, depending on the material the ring is made of.[5]
If you follow the marker straight across the ring while you cut, you will be able to see if you have removed enough to shrink the ring to the size you want.

File down the exposed edges left by the cut. Before you can close the gap made by the cut, use a metal file to smooth out both edges.[6]
Filing ensures both edges will join together evenly, which is important if you plan to solder the ring closed again.

If you are going to leave the ring open, you don’t want to hurt yourself by leaving sharp edges that can pinch your finger while you wear it.

Bend the ring to close the gap between the edges. Pull the ends together with pliers to shrink the circumference of the ring.[7]
Make sure the ring is still a circle shape by applying pressure evenly as you pull the ends together.

If the ring loses its shape, put it back onto the ring stick and tap it lightly with a hammer until it appears circular.

Solder the edges of the ring together. Use a soldering torch to apply heat and seal the cut edges of the ring back together with a little solder material that is the same metal as your ring.[8]
Wear eye protection to prevent retina damage or something entering your eyes.[9]
Clear out any excess material from the solder with a metal file and emery paper.

Feel free skip this step and leave the ring open if you are uncomfortable using a soldering torch or if you don’t have access to one.

Clean and polish the ring until it’s free of marks. Wash the ring in warm water with dish soap and a cloth before rinsing in cool water. Pat it dry with a fresh cloth.[10]
Make sure you thoroughly clean both the inside and outside of the ring to rid the surface of any excess particles.

If the ring is especially tarnished, add three parts baking soda to one part water in the cleaning solution.

EditSending Your Ring to a Jeweler
Consult a local jeweler before resizing a valuable ring yourself. If you have a valuable ring you don’t want to damage, your best option is to find a professional jeweler who will know the best method for resizing it and whether it can be resized at all.
Jewelers can easily shrink rings that are made of gold, silver or platinum, but usually by up to two sizes at most.[11]
Jewelers typically cannot resize rings made of titanium, tungsten, or those with gemstones going around the entire band.[12]

Have the jeweler shrink the ring by cutting out some of the band. The jeweler will cut away material from the bottom of the band with a very precise saw and then seal the edges back together again with a soldering torch.[13]
After the jeweler cleans and polishes your ring, there should be no marks indicating that it was ever cut open, preserving its value.

This method works best if your fingers don’t often swell in response to changes in temperature or due to weight fluctuations because repeatedly resizing the ring repeatedly can weaken its overall structure.

Ask about ring sizers to avoid cutting the ring. If you don’t want to risk weakening the ring by cutting material away from it, see if the jeweler can apply ring sizers like sizing beads or a fold-over device to improve the fit instead. These sizers can be removed later and are better options if you only need to shrink the ring by a little bit.[14]
Sizing beads are two metal beads added to the bottom of the ring that create a wedge between your finger and the ring to keep it in place.

A fold-over device is a small metal bar fixed to the bottom of the ring with a latch on one end that can be opened to squeeze the ring past your knuckle when it’s put on or taken off, and closed again to secure the ring in place.[15]

If you don’t have access to food-grade silicone, you can substitute with glue from a hot glue gun to temporarily shrink your ring using the same process.[16]
A jeweler might charge anywhere from $20 to several hundred dollars to shrink a ring for you, depending on the material and what kind of work needs to be done.[17]
When a jeweler shrinks a ring for you, any amount of metal removed from the ring is usually credited against the overall cost of the resizing.[18]
Remove silicone from your ring immediately if it appears to be reacting with metal alloys in the ring or with your skin.[19]
Shrinking a ring by cutting into the band can leave a weak spot in a thinner band or if the solder was done poorly. This can also happen if you resize the ring too often.[20]
Only use tools like saws, soldering torches, and polishing wheels if you have prior experience. Otherwise, you risk injuring yourself due to mishandling.

EditSources and Citations
Cite error: tags exist, but no tag was found

Read More

Today in History for 15th February 2019

Historical Events

1918 – US army troop ship torpedoed and sunk by Germany off Ireland
1921 – Arthur Mailey completes 9-121 v England, Australian Test Cricket rec
1936 – -60°F (-51°C), Parshall, North Dakota (state record)
1943 – Women’s camp Tamtui on Ambon (Moluccas) hit by allied air raid
2017 – The Indian space rocket PSLV-C37 successfully launches 104 satellites in a single flight
2018 – First known case of transgender woman breastfeeding reported in “Transgender Health Journal” in US

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1835 – Alexander Stuart Webb, Major General (Union Army), (d. 1911)
1894 – Oswaldo Aranha, Brazil, lawyer/statesman (1st President of UN)
1940 – John Hadl, American football player
1951 – Jane Seymour [Joyce Frankenberg], British actress (Live and Let Die, Somewhere in Time, Dr Quinn), born in London, England
1977 – Brooks Wackerman, US musician (Bad Religion, Avenged Sevenfold)
1978 – Tuan Le, Vietnamese-US poker player, born in Paris, France

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1843 – Theodoros Kolokotronis, Greek general and leader of the Greek War of Independence (1821-29), dies at 72
1921 – Hans Haym, German conductor, dies at 60
1992 – María Elena Moyano, Peruvian activist (b. 1960)
1995 – Lord Taylor of Hadfield, British President of Taylor Woodrow Group, dies at 90
1998 – Arthur Cohn, American composer and writer on music, dies at 87
1999 – Henry Way Kendall, American physicist, Nobel Prize Laureate (b. 1926)

More Famous Deaths »

Read More

How to Harmonize

A harmony is a series of notes that blends with a song’s melody to add character and please the ears. From figuring out the best combination of notes to singing without straying from your part, harmonizing is tough. Sing along as you play notes on a piano first to get a feel for how harmonies work, then practice with apps, recordings, and alongside other singers. With the right techniques and practice, you can even learn how to harmonize by ear to any tune you hear.

EditLearning How Harmonies Work
Sing a C major triad to get a feel for intervals. A triad is a chord created by 3 notes; the C major chord is made of the notes C-E-G. Sing or hum along as you play the notes on a piano (or a virtual keyboard app) one at a time. Then play all 3 notes on the piano at the same time, and notice how the notes blend and agree with each other.[1]
The root note in this chord is C, and the distances between C and the other notes in the chord are called intervals.

Different intervals create harmonies with distinct tones. In relation to C, E is a major third and G is a perfect fifth. These intervals blend well with the root note, creating a pleasing harmony.

Practice finding a root note’s major third. Find the C key on your keyboard. If you count the 4 black and white keys to the right, you’ll land on E. For any root note, a note that’s 4 half-steps away will always be a major third.[2]
On a piano, a half-step is the distance between 2 keys that are right next to each other. For a white key that’s next to a black key, the black key counts as a half-step and the next white key over is a full step. However, white keys like E and F, which aren’t separated by a black key, are a half-step apart.

Sing or hum along as you play root notes and major thirds on the keyboard. Play a note, then count 4 half-steps and play that note. Singing a root note and its major third will help you learn how to find a good harmony note by ear any time you hear a melody.

Move onto minor intervals after getting a feel for major chords. Instead of playing C-E-G, play C-E♭-G (E♭ is the black key to the left of E) to create a C minor chord. Sing or hum along as you play each note one at a time, then play all 3 notes together. Note how a minor interval sounds darker or more unstable than a major chord.[3]
Count 3 half-steps to find a root note’s minor third. Sing or hum along as you play a root note and its minor third.

While there are countless exceptions, in Western music, composers often use minor thirds to evoke sadness and major chords to convey happiness.

Understanding major and minor thirds is key, whether you want to write harmonies or sing a harmony by ear when you hear a tune.

Try holding and moving the harmony note as the melody note changes. As the notes in a melody change, you don’t necessarily have to move the harmony note with it. Try keeping the harmony note the same as you play a melody on the keyboard. Pay attention to how the note combinations blend, convey feelings, or clash with each other.[4]
For instance, the harmony note doesn’t need to change with the melody to maintain a major third interval. It may stay the same until the melody moves to a note that clashes with it.

Experiment with note combinations to get a feel for coming up with your own harmonies. If notes clash or sound bad together, try moving the harmony note the same number of steps as the melody.

EditPracticing on Your Own
Continue practicing with a piano. From kids’ tunes like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to contemporary pop hits, play basic melodies on the piano and practice singing along. To focus on hitting the right notes, hum or sing “La” instead of singing a song’s lyrics.[5]
A piano or virtual keyboard app can help you visualize the relationships between notes, which is the foundation of harmonizing.

Listen closely for harmonies in your favorite songs. Now that you know more about creating harmonies, listen closely to your favorite songs. See if you can identify relationships between melodies and harmonies. As you listen, ask yourself what kind of intervals a harmony employs, if it blends seamlessly with the melody, and if there are dissonant, or tense, note combinations.[6]
As you listen to a song, work on memorizing the harmony. To make things easier, look online for harmony-only tracks of the song.

Practice with a sing-a-long harmony app. Useful apps include Sing Harmonies and Harmony Voices. Download an app, learn a song’s harmony, then practice singing your part as you play the melody. When you first practice singing the harmony, lower the volume of the melody so you won’t get drawn away from your part.[7]

Harmonize with recordings of yourself singing melodies. Record a track of yourself singing a melody, then play it while you sing the harmony. Gradually increase the volume of the recording each time you practice. This will help you learn how to stay on your part without getting distracted by other singers.[8]
Additionally, note any rough spots when you listen to recordings of yourself singing. If necessary, spend extra time practicing those sections of the song to improve your pitch and timing.

EditHarmonizing with Other Singers
Practice singing chords with 1 to 2 partners. Using a piano or virtual keyboard app as a guide, start by practicing a simple C major chord. For the note C, sing “one;” sing “three” for E and “five” for G. Sing “one” together at C, then have one person sing “three” at E while the other 2 hold the C.[9]
Then, have someone sing “five” at G while the other 2 hold a C and E, respectively. After practicing C-E-G, try other combinations, such as G-B-D and F-A-C.

If you’re practicing with 1 other person, just work on 2-part harmonies.

Learn your part perfectly to avoid getting distracted by other singers. It’s easy to get distracted by other singers when you’re harmonizing. The key to sticking to the harmony is to learn your part inside and out. Work measure by measure to commit each of your part’s notes to memory.[10]
If you’re in a choir, don’t rely on others in your section (such as other altos or baritones) to stay on track. Additionally, don’t assume that you’ll always be surrounded by other members of your section when you perform.

If you have trouble sticking to your part, practice singing with a recording of the melody. Play it softly at first, then gradually increase the volume.[11]

Join a choir to put your harmonizing skills to the test. The best way to learn how to harmonize is to sing with others in a group. Look for a choir or chorus group at your school or place of worship, or look online for one in your community.[12]
If you’re a soprano and want to harmonize better, try to join a choir as an alto. Sopranos usually sing the melody, while alto, tenor, and baritone sections sing harmonies.

Take lessons from a voice teacher. While apps and other resources can be super helpful, nothing beats working one-on-one with an experienced voice teacher. In addition to harmonizing, a voice teacher can help you with other singing techniques, such as breath control and vocal health.[13]
Additionally, consider taking classes in music theory to learn more about how harmonizing works.

EditRelated wikiHows
Memorize a Song

Find Your Own Singing Voice

Win a Karaoke Contest

Write The Vocal Melody for Music

Practice Sight Reading Piano Music

Sing a Duet

Read Music


EditSources and Citations
EditQuick Summary
Cite error: tags exist, but no tag was found

Read More

How to Make Tapioca Pearls

Have you ever wondered what’s in those big pearls at the bottom of your bubble tea? If you want to cut out preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and commercial colors, make your own tapioca pearls. It’s easy to mix together a dough of water and tapioca starch that you can form into small balls. Boil these tapioca pearls until they’re tender and enjoy them in your favorite tea or bubble drink.

EditTapioca Pearls
1/2 cup (65 g) of tapioca starch

of water

A few drops of black food coloring, optional

Makes 75 to 100 tapioca pearls

EditSugar Tea Syrup
of hot water

2 tablespoons (25 g) of brown sugar

1 teabag of black tea

Makes of syrup

EditClassic Milk Bubble Tea
1 black teabag

of boiling water

1/4 cup (80 g) of cooked tapioca pearls

of sugar tea syrup

of cold milk


Makes 1 drink

EditMixing the Dough
Bring of water to a boil. Pour the water into a pot or kettle and heat it until it’s vigorously boiling. Keep in mind that some of this water will evaporate as the water comes to a boil, but you’ll only need for the dough.[1]

Put the tapioca starch and boiling water into a bowl. Place 1/2 cup (65 g) of tapioca starch into a heat-proof bowl and carefully pour in of the boiling water.[2]
You can find tapioca starch near cornstarch and flour in your grocery store’s baking aisle or at local Asian markets.

Stir the mixture to combine the ingredients. Use a spoon or chopsticks to stir the boiling water into the tapioca starch until the dry powder isn’t visible. The mixture should look chunky and somewhat dry.[3]

Knead the mixture to make a thick dough. Once it’s cool enough to handle, you can use your hands to knead the mixture into a thick dough. This should take about 1 minute for the dough to come together into a firm dough.[4]
If the dough is too sticky to handle, sprinkle a little more tapioca starch over and work it into the dough.

Keep in mind that if you dyed the dough, it may stain your fingers or work surface. Consider putting the dough on a plastic mat or piece of parchment paper to prevent staining.

EditShaping the Pearls
Line a sheet with parchment paper and cover the dough with a towel. Place a rimmed baking sheet next to your work surface and lay a piece of parchment paper on it. To prevent the dough from drying out as you roll the pearls, cover the bowl with a damp towel.[5]
Use a rimmed baking sheet so the pearls don’t roll off if you need to move the sheet.

Roll 1/2 of the dough into a wide rope. Place the dough on your work surface and use the palms of your hand to roll the dough into a long, evenly sized rope. It should be about wide.[6]
Repeat this with the rest of the dough, so you have 2 long strips of dough ready to cut.

Cut the strips of dough into pearls. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut individual tapioca pearls from the strips of dough. You can make them any size you want, but keep in mind that the pearls will swell a little as they cook.
Most standard tapioca pearls are about in diameter before they’re cooked.

Set the tapioca pearls on the baking sheet for up to 2 hours. Transfer the pearls to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and leave them at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Ensure that the pearls aren’t touching as they dry or they could stick together.[7]
If you’d like to store the tapioca pearls for later, freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To make the pearls, boil them without thawing them, but add about 3 to 5 minutes to the cooking time.

EditBoiling and Using the Tapioca Pearls
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Set a large pot on the stove and fill it at least 1/2 to 3/4 full of water. Turn the burner to high so the water comes to a vigorous boil.[8]
If you’d like to cook only a handful of tapioca pearls, you can use a small pot. To make a single bubble tea drink, you’ll need 1/4 cup (80 g) of cooked tapioca pearls.

Add the tapioca pearls and boil them for 15 to 20 minutes. Slowly add the pearls to the boiling water so the water doesn’t splash and the pearls are completely submerged. Stir the pearls and then boil them uncovered until they’re completely tender.[9]
The pearls will float to the top of the pot once they’re half-cooked.

You may need to adjust the heat if it looks like the pot may boil over after you add the pearls.

Drain the cooked tapioca pearls. Turn off the burner and use a slotted spoon to scoop the tapioca pearls out of the boiling water. Transfer the pearls to a bowl and let them cool a little before you add them to tea. If you’d like to sweeten the pearls, soak them in a sugar tea syrup for at least 1 hour.[10] of hot water with 2 tablespoons (25 g) of brown sugar and 1 teabag of black tea. Steep the tea for 15 minutes before removing the teabag.}}
Use the pearls the same day you boil them, since they’ll begin to stick together and become tough.

Make a classic milk tea bubble tea. To make 1 drink, steep 1 black teabag in of boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the bag and let the tea cool until it’s at room temperature. Place about 1/4 cup (80 g) of the cooked tapioca pearls into a serving glass. Pour of sugar tea syrup (even if you used sweetened tapioca pearls) over and fill the glass with ice. Then pour in the cooled black tea and of cold milk.[11]
Serve the bubble tea with a wide straw and enjoy it before the ice begins to melt.

If you’d like to make bubble tea, but don’t have time to make the pearls from scratch, you can purchase dried tapioca pearls from most Asian markets. Follow the package instructions to boil and use the pearls.

Children under the age of 3 can choke on the tapioca pearls.

EditThings You’ll Need
Measuring cups and spoons

Heat-proof bowl

Large pot with a lid

Slotted spoon

Spoon or chopsticks


Rimmed baking sheet

Parchment paper

Knife or bench scraper

Serving glass

Wide straw

EditSources and Citations
Cite error: tags exist, but no tag was found

Read More