Cooktop Cove: Handyman reveals 30+ secrets to home problems most people don't know
By Jessica Jacobs
Whether you rent or own, taking care of a home is hard work. There are routine maintenance procedures you must know to keep your house in good working condition and to help save money in the long run. Unfortunately, not all the secrets are told to you by your landlord or your real estate agent.
Thankfully you need not worry, as the following is a list of solutions to common household problems that you should know about. Most of the fixes are very doable yourself. In no time, your home will be operating as good as new.
How to make your home smell good
You can create your own homemade air freshener that doesn't depend on chemicals to create a good smelling home. Combine 10 drops of your favorite essential oils, 2 tablespoons of witch hazel and six tablespoons of water in a spray bottle. Shake and spray -- it couldn't be easier.
How to clean windows without streaking
If you find you have streaks on your glass after cleaning, just grab a clean dry board or chalkboard eraser and wipe the streaks away.
How to clean mold from grout
To clean mold from grout, try a baking soda paste made from 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Use a toothbrush to scrub in between the tiles for a stronger effect. You can also try a Magic eraser. After you apply the paste, wait for 1-2 hrs before rinsing with water and letting dry.
Sink not draining properly? Here's how to clean your pop-up drain stopper
A slow or clogged bathroom sink can get you off to a slow morning, but it's a much easier fix than most people realize. Most people spend an average of more than $200 to have a sink drain professionally unclogged. Use a needle-nosed plier to unearth some of the clogged materials. Household items such as vinegar and baking soda can also help clear debris before clogs become severe.
Remove stubborn rust
Rust stains build up over time from the iron in your water. Try a simple mixture of borax and lemon to remove rust stains from a bathtub.
Make your air smell great
This is a very easy hack. Just add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your air filter to get your home smelling good in no time.
How to clean your yellowed pillows
This recipe will whiten your yellow and oily pillows up quickly and easily. Here's what you'll need: 1 cup powdered laundry detergent, 1 cup powdered dishwasher detergent, 1 cup bleach (or bleach alternative) and 1/2 cup borax.
First, soak your pillow in warm water for 30 minutes before adding the ingredients above, along with more hot water, to create a cleaning solution. Let your pillow soak in that for another 30 minutes. Then wash your pillow like normal in the machine and the stains will be gone.
How to get the greasy film off your kitchen cabinets
Mix 1 part coconut oil with 2 parts baking soda until they form a slightly thick paste. Use a sponge (or your fingers) to rub the mixture onto your cabinets. If you have grooves in the cabinet that are difficult to clean, scrub those areas with an old toothbrush. When you're finished scrubbing, wipe everything off with a damp cloth.
Solve a stinky fridge problem
Sometimes life happens and a refrigerator takes on a horrific odor. Perhaps it's been sitting in storage or had food left in it. The first step is to clean it well with a strong cleaner, either commercial or homemade. Then fill the entire fridge with crumpled newspaper. Add a generous amount of charcoal. After a few days, the odor should be gone.
Clear out rain gutters
If you have rain gutters on your roof, then you'll definitely want to take care of them before winter rolls around. As leaves fall throughout autumn, they collect in rain gutters and can eventually clog the downspout, which will cause problems when it rains or snows. So make sure you clear out leaves, dirt and anything else that's caught in gutters and downspouts before inclement weather hits.
How to repair wood rot
Instead of replacing a wooden door frame, it's better and cheaper if you can repair and restore rotted wood instead. To fix rotted wood, you'll want to use either a polyester filler or epoxy.
Sharpen garbage disposal blades
Keeping garbage disposal blades sharp is important if you want the disposal to continue to properly dispose of the gunk you pour into it. The easiest way to maintain blades is to drop in an eggshell, turn on the water and run the disposal. If you need to freshen up any lingering odor, drop in a few small lemon chunks.
How to fix squeaky floors
To repair squeaky floorboards, try using talcum powder in between the boards. If the issue is caused by the wood floor separating from the subfloor, you can also fix the problem from above. You'll need to use a hammer and drive two nails into the floor from opposite 45-degree angles.
Unclog toilet without a plunger
A clogged toilet happens when something becomes stuck in the curvy trap at the base of the toilet bowl. Sometimes you don't have a plunger or the plunger simply isn't working. Don't keep flushing as you will just flood your bathroom.
Use a combination of extremely hot water and dish soap to get rid of the toilet clog quickly and easily. The hot water breaks down the clog while the dish soap lubricates the toilet for easy flushing.
How to fill small holes in wall
Are you scared to hang up a photo because you think you'll ruin your wall? Fixing a tiny small hole can be done with ease at home. All you need is a putty knife, a Q-tip and some wall repair compound. Dab a little of the product onto the hole and clean up the excess. To make sure you match the wall color, go over the filled area with a dab of paint.
How to get rid of water spots and heat stains on your wood furniture
Did you accidentally put a hot pan on your table? Don't worry! There's a solution. Use an iron and a light-colored towel to remove the unsightly white mark left behind from heat damage. Simply place the towel over the spot and run the iron over it. The steam will lift the stain from the wood.
If water marks are your problem, don't worry. There's a solution! You should begin with fine wire wool. Buff out the water mark. Next, use varnish to even out the appearance of the wood. It will look as good as new!
Fixing a wobbly ceiling fan
If you notice the ceiling fan seems a bit wobbly, then its blades are probably bent. The first step is to attempt to bend them back into shape. Do this slowly and carefully to avoid breaking them. If they're too far out of line to be fixed, buy new blades and install them. Turn the fan on its lowest setting to make sure everything is properly installed and aligned.
How to apply caulk
Re-caulking a bathroom yourself can save you a lot of time and money. Here are a couple of tips you'll want to watch out for. First and foremost, you want to make sure you properly remove the old caulk. Depending on the type of caulk, the removal process is a little bit different. Prepping the surface before you caulk is key, including removing any existing mold. Second, you want to invest in a proper caulk gun as well as caulk itself. For instance, the caulk for kitchen and bath is typically labeled for kitchen and bath use only.
Removing fingerprints from stainless steel
Whether you use a commercial stainless cleaner or your own all natural cleaner, using the right cleaning cloth can speed up the cleaning process. A microfiber is ideal for quickly removing dirt, grease and grime from surfaces. It's an efficient and lint-free cleaner.
A quick solution to car scratches
Light to medium depth scratches won't be completely removed with WD40, but they will definitely be hidden. A quick solution to those gentle scratches, this technique can easily be used after you wash your car. You simply spray WD40 on the scratched area and gently buff with a microfiber cloth. The scratches will just disappear. ​
Clean your chimney
If you have a fireplace that serves a purpose other than just decoration, then you need to clean it every once in a while. You can hire someone to do this (I recommend the dancing chimney sweeps from "Mary Poppins"), or you can take care of it yourself. Should you decide to undertake this project on your own, you'll need to invest in protective goggles, a ladder, a large chimney brush and enough plastic sheeting to block off the fireplace from the rest of the room.
Clean your carpet
Mixed with a few other ingredients, borax makes a great carpet cleaner. Salt, borax and vinegar (1/4 cup of each) combined into a paste can be applied to stains on your carpet and then left until completely dry. When the paste is dry, vacuum over it (multiple times if necessary). Running a steam cleaner over the carpet to finish is the best way to make sure it's completely clean, but this final step isn't required unless you're dealing with exceptionally stubborn stains.
Clean refrigerator coils
It's easy to forget about cleaning refrigerator coils because you never see them. They're either behind or on the bottom of the unit, so they fall into the "out of sight, out of mind" category. But as those coils become coated in pet hair, dirt and grease, they have to put out extra effort to keep the fridge cool. And the more energy those coils exert, the higher your bill is going to be for the month. Fortunately, all you have to do to clean the coils is unplug the fridge, use a vacuum hose to get rid of the dirt and hair, and clean off any remaining gunk with soap and water.
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