21 June 2013
Category: Homeowners Helper
21 June 2013,

Does your microwave look like a bean burrito exploded inside? Is the residue cooked on to the point that it just won’t wipe off. Well mix a half cup white vinegar & ½ cup water & bring to a rolling boil in the microwave. Let it set for about 10 minutes & you will be able to easily wipe off the loosened cooked on food.

Do you have a wood screw that has worked its way loose to the point that you just can’t get it tight anymore? Well cover a toothpick or two with glue, shove them in the hole, and snap off the excess. The screw will then set tight. It just takes a minute and usually works better than much more difficult solutions.

If your garbage disposal was working hard and suddenly stopped, there is a good chance that you simply tripped its internal overload. There is often a reset button on the bottom that you can press to avoid an expensive service call.

Periodically taking a moment to clean food debris out of the drain screen at the bottom of your dish washer will make it more sanitary and help the dishes come out cleaner.

Dropping a couple of the fizzing anti-acid tablets in a stained vase filled with water will work wonders at removing the discoloration. Believe it or not these tablets will even help clean a stained toilet bowl.

Here is 1 more tip for tightening a loose wood screw. A few strands of steel wool tucked into an oversize hole will usually keep the screw secure after that last turn. And steel wool works great getting up heel marks off of vinyl flooring with just a little water and elbow grease.

Most of us have aluminum foil in our kitchen. It has lots of uses that you probably never considered. Folding a sheet a few times and then cutting thru it with dull scissors sharpens them. A crumpled bunch works great to scrub crusty grill grates. And placing a layer in the bottom of a glass pan with ½ box baking soda and hot water makes a magical wash that removes the tarnish from silverware.

A thin coat of paste car wax makes stainless steel appliances sparkle better than they did when they were new. Car wax also works great at keeping water spots off of faucets and fixtures and puts shine on. It will even make your bathroom mirror fog free.

Homeowners’ Helper tip #1 is, find your water main cut off, BEFORE you have a plumbing emergency. Way, way too often, I talk to homeowners who have no idea how to turn the water off when they discover a catastrophic leak in their home. 10’s of thousands of dollars and lots of inconvenience later you will wish that you had taken a few minutes to plan ahead.

Here is a $10 ten minute security upgrade for your home. Remove the ½” screws securing the latch plate and hinges on your exterior doors and replace with 3” deck screws. The longer screws will reach the wall studs framing the door opening and make it virtually impossible to kick in a solid door.

Even if you know that you are never going to do any home maintenance or repair, go and buy yourself a great home repair manual. It will help you be much better prepared to deal with contractors when you hire them to do the work.

Who wants to run to the store to buy a fresh can a spackling to cover that 1 nail hole when you are ready to paint? Just make a thick paste with a little baking soda and it will work just as well. And baking soda toothpaste is premixed and works just as good.

If you want to paint a door without removing the hardware a neat tip is to rub a thin coat of petroleum jelly on the knob and deadbolt before you paint. Wipe them clean after the paint dries and any mistake wipes right off.

Cleaning dripped candle wax out of a table cloth can be tough. Make it simple by placing the table cloth on a heat resistant surface and covering with a few layers of absorbent paper towels. Heat gently with an iron repeating the process until no more wax can be removed. Cleaning the spot with home dry cleaning solvent will usually get up what is left.

After a storm it is necessary and normal to survey damage. But having said that, way too many people are killed by electrical shock from damaged power lines after storms. DO NOT approach falling trees tangled in power lines or any other fallen or low hanging wires. Your life isn’t worth it.

Do you know where your breaker panel is? The 1st order of business when you have any electrical failure in your home is simply checking to see if a breaker has tripped. Sometimes the fix is just resetting the breaker, however if it trips again, it is probably time to call an electrician.

Most people don’t think much about their washer and dryer as long as they are cleaning their clothes. A large percentage of house fires are caused by overheated dryers when their exhaust vents are clogged. Make checking and cleaning your dryer vent a part of your regular home maintenance. And put in flexible stainless steel connector lines to your washer. The old rubber lines are prone to unexpected failure after years of service.

Do you think that cleaning your gutters is just not worth the effort? Virtually all structural deterioration on a home is caused by water damage. So clean them gutters or prepare for the house to rot down around you.

If you have a mildew problem in your home, what you really have is a moisture problem. Too much water is getting in or not enough is getting out. A quick look at how much water is coming out of the AC condensation drain will give you a clue as to which it is.

Speaking of AC condensation drains. A half cup of household bleach in the condensate drain clean out a few times each year will go a long way to keeping that drain running reliably.

Are your drawers sticking? If they are, something as simple as rubbing a little bar soap on the runners will set them free and make the clothes in your dresser smell nice and clean too.

Has someone set a cold glass on your end table and left a white ring under the finish? To get the moisture out, before the mildew starts, and leaves a permanent black ring, just liberally apply mayonnaise to the finish. After it has set for about ½ hour, rub it off with a soft cloth. Problem solved.

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