Hacks for Handling Common Homeowner Conundrums

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Tasks seem to routinely surface that canchallenge even handy homeowners. Things break, wear out, or need a little tweaking, and whether you’re all thumbs or more of the Bob the Builder type,knowing the best ways to tackle projects can leave you scratching your head.Here are some clever hacks to help you cut through your conundrums with ease.  

Unclogging Toilets

While it can be an embarrassing issue, it happens in all households eventually: a toilet gets clogged. However, you don’t necessarily need a plunger — much less a plumber — to get the problem resolved. With a couple of everyday pantry essentials, you can free up most clogged toilets quickly and easily. Add a cup of vinegar and a cup of baking soda to your toilet, which will fizz. Allow it to settle and then add hot water; most clogs will lift right away. For a more severe clog, add each ingredient in quarter cup increments, and then follow with hot water. When you flush, you will hear a suction sound as the clog is removed. You can repeat the procedure a time or two, but if things don’t resolve, then it’s time to call a plumber.

Regrout Your Tile

You might notice your grout isn’t looking as good as it once did. If it’s dirty, you can use baking soda and vinegar to give it a scrubbing. However, over time, grout can erode around tile, especially in damp areas like shower stalls. However, you can regrout tile yourself without much time or trouble. First, you will need to remove the affected area with a grout saw, and there are both electric and handheld versions. Then, spread fresh grout into the tile, and wipe away excess. Clean the area and allow the fresh grout to cure for a week before sealing it. 

Dealing with Drywall

All houses experience settling to some extent. While it’s annoying to find settling cracks at the corners of doors and windows, Bob Vila explains it’s a normal phenomenon, and thankfully, one that’s easily remedied. However, it’s important not to reach for the same spackle product you use when you’re patching nail holes from moving artwork, as that is apt to crack all over again. Instead, opt for drywall mud and joint tape. Give the crack a light sanding and remove any loose material, then apply a self-adhesive joint tape. Apply two to three layers of mud, allowing each layer to dry, and sanding before applying the next layer. After that’s finished, prime and paint your repair to match the rest of the room.

Clean Your Washing Machine

It might seem as if a machine whose sole purpose is to make things clean wouldn’t need cleaning, but as washing machines handle dirt, soap, and various materials, strange grime gradually builds up. It’s important to give yours a thorough cleansing, at least once monthly and as often as weekly, depending on usage. The experts at Apartment Therapy recommend cleaning the machine with baking soda and vinegar. Set the washer for the hottest temperature and largest load, add a quart of white vinegar as it fills, then let it agitate a bit. Open the machine and scrub the top surface area, then allow the machine to sit for an hour. After that, close the lid and let the cycle finish. Once complete, run another cycle and put in a cup of baking soda to neutralize and freshen the machine. 

Refresh the Dishwasher

Just like the washing machine, dishwashers often experience a surprising buildup of dirt and scum. Today.com recommends giving your dishwasher a routine cleaning by emptying the trap and running a cup of vinegar through on the hottest setting. Then, sprinkle baking soda across the bottom and run another hot rinse cycle to make it sparkle. Routine cleanings not only keep it looking good, but it will keep the machine performing well and could lengthen its life.

Certain household issues can be a bit perplexing, but they’re not impossible. With a little elbow grease and ingenuity, you can tackle troubles as they arise. So, the next time an issue pops up, you can look to these clever hacks to tackle them.

About The Author: Written by Seth Murphy of Papadiy.com. Seth Murphy got into the world of DIY for fun after starting simply to save money. Now, he does it to share tips and advice to help others. 

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