While every home is unique, one constant remains: something will eventually need to be fixed. Common problems can be all the more vexing because we instinctively know that we should be able to manage them without calling a professional. As a homeowner, the trick is to recognize where we can do a little online research and address the problem ourselves. There’s a ton of information at our fingertips, but we've done some of the legwork for you. Here are a few common household issues that can be managed with some ingenuity and elbow grease.
Use Vinegar For Upholstery Stains
As one of the most used items in the house, stains on the couch are unavoidable. If you can’t remove the cushion cover to wash, you can still attack the problem head-on by creating a cleaning solution with ingredients you already have in your house. Mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 3/4 cup water, and 1 tablespoon of dish soap for fabric; 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup vinegar for leather; and 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup warm water, and 1/2 tablespoon dish soap for synthetic upholstery. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, mist the stain, and gently scrub with a soft cloth until the stain is gone. Gently dab the solution on the stain using a clean cloth or sponge. Use a moist second towel to remove any remaining soap. (Pro Tip: Test the cleaner on a location that's out of sight, like the underside of the frame or the back, to ensure it doesn’t ruin the fabric.)
Use a Pencil to Fix a Sticky Door Lock
Now and again, a door or lock will stick, forcing you to push or pull as you turn the key. As frustrating as this is, it’s also straightforward to fix — with a pencil. Rub the surface of the key with a pencil and then put it in the lock. The graphite from the pencil will lubricate the lock, and it should easily open.
Use Baby Powder to Fix a Noisy Floorboard
Squeaky floorboards might be a fun way to keep tabs on an errant child or announce your entry into a room, but it’s not necessary to live with this noise. To help quiet the problem spot, pull out the baby powder or baking soda. Sprinkle the powder around the board's edges and gently tap to encourage the powder to sift into the cracks. If the problem persists and you can get underneath the flooring, insert a wood shim into the space to alleviate the noise.
Use Nail Polish to Fix a Loose Drawer Pull
We all have a few drawer pulls that seem to come loose no matter how often we tighten them. Anything that’s opened regularly with a handle or knob, such as the kitchen cabinets, storage cupboard, or dresser drawers, can become susceptible to a wobbly screw that just won’t stay put. Instead of fighting this battle, win the war with clear nail polish. Pull the screw out of the knob and paint some clear polish along the threads. Refasten and let it dry for an hour. The polish will form a bond between the screw threads and the wood around it.
Use Baking Soda to Unclog a Garbage Disposal
A clogged or stopped garbage disposal is no fun and can completely block your sink drain. To fix the problem, disconnect the disposal from its power source. Then, pop out the rubber splash guard and use a flashlight to look inside. If you’re lucky, you’ll see what’s stuck and can remove it with needle-nose pliers. If you can’t see an obvious obstruction, try dissolving the problem with 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup vinegar — spoon the baking soda in first, then add the vinegar for a safe chemical reaction. After the bubbling subsides, restore power and hit the reset button on the bottom of the disposal.
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