Get Rid of Bad Smells in your House

Exhaust fans and open windows only go so far toward eliminating foul odors. Making your sniffer happy oftentimes requires something extra, like baking powder, vinegar or special charcoal. For smells that make you run out of the room holding your nose, try these tricks:

1. ID the source and remove it

“The key to odor removal is removing the source of the odor,” says Bob Smolka, restoration manager for ACR, Inc., a specialized cleaning services company in Wheeling, Ill. If mold, mildew, faulty plumbing or an animal carcass in your chimney is causing the smell, then spraying air fresheners and burning candles will only temporarily overpower the stench. You need to eliminate the source of the problem for a true fix.

2. Wash away foul dishwasher smells

Fill a dishwasher-safe cup with white vinegar, place it on the top rack, and run it through a cycle without any dishes. If you don’t have a safe cup, pour two cups of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher. Be prepared for the vinegar to smell for an hour or so, but then all smells will be gone.

3. Cover temporary kitchen odors, like burnt toast and fried bacon. Turn on the exhaust
fan, open the windows and spray an air freshener.

4. Tame pet odor, including the kitty litter box

Activated charcoal, which is a form of carbon that has been “activated” to make it extremely porous, is great for absorbing a range of odors, especially those caused by pets. You can buy activated charcoal specifically designed for pet odors for $7. Put them in or near your litter box to help mitigate the stink.

5. Eliminate washing machine mold smells

The door on front-load washing machines seals so tight that air never circulates inside, allowing mold and mildew to grow-and stink up the laundry room. Wash away the mold and the smell by running a cycle with
only two cups of bleach and warm or hot water. Or buy tablets like Affresh (three for $8) that you stick in the washer to clean it. Whichever method you choose, leave your door open between washings.

6. Keep your garbage disposal from smelling like garbage

Just because you stick waste in your disposal doesn’t give it permission to foul up your kitchen. Cut a lemon, lime or orange into chunks and drop them into the running disposal. The citrus will get rid of most odors. If not, follow up with half a cup of white vinegar with cold water-if you can put up with a brief round of vinegar smell.

7. Deodorize the fridge

The age-old solution to tame fridge odors is to open a box of baking soda and stick it on a shelf or along the back. Change it annually and keep it away from vegetables since the sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda can cause leafy veggies to wilt quickly. Sodium bicarbonate has a unique chemical property that attracts and absorbs odors.

8. Rub out urine and bacteria smells in carpet

Vinegar is highly acidic, which enables it to kill bacteria and also remove urine smells. Mix one part vinegar with three parts water and rub it on the carpet with a cloth. Then rinse the carpet with water and let it air dry. Then train your pet to stop peeing on your carpet.

9. Overpower curry, fried fish and other food smells

If you do a lot of spicy or fried cooking, the smells can become ingrained in your cabinets, which you’ll need to wash with warm water and soap. But for immediate relief after cooking, boil a cup of vinegar on the stove. The vapors that release into the air cut the other smells, although the vinegar will cause the kitchen to smell bad for a bit.

10. Remove cigarette smoke stink

For an occasional infraction of someone lighting up in the house, an air freshener and open windows will eliminate the smell. But heavy smoking over a long period requires washing, sealing and painting the walls, Smolka says. It may also require cleaning the duct system. “There’s no magic solution,” he says, but there is a misconception that clean air machines—also known as air purifiers and ozone machines—are a good solution for getting rid of these types of heavy, ingrained smells. But Smolka recommends against those units; they can produce dangerous levels of ozone that can kill plants, deteriorate rubber and cause eye irritation and other health problems at high concentrations.

11. Hide embarrassing bathroom stank

Your fan can only do so much. For goodness sake, light a candle. Or better yet, use a long-term odor remover, like a Glade PlugIn.

12. Be proactive

To keep odors at bay, regularly use an air freshener like Febreze not only in the air, but also by lightly spraying, or misting, curtains or couches in a room. Be sure to read the label first—some products will stain cotton.


How to Refinish Wood Floors

I have scratches on the floor, not deep enough though and I found this article. It’s a great thing that I don’t need to do alot with it but just refinish it.

Here’s the steps that you can do yourself:


STEP ONE // How to Refinish Wood Floors

Clean the Floor

Remove all the furniture, and spray the floor with a hardwood flooring cleaner or your own mix of 10 parts water to 1 part white vinegar. Gently wipe the floor with a terry-cloth mop or a towel wrapped around a mop head. Close the windows and doors to keep dust contained in the room you’re sanding.


STEP TWO // How to Refinish Wood Floors

Prep the Perimeter

Using 180-grit sandpaper, hand-sand the perimeter of the room and any nooks that the buffer can’t reach. Rub with the grain 4 to 6 inches out from the baseboard, working over each board until the finish dulls and a powder forms. Don’t use a sanding block—it might miss uneven spots in the floor.


STEP THREE // How to Refinish Wood Floors

Scuff-sand the Finish

Stick a maroon buffing pad to the buffer, and put on a dust mask. Move the buffer from side to side across the floor in the direction of the grain, overlapping each course by 6 inches. The old finish turns to powder as you go, so it’s easy to see the areas you’ve covered. Keep the buffer moving at all times, but stop every 5 minutes or so and vacuum the pad.


STEP FOUR // How to Refinish Wood Floors

Vacuum and Tack

Leave the room for 10 to 15 minutes to let the powder settle. Put a clean filter in the vacuum, and sweep the floor using a felt-bottomed attachment. Work in line with the flooring strips, then sweep across them to get any powder that settled between the boards. Finally, dry-tack the floor with a microfiber cloth pushed with the grain.


STEP FIVE // How to Refinish Wood Floors

Cut in Along the Edges

 Cover your shoes with booties and your nose and mouth with a respirator that has organic vapor canisters. Strain the finish through a cone filter into a clean plastic watering can, minus a sprinkler head, then pour some strained finish into a small plastic container. Brush a 3-inch-wide stripe beside the baseboards at a point farthest from your exit door. You’ll have lap marks if the edge of the stripe starts to dry, so stop after 10 minutes and go to the next step.
STEP SIX // How to Refinish Wood Floors

Roll Out the Poly

Pour out a 1-inch-wide stripe of finish in line with the grain—only as much as you can spread in 10 minutes. Using a long-handled roller with a ¼-inch nap cover, roll out the finish with the grain, then across it. Overlap each pass and work quickly to keep a wet edge. After 10 minutes, brush more finish along the edge, then pour and roll again for 10 minutes. Continue until the floor is covered. Wait 3 hours before recoating and a week before putting back furniture.

Home Staging- Keeping Repair Woes To A Minimum

Home ownership requires tender loving care. When repair issues make their debut one tends to want to push them under the rug and deal with them at a more convenient date. Life goes on and the small problems multiply into one large enigma.

Homeowners in this situation are left with the question of where to begin in addressing the priority and importance of repairs when selling their home. How much or how little they can get away with investing in becomes the crux of the question.

Finding Balance

In order to find a light at the end of the tunnel, a list of all repairs needed throughout the house will give a view on how to approach with priority and a budget. The list can be divided into a do-it-yourself, handyman and contractor section.

Some home repairs have levels in options. For instance, rotted siding on the bottom of the house does not necessarily mean all siding will need to be replaced, even in the event that an exact siding match can not be found. Many times it is possible to remove the rotted boards and add a trim board as a solution to this common problem.

Four Minor Maintenance Issues For Sellers

  • Mold in the tub and or shower
  • Holes in the wall
  • Damaged weather stripping on exterior doors
  • Worn or scuffed walls, baseboards and door casing

Four Major Maintenance Issues For Sellers

  • Wood rot on exterior of house including fascia, eaves, chimney, siding and trim
  • Water damage on ceiling from roof leak
  • Water damage on drywall, baseboards and floor (laundry, bathroom and kitchen areas
  • Landscape (overgrowth and sod)

When major issues tend to outweigh the minor ones call in a trusted contractor to give you a bid, some even offer flexible financing options. This resource allows the seller time to focus on the various other aspects of staging.

Taking care of these issues before the homes debut will save time on market. Keep in mind a potential buyer will willingly pass up a house in need of work. Another added benefit to addressing repairs and having a well cared for house is it helps make the inspection process a breeze. The “out of sight out of mind” mentality puts all parties involved in the selling of your home at ease.

High Priority

Repairs should take high priority when selling a home. The seller must remember they are showcasing a product that conveys a message to the buyer. The house for sale should tell a story of meticulous attention that says, “I’m move in ready.”

Benefits of Planting in Raised Beds

Raised beds offer a simple and effective way to create a healthy and productive garden by manipulating the growing environment for the better. And the best part is, no matter how bad the ground you’re starting with, ideal planting conditions can be created for soil structure and drainage; essential keys to success.

Plant and Train Vines

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows how to enliven a plain fence with climbing vines and flowering plants.

1. Drill ⅛-inch-diameter holes in fence. Locate the holes about 4 feet off the ground and about 6 feet apart.
2. Use a screwdriver to turn a screw eye into each hole.
3. Twist a length of galvanized wire around one screw eye, then pull it tight and twist around the remaining screw eyes. Use pliers to snip off the excess wire.
4. Repeat the previous three steps to install a second wire at about 2 feet off the ground.
5. Take a garden rake and clear the soil along the base of the fence of all weeds, leaves and debris.
6. Loosen the soil along the fence line with a small gas-powered rotary tiller.
7. Spread 2 to 3 inches of compost over the tilled soil.
8. Sprinkle fertilizer onto the soil, then turn over the soil once more with the rotary tiller.
9. Arrange the potted plants along the fence line, separating the climbing vines with flowering plants.
10. Dig planting holes with a shovel and pull the plants from their pots.
11. Loosen compacted root balls with a three-tine garden claw.
12. Set the vines into the holes, making sure to tip them back toward the fence.
13. Backfill around the root ball with compost/soil mixture. Repeat for remaining plants.
14. Remove any bamboo support sticks from the vine plants.
15. Carefully wrap the vine tendrils around the galvanized wires, and then loosely tie them in place with jute string.
16. Thoroughly water the plants, then spread 2 inches of cedar bark mulch over the soil.

How to Install Hinges and Hang a Door: Mortise with a Router and use a Irwin hardware installation kit

Interior hollow-core closet, bedroom, and bathroom doors are very easy to work with because they’re so light. Installing pre-hung doors takes all the guesswork out of the task because the hinges are already installed and the door is secure in the jamb. All that’s needed is plumbing, leveling, shimming and nailing. Replacement doors are a bit trickier. Both these types are easy for a person working alone. Solid-core entry doors might require a helper.

Carpentry Tools and Materials

  • Router with a mortising router bit
  • Irwin door hardware installation kit
  • Wood chisel
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Corded or cordless drill with drill bit slightly narrower than the hinge screws
  • Step stool
  • Tape measure
  • Tri square
  • New hinges and door knob (optional; the existing ones may be used)
  • Scrap wood to shim the door off the floor


Door Hinge Mortising

New passage doors are quite inexpensive but require precise preparation because each job is likely to be slightly different. Be sure the new door is the exact dimensions as the old one. Use the old door to transfer the hinge locations with a pencil (the distance from the top hinge to the top and the distance from the bottom hinge to the bottom are usually different).

Trace out the hinge leafs on the edge of the door, being sure the swing is the same as the old one. Put the mortising bit in the router and set the depth to the exact thickness of the hinge. Mortise out the marked areas with the router.

Hang the Replacement Door

This is also called “swinging the door.” These steps are methodical and should be followed carefully because there is zero tolerance for error. First, stand the door up so that the mortised areas are up against the hinge leafs on the jamb.

Measure the height differential to determine how high to shim the door so that the jamb hinge exactly matches the mortise. Shim the door up to that height and mark where the top middle hinge screw must go on the new door.

*Note: The hinge pin offset must match on both the door and the jamb.

Pre-drill the hole and install the screw. Now repeat the process with the bottom hinge. Use the wood chisel and mallet to make any minor mortise adjustments. Now test swing the door; it should fit just like the old one did. Finally mark the remaining screws, pre-drill, and secure.

Install the Door Knob

Use the tri-square to transfer the center of the strike plate on the jamb to the door; this will be the center of the door knob. Set the Irwin door knob template tool to the proper backset and use the included hole saws to drill out the holes for the door knob and latch bolt. Mortise for the latch bolt faceplate.

Now all that’s left to do is prime, paint, and install the hardware.

How to Seal Granite Counter Tops

Seal Porous Granite Surfaces Properly to Provide Protection

Sealing granite surfaces is vital to helping them maintain their beauty. A granite counter top that is properly sealed and protected can be reasonably expected to outlast the home it is installed in.

Not All Granite Counter Tops Require Sealing

Different colors and types of granite have varying densities. Although granite is porous, the extent to which that can cause staining varies by the type of granite that is purchased. Typically darker colors have a higher density and thus may not all require sealing.

A quick way to test if a granite counter top needs to be sealed is to conduct what is known as the “water test”. Place several drops of water on the counter top and wait 20 minutes. If that water soaks into the granite, the stone should be sealed. If, however, the water beads up and remains beaded, the density of the stone is sufficient enough to resist stains on its own and does not require sealing.

Choose the Right Sealant for Granite Surfaces

granite sealer

Tim Carter, of, recommends that all individuals take the time to properly choose their granite sealer. He compares the different types of granite sealers consumers have to choose from to used cars on a car lot and recommends that anyone preparing to seal his or her granite counter tops be prepared to pay for a high-quality sealant that will provide a good level of protection for something as expensive and beautiful as granite. Skimping on price may just mean skimping on protection.

How to Seal Granite Counter Tops

The process of sealing granite requires proper preparation. Tim Carter warns that consumers planning on sealing their counter tops should make the proper preparations prior to sealing the granite. Preparations that need to be made include:

Be prepared to seal granite before the old sealer wears off

Make sure the granite is completely free of dust

Allow the granite to dry for 24 hours or leave a fan blowing on the surface for 8 hours.

The actual sealing process that follows is simple and most homeowners should be able to tackle it on their own without the aid of a professional.

Wipe the granite sealer onto the surface with a clean, dry cloth.

Allow the sealer to soak into the surface

When the sealer is almost dry, apply a second coat of sealant.

Allow the second coat of granite sealer to dry completely

Buff the counter top with a cloth. Tim Carter recommends terrycloth but warns against consumers using electric buffers to buff a granite surface after sealing.

Homeowners who opt for granite counter tops should remember that standard granite sealer will need to be replaced every year. Although “permanent” granite sealant can be purchased, the product name can be somewhat misleading as permanent sealant will need to be replaced approximately every 10 years.

Do It Yourself – Install Mosaic Tile

mosaic tiles installation

Installing Tiles and Mosaic Designs

Whether installing a classic mosaic pattern on a small bathroom floor, or bringing some interest to a backsplash by layering mosaics of different colors through a larger field tile, learning how to lay tile that is mounted in sheets takes practice and a little know how. Follow these tips to ensure that the job turns out the way it’s imagined.

Learn the Difference in Mounting

Mosaic tiles can come in a few different formats. Loose tiles, which care placed individually, and those that are mounted on mesh, craft paper or contact paper.

Loose mosaics are installed like any other tile, and are typically used for accenting, or piecing together a small, but intricate design. Mounted mosaics come in full square foot increments in patterns to be pieced together, or in sheets of one color or repeating design that can be cut up.

Mesh mounted mosaics have the sheet mounted to the back of the tiles. These tiles are installed right side up, with the mesh being pressed directly into the mortar, and are among the easiest mosaics to install.

Face mounted material will have either brown craft paper, or contact paper covering the front of the material. In the case of custom mosaic patterns, there will sometimes be contact paper on both sides, the back side of which will need to be removed prior to installing. These mosaics are installed with the paper facing out and the mosaic tiles being pressed directly into the mortar.

Paper faced material is typically used with glass mosaics, where the mesh could be seen through the glass, or in materials that are uneven in thickness. Face mounted material will require extra steps during the install to ensure that the spacing between the sheets is even, thickness differences are accommodated and the paper is removed when the tiles are set.

Getting Ready

Begin by gathering the supplies needed for installation, including a grout float, tile saw, tile nippers, sanded grout, white thinset, tile spacers to the exact size of the grout joints already set in the sheets, sponges, water and trowel. Prepare the surface to be clean and dry; mosaics are able to “flex” more than other materials, due to the many grout joints, making them ideal for floors and other surfaces that are less than flat.

Begin with a dry layout; practice piecing together the patterns, and lining up the grout joints, to ensure an even pattern without visible separation between the sheets.

Make any cuts at this time, either to the mesh or paper or to the tiles themselves with the tile nippers or saw. Lay the sheets from the center of the wall outward to the sides to ensure an even layout with cut tiles buried in corners.

Installing Tiles

mosaic tiles installation

Mesh mounted materials can go down in full or partial sheets much like any other material. Paper faced materials, however, should first be back buttered, or have an even coating of thinset applied to the back of the sheet to even out thickness differences and provide an even surface with no trowel marks for glass tiles. Flip the sheet upside down and sprinkle dry grout into the joints to prevent the thinset from leaking through. With the flat edge of the trowel, smooth a layer of thinset onto the back of the sheet. This is in addition to any thinset applied to the wall, and can be used to make up thickness differences between mosaic accents and field tiles as well.

When the sheets are in place, and the spacing correct, allow paper faced material to set for about an hour. Thoroughly soak the paper with water to loosen the glue and peel the paper away. Any tiles that come loose should be replaced with a small amount of thinset as quickly as possible. Make any adjustments to the grout joints at this time, and leave to dry for 24 hours. Apply the grout at this, taking care to pack it well in to the many grout joints before wiping away excess and leaving the grout to set for an additional 24 hours..

Mosaic designs can be created by cutting up and reconfiguring the sheets prior to install for a creative, custom look. Mosaics also create inexpensive and interesting borders when cut into strips.

Always be sure to remove a few tiles from paper faced material upon receipt to ensure that the correct material has been received, as it can sometimes be difficult to tell when looking at the back of the tiles.

Be sure to work slowly and carefully, and enjoy the product of effort and the beauty of the mosaics for years to come.

Paint Like a Pro Contractor with the Right Tools

Use Square-End and Sash Brushes with Natural or Synthetic Bristles

No one would expect a Nascar racer to be competitive in a go-kart, or a home framer to be productive using a hand saw rather than a circular saw to cut studs. The same thing is true of professional painting contractors. High quality painting tools are essential.

Use the Right Bristle Brush

paint tools

There are a wide variety of paint brushes available. Altogether too often, when a homeowner decides to tackle an interior or exterior painting job, the brush purchasing rationale is that when doing just one job, why spend the money on expensive brushes?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Buy quality products like Purdy. It will go a long way towards professional results, and with care, the brushes can be used in multiple projects in the future. These are the 2 most common types of brushes:

Sash brushes. These are the ones that have the bristles tapered from one side to the other. They’re great for getting into corners. Another basic use is cutting in edges and corners. The term sash originates from window sashes (window frames).

Square-end brushes. These are used for flat surfaces. Like their sash cousins, they come in a variety of widths.

Characteristics of a Quality Paint Brush

The best ones cost more because of the time and materials that go into their construction. There are several things to look for:

Packaging. It sounds silly, but how the brush is packaged at the store is an indication of quality. The ones that are simply laying in a bin are junk. Look for packaging that is essentially a container for the business end of the brush, with a hole at the bottom to slide the handle through. Do not throw this away. This is for storing the tool after use to keep the bristles straight.

Multiple wood spacers between bristle rows. These are located in the heel and are there to hold more paint when it’s loaded up.

Reinforced metal ferrules. This is the metal transition piece between the handle and the bristles and it holds the bristles in place. Look for a one that holds them securely; no one wants to pick loose bristles out of just-spread paint or see one encased in dry paint like a fossil.

Natural Bristles or Synthetic?

Generally speaking, use natural bristles for oil-base paint and synthetic bristles for latex-base paint. Using a natural bristle brush in water-based paint will damage it.

Other than that, the reason for using different materials in different bases has to do with how well they hold and spread the product.

Use Paint Rollers for Larger Areas

These are used for painting walls or ceilings. Always look for a uniform nap on rollers, as well as beveled edges, not square, so as not to not leave a bead at the edges. Also, use a resin tube that won’t saturate and break down when subjected to wet paint.

How long should the nap be? The general rule is the smoother the surface, the shorter the nap. For smoother walls and ceilings, use a 3/8” nap. For semi-rough surfaces like concrete, use a 1/2” – 3/4” nap. For rougher surfaces like stucco or brick, use 1” – 1 1/4”.

How to Fix Streaked Gutters

Every homeowner wants to avoid gutter streaks, also known as tiger stripes. These streaks on your gutter or wall just keep on appearing and you have no clue where they are coming from. So the best solution you can come up with is to call in for repairs and a new installation for your gutter. When most homeowners notice these streaks, they tend to conclude that they must install new gutter system. Before you start installing new gutters, just ensure that the streaks are not as a result of the following factors.

Accumulation of dirt and grime

In most cases, since the gutter system is exposed to the open environment, it is very possible to see lines forming on the gutter and the adjacent wall. When dust and other pollutants get in contact with water, these lines will appear. Other chemicals especially from acid rain and those that are in the air will react and form lines on the gutters as well. The lines can be a big problem as they are not easy to clean away and they are not easy to control either.

In this case, you get professional gutter cleaners to help remove these lines. Though they may seem stubborn, a professional gutter cleaner has all the necessary tools to clean gutters effectively.

Not cleaning the gutters regularly

If you see the streaks on your wall and gutter, the first thing you should is to try and clean them away. Make sure that you chose the cleaners keenly. Some stains will just come off with simple detergents that will not harm the gutter while other may require some very powerful detergent depending on the cause of the stain.

If the paint on the gutter is can easily come off if you use stronger cleaning agents then you can just clean the area more than once to get the stain off. If the option of cleaning is not making the situation better then you can ask a gutter professional to come in. In such cases, gutters experts advice that you should contact a professional gutter cleaners.


Gutter streaks can make your gutters appear ugly and in fact reduce the value of your home. Therefore, getting rid of such streaks is part of gutter cleaning exercise and should be taken seriously.