Category: Home maintenance

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.”

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.

Conclusion

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.

Eight Essential Tools for the Home

Hammer, Pry Bar, Screwdriver, Saw, Utility Knife, Drivers & Tin Snip

Eight Essential Tools for the Home

It doesn’t matter whether you plan to do any DIY jobs, just moved into a new home, or are newly divorced and find yourself solely responsible for all those pesky little annoyances that inevitably pop up; everyone needs a toolbox stocked with essential tools. Let’s take a look…

First Things First

The first thing to buy is a toolbox. Get a sturdy, good sized one. Something on the order of twenty inches long, twelve inches wide and twelve inches deep. They come in all shapes and sizes so these are just a ballpark figures. It needs a sturdy handle. It should have a removable top tray with compartments for all the nails, screws, washers, and picture hangers that will accumulate over time.

home essential tools

Hand tools are Handy

Consider the humble hammer. One of the oldest tools, it dates back to caveman days. Today the basic concept is the same, but with many different models. There are ball peen hammers, roofer’s hammers, claw hammers, framing hammers… You want versatility, the most bang for your buck. And this would be a sixteen ounce, straight claw hammer with a fiberglass handle. Heavy enough to actually drive a nail, light enough to keep you from talking dirty!

hammer tool

Screwdrivers. Here is another tool with a mind-numbing selection. Yes, you need a variety. Luckily, usually you can find a set that includes most of what you need. In addition, it doesn’t hurt to have a small set of jeweler’s screwdrivers for those little jobs.

screwdriver set

Buy a small pry bar, somewhere in the eight to ten inch range. This will come in handy for a multitude of tasks; many times used in conjunction with your hammer.

pry bar

Pliers are all over the map in variety and usefulness. Every dwelling should have several in box. For minor plumbing issues and other tasks demanding a wider grip, get a pair of “slip joint” or “groove joint” pliers. Needle nose pliers will come in handy for those small, tight jobs. Rounding out the family of essential pliers are locking pliers. A pair of locking pliers are at times the only thing that will remove a stubborn nut. Get a large pair and a small pair.

pliers

A small saw. As with the hammer, you want something that will be versatile. Your best bet is a hack saw. Lightweight and easy to use, it can tackle most small household jobs. Although designed to cut metal, it also does an exceptional job on wood and plastic PVC.

handsaw

Throw a utility knife into that new toolbox. This is an all around, comfortable tool that will keep you from ruining your kitchen knives. We’ve all been there…

utility knife

It’s always nice to have a set of nut drivers handy to speed up the job of removing nuts or bolts. Not quite as good as a full-blown socket set, but great for light jobs around the house.

nut drivers

A good pair of tin snips are sometimes the only tool to reach for. Not those huge ones but the ones that are six to eight inches long with plastic handles. The usual styles are right cut, left cut, and straight cut but a straight cut will handle almost any job.

tin snips

The Joy of a Full Tool Box

So there you have it; the must-haves in the world of home maintenance. One caveat here; you really do get what you pay for. A cheap tool is in the end the most expensive tool. Do NOT buy one of those packages of “everything you need” for $19.95. Select individual quality tools. Happy repairs!