Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 3/28/2018

Low Pressure in Showerhead

Most showerheads and faucets now come with water-saving devices called reducers. Theyíre great for saving water (and money), but sometimes these models are not as powerful as you would like. To remove the water reducer, unscrew the showerhead off its arm. Look inside for the reducer; it is usually a bright color. Remove the gasket that holds the reducer in place then remove the reducer. Another cause of bad water pressure is hard water which can leave mineral deposits in a showerhead and restrict water flow. To clean a showerhead, soak it in vinegar to loosen and remove deposits. Boiling the vinegar, letting it cool a bit, then placing the showerhead in it will make it work even faster. If your water pressure hasnít improved, check the shut off valves (both cold and hot) for your shower to see if they're not open as fully as they could be.

Dingy Faucet Handles

While we'd all probably like to replace our faucets, but sometimes the budget doesnít allow it. Those original one-handled clear plastic faucet handles can get a bit funky over time from hard water deposits or simple daily use. You can pick up replacements at the home center for a few dollars, or if they're in good shape, save money by removing them (all it takes is a screwdriver) and giving them a soak in vinegar and a good scrubbing with an old toothbrush. You'll be surprise at how well they'll shine and gleam.

Exhaust Fan Woes

Over time, dust builds up in the fan slits and makes it work less efficiently and effectively. You can test the fan's strength by placing one square of toilet paper in front of it when running to see how much air it is drawing in (however, this may only show you how strong a fan you have installed). If replacement isn't an option, give the fan a good cleaning with a vacuum hose fitted with a brush attachment. It's also possible there could be a blockage in the exhaust pipe. To clean this, you can use a dryer vent brush, which has a flexible long handle with a brush on the end.

Cabinet Facelift

If your bathroom cabinets are looking dingy but are still in good functioning shape, there's no need to feel stuck if your budget is limited. Even builders' grade laminate covered cabinets can be freshened up. There are kits available that include all primers and paint/epoxy layers, or you can simply sand, prime and paint using ordinary materials. To make the job easier, remove all the doors, drawers, hardware and work on these parts in a clean workspace away from the bathroom. It's best to use rollers or foam brushes to get a smooth finish, and you should top it off with a coat of polyurethane or polycrylic. For the finishing touch, pick up some new knobs and pulls.

Broken Tile

Cracked or broken tile is not only unsightly, but can also be a trip hazard, a sharp exposed edge, or an entry point for leaks. Cut around the broken or cracked tile at the grout line using a tile saw attachment for a rotary tool. If it's not loose, you'll need to break up the tile using a hammer or a cold chisel. Make sure you protect the surrounding good tile. Clean the area thoroughly and check to see if there is a void that may have cause the tile to crack. If so, apply a leveler compound, smooth, and allow to set. Apply mortar to the back of the tile and area it's being inserted, and set in place, making sure it is level with the surrounding tile. Allow the mortar to set and apply grout. When this sets, apply a grout sealer.

Dirty Grout

A big mistake homeowners often make is not sealing the grout lines after doing a tile job, or not requesting the grout be sealed after having the job done for them. It won't take long to regret this decision when irregular color patterns start showing up in the grout. But all isn't lost. Manufacturers have vastly improved grout cleaning products that will get the job done. However, these products are pretty noxious and you'll need to take a lot of precautions. An alternative is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, and there is always the option of use a steam spot cleaner. No matter what you use, you'll need some elbow grease and heavy-duty brushes. Once you've cleaned the grout and allowed adequate drying time, seal the grout. Be sure to check the manufacturerís recommendation on any addition steps to take before applying the sealer.

Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 6/13/2017

Baking soda is something that most of us have in our homes. We use it for cooking, but have you ever thought that you can use it for cleaning as well? Baking soda is actually a fantastic thing to clean with. It deodorizes and is non-toxic, so itís safe for kids, pregnant women, and pets. Below, youíll find some of the household chores that you can complete using baking soda.

Scrub Down The oven

Since ovens can become really dirty, really fast, you need something that can take on the grease. Baking soda is great for this purpose. Make a paste using baking soda and water or vinegar. Let the paste sit in the oven for up to 24 hours. Then wipe the mixture down with a sponge or cloth. You can heat the oven after you do this initial cleaning to help you loosen any additional grease, grime, or food particles. Let the oven cool and wipe it down again. 

Keep Drains Clear

If you notice that your drains are a bit slow, you may want to avoid harsh chemicals and start with the baking soda right in your kitchen. Pour some baking soda into your drain. Then, run some warmed vinegar down the drain immediately afterwards. After you let that mixture go to work for about 10 minutes, you should flush the drain with boiling water. This wonít work on already clogged drains, but itís great for maintenance on your drains that may be a bit slow. 

Keep Your Fridge Fresh

Your fridge can become a breeding ground for germs, crumbs, and spills. All you need to clean the  refrigerator up is a simple solution made up of baking soda and dish soap. The soap will help to cut any grease that has built up in the appliance, and the baking soda acts as an abrasive to get the gunk up. Just create a paste and apply it in the refrigerator. Then wipe down the shelves with warm water and a sponge. You can even disinfect your sponge in the microwave after you do this. Just place the sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes and you have a sponge thatís like new! 

Freshen Your Washing Machine

Baking soda helps to deodorize things. To deodorize your washer, just pour half a cup of baking soda into the detergent dispenser of the washing machine. Run a cycle through with hot water. Your clothes will be cleaner than they have been in months! Make sure you do this to your washer about once per month to keep it smelling fresh and deter those funky odors from building up in your laundry room. The only thing that should be smelling funky in there are dirty socks!

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Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 6/26/2016

Baking soda is not just for baking. It has many uses in your home from removing stains to treating burns and bites. Here are some great tips for home uses of baking soda: Just one-teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water will clean your refrigerator. Unclog your drain with a cup of baking soda. Pour it into the opening of your drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. Wait a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water. Keep the pests out of your home by laying down barrier of baking soda under sink-pipe openings and along basement windows. Relieve sunburned or itchy skin by adding baking soda to your bath water. A paste of baking soda and water applied to a burn or an insect bite will provide relief. Clean your toothbrush by soaking it in baking soda and warm water overnight. A paste of baking soda and water will remove stains from your coffee and tea cups, and red sauce stains from plastic containers. Post your own baking soda tips below.

JoAnn M. Drabble