13 Cold Weather Tips and Tricks

Indoors

Take vanilla out of the kitchen

When it’s too cold to open the windows, freshen your whole house fast by placing a few drops of vanilla extract on your furnace’s filter. Your house’s heating system will do the rest of the work for you. To scent one particular area, take a small jar and place several cotton balls inside. Dab a few drops of vanilla extract onto the cotton balls. Before putting the cover on the jar, use a nail to puncture a few holes into it for your very own vanilla air freshener.

Make it spicy

To easily deodorize your kitchen, put a cinnamon stick and other favorite spices (such as cloves or ginger) in a mug of water, and microwave it for 2 minutes. Remove the mug and set it on the counter so that the aroma can fill the kitchen. This trick is great for winter, when the scent of the spices will create a warm, cozy atmosphere.

Seal the door

Have a sliding glass door that’s rarely used during the winter? Seal it with duct tape to keep cold air from coming in.

SEE ALSO:  Domestic CEO's How to Make Your Home (and Everything in it) Smell Good

Outdoors

Winterize deck furniture

To keep your metal deck furniture free from rust and wear all winter long, reach for the petroleum jelly Just apply a thin layer (especially in areas where the furniture tends to rust) after cleaning the surface with simple soap and water.

Ease painful pads on pets

Many dogs love to play outside in the snow, but their paws can cause them pain if ice starts to build up between their pads. Before heading out for a winter walk, rub some petroleum jelly between each pad. The ice will stay away and your dog can enjoy the outdoors! If your poor pet’s pads are already cracked or dry, gently rub a little petroleum jelly into her pads while she’s sleeping.

Petroleum jelly is completely safe if your pet decides she wants to lick it off later.

Spray on a little D-fense.

Spray WD-40 in the lining of car doors. Doing this once in the beginning of the winter should keep your doors opening easily.

Baby powder to the rescue

Use baby powder or baking soda to absorb the moisture that collects on the rubber seal lining of your car door. Just wipe the weather strip with a dry cloth before sprinkling on the powder. Repeat every few days in the dead of winter to make sure you can always get into your car.

RELATED: Who Knew's 7 Car Hacks for Winter Weather

Easy undercarriage cleaning

Don’t forget to clean under your car, especially if you live in an area where salt and ice assault in winter.

A trick for these hard-to-reach areas: Run a lawn sprinkler underneath the car and drive back and forth.

Block the lock

To keep your car’s door locks safe from ice during the cold winter months, place a refrigerator magnet over the lock. You can even take an old magnet (last year’s calendar from a local realtor, perhaps) and cut it into pieces that fit perfectly.

Personal Care

Brush to better lips

For lips that need a little extra TLC, especially in the winter, try this effective scrub. Mix together 2 teaspoons baking soda with enough lemon juice to make a paste. Gently scrub the mixture over your lips with a dry toothbrush for a minute or two, then rinse, and apply some petroleum jelly or your favorite lip balm.

Go crazy for cranberry

For a seasonal solution to chapped winter lips—and a great DIY gift idea for the holidays—try this cranberry lip balm! In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon avocado or almond oil, 10 fresh cranberries, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1 drop vitamin E oil (from a capsule). Microwave on high until the mixture begins to boil. Remove carefully as the bowl may be hot. Mash the berries with a fork and stir well to combine. After the mixture has cooled for 10 minutes, strain it into a small portable tin, making sure to remove all of the fruit pieces. Cool completely. You’ve made your own great-smelling lip balm!

Sweater cryogenics

If your favorite cashmere or angora sweater is looking a little worn, put it in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for half an hour. The cold causes the fibers to expand, making your sweater look new again! Who knew there was such a thing as sweater cryogenics?

JUST FOR FUN: Savvy Psychologist's How to Harness Light to Defeat Winter Blues

Your warmest boots

Make your winter boots a little warmer—and make sure they’re completely waterproof—by lining the bottom of the insides with duct tape. The tape will create a waterproof seal, and the shiny silver will reflect your body heat back onto your feet.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

How to Make a Carpet Stain Remover from Household Items

Using Salt

If you spill any liquid on your carpet, pour salt on the area as soon as possible and watch it absorb the liquid almost instantly. Wait until it dries, then vacuum it up. Salt tends to provide a special capillary attraction that will work for most liquids. There are a few stains that salt will actually help set, however—never sprinkle it on red wine, coffee, tea, or cola!

Vomit Stains

If you have kids, you’ve had to clean up vomit. Baking soda can make the job a little less gross if you sprinkle some on top as soon as possible. It will soak up some of the mess and make the smell easier to deal with when you have to go at it with the paper towels.

Ink Stains

Ink stains on the carpet? Make a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice, and dab at the stain. Let it sit for five minutes or so, then clean with a damp cloth.

Red Wine Stains

What’s the easiest way to remove red wine spills from your carpet? Try applying a bit of shaving cream (after checking that the carpet is colorfast), and letting it sit for a minute before wiping away. Shaving cream will also work on grease stains.

Coffee and Tea Stains

Coffee stains can be frustrating, but you can get them out of your carpet by pouring beer on them. That’s right—just dribble a couple of sips onto the stain, and it should vanish. Dab up the extra beer with a paper towel, and if the coffee stain doesn’t go away completely, repeat the task a few more times. This trick works on tea stains too. Alternatively, to remove coffee stains from carpet or clothing, rub a beaten egg yolk into the spot, leave for five minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Grease Stains

If you’ve got kids, you’re guaranteed to end up with a grease stain on your carpet. The big thing to remember is to not touch the stain at all—don’t sop it up, wipe it, or do anything else. Instead, pour a large amount of cornstarch on top of the spot and gently stir it with your finger. Let it sit for a day, and make sure no one walks on it. The next day, use your vacuum cleaner’s hose attachment (the plastic one, not the one with bristles) to suck away the cornstarch. The stain should be mostly gone, but if it’s not, repeat this action until it completely disappears. You can then use the brush attachment to clear away the last remnants of cornstarch.

Burns

Here’s how to eliminate cigarette burns in your carpet: First, cut away the burn mark. Then, cut a bit of carpet from an area that’s covered by a piece of furniture (such as under a couch), and glue it carefully over the burnt spot. Finally, yell at the person who caused the burn in the first place!

Pet Stains

If your pet accidentally peed on your rug, and it still smells like urine after you’ve cleaned it, try deodorizing the spot with club soda, which contains odor-fighting minerals. Pour some on the area, leave it for five minutes, then blot and allow to dry.

For more cleaning tips for around the house, check out our Cleaning Tips board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

How to Clean Jewelry Using Common Household Items

Baking soda

Easy DIY jewelry cleaner

Baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide is a great cleaner for lots of household objects, and it’s also a safe and effective cleaner when it comes to cleaning gold, silver, and costume jewelry. For best results, make a by adding drops of hydrogen peroxide to the baking soda, then rub gently on your jewelry. Rinse off and wipe dry. It gets rid of dirt, grime, and body oils, and leaves your gold and silver sparkling.

Quick and easy way to clean silver jewelry

If your silver jewelry is starting to look a little dull or needs polishing, stick it in a bowl with a few tablespoons of baking soda and a square of aluminum foil.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then wipe clean. The aluminum acts as a catalyst for ion exchange, a process that will make the tarnish transfer from your silver to the baking soda. This is the magic of science, folks!

Dishwashing detergent

Gem-polishing potions

Wondering how to keep your beautiful jewelry looking like the first day you wore it? Gentle dishwashing detergent and water plus a soft cloth can clean rubies, amethysts, citrines, emeralds, sapphires, and garnets. Diamonds can be washed similarly: Fill a small pot with a cup of water, plus a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent. Add your diamonds, bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and let the pot sit until it cools. Once it’s cool (but not before), carefully remove your jewelry and rinse.

Just make sure to wash each piece separately to avoid chipping.

See also: 12 Surprising Personal Uses for Baking Soda

Classic jewelry cleaning recipe

Here’s the recipe that we received from reader Madelyn Jessup, which her mother always used to wash her gold jewelry: Mix 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid with ½ teaspoon ammonia and 1 cup warm water. Dip the jewelry into the solution for 10 seconds, and use an old toothbrush to brush off any marks. Your gold will look sparkling new!

… And other household items

Another easy clean for gems

The easiest way to clean emeralds, diamonds, rubies, and sapphires may be with club soda. Place your jewelry in a glass of it overnight and they will shine like new in the morning.

Related: 6 Clever Hacks to Solve Jewelry Mishaps

Get sparkling pearls with vegetable oil

Because they’re so fragile, pearls shouldn’t get wet—and can’t be cleaned with normal jewelry cleaners. Instead, use vegetable oil. Dab some oil on a soft cloth, then gently rub on each pearl. Let the vegetable oil dry overnight, then buff with a soft cloth to remove dust and oils that can make pearls look dull over time. The best way to care for a pearl (or coral) necklace is to wear it regularly—oils from your skin add a gentle luster.

Quick clean for costume jewelry

Clean costume or inexpensive jewelry by dropping two Alka Seltzer tablets into a glass of water. Immerse jewelry for about five minutes and pat dry with a clean towel.

These stones should never get wet: Since turquoise, opals, amber, and marcasite are porous stones, never immerse them in water. Instead, polish them with a soft, dry chamois (clean claws with a soft bristle brush). Wipe with sweet almond oil to remove any grease marks, if desired.

Just for fun: How to Insure Jewelry and Expensive Gifts

For more cleaning tips from all around the internet, check out our Cleaning Tips board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

6 Items You Should Never Put in the Garbage Disposal

A few episodes back, I talked about 8 items you should never put in a dishwasher. The other day I got to thinking about our garbage disposal and mistakes we’ve made with it over the years. There are definitely items that should never be put in a garbage disposal. I haven’t heard many people talk about this, which means they are likely learning these lessons the hard way. Putting these items in a garbage disposal can cause dull blades, clogged drains, or even completely breaking the disposal for good.

Help keep your garbage disposal running well by never putting any of the following items down a garbage disposal.

See Also: 10 Tips That Will Change How You Clean Your Kitchen

1.) Non-food items

First and foremost, no non-food items should ever be put in a garbage disposal. It may be obvious that metal items like silverware should not go in the garbage disposal. If it’s not obvious, as soon as you have a spoon end up in the running blades, you’ll know that it’s not right. The garbage disposal is not a trash, and even things like plastic and paper can damage the blades. Any items that are not food should always go straight in to the trash.

2.) Grease and oils

The second item that shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal is grease. Animal fats, oils, and grease can coat the blades and cause them to become less effective. Grease can also accumulate in both the garbage disposal and the sink drains, which can lead to some nasty clogs. If you haven’t picked up on this one yet, putting grease and fats down the garbage disposal will eventually lead to a call to your friendly neighborhood plumber.

3.) Starchy foods

The next item on the list is one that I learned the hard way. We love to host Thanksgiving dinner, and one year I decided to toss my potato peels in to the garbage disposal. While it seemed that things were OK for a while, when we turned on the dishwasher to run before all our company arrived, we realized that the starchy peels had formed a thick paste and clogged the garbage disposal. Since the dishwasher drains through the same pipes, we ended up flooding our kitchen right as the first guests were arriving. It was an absolute disaster, and thankfully our friends were there to help catch the dirty water and my husband was handy enough to open the pipes and remove the clog.

Don’t make my mistake and never, ever put starchy items like potatoes, rice, and pasta down the garbage disposal. While they may seem soft enough to get chopped and washed away, it’s more likely that they will expand and bind together in the pipes. The thick paste the starchy items forms will cause a headache that is not worth the convenience of rinsing the items down the drain.

4.) Fruit pits

If you’ve ever put the next item on the list down your garbage disposal, it’s likely you immediately realized your mistake. Fruit pits, like the ones in peaches, apricots, and mangos, are too hard to be chopped up by the garbage disposal blades. If one should accidently fall into a running garbage disposal, you’ll hear a very loud knocking noise as the pit gets thrown around the disposal. Turn off the disposal immediately and unplug it or shut off the circuit to the disposal before attempting to fish out the pit. Using a flashlight, figure out where the pit is and use tongs to grab that pit out of the garbage disposal before turning it back on.

If you ever decide to reach in to the garbage disposal, make sure the switch is off and you have protective gloves on your hands, as even the non-spinning blades can cut your fingers.

5.) Fibrous and stringy foods

The next item on the list can be a real pain if you put it through your garbage disposal. Foods that have strings and fibers, like corn husks and celery, may seem like they are able to go through the disposal, but the fibers can wrap themselves around the blades—and getting them off can be next to impossible. Think of the last time you had a balloon string get wrapped around a ceiling or floor fan. Do you remember how hard it was to get the string unwound and removed from the fan? The same thing can happen if you put stringy or fibrous foods down the disposal. The only difference is that you’ll likely need to call a plumber to help you detangle the items from this motor and blades.

6.) Bones

The final item on the list of items to never put down the garbage disposal is bones. It is probably obvious that thick bones like ones from steak shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal, but even smaller and softer bones should only be put in the trash. While bones may eventually get ground in the garbage disposal, they will likely dull the blades in the process. Play it safe and keep all bones out of your garbage disposal.

Maintaining your garbage disposal

Even if you are only putting appropriate items in your garbage disposal, it will still need a little maintenance to keep it running well.

First, when you are running items through your garbage disposal, make sure you are only putting small amounts of food in at a time. Also, make sure you have water running to wash the food particles down the drain.

Next, you’ll need to do a little work to keep your garbage disposal blades sharp. You won’t be able to remove the blade mechanism to sharpen the blades, but luckily there’s a very easy way to do this. Simply take a handful or cupful of ice cubes and toss them down a running disposal. The ice will not only sharpen the blades, but they will also knock free any food gunk that may have accumulated in your garbage disposal.

If your garbage disposal starts to have a funky smell coming from it, you can pour a little white vinegar down the disposal while running it. Or, if you have fresh citrus in your kitchen, specifically lemons or limes, you can toss a chunk of citrus down the disposal while it’s running. Any of these options will help deodorize a stinky garbage disposal.

See Also: How to Clean with Baking Soda

If you want to sharpen and freshen your garbage disposal at the same time, use an ice cube tray to freeze white vinegar in to cubes that you can toss in the disposal. If you prefer the fruity smell over the scent of vinegar, you can instead cut up small chunks of citrus rinds and freeze them in tap water to create fruity ice cubes to toss in the disposal.

A garbage disposal can be a handy part of your kitchen, but only if you treat it right. Make sure you are maintaining your garbage disposal and not putting any items in it that can damage the mechanisms. Remember that garbage disposals are very sharp, so always use pliers, tongs, or long tweezers if you need to grab something that has fallen in to your garbage disposal. And if you do run in to trouble, call your trusted plumber or handy man to help you fix the problems to keep both your hands and your plumbing safe.

I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

6 Second Uses for Hand Sanitizer

Get Rid of Marker Stains

Whether they’re on your clothes or your counter, hand sanitizer can help you get rid of marker stains (even ones from permanent marker!) Squirt it around the edges of the stains and then work your way in, then let sit for five minutes (fabrics) to 10 minutes (hard surfaces like countertops) before cleaning. Just make sure you test the material for color-fastness, as hand sanitizer can discolor it.

Remove Scuff Marks

Have scuff marks on your shoes? It turns out hand sanitizer is one of the many things that can remove dark marks on light shoes.

Clean Household Items

Because of its alcohol content, hand sanitizer is great for cleaning household items. Try it on sinks, faucets, countertops, and other surfaces. It wipes away dirt, but evaporates quickly, so it’s even safe to use for cleaning computer keyboards.

Remove Sticky Labels

Need to remove those pesky price tag stickers on a present? Easy! Try hand sanitizer: The alcohol in the sanitizer works to de-stick the adhesive in the sticker glue. Just rub a bit into the spot and let it sit for a couple minutes, then use a coin to scrape it off. It will even work on bumper stickers!

Help Ingrown Hairs and Nails

Your on-the-go hand sanitizer can serve double-duty on ingrown hairs from shaving, as well as ingrown toenails. Rub the sanitizer on the skin in the affected area to disinfect it and eliminate the bacteria that causes the inflammation.

Use as a Deodorant Substitute

Uh-oh, you just realized you’re out of deodorant, but you don’t have time to run to the store for more. Use some hand sanitizer instead! Hand sanitizer is a great replacement for deodorant because it kills odor-causing bacteria and other germs.

For more cleaning tips around the house, check out our Cleaning Tips board on Pinterest. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

A Simple Guide to Planning Your Cross-Country Move

For the most manageable, stress-free, and affordable interstate move, use the following guide to navigate the process.

Find a moving company

As soon as you’ve made the decision to move, it’s time to start asking for price quotes from cross country movers. Don’t put it off! The farther in advance that you book your moving dates, the more money you can potentially save on your move. Additionally, make sure you conduct thorough research and choose a moving company with a great reputation for quality service and communication.

If you’re overwhelmed with quotes from multiple companies vying for your business, or you’re worried about falling victim to a moving scam, then you have the option of using a brokering service like Moving APT, which has already verified the best in the business.

Declutter and purge

Even if you don’t plan to downsize when you move across the country, it’s generally in your best interest to move only what you absolutely need. The more weight you load into a moving truck, the more you will have to pay your movers. Do a detailed walkthrough of your home and identify items or furniture you can sell, donate or take to the dump in order to scale down your household goods.

Decluttering can be overwhelming, but a good rule of thumb is to throw out anything you haven’t worn or used in the last year. You can use your savings from your cross-country move to upgrade and replace anything you need.

Get organized

If you opt for a full-service move, your packers will label each box with the name of the room they’re packing so they’ll know where to put the boxes on the other end of the move. It can be tempting to move items from room to room during the organizing process, but unless you’re willing to go searching for your bathroom towels all over your new home, you’ll likely benefit from leaving everything in its place.

Ahead of your pack-out date, use a moving checklist to keep up with your preparation to-dos. This way, you’ll be able to answer any questions the movers have about your household goods, and you’ll be prepared for a smooth and simple process.

As your pack out progresses, you and the movers will create a written inventory of your items. Once you reach your destination, you’ll use this list to verify you’ve received everything they moved from your home. If any items are missing or damaged, you may be able to file an insurance claim for reimbursement.

Decide when to schedule your move

If your relocation is time-sensitive, then you may not have as much flexibility in your moving schedule. Moving companies are busiest in the summer because families often wait until kids are out of school before making huge transitions. Therefore, prices are higher in peak seasons due to demand. However, if you’re able to take your time and plan out each detail of your move, then you may be able to save money by booking movers during the non-peak season from late fall to early spring.

You’ll also want to have a contingency plan in case of severe weather or other situations that can negatively impact your move. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for packing, loading and traveling.

Be strategic with your supply budget

The cost of boxes, packing paper, moving blankets and tape add up quickly, making even a DIY more costly than you originally planned. Therefore, it’s important to look for deals where you can find them. Check Facebook Marketplace for free or cheap recycled boxes, and start saving your Amazon shipping boxes. Use towels, clothes, and linens to wrap, pad and protect breakables instead of buying bubble wrap. Additionally, if you foresee several major moves in your future, you can invest in large totes and storage containers, and avoid buying cardboard boxes altogether.

A cross-country move doesn’t have to break your spirit or your bank. By following these steps and giving yourself the time and space to plan, your interstate relocation will seem like the best decision you ever made.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

5 Exterior Home Remodeling Trends for 2021

Regular home remodeling projects are necessary to ensure the functionality of your home and keep it up-to-date with the contemporary market, both factors that are critical in solidifying its resale value. To this effect, while interior projects such as kitchen expansions and master bathroom makeovers are exciting, it is the exterior projects that will create the stunning first impression.

While interior projects such as kitchen expansions and master bathroom makeovers are exciting, it is the exterior projects that will create the stunning first impression.

From enhancing curb appeal to insulating the home from the forces of nature, the following 5 exterior home remodeling trends are set to grow throughout the remainder of 2021, making for great places to start if you are searching for a place to invest your renovation budget.

1. Contrasting colors

Homeowners are moving away from the notion of one solid color being the classiest option for home exteriors. In 2021, homeowners are getting a bit more creative in their quest to create stunning curb appeal, using innovative siding materials and robust color contrasts to create a home that truly stands out. These contrasts can be achieved in a number of ways, such as dark navy with off-white accents or a creamy white with black elevations for an exceptionally bold appearance.

In order to make a contrasting color scheme work, it is essential to use high-quality siding that will maintain its color and shape in the face of the various forces of nature.

Products such as wood planks look nice when new, but need assiduous maintenance to prevent cracking and peeling from UV-exposure, while vinyl siding is known to loosen or detach when exposed to heavy wind gusts.

This makes metal lap siding a strong choice, as it is extremely durable and will maintain its color throughout the life of the house with little maintenance, keeping the contrasts in your exterior just as pronounced as the day you made the renovation.

2. Pergola additions

The COVID-19 pandemic created the need for more functional space in homes. With nowhere to go, people quickly realized the need for diversity in their property to keep from going stir crazy. This has led to the continued rise of functional exterior living areas in 2021.

To ensure the livability of exterior spaces, a popular trend is to add an architectural pergola to decks, patios, and outdoor kitchens. This is especially relevant as summer quickly approaches and the need for shade intensifies. In addition to the functional protective aspect of pergolas, they can also help improve curb appeal when carefully selected to match your siding choice.

3. Extra windows

Bright, well-lit interiors have been a trend for a number of years and are set to remain en vogue throughout 2021. As homeowners continue to make environmental friendliness a top priority, those homes that are able to passively use the sun to light and heat their spaces are all of the rage. This puts windows on center stage for passively designed homes, as they are the essential element for letting the sun go to work.

If you are concerned that a window-heavy exterior will have a negative impact on your curb appeal, it may be worthwhile to consider composite wood shutter options. These innovative shutters allow you to maintain the bright and airy benefits of extra windows while also providing the touch of contrast that is popular in exterior color schemes for 2021.

4. Front porches

Building on the idea of functional exterior living spaces, the backyard and deck are no longer the only places to turn if you want to step outside and enjoy a change of scenery. Homeowners are increasingly adding larger front porches as one of their exterior renovation projects in 2021, creating the opportunity for more diverse furniture choices and accessories to spend increased time on the street side of the home. Another trend that took root as a result of social isolation from the pandemic, the bustle outside the front porch creates a favorable alternative to the classic tranquility of backyard privacy.

Another trend that took root as a result of social isolation from the pandemic, the bustle outside the front porch creates a favorable alternative to the classic tranquility of backyard privacy.

5. Innovative garages

The garage has come a long way over the years. No longer just a storage unit with bikes hanging from the walls and rake handles poking out of every crevice, the garage must have the potential to serve as space for the home offices and workout areas that have proliferated across the country. As noted by Houston Home Remodeling Pros, modern garages need to be welcoming, luxurious spaces that enhance a home’s comfort. 

In order to make this a reality, the garage doors replacements must look the part and mesh with the home’s exterior decor. Functional windows, decorative hardware, and contrasting colors to match the rest of the house are great ways to make sure the comfort of your garage is evoked from an outside perspective.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

How to Get a Shower Curtain to Stop Sticking—Plus More Shower Curtain Hacks

How to keep a shower curtain from sticking

If you’ve ever had a shower curtain liner that kept sticking to you while you were trying to shower, you know it’s less funny, more annoying. Get rid of this problem forever with a spray bottle! Pour a tablespoon of liquid fabric softener into the empty bottle and fill the rest with water. Spray on the liner just before you shower and it will always stay in its proper place.

Stop mildew before it starts

Avoid leaving a shower curtain bunched up after use, especially in a small bathroom—the steam encourages mildew. Always pulled it closed after bathing, and if small spots of mildew do appear, dab with baking soda on a damp cloth. Wash larger areas in hot detergent, rub with lemon juice, and dry in the sun, if possible.

5 Shortcuts to Make Cleaning Your Bathroom Easy

Keep mildew off the bottom of your shower curtain

If you have a pair of pinking shears (scissors with a zigzagging edge used in sewing), put them to good use in the bathroom. Use them to cut the bottom of your shower curtain liner: The uneven hem allows water to more easily slide off, making bottom-of-the-curtain mildew a thing of the past.

How to get mildew off a shower curtain

Need to remove mildew from a plastic shower curtain? Try running it through the washing machine (on cold) with two large, white bath towels. Add a little bleach in with your usual detergent, and use 1 cup white vinegar in the rinse cycle to prevent future mildew growth. Or, rub a wedge of lemon on the stains and leave the curtain out in the sun. By the time it dries, the stains will be gone.

Make a shower curtain liner last forever

Keep soap scum and mildew off your shower curtain on the regular with the help of hydrogen peroxide. Stick the curtain and a bath towel into your washing machine, pour in regular detergent, and start the wash. Add 1 cup peroxide during the rinse cycle. Do this once a month and you’ll pretty much never have to buy another shower curtain liner again.

It’s also said that soaking a shower curtain liner in saltwater before you use in can help repel mildew.

Keep shower curtain rings from squeaking

Do the rings on your shower curtain squeak as they run along the rod? The solution is simple: Just rub some petroleum jelly or car wax along the rod and they’ll slide right along it without making a noise.

18 Quick and Easy Shower Cleaning Hacks

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

8 Tips for a No-Drip Paint Job

Keep your doorways and wall corners safe from drips!

Painted Fence, Un-Painted Grass

If you’ve ever painted a fence, you know that the task can be onerous, and you can end up dripping paint all over your lawn. Protect the grass by placing an old dustpan under the section you’re working on. It will catch spills and help prevent you from picking up pieces of dirt and grass on your paintbrush. If you don’t want paint splatters on your dust pan, cover it with newspaper first.

Drip-Free Doors

Painting doors? Avoid getting paint on the hinges by coating them lightly with petroleum jelly before you start. It’s easier to protect the rounded corners than when using painter's tape, and it wipes right off!

Hammer and Nail Drips Away

Maybe we’re just messy painters, but when we paint a room, we find that the interior rim around the paint can is never big enough to catch the paint that has slopped over the edge—eventually it fills up and runs down the side of the can. To solve this problem, we make several holes in the bottom of the rim with a small nail and hammer. Now the paint drips back into the can rather than running down the side.

Paintbrush Pointer

For your next paint job, prevent drips and messes with this great trick: Stick a magnet against the inside of a clean metal can. When you’re not using the paintbrush, attach it to the magnet (with bristles facedown) until you’re ready to use it again. Paint will drip into the bucket, not on your floor!

Rubber Band Trick

To keep your paint can and your workspace as clean as possible, wrap a rubber band around the height of the open can. The band should sit over the opening, so you can dab the paint-filled brush on the rubber to wipe away excess paint.

Milk Jug Paintbrush Holder

Finally tackling that room that needs to be repainted? Create your own drip-free paintbrush holder with a plastic milk jug. Cut a hole in the side large enough to fit your paintbrush, and you’re ready to go! The handle will allow you to easily carry it around the room and up and down ladders without making a mess.

Styrofoam Plate Drip Catcher

When painting a room directly from the can, it’s nearly impossible to keep paint from dripping down the side. So instead of stopping the drips, catch them! To easiest way? Affix a paper or Styrofoam plate to the bottom of the can with some glue or duct tape. That way, it go with the can wherever you move it, and you can just tear them off when you’re done painting.

Tennis Ball Drip Cup

To catch drips while you paint, try this makeshift drip cup: Cut a tennis ball in half and slice a thin slot in the bottom bowl of one half. Then slide your brush handle through the slot so the bristles stick out of the open side. A small paper plate or cup works, too.

Aluminum Foil Fix

Before you begin that big painting project, cover doorknobs, drawer pulls, and any other small object you’re worried about catching spills with aluminum foil. The foil easily molds to any shape and comes off when you’re done.

 

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Source: quickanddirtytips.com

8 Tips for Improving HVAC Efficiency

Heating and cooling is easily the most energy intensive system in your home. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association, heating and cooling is to blame for almost half of all the energy expenditure in the average American household, beating even the growing energy consumption of appliances and electronics. Thus, by properly maintaining your HVAC system, you can improve its efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs dramatically. If you want to reap the savings of an efficient HVAC, here’s how.

8 Tips for Improving HVAC Efficiency

  1. Close Up Your Home
  2. Consider a Home Warranty
  3. Calibrate Your Thermostat
  4. Check Your Economizer
  5. Control Your VFD
  6. Cut out Your BAS
  7. Clean Your Coils
  8. Connect Timers

Here they are in more detail.

1. Close Up Your Home

If you have cold or hot air pouring into your home from outside, your HVAC unit needs to work harder than it should to keep your home the right temperature. Therefore, one of the most basic ways to improve HVAC efficiency is to seal and insulate your home. First, you should keep doors and windows closed whenever your HVAC is running; then, you should check that the insulation in your walls and attic (if you have one) is still doing its job. By doing this, you can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent.

2. Consider a Home Warranty

If you’ve ever wondered how to compare home warranty vs. home insurance, now is your chance to learn. Home warranties guarantee the systems of your home, like your HVAC, against the ravages of time. If your HVAC breaks down for any reason, you can contact your home warranty provider, who will send an HVAC specialist to diagnose and fix the problem for a low, flat fee around $70. Though a home warranty won’t keep your HVAC in tip-top shape, it will secure you against total HVAC failure.

3. Calibrate Your Thermostat

You shouldn’t just trust that your thermostat knows what temperature it is in your home. It is easy for thermostats to be anywhere from a percent of a degree to five whole degrees off from the true temperature, and that seemingly small difference will cost you over time. To be certain your thermostat is reading true, you need to purchase a trustworthy thermometer and keep it on the wall a few inches from your thermostat. Then, using that tool, you can calibrate your thermostat appropriately.

4. Check Your Economizer

Economizers are machines attached to your HVAC to ensure high efficiency, but they don’t always work as expected. Often, economizers slip their links or contain faulty controls—or else someone in the past tinkered with them improperly. You should pay a visit to your HVAC economizer and give it a once-over; look specifically for open dampers (which should be kept closed) and any signs of quick fixes, like string or unfinished wood, that could indicate issues.

5. Control Your VFD

A variable frequency drive (VFD) controls the speed of the motor in your HVAC unit, providing energy savings proportional to the rotations per minute. However, like economizers, VFDs can malfunction and/or can be interfered with, causing efficiency-related problems. You should peer into your VFD and ensure that it isn’t running on bypass mode, so you can reap appropriate energy savings.

6. Cut out Your BAS

A building automation system (BAS) provides centralized control of HVAC as well as lighting and other systems. Such systems usually only exist in larger structures with more complex energy and control needs, but if your home is in an apartment or condo building, you might be subject to a BAS. You should either try to remove a BAS that is impeding the proper use of your HVAC or else contact your building manager to express concern over the BAS functionality.

7. Clean Your Coils

On the same day you clean your refrigerator coils, you should also clean your HVAC coils. Because HVAC units are typically placed in out-of-the-way areas that are rarely cleaned – like your roof, your basement, your attic or a corner of your yard – it doesn’t take long for them to accumulate dirt and grime. Debris on your HVAC coils forces the machine to work harder to produce the same effects, and it can reduce indoor air quality. Thus, you should schedule a coil cleaning at least once per year.

8. Connect Timers

There is no sense in heating or cooling an empty home. When you are away – at work or on vacation – you should consider setting a more lenient temperature on your thermostat, so it doesn’t need to work so hard for no benefit. You can also connect timer switches to your most energy-hungry devices, like gaming consoles, desktop computers and appliances, for a similar effect.

Over time, your HVAC will become less efficient—unless you do something about it. By participating in preventative maintenance, you can reduce your home energy costs and avoid the high expense of repairing or replacing your equipment. 

Source: quickanddirtytips.com