Tips and Guides

20 Easy Household Solutions

Scratches, creaks, and cracks? Learn how you can solve these minor maintenance problems on your own

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Do you call the handyman ASAP when you see cracks and scratches at home? Here are 20 easy household solutions that you can do to address minor problems in your space. 

Styling by Arlene Sanchez Maslog. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("20 Quick Home Fixes") in the March 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. To download a digital copy of Real Living Magazine, visit Summit Newsstand at https://summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living.

Trouble with creaks.

Fix creaky wood flooring by pouring a generous amount of baby powder over the affected spot then sweeping with a broom or brush. Do this until the powder is no longer visible and has gotten into the cracks between floorboards.

No more paint spills.

Deal with paint spills as soon as possible as it’s easier to address spills while wet. Use a dry paintbrush (not a rag) and pick up as much paint with sand, scoop, and throw away, then wash the area with warm soapy water.

Get rid of the smell of smoke.

You can remove cigarette smoke odors from upholstered sofas or chairs by letting the loose cushion sit under the sun for several hours. Vacuum with a brush attachment afterwards to loosen tobacco smell stuck in foam fibers.

Goodbye scratches.

Clean the glass thoroughly and dry it with a lint-free cloth. Fill in scratches with toothpaste using your fingertips. When it dries, buff the area with cloth.

Deal with those cracks.

Troubled by a hairline crack on your tiles? Apply mixed epoxy adhesive on it using a fine paintbrush. Once dry, wipe off the excess with a rag. To completely hide it, you may paint over sealed cracks afterwards.

Clean that scum.

De-scum your shower door by rubbing it with a cloth soaked in Old English Lemon Oil (available in True Value). Use a soft brush and brush off scum. Wipe dry and with another cloth, coat the door again with the oil to prevent future buildup.

Creative stopper.

Weary about the gap between your door and the floor? You can block light and drafts by using an old adult knee-high ladies’ stocking. Make a dual purpose draft and light stopper by filling the stocking with rice or mung beans then tie the open end with a string.

Same old, brand new kitchen cabinets.

Make your kitchen cabinets look new again by wiping it with mild, soapy water. Go over it with a damp rag then dry it with a soft cloth.

Go organic.

Troubled by pests? For a non-toxic rat repellant, soak cotton balls with 100% peppermint oil (available at aromatherapy and scent stores) and place them in rat prone areas like pipe and drain entrances.

Fix that hinge.

To fix a loose door hinge, remove the screw hinges. Make new pegs made of wood and place them in the old holes into which the screw of the hinge bear into. With a drill, create new holes to attach the screws of the hinge to.

Close that door.

Use Velcro for doors that refuse to remain closed. Simply attach the Velcro with heavy-duty double-sided tape on cabinet doors and the jamb to keep them shut.

Keep the doorknob and other hardware free from paint.

When repainting a door, make sure you don’t pain the doorknob too by using an aluminum foil to cover it. This is easier to use than masking tape and newspaper.

Mind the cords.

Keep your extension cords in sight, untangled, and dust- or pest-free by placing them in reusable takeout containers.

Peel Problems

To fix peeling wallpaper, pull the seam of the loose end until you feel some resistance. With a four-inch paintbrush, apply wallpaper adhesive onto the back of the wallpaper. Press into place with your palm. Wipe the area with a damp sponge, seal further with a wallpaper roller.

Fix that bulb.

Faced with a stubborn bulb? Make sure that the receptacle is unplugged. Begin by making a loop with a foot-long piece of duct tape by attaching its two ends together. Ring the duct tape around the bulb and attach the bulb to one side. Turn the bulb counterclockwise with the help of the tape to remove the bulb.

Keep it shiny.

Wipe clean brass or copper fixtures thoroughly, then wash with warm, soapy water and dry. Use a commercial cleaner and wipe the fixture, and buff. You may also use a combination of toothpaste and Worcestershire sauce to clean such pieces.

Don't let it fade.

To revive faded varnish of old furniture, start by cleaning with a microfiber cloth. Spray Pledge Orange Oil on a cleaning cloth and rub this onto the wooden furniture.

Keep the carpet clean.

Flood the area with a generous amount of room-temperature water. Allow the water to penetrate the stain for about 15 minutes. Gently push the water back and forth with your fingers until the stain is dispersed. Repeat if necessary, then vacuum.

De-clog the drain.

Did you know that you can use Alka-Seltzer to de-clog your drain? Alka-Seltzer is an antacid and helps relieve heartburn. Drop three tablets down the drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let the combination fizz and stand for 15 minutes. Pour a pan of boiling water into the drain to further loosen the gunk.

Be careful with the chandelier.

Dust the arms of a chandelier with a feather duster first. Mix one part isopropyl alcohol with three parts water. Using two cotton gloves, soak one with the alcohol solution and keep the other dry. Wear the gloves, then carefully wipe the crystals with the glove with alcohol solution and dry immediately with the other.

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