The Handy Household Tips/Home Improvement Thread!

I’m no Tim Allen (or Al Borland, for that matter), but I thought it would be fun to start a thread with Handy Household Tips and/or Home Improvement tips.

Here’s mine -
Mowing Wet Grass:
If you have to mow wet grass, here’s a handy tip. Turn your mower on it’s side, and if the underside of the deck is fairly clean, spray it VERY liberally with WD-40. This will prevent the wet grass from sticking quite so soon and you having to clean the clumps out. (If it’s not fairly clean, then clean it thoroughly first with a wire brush.)

Also, if you do this pretty much every time you mow, even with dry grass, it will help to prevent “rough spots” on the underside of the mower deck, which promote clumping!

  • Dirk

I should have also added:
This is a place for OTHER DOPERS to drop by and lay some of their “Mundane Household Tips” on us!

I’ve got a couple:

Plain old Forumla 409 is a great ant killer. It seems to nuke the scent trails, and kills them on contact, but it isn’t toxic to people or pets (although I wouldn’t drink the stuff) so you don’t have to worry about keeping the room aired out after you spray.

WD-40 gets out grease stains from just about any fabric. The key is to spray the WD-40 over the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then while it’s still wet use your regular stain remover and let that sit for a few minutes, but don’t let it dry either. Then run it through the wash.

We were having a terrible time organizing the spice cupboard. Small cans, tall round bottles, square bottles; LARGE plastic bottles with bulk spices like Oregano. Alphabetizing didn’t work at all, except to create a topic for family jokes.

Finally we cut a “half shelf” to put about 9" above the bottom of the cabinet – it’s a little less than half the width. It’s where the short bottles of McCormick spices; the salmon rub; and the food coloring bottles could go.

Having freed up space on the bottom shelf, we now organized by shapes of bottles. You tend to remember the shape or cap color of what you’re seeking.

It still left odds-and-ends but now there was enough space on the right hand side of the cupboard to put the odds and ends.

With more space everything is eminently findable.

Use a Pringles can to put those plastic grocery bags in. It works better than throwing them under the kitchen sink in an unorganized mess.

For someone named slackergirl that sure sounds like a lot of work! :wink:

A great way to clean up computer wiring (or TV/Stereo for that matter) is to use twist ties and some “convoluted tubing”, make sure you get the kind with a split down the middle… makes it MUCH easier to vacuum and clean around and under desks etc.

You’ll note that I said it works, not that I do it regularly. :slight_smile:

I have a giant pile of t-shirts waiting to be treated. They’ll wait until I truly have nothing left to wear that isn’t stained.

Use an egg slicer to slice mushrooms.

I sure hope Handy shows up pretty soon.

Get yourself a roll of unprinted newspaper! We use it for washing windows – it’s better than regular newspaper which leaves ink on your hands and everything else.
Go to your local newspaper company, Gazette, Times, Press, whatever. Ask for the END ROLLS - it’s the bit that’s left on the roll after they’ve printed the newspaper. Over here we can get either 3ft or 5ft rolls with up to (or exceeding) 50 feet of paper on a roll. They’re usually more than happy to give it to you for free – although at some places I have paid as much as $5.00 for a roll. Call them first to find the best pick-up times. They don’t last long before they’re taken out to the dumpster.
Anyway, there are so many uses for this stuff…on moving day to wrap your dishes, for gift wrap (have the kids decorate), for coloring paper (it’s especially fun the trace/outline the kids and then they color in the life-size picture), for tablecloth when doing crafts, etc…

For better paint retention, don’t ever thin out your primer.
Trust me.

The Bob Vila of the US Air Force

Use shop towels instead of regular paper towels for cleaning around the house. They are much stronger and easier to use and you’ll go through far less of them. They work great! (You can get them at automotive stores or Wal-Mart- less then $2 a roll)

I use a swiveling mop to scrub my bathtub because I hate kneeling and bending over my tub to scrub it. Now, I scrub the tub at least every 2-3 days instead of every 2-3 months.

Yay! This is what I had in mind! Keep 'em coming, folks!

Spray hairspray on fabric to remove ink stains.

Toss items you want to hand wash into the shower stall. Then, next time you take a shower, get in, turn on water, and lather up as usual. Between walking on the clothing, and the suds from your body, it should be enough to get everything clean. Pick the items up, rinse them off, and hang them up to dry, then resume your normal shower routine. (Conditioner, shaving, etc.) Obviously, this only works when you’re doing a normal shower, not a shower where you’re trying to clean up after rolling in the mud, for instance.

One of those cleaning thingys made for ceiling fans also works well for getting cobwebs off of ceilings, etc. And, it can double as a cat toy.

Velveeta cheese boxes (the heavy cardboard part) make good silverware holders, and are more flexible than the traditional plastic trays. Need more room for forks? No problem! If you don’t like how the boxes look, just cover them with wrapping or contact paper.

There’s also a handy-dandy frob (kinda like this but small, like this) that you screw onto the inside of a cabinet door, and it holds the standard plastic garbage baggies open and ready for use as a garbage can. (Or you can mount it where ever you want.) Stays out of the way, handy to get to, and holds the bags perfectly.

<< It works better if you plug it in. >>

Damn Ruby! That’s the one I was going to mention.

Well, I haven’t done this in a while, since I mainly wear jeans or slacks at work nowadays, but after washing and hang drying panty hose, throw them in the freezer. In a baggie, of course.

Keeps them from running as easily. I actually saved a bunch of money doing this back when I wore dresses and skirts every day. They still would run eventually, but they were a lot more resistant.

Also, pouring butter milk down a toilet once a month will keep a septic tank cleaned out, and keep the field lines open. I laughed at this one at first, (thinking they were kidding) but every plumbing guy that’s been out to the house has suggested it, and it definitely helps.

I need to amend mine about the butter milk. The butter milk has to be rancid to get the full effect.

Ah…toilets and spoiled butter milk. I am starving to death now!

Spot Shot[sup]TM[/sup] is the only thing to use on carpet stains. The stain can be fresh, or it can have been around for years, and Spot Shot will lift it out. Amazing stuff.

I’ve got a question, and this thread seems like the best place to ask it. If you’re painting a room, do any of the funky new paint-applying gizmos I see in the stores work better than rollers? If so, which ones have you had success with?

This works because of the alcohol content. ( I worked in a print shop in high school and this is all I really remember about it.)

Does the vapors of painting make you gag? Next time you crack open a can of paint, mix in a couple of drops of *vanilla * not the doper :smiley: to neutralize the smell. We learned this from a professonal house painter.

**Gross **
Have a stain on the carpet that regular store bought cleaners haven’t budged ( and you never heard of the WD-40 treatment?) next time you are sick ( or your kids are) take the vomit and smooth over the stain, put a wet wash cloth on it and leave over night. In the morning clean as usual. The stain will be faded ( probably not completely gone, our’s was a coke stain.) but not nearly as irritating.

The acid in the vomit bleaches fabric ( come, see my son’s bed room carpet to see the splay pattern.)

Learned this as our son as an easy gag reflex and I have caught puke in my hands countless times.