Home upkeep can be challenging. From basic maintenance to quick repairs, these hacks and tricks make tackling prickly household issues easier.
Unexpected items — like makeup sponges or tennis balls — can be helpful allies in quick home maintenance tasks.
Image: Libby Walker for HouseLogic
1. Tuck Chalk in Your Toolbox to Stop Rust
Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic
You can keep the metal tools and hardware in your toolbox rust-free with blackboard chalk. How so? Chalk is a moisture sucking material that traps dampness. When you place several pieces throughout your toolbox, its porous nature will protect items prone to rusting.
Bonus tip: Got a musty closet? Fill up a small muslin or cheesecloth bag with chalk and then hang it inside. It will absorb the dampness and stinky odor.
2. Spray Your Mower’s Blades to Keep Clippings From Sticking
If you have a lawn, mowing is one of those must-do drudgeries. Fortunately, cooking spray can make the chore problem-free. When applied to a mower’s undercarriage and blades, it can help prevent grass clippings from sticking.
Bonus tip: You can prevent ice from building up in your freezer with cooking spray. Just spray a thick layer over spots prone to icing, and let it sit for five minutes. Afterwards, use a towel to wipe up the oil.
3. Toss in a Tennis Ball to Clean Your Pool Water
Image: Sophie Heppell
Suntan lotions, moisturizers, and body oils will leave a greasy slick on pool water. To clean, toss in a fresh tennis ball. Its fuzzy surface will soak up the oils your guests left behind.
Bonus tip: A tennis ball will buff scuff marks off floors. To avoid stooping while cleaning, cut an X into the ball and place on the end of a mop or broom handle.
4. Use Painter’s Tape for a Perfect Caulk Job
Image: Stephanie Strickland
To many DIYers (myself included), applying caulk in clean, straight lines seems like an impossible task. But it’s actually very easy if you use painter’s tape. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the area you’re caulking first. When it’s dry, apply medium adhesion painter’s tape, such as Frog Tape, above and below the area you’ll be caulking and then caulk. Be sure to peel off the tape while the caulk is still wet.
5. Grab a Makeup Sponge to Repair Drywall Holes
Image: Libby Walker for HouseLogic
Typically mesh or paper tape is used to fill small holes in drywall. But a cosmetic sponge will get the job done, too. Just stuff it into the hole (you may need to cut it down to size) and spackle.
Bonus tip: A little baking soda added to a dollop of strong, fast-acting glue, such as Krazy Glue, will fix a small wall crack. When the mixture is dry, it forms a hard plastic that can easily be sanded down to a smooth surface.
6. Use Your Drill to Clean a Grimy Tub
Image: Home Repair Tutor
It takes a lot of elbow grease to deep clean a dirty bathtub — unless you use a cordless drill with a foam ball polishing attachment (found in the automotive section of most big box stores). Attachments like these were designed to be tough on grime without scratching surfaces.
Bonus tip: Another automotive store item that saves cleaning time is rain repellent windshield sealant. Apply it to clean glass shower doors to reduce soap scum buildup.
7. Apply Nail Polish to Fill a Hole in Your Window
Found a tiny hole in your glass window? Repair it with clear nail polish. Apply a coat then wait for it dry. Repeat those steps until the layers of clear nail polish are flush with the glass surface.
Bonus tip: Clear nail polish can also fix torn window screens. You’ll need to apply multiple layers until you create a substantial barrier.
Source: Houselogic / Deirdre Sullivan