Owning a home brings a big set of challenges that can range from wallet-busting emergencies to small annoyances that add up over time. While most homeowners will take the small annoyances over the big repairs that cost thousands of dollars, those small problems can do a number on your patience and your sanity.
Fortunately, most small issues around your house are likely fixable with minimal tools and just a few hours of your time. So the next time you run into a problem that just won’t go away, don’t get flustered—instead, use Blindster’s tips below and fix it for good.
Over time, locks can become difficult to turn, and some may even become so sticky that it’s possible to break your key off inside of the locking mechanism. If you find any of the locks in your home are getting more and more difficult to turn, don’t use traditional lubricants like WD-40, as they can break down inside the lock and eventually make the problem worse.
Instead, use a substance called powdered graphite. You can pick this up at most home repair stores. Use a small amount and squeeze it into your keyholes and inside the lock/latch to keep the inner mechanisms working smoothly and the lock easy to turn for years to come.
Leaking and running toilets
Leaking and constantly running toilets are loud, messy, and can significantly increase your water bill. Even if you’ve never worked on a toilet before, it’s important to understand that they are actually very simple devices and most problems can be pinpointed to two causes: a leaky rubber flapper or a chain that’s too long or too short.
To test and find out which one is the culprit, add a few drops of food coloring to the water in the top of your toilet’s tank. If the water in your toilet begins to show color within a few minutes, the problem is definitely a leaky flapper. At this point, you can also test the chain: make sure it’s long enough so that it closes the flap but doesn’t have so much slack that it gets caught under the flapper.
If the chain isn’t the right size, see if you can adjust it until it’s the proper length. If the toilet keeps running after replacing or repairing the chain, you’ll have to purchase a replacement flapper—an inexpensive part that can be found at almost all hardware stores.
Dishwasher doesn’t clean
We’ve all been there—you load up your dishwasher with dirty dishes, silverware, and cups, add a detergent pack, close it up, and turn it on. After it runs for an hour or so, you come back, open it up, and find half of your dishes just as dirty as they were when you first put them in. As disappointing as it may be, seeing dirty dishes after a full rinse cycle doesn’t necessarily mean your dishwasher is broken or needs to be replaced. Instead, it may just need a good cleaning.
First, remove everything from the dishwasher, including the dish racks, and take a look inside. Clean out any obvious bits of stuck-on food particles. Then, remove and rinse off the filter and the spray arms. You may have to consult your dishwasher manual to find out how to remove them. They frequently accumulate food particles or even soap residue and become clogged, making your dishwasher much less effective. Once they’re removed, thread steel wire into the holes to loosen up any blockages before reinstalling them.
You should also run your dishwasher while empty using products designed to breakdown limescale build-up and other residue that accumulates throughout your dishwasher. These products are inexpensive and can be used on a regular basis with every cycle to keep residue from building up in the future.
Cabinets won’t shut all the way
If you like a neat and tidy kitchen or bathroom, seeing a cabinet door that won’t quite shut all the way no matter how much you want it to close can be maddening. In these cases, the problem generally lies with the hinges or cabinet doors that aren’t properly aligned. First, try simply tightening or loosening the hinges and seeing if it makes a difference. If not, you may need to remove the doors entirely and replace the hinges.
Before trying that, however, look at the cabinet door and its alignment with the cabinet itself and any other cabinets nearby. If it looks slightly off-center, it may have been installed incorrectly and needs to be remounted.
Smells coming from the kitchen sink
If your kitchen has a garbage disposal or a drain big enough for food to easily fall inside, chances are you’ve dealt with a few unpleasant smells. And despite being out of sight, those smells have a tendency to fill the entire kitchen and even make their way throughout your home.
To stop them in their tracks, pour half a cup of baking soda down your drain and allow it to sit for 15 minutes without any water or other liquids. After the 15 minutes are up, add one cup of white vinegar to your burgeoning science experiment and leave it for another 15 minutes. Finally, add a few cups of boiling water to the mixture to finish killing off any bacteria and flush down any dissolving bits of food particles.
If your garbage disposal doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, drop in a few ice cubes and turn it on. The ice cubes will help sharpen the blades while also helping to remove any stuck on food particles that remain inside the top of the drain.
Pot lids and plastic container nightmares
There are some things that just never seem to have a good storage place in your kitchen, and chances are, those things include the lids for your pots and pans and your endless assortment of plastic food containers. Because of their irregular shapes and sizes, it can be difficult to store these with other items in your kitchen. Instead of just placing them wherever you have room, consider giving them their own place in your storage areas.
One ingenious idea for pot lids is to install racks on the inside of your cabinet doors that will hold them in place. Two hooks that the lids can slide into is enough to keep them safe, secure, and out of sight. For plastic food containers, divide them up using small boxes inside your cabinets or drawers, and place lids inside one and containers inside another. Stack them neatly inside or next to each other to preserve as much space as possible.