Lon’s Favorite Tips

In Miscellaneous on March 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

Every now and then I get in a generous mood and decide to share some of my favorite homeowner tips with you.

Of course, I didn’t put them in any particular order. I have listed them in the order they “popped” into my head.

Some I’ve learned because I was a “muddy boots” contractor and others I’ve accumulated from reading publications such as, The Family Handyman, Consumer Reports, Old House Journal, etc.

Peruse the following list. I hope you learn something from it that will save you time and money. If you have a tip you want to share with fellow Eccentric readers, send it to me at drdiy@comcast.net.

Cleaning a microwave: (I found this tip in the Family Handyman and love it).

  • Partially fill any microwave-safe cup with water and place a healthy slice of lemon on the water. Put it in the microwave and boil the water for approximately one minute. Don’t open the door. Let the steam loosen baked on food and spills. Wait ten minutes and open the door. You should then be able to wipe the interior clean.

These charcoal tips come to us from This Old House Magazine (September 2009). When hardwoods burn you get charcoal. Charcoal is great for barbequing, but did you know it has other great uses?

  • Place charcoal in open bowls or perforated plastic bags in your fridge or drawers to banish odors.
  • Put a lump of charcoal beneath the cut stems in a vase to help the water stay clean and clear.
  • Mix charcoal into your compost pile to increase its carbon content. (If the pile smells like ammonia it needs carbon.)
  • Before storing rock salt or sand used during winter, mix a few lumps of charcoal into the bag or bucket. They’ll soak up the dampness and prevent these materials from freezing or caking together.
  • Potted orchids benefit from charcoal’s alkalinity. Mix small pieces with your potting medium (e.g., bark or wood chunks) to nourish the flowers.
  • Place a few lumps of charcoal in your toolbox to absorb moisture and keep the metal from oxidizing.

WD-40 was invented in 1953. Technicians were looking for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect parts for the Atlas Missile program. The name came out of that project, which was to find a “water displacement” compound. They were successful with the fortieth formulation. That’s where the name WD-40 originated.

Now that you know that, did you know there are many uses for WD-40? Check out the following:

  • Keep rust from forming on tools.
  • Eliminates squeaks in fans.
  • Restores and cleans vehicle roof racks.
  • It can be used on leather car dashboards and vinyl bumpers.
  • Spray it into the tracks of drawers and windows. It makes them easier to slide.
  • Removes tomato stains from clothing.
  • Loosens stuck or hard to glide zippers.
  • Keeps your bathroom mirror from fogging up after a shower.
  • Removes duct tape residue.
  • It can remove tar and scuff marks from kitchen floor

Restore the scent of cedar to that old cedar closet:

In time, the oils in cedar harden on the surface sealing in that delightful aroma. To restore the scent, while wearing a dust mask and eye protection lightly sand the cedar with 100-grit sandpaper. If that isn’t successful, you can wipe cedar oil onto the newly sanded wood.

Removing stick-on mirrors:

Those mirrors were pretty common in the 1970’s, but so were mullets.  There are a few methods to attack this problem but all involve you wearing protective eyeglasses and heavy gloves. Another necessity is contact paper or adhesive shelf liner.

Start by peeling back and attaching the contact paper to the mirror. That should help prevent glass from flying everywhere as you pry and pull it away from the wall.

Using a heat gun or hair dryer, try and soften the adhesive holding that holds the mirror to the wall. As you work, slip a putty knife or a hacksaw blade between the wall and the mirror until you have it loosened enough to lift off.

Once you’ve removed all the mirrors, you’ll find you need to patch the damaged drywall. Cut away and sand any loose drywall paper. Paint the area with KILZ primer and when dry, patch with spackling paste, sand and re-prime. Now you’re ready to paint.

To all my followers: Please pass along my blog address to all your friends and family. I’d appreciate it!

  1. Good tips, Lon. I really like it when you’re in a generous mood!

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