The first day of spring is right around the corner, and you know what that means—it’s time to come out of hibernation and get your place spic and span. There’s no shortage of spring cleaning tips scattered across the internet, but which ones should you really follow? We’ll show which ones you need to avoid and what to do instead to save you time and money.
1. Dousing Carpet Stains
When you spill wine on the carpet, your first impulse might be to dilute, dilute, dilute to keep the stain from ruining the fibers. This is actually one of the worst things you can do. Instead of saturating the stain with water or carpet cleaner, which can break down carpet fibers and push staining material down into the pad and underlayment, focus on blotting the stain. You’ll draw liquid out of the carpet fibers this way, and you can repeat by lightly misting the area with water or cleaner until the stain is gone.
2. Lemons in the Garbage Disposal
This is one of those myths that’s hard to shake—after all, who doesn’t like the idea of refreshing their disposal with lemon? The problem is this: the same acid that cuts through grease can actually corrode the metal blades inside the disposal, shortening the life of the appliance in the long run. If you want to keep your garbage disposal clean and fresh, use baking soda instead, along with a few ice cubes. The baking soda acts as a light abrasive and odor neutralizer without causing damage, while the ice clears away any debris that’s built up in the blades.
3. Handwashing Dishes
If you’ve ever been told that it’s better to handwash dishes than put them in the dishwasher, the reasons are probably outdated. First, handwashing dishes doesn’t generally save water—in fact, most modern dishwashers use far less water (and get your dishes cleaner) than handwashing. Unless your dishes state that they’re not dishwasher safe, feel free to throw them in. You also don’t need to spend much time pre-rinsing dishes before they go in the washer. Dishwashers clean dishes best when there’s a bit of food residue still on them (this gives the dish detergent something stick to). Just scrape the dishes to remove all the large debris and you’re good to go.
4. Feather Dusters
Feather dusters look like they should work great, but depending on what they’re made from they can be expensive and a waste of your time. While ostrich feather dusters do naturally attract dust, they’re expensive and hard to clean. Other types of feather dusters just spread dust around, and if you have allergies you want to avoid kicking up dust and dander whenever you can. A much better solution? Disposable dry dust cloths. Look for ones that are electrostatically charged to attract and trap dust.
5. Polishing Floors Every Week
If you’re one of those people who revel in spotless polished floors and furniture, we don’t blame you. It’s easy to overdo it though, and putting polish on top of polish is a recipe for dull, sticky buildup. If you’re polishing your floor every week, that’s too much. Layers of built-up polish can even trap debris, causing scratches to these surfaces over time. If you notice your floors or furniture getting dusty between polishings, a lightly dampened cloth will do the trick to get these surfaces gleaming again.
Being a homeowner can be confusing these days, at least when it comes to DIY projects. With so many shows, guides, and experts seemingly ready to walk you through the most difficult of undertakings, is there any limit to what the average homeowner can do? Well, in actuality, there are a number of jobs where most people are better off connecting with a pro, and here’s how to determine what projects those are, as well as what you should expect to pay for them.
Before You Jump In
The last thing you need is to be tripping over supplies and materials while you’re in work mode, and neither do you want a contractor damaging your belongings. Whether you DIY or hire a professional, consider budgeting for a storage space to boost elbow room. As an example, you can rent a 10’x10′ self-storage unit for just $20 at Affordable Family Storage on L Street in Omaha. It’s a smart and inexpensive option for preventing both injuries and broken belongings, so include that when crafting your project budget.
Timelines and Limitations
When it comes to home repairs, having a good understanding of your personal skills and abilities gives you a good starting point. Make an honest evaluation of what sort of projects you have experience with, as well as how much time you can dedicate to your tasks. As an example, Interiors Addict explains a full bathroom remodel can take a builder as much as seven weeks to accomplish, barring complications such as asbestos removal. That’s with having tools and supplies handy, as well as professional expertise. On average, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $25,000 for the work, depending the size of the room, materials, your location, and what work is involved.
When it comes to tackling it yourself, some experts suggest a timeline of several weeks just for re-tiling a shower if you’re working nights and weekends. That’s a long time to do without your bathroom, and that’s just one component in a remodel. If you elect to re-tile a shower yourself, materials can cost as little as $50 to over $1,500. To hire someone to re-tile your shower, expect to pay anywhere from $800 to more than $2,500.
Rules and Restrictions
In addition to projects that are involved or time-consuming, some jobs are simply too dangerous or complex for the average homeowner to consider. As a starting point, Liberty Mutual points out, any home repairs requiring a special permit or license to accomplish should be considered off-limits to homeowners. Bear in mind building permits and codes are meant to protect you, your family, and your home, since they ensure minimum safety standards.
There are many aspects that can make a project too dangerous for a DIY, such as height, materials, and potential consequences. For instance, removal of hazardous materials, such as asbestos, is not for amateurs, and the average cost for an inspection and test is $1,000. Roof repairs and tree removal are inherently dangerous and should be left to professionals. Fixing your roof costs anywhere from $150 for a minor repair to $3,000 for a major repair. The average cost for tree removal is estimated to fall between $500 and $1,500. Rerouting plumbing requires the expertise of a professional; if done incorrectly, you can flood your home. You can use an online calculator to give you an idea of costs, depending on what is involved and where you live, but expect to pay upwards of $600.
In a world of DIY channels, instructions, and videos galore, knowing when to draw the line on your home repairs can be tough. Keep your personal skills in mind, think about how much time you can put toward projects, and if something is beyond your abilities, hire a professional. When it comes to home repairs, stick to a policy of better safe than sorry.
Whether your bathroom is old or new, big or small, mildew can set in and make it a less pleasant place to be. Here’s what you can do to mildew-proof your bathroom so the stuff doesn’t have a chance to take over.
First, here’s a quick rundown of the top causes for mildew:
Leaks. Moisture can seep into a bathroom from sources we can’t see, like pipes behind drywall or cracks in grout. Since mildew loves darkness and dampness, it’ll continue to thrive in these places, making it even more difficult to get rid of once you discover it.
A shower that doesn't get cleaned regularly. It’s a pain to scrub your shower, but it’s worth keeping up with the chore if you want to extend the life of your entire bathroom. Tiles can collect soap and body oil after every use, and over time, these residues can combine with humidity to lead to mold and mildew.
Clogged drains. Soap, hair and other debris naturally lead to a clogged drain from time to time. If you notice your shower draining more slowly than usual, it’s important to grab the Drano right away. Clogs that aren’t attended to quickly will lead to mildew since the yucky stuff the clog is made of (aforementioned soap and hair, plus body oil and dirt) is an ideal space for it to grow.
Inadequate ventilation. Ventilation is incredibly important for any bathroom, and nowadays, there are certain regulations in place to ensure adequate airflow. But if you have an older home, you might be dealing with a space that’s not quite up to code. Inefficient ventilation is a number one cause of mold and mildew since moisture and humidity can get trapped.
Drippy faucets. A drippy faucet means the area underneath will never have a chance to dry out. The constant moisture will inevitably lead to mold and mildew growth.
Now that you know what actually causes mildew, here’s how you can prevent it:
Use Mildew-Proof Paint
Repainting your bathroom is an inexpensive way to prevent long-term mildew growth. Make sure to choose a mildew-resistant paint or to mix in a mildew-resistant additive.
Open Your Window Shades Occasionally
Many bathrooms unfortunately won’t have a window, but if they do, your space will definitely benefit from a little light—mildew hates it! Keep those blinds open for at least an hour or so every day, especially directly after showering. If your bathroom doesn’t have a window, you’re not completely out of luck, your fix just won’t be quite so simple. You’ll need to either leave the light on and remember to switch it off after a period of time so as not to waste energy, or install a timer on your lights so they automatically switch off.
Clean Up Spilled Water Immediately
With all the showering, bathing and handwashing going on, water is going to get around your bathroom. This is especially true if you have kids. That’s perfectly fine, as long as you pay attention to any puddles and clean them up quickly. Standing water will turn into mildew city if left unattended all the time.
Keep Your Bathroom Clean
Experts say you should wipe down your bathroom at least once a week. This goes for fixtures, sinks and the like. Toilets should be cleaned once a week, and your bath and/or shower area should be scrubbed every two weeks. Don’t forget to lift up shower items like shampoo bottles so you can scrub underneath them. Regularly switch out your shower curtain liner and launder any decorative shower curtains once a month or so. Bathroom mold and mildew can be stubborn, so simply keeping up with cleaning will save you so much work in the long-run.
Reseal Your Grout Annually
Grout is pretty porous in the first place, and with constant exposure to water, you can imagine just how susceptible it is to mold and mildew. Scrubbing your grout well during your bi-monthly shower- and bath-cleaning sessions and remembering to reseal it annually will help it stand up better to water.