Category: How To’s & Quick Tips


How To: Clean a Glass Cooktop

Your glass cooktop is often the first surface in your kitchen to experience the thrills—and the spills—of a dinner party, large or small. Render it spick-and-span again using this easy, all-natural approach.

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How to Clean a Glass Cooktop

Photo: frigidaire.com

Many homeowners invest in glass cooktops because their modern, flat surface makes them both easy on the eye and easy to clean. Or so they think, until they realize that overzealous cleaning techniques and chemical-laden scrubs can damage the pristine finish of their cooktop. Fortunately, you don’t need specialized cleaners or abrasive chemical solvents to solve the messy problem of cooktop spills. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to removed baked-on, caked-on residue from your glass cooktop using only natural ingredients that will maintain the surface’s longevity—and your sanity during the busiest time of the year.

TOOLS AND  MATERIALS
- Rubber gloves
- Water
- Dishcloth or paper towel
- Dishwashing liquid
- Baking soda
- Cloth rags or old T-shirt
- Dish sponge
- Microfiber cloth
- Vinegar (optional)

How to Clean a Glass Cooktop - After Dinner

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1
Ensure that the cooktop is set to off and completely cool to the touch. Using a dishcloth or paper towel, gently wipe away any loose debris or liquid from the surface of the cooktop. Do not attempt to buff or scratch off any hard-to-remove grit; leave this stubborn residue to the hardworking homemade cleaner you will prepare later.

STEP 2
Put on the rubber gloves so you won’t scald your hands when preparing the cleaning solution. Then, fill a large bowl, bucket, or the kitchen sink (remember to stopper it first!) with hot tap water. To the hot water, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. Mix the dishwashing liquid with the water until the solution is combined and frothy. Submerge the rag or T-shirt in the bowl, bucket, or sink, and allow it to soak up a fair amount of the hot, soapy water.

STEP 3
Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda in a roughly even distribution over the entire surface of the cooktop. Then, remove the wet rag from the cleaning solution and wring out approximately half of the excess moisture with your hands. The rag should be wet but not dripping. Set aside the remaining cleaning solution, but do not discard it. Cover the entire cooktop with the rag(s) or T-shirt, and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes to allow the baking soda to settle into any stubborn grit on the cooktop. The wet rag will create a moist environment that will prevent the baking soda from drying onto the cooktop.

STEP 4
Lift the rag from the cooktop and submerge it once more in the remaining cleaning solution. Remove the rag and again wring out half of the excess water. Finish by gently wiping the rag over the entire cooktop using small, circular motions. The rag and the baking soda will together act as a gentle scrub, dislodging and sloughing off any debris without damaging the delicate surface of the cooktop. Now that the cleaning solution has done its duty, you can pour the remainder down the drain.

STEP 5
Soak a clean dish sponge in cold water, and lightly squeeze out the excess water. Wipe the nonabrasive side of the sponge over the cooktop to clear away any lingering debris or baking soda. When the cooktop is free of residue, use the microfiber cloth to buff the cooktop and give it a sophisticated polish. Work a splash of vinegar into the cloth for a more sparkling, streak-free shine.

Now, you’re ready to get cooking for a crowd! Going forward, aim to wipe your glass cooktop after each use rather than at lengthier intervals. This will spare you the extra time and elbow grease of a deep clean and preserve the spotless finish of your cooktop year-round.


Quick Tip: A Sweet In-a-Pinch Kindling Substitute

Celebrate the season with a new way to stoke the fire in your wood stove. A handful of orange peels instead of your typical kindling will create a cozy home that smells citrusy and fresh.

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Homemade Kindling - Throw Orange Peels in Your Fire

Photo: fotosearch.com

The fall season has been mild this year, but chilly temperatures are right around the corner, especially with the official start of winter on December 22. What better way is there to brave the winter temperatures than to park yourself beside the fire? Sure, you’ve probably stocked up on firewood (and maybe even chopped your own), but just in case you’re running low on kindling, we’ve found reason to reconsider how you stoke the flame in that wood stove or fireplace. For this aromatic substitute, all that’s required is a love of citrus—in particular, that of delicious, vitamin C-packed oranges.

Homemade Kindling - Peeled Orange

Photo: fotosearch.com

Here’s what you do: The next time you’re at the grocery store stocking up on your daily dose of fruit and vegetables, make sure to drop some extra oranges into your cart. Then, when you’re looking ahead to a weekend in front of the fireplace, simply remove the peels from the oranges (you can snack on the slices) and set them out uncovered on a sheet pan or cooling rack for 24 to 48 hours to dry them out. When they’re ready two days later, mix these scraps in with your kindling rather than old newspaper to ensure you get a roaring flame. The oil in the skin of the orange actually fuels the fire. Even better, it won’t release any chemicals as might be found in a wad of newspaper—just their fresh, citrusy smell—effectively keeping your chimney cleaner. Now that sounds like a win-win-win scenario, if we had ever heard one.


How To: Make Your Own Drain Cleaner

The next time your sink or tub drain is clogged, forget those caustic commercial products and try this homemade drain-cleaning recipe instead.

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Homemade Drain Cleaner - For the Bathroom Sink

Photo: fotosearch.com

When your sink or shower drain gets clogged, it’s pretty easy to figure out the cause. The perp is usually a disgusting mixture of hair and soap scum that’s built up over time. The quick fix often involves shelling out cash for a caustic, potentially toxic drain cleaner, but even that provides—at best—only temporary relief. It doesn’t have to be this way! The next time you’re stuck with a clog, don’t race out to the hardware store. Instead, scour your kitchen cabinets for a few basic materials and mix up your own cheaper, chemical-free concoction that’s guaranteed to break up even the worst drain buildup.

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Bucket
- Paper towels
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup salt
- 1/8 cup cream of tartar (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- Mason jar
- 2 cups boiling water
- Rubber gloves

STEP 1
First, use a small bucket to shovel out any accumulated water in the sink or tub (you can transfer to the toilet). Then take off the drain cover and clean around the inside edges of the top of the drain using any old bathroom cleaner. If you notice any hair or soap scum close to the surface, take a paper towel to reach in and pull it out.

STEP 2
Combine the baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar in the mason jar. The salt and baking soda will help break up the clog, while the cream of tartar—which is probably hanging out on your spice rack or with your baking supplies—cleans metals. Put the lid on the mason jar and give the mixture a good shake before pouring half of it down the drain. Save the other half for your next drain cleaning.

STEP 3
Pour two cups of boiling water down the drain (this is easiest to do if you heat the water in a teakettle), and let everything sit for at least an hour. You may want to put on rubber gloves before pouring the water down the drain so you don’t get scalded.

STEP 4
After an hour has passed, run the sink or tub tap for a few minutes to clear the homemade cleaner from your drain and make sure the clog is gone. Use paper towels to wipe up any residual powder. And now that you have such a quick, low-cost solution at the ready, keep future clogs at bay by making cleaning your drain part of your regular routine.


DIY Lite: The One Christmas Tree That’s Not a Pain to Store

This season, set up a fake tree that won't give you headaches to store the rest of the year. Utilizing an unlikely garage staple, this space-smart design marries whimsy and practicality.

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How to Make a Christmas Tree - Out of Pegboard

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Every December—occasionally as soon as the day after Thanksgiving—holiday-loving home decorators divide into two groups: team live evergreen versus team easy, artificial tree. While nothing can replace the fresh scent of pine, we’ve crafted a fake tree so stunning and simple that it can give homeowners ready to chop down their fir reason to reconsider. (But, really, who is to say that you can’t have both?) This season, transform an unlikely multi-tasking material into the beginning of a new tradition: the pegboard tree. The elegantly minimalist design mimics a cartoon tree in shape, using its trademark holes to easily hang hooked ornaments. And after the holiday passes, this snow-white tree disassembles into two 4-foot boards for compact storage, both sturdy enough to last for years. It’s a Christmas miracle!

 

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- White pegboard
- Tape measure
- Pencil
- Jigsaw
- Sandpaper
- Cloth towel
- Newspaper
- Paint primer
- White spray paint
- Green acrylic paint
- Foam brush

 

STEP 1

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Cut your 3/16-inch white pegboard into two rectangles, each 4 feet by 3 feet. (When we’re finished, these dimensions will produce a tree that is 4 feet tall and 3 feet in diameter.) Don’t hesitate to ask for these cuts at the hardware store where you purchase your boards—smaller pieces will be even easier to carry home!

 

STEP 2

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Pencil in the outline of your Christmas tree on one board. First make a triangle: Find the center at the top of the board, and use a tape measure or yardstick to help draw a line from this point to each of the bottom corners. Then, use the triangle as reference to draw the tree tips; we made each “branch tip” extend two holes from the initial triangle. As best as you can, try to make the dimensions even.

 

STEP 3

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Use the jigsaw to cut out your tree shape. Always start from the side and cut towards the drawing, not toward yourself.

 

STEP 4

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Once the first two-dimensional tree is completely cut out, lay it on top of the second pegboard and trace its shape. That will ensure that you create two identical pieces. Use the jigsaw to cut out the second tree, as you did in Step 3.

 

STEP 5

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

For easy assembly, make a 2′-long notch in each tree. On one, cut from the tip to the very center of the tree; on the other, make the cut extend from the bottom to the center. The slit need to be a little wider than the thickness of the pegboard (say, 1/4-inch wide) to make it easy for the pieces to slide together.

 

STEP 6

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Sand all edges and the notch of each piece so that your holidays don’t include any splinters. Then, wipe down each shape with a slightly damp cloth to remove all the dust and dry.

 

STEP 7

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

For a completely uniform tree, the back of the pegboard needs a quick paint job to match its white front. Cover your work space in old newspaper, and get to work! We used a spray paint, but you could also opt apply a coat of white acrylic using a paint roller. Regardless of how you go about it, start with one coat of primer and then cover with at least two topcoats for the brightest white.

 

STEP 8

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

After the white has dried completely, highlight the tree’s shape by painting the edges of each board a holiday green. It’s helpful to first stand the tree, which you can do by sliding the tree with the notch in its bottom half over the tree with the notch at its top. Now pick up a foam brush dipped in paint, and apply carefully to the pegboard’s edging so that it doesn’t smear onto the sides. If you like, you can use painter’s tape to protect the white surfaces.

 

STEP 9

How to Make a Christmas Tree - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Once the paint is dry, you’re ready to decorate! You can hang any kind of ornament in your modern white tree by pushing hooks through the holes in the pegboard. Then, when it comes time to stow all the seasonal decorations, just remove your ornaments and pull apart the two panels. They stack easily on top of one another for flat, effortless storage 11 months out of the year.

 

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.


Quick Tip: Detect Air Leaks for Only $1

Identifying the air leaks in your drafty home doesn't have to involve an expensive inspection. It only takes a dollar to start winterizing your home and saving big bucks this season.

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Air Leak Test - Door Draft Stopper

Photo: flickr.com via CraftNClutter

When you’ve moved your plans indoors to escape the seasonal chill, a draft to send you back under the blankets is the last thing that you need. Worse than compromising your comfort level, air leaks also take a toll on your energy bill. If not properly insulated, your home’s heating system works harder to compensate for the lost heat—with its extra effort escaping right out the window, too, so to speak. Fortunately, saving some serious cash on your energy costs this winter can start with a single dollar and a candle.

Air Leak Test - Winter Window

Photo: fotosearch.com

First investigate the cracks around your doors and windows, often the easiest access to potential drafts. To aid you, open up your wallet and grab a single. Then, slip the dollar bill in an open doorway, and close the door with your paper money in place. If you can’t tug the bill out, your entrance has a tight, winter-ready seal; if there’s enough give to wiggle it out, though, you’ll want to reseal as soon as possible.

But don’t stop at the obvious entrances! Wait until the next windy day to locate other potentially leaky areas around the house. Tightly seal up your home at the windows, doors, and fireplace flues, and shut off any combustion appliances (like a gas furnace or water heater) as well as any exhaust fans that might interfere with the results of your test. Once you’ve prepped the place, light a candle from your household emergency kit, and hold it very steadily in areas prone to air leaks—windows and doors, yes, but also outlets, recessed lighting, attic hatches, and basement rim joists, any of which might be in need of a little extra insulation. If the candle’s smoke or flame wavers, you likely have a leak.

Even if your tests turn up a problem area or two, don’t fret yet—in fact, go ahead and crack a smile. By addressing these leaks early with energy-efficient fixes, you’re basically locking in a lower energy bill than the one last winter. Plus, the market offers solutions to fit every home and every budget. If you’re not quite ready to invest in Energy Star–certified windows and doors, a little weatherstripping and insulation film on your windows can still go a long way. Bottom line: The sooner you’ve identified all of your home’s air leaks, the better prepared you will be for the season ahead.


How To: Bleed a Radiator

Your heat is cranked up, but one of your radiators is still ice-cold. Don’t fret—this is a common problem. Good thing there's a quick fix!

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How to Bleed a Radiator

Photo: fotosearch.com

Now that the temperature is falling, you may have cranked up the heat in your house only to find that one (or more) of your hot-water radiators remains cold. If a single radiator isn’t generating heat when the rest of your system seems to be working fine, your problem may be air trapped inside the radiator—a common issue with hot-water heating. Before you call the plumber, try your hand at solving the problem yourself by bleeding the radiator. It takes just a few simple steps, and the tools required are minimal. Give it a shot! You’ll have the place all warmed up in no time.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Protective gloves
- A radiator key (or, alternatively, a screwdriver or a pair of needle-nose pliers)
- A dry cloth
- Small bowl

How to Bleed a Radiator - Water Radiator

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1
Before you get started, it’s important to make sure your heat is turned off. If you leave it on during this process, there’s a chance that you’ll actually introduce more air into the system.

STEP 2
Next, find the radiator’s bleed valve. This small valve is usually located at the top of one side of your radiator. Once you find it, you’ll need your radiator key (available in a variety of sizes at your local hardware store).

If you can’t find the key, you can try using needle-nose pliers to turn the valve. As well, some valves are slotted and can accommodate a flathead screwdriver.

STEP 3
Slowly turn the radiator key (or pliers or screwdriver) counterclockwise about half a turn to release the air pressure. You’ll know it’s working if you start to hear a hissing sound as trapped air leaves your radiator—that’s just the sound of air escaping and hot water coming in. Don’t be surprised if a little bit of water starts dripping out. Just grab your dry cloth (or small bowl) and use it to catch the drops.

STEP 4
When the bleed valve suddenly releases a steady stream of water instead of smaller, air-filled drops, you’ll know you’ve gotten rid of the excess air. Turn the bleed valve clockwise to tighten it, and you’re done!

STEP 5
Go ahead and repeat this process on the other radiators in your home—even the ones that are working fine. It’s good to get into the habit of bleeding your radiators because it reduces the overall pressure on your heating system. After you bleed your radiators, keep tabs on the boiler to make sure it’s functioning properly and maintaining proper pressure. Follow the basic guideline of one pound of pressure for every two feet of rise, which, for a standard two-story house, translates to about 12 psi to 15 psi.


How To: Split Firewood

Splitting wood doesn’t have to be a backbreaking experience. Start with the right tools, the proper technique, and the following tips, and chopping logs will feel like a labor of love.

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How to Split Wood

Photo: fotosearch.com

Fireplace season has at long last arrived: Time to gather around the hearth, hunker down, and embrace the warmth of the flickering flames. But before you do, check that you’ve stockpiled enough seasoned firewood—logs that have been dried at least six months—to last the winter, because running out of fuel in the middle of a blizzard is less than ideal. If your stores of wood are lacking, it’s time to get to work: chop-chop! Once you’ve wrangled a steady supply, follow the instructions below to split the logs for better burning. Get ready to channel your inner lumberjack and practice the time-honored tradition of log-splitting to keep the fires burning all winter long.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Protective clothing (safety glasses, long pants, sturdy boots)
- Splitting maul
- Chopping block (tree stump or short, wide round of wood)
- Rubber auto tire
- 2 wedges
- Sledgehammer (optional)

How to Split Wood - Stack for Firewood

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1
First, check that you’ve got the proper equipment. To the novice woodcutter, an ax may seem like the best choice of tool for splitting logs, but it’s not. While it’s great for chopping down trees and cutting smaller pieces of wood, the maul—with its wider head and heavier weight—is the expert’s choice for splitting firewood. To deal with gnarly logs riddled with tough fibers and tree branch notches that make splitting more difficult, you should also have a wedge or prying triangle on hand to help.

Before you begin swinging any tools around, change into your protective gear (safety goggles, long pants, and sturdy boots) to avoid injury.

STEP 2
Wherever you plan to do your work, set up a short chopping block—consisting of either a large, level tree stump or a similarly short and wide chunk of wood—to increase effectiveness and decrease the chances of damaging the maul. The chopping block helps absorb the force of each blow and provides a spot for the blade to drive into when the maul breaks through the wood or you miss your mark.

STEP 3
Nothing is more frustrating than having to bend over to replace a log every time you miss, or to pick up sticks once the wood splits. Solve this common problem by placing one large “round” or several smaller logs together inside the opening of a tire (a 15-inch car tire works well), then setting it on top of your chopping block. Not only will this keep your logs in place when you swing, but it will cut down on the number of times you need to reset the log or pick up wood pieces, thereby decreasing the stress on your back.

STEP 4
Find the weak spots in your log, points where the wood naturally wants to split, and strike at these first for an easier cut. For example, cracks that radiate from the center are an optimal place to start. If none exist, the best strategy is to aim straight down the middle, using the proper technique described in the next step.

STEP  5
And, finally, the swing! Contrary to popular belief, splitting wood is not about brute force; instead, its success hinges on proper placement and the sheer velocity of the swing.

Using the correct stance—feet spread shoulder-width apart—face the “round” and place the maul head on the spot you plan to strike first, with your arms fully extended. Then, step back a half step. Holding the maul horizontally—waist high—bend your elbows and raise the maul over your head. As you bring your arms down, concentrate on driving the head of the maul straight through the log with Zen-like precision. Let the weight of the tool and the force of gravity do the work for you. Don’t make the common mistake of swinging the maul like a pendulum; instead, come down through the log in a vertical line—no arcing.

STEP 6
If your log is covered with knots or is too thick to split after a few strikes from the maul, it’s time to insert the splitting wedges. Using a sledgehammer (or the flat striking face on the maul) drive the wedge down deep into the crack to increase the size of the split. The added force of a single wedge should do the trick; if not, drive a second wedge into a crack on the opposite side of the log to create another splinter. With any luck, this combination should work.

STEP 7
Know when to quit: When you’re tired, it’s time to stop. That’s when injuries occur. Save some energy for the next day when, given all this practice, you should be well prepared to pick up where you left off. Meanwhile, grab a bundle of your split wood, head inside, and light a fire to enjoy the fruits of your labor.


Quick Tip: Use Rice to Clean Bottles and Vases

Irregularly-shaped glassware can put a bottleneck in your dishwashing duties. Next time, simplify the process with this secret cleaning ingredient.

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How to Clean Bottles - Washing By Hand

Photo: bobvila.com

Your holiday spirits may be high when the champagne and the conversation is overflowing, but after the guests leave, you’re left with that sinking feeling of washing the dirty dishes—namely those irregularly-shaped bottles with hard-to-clean surfaces. Whether it’s a jar, vacuum flask, water bottle, or narrow vase, attempting to squeeze a dish sponge into an uncooperative carafe can seem more difficult than surviving a holiday dinner without one family argument. Fortunately, a few seasonal drinks or decorations don’t have to turn an post-meal session of dishwashing into more of a chore than it already is. You can remove stubborn grit from finicky flagons using little more than the grain of life: rice.

How to Clean Bottles - With Rice

How to Clean Bottles - With Rice

Dispense with your dish sponge this round and instead gather a handful of raw rice. Then fill each of the soiled bottles with a small amount of water, rice, and a dot of dish soap or detergent. If a lid accompanies the bottle, secure it over the opening; otherwise, use your hand to cover the bottle. Then, unleash your bottled-up stress and shake things up—literally—to activate the grease-fighting power of your homemade cleaner.

The genie in this bottle is the rice, which is transformed into a mighty, hard-bristle brush that traverses the tall sides of bottles or flower vases to release stains and residue with ease. If you don’t have rice in your pantry leftover from the holiday meal, simply replace it with the metal ball chain from an ordinary key chain to achieve the same powerful scrubbing action. With the hassles of dishwashing removed, you’re bound to be in a bubbly mood for the rest of the season!


5 Things to Do with… Olive Oil

Never underestimate the power of olive oil: The Mediterranean cooking staple could be the secret ingredient to solving a number of everyday problems.

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The versatility of olive oil is virtually limitless. Called “liquid gold” thousands of years ago in ancient Greece, it thought to be a gift from the gods and widely celebrated as a source of healing, magic, wealth, and power. Today, its status hasn’t changed that much: It’s still used for everything from preventing heart disease to enhancing beauty products—and, let’s not forget, providing a tasty flavoring to pasta al dente. But more than being nutritious and flavorful, this rich golden oil can benefit your home, too. Read on for five ways in which your favorite cooking oil can quell the common household complaint.

 

1. LET IT SHINE

Uses of Olive Oil - Shining Stainless Steel

Photo: fotosearch.com

No need to be embarrassed in front of guests by a dull stainless steel sink. Restoring the original shine is as simple as pouring out a few drops of olive oil. Wash and rinse your sink completely: the interior of the tub, the fixtures, and the surrounding rim. After a thorough dry, apply a few drops of olive oil to a clean cloth and buff the stainless steel. Work in the direction of the grain, and you’ll soon see that your sink regains a like-new luster.

 

2. CLEAR UP CLOUDY PLASTIC

Uses of Olive Oil - Cleaning Headlights

Photo: fotosearch.com

When the plastic covering on your car’s interior instrument panel clouds over or a thin white film compromises the headlights, the distortion can dangerously mess with your visibility. Many car owners commonly—and mistakenly—clean these plastic coverings with alcohol-based cleaners. A better remedy for the haze, though, is a dab of olive oil. Pour a few drops on a lint-free cloth and rub the oil into the affected area. Continuing buffing the surface for a few minutes, and the cloudiness will disappear leaving the plastic looking good as new.

 

3. SPIFF UP YOUR GARDEN TOOL SET

Uses of Olive Oil - Cleaning Garden Tools

Photo: fotosearch.com

Soil buildup on shovels, spades, and other metal tools can be difficult to remove, but left uncleaned this residue can lead to rust and ultimately shorten the life of your gardening equipment. Make cleanup easier by misting a little olive oil onto the metal portion of your hand tools (with either spray bottle or a can of olive oil spray) before you beginning digging. The protective film of  oil prevents dirt and other debris from sticking to the surface. Less buildup equals less cleanup!

 

4. SQUASH A SQUEAK

Uses of Olive Oil - Fixing a Squeaky Door

Photo: fotosearch.com

Does the sound of a squeaky door grate on your nerves? While it may not be as cringe-worthy as the sound of nails on a chalkboard, a creaky hinge can still certainly annoy. The good news: You don’t need to trek out to the store for the tools to silence it. Instead of purchasing a silicone spray, just reach into the pantry for olive oil. Clean the hinge, and apply the oil to it sparingly using a small brush or a lint-free cloth. The next time you  pass through the door, you’ll come and go quietly.

 

5. GET OUT OF A STICKY SITUATION

Uses of Olive Oil - Removing Gum from Shoes

Photo: fotosearch.com

Whether you’re struggling to remove gum from the sole of your shoe or sticker residue from glass, open your pantry for the answer. A cloth dipped in oil and wrapped around the affected area for 10 minutes can soften the sticky situation. The oil helps break the adhesive bond between the gum and the surface, making it easier to scrape away the unwanted mess. The same process applies to stickers: To remove an old decal from your car windshield or a stubborn label from a recent purchase, apply a drop of olive oil directly to the surface of the sticker and rub it in around the edges. If the sticker isn’t ready to budge, prick it with a pin a few times to help the oil penetrate. Before long, the bond will break and the sticker will lose its grip.


3 Fixes for Red Wine Stains

Don’t let a red wine spill spoil your party. Quickly remedy the accident with one of these three easy solutions, and follow with a toast to stain-free carpeting and upholstery!

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How to Remove Red Wine Stains

Photo: fotosearch.com

Inevitably, there’s at least one unwelcome guest at every holiday party: the red wine stain. Sure enough, just as everyone is sipping, swirling, and savoring their favorite vintage vino, trading stories and seats over the course of the evening, it happens—someone spills. Lucky for you, the sooner you clean up the drink, the less chance it will stain.

A wet spill is always easier to clean than a dry one, so think fast and act faster. Always blot up all you can before it soaks in (no rubbing allowed!), then follow with one of these three handy solutions and you’ll be raising your glass to toast to the fact that your carpet and upholstery are spot-free.

 

SOLVE WITH SALT

How to Remove Red Wine Stains - With Salt

Photo: fotosearch.com

Sometimes, the solution is hiding in plain sight—this time out on the dining room table. After carefully removing the excess liquid, first pour an ample amount of cool, clean water over the affected area to dilute the concentration of the red wine. Next, grab the salt shaker. You’ll need more than a sprinkle, so twist off the top altogether and pour out a small heap over the entire stain while it’s still wet. These crystals should absorb the wine and turn pink over the next several hours.

To get the maximum benefit of this tried and true technique, leave the salt pile in place to dry overnight. In the morning, scoop up the salt and discard the pink crystals into the trash. Then, vacuum away any remnants that may still embedded in the carpet or upholstery fibers. Once you’re finished, the stain should be much less noticeable, if not entirely gone.

 

POUR ANOTHER ROUND

How to Remove Red Wine Stains - With White Wine

Photo: fotosearch.com

As backwards as it sounds, a splash of white wine over your existing red wine stain can dilute the concentration much like adding cool water would—reason enough to uncork that next bottle! Once you pour the white, dab at the area with a clean cloth to soak up the mixture. This should remove most of the stain.

If not, follow up with a homemade remedy straight from the pantry: an absorbent baking soda paste. Mix up three parts water and one part baking soda, coat the stain, and leave it overnight to soak. To ensure effectiveness, also cover the area with a clean cloth and a heavy book. The weight of the book will help press the powdery mixture into the fibers to pull up any wine that remains, and by morning you can scrape off that caked-on crust to reveal a stain-free surface.

 

FIND THE FIRST-AID KIT

How to Remove Red Wine Stains - With Hydrogen Peroxide

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Good for more than just sterilizing skin cuts and scrapes, hydrogen peroxide also makes an effective cleaner for red wine stains. Just remember: It is a mild bleaching agent, and therefore not for use on dark carpets or upholstery, only lighter materials like white carpet.

Mix one small squirt of dishwashing soap with half of a cup of hydrogen peroxide in a shallow dish. Start by testing a small amount of the solution in an inconspicuous spot on the carpet or furniture before inadvertently creating an unwanted bleach stain. If the area bleaches, or you notice a dye transfer, then dilute the area with water, dab away the moisture, and discontinue this method. If there is no discoloration, soak a clean cloth in the soapy peroxide solution and dab at the stain. Blot gently, allowing the mixture to seep into the fibers. Repeat this process until you’ve applied the solution to the entire stain, and allow the mixture to stand for a few minutes for the best results.

Once the hydrogen peroxide has done its job, wash and rinse it away. Fill a clean spray bottle with cold, soapy water and lightly wet the stained area. Blot with another clean towel, this one soaked in fresh, lukewarm water (no soap). Finally, when you dab the spot with a dry towel to absorb any excess moisture, the stain should have wholly disappeared.