Helpful Tips For Around The House

Do it yourself (DIY) is a term used to describe building, modifying, or repairing of something without the aid of experts or professionals. The phrase "do it yourself" came into common usage in the 1950s in reference to home improvement projects which people might choose to complete independently. There are many things around the house that anyone can do with a little help from some internet research. There are some things that you should pay a professional to do, but you can complete 98% of the tasks around the house yourself and significantly reduce home repair costs.

Alternative Cleaning Products


Get rid of tough stains on marble. You probably think of marble as stone, but it is really petrified calcium (also known as old seashells). That explains why it is so porous and easily stained and damaged. Those stains can be hard to remove, but here is a simple method that should do the trick. Cut a lemon in half, dip the exposed flesh into some table salt and rub it vigorously on the stain.

Clean tarnished brass. Say goodbye to ­tarnish on brass, copper or stainless steel. Make a paste of lemon juice and salt (or substitute bicarbonate of soda or cream of tartar for the salt) and coat the affected area. Leave it on for about 5 minutes. Then wash in warm water, rinse and polish dry. Use the same mixture to clean metal kitchen sinks, too. Apply the paste, scrub gently, then rinse.


Make fireplace clean-ups easy. When you're ready to turn in for the night but the fire is still glowing in the hearth, douse the flames with salt. The fire will burn out more quickly, so you’ll wind up with less soot than if you let it smoulder. Clean-up is easier, too, because the salt helps the ash and residue gather into easy sweepings. Remove wine from carpet. Red wine spilled on a white carpet is the worst. But there's hope. Firstly, while the red wine is still wet, pour some white wine on it to dilute the colour. Then clean the spot with a sponge and cold water. Sprinkle the area with salt and wait about 10 minutes. Now vacuum up the whole mess.

Clean grease stains from rugs. If someone in your family is paying more attention to watching football than the greasy food on their plate, and it ends up on your nice white carpet, don't kill them. Just mix up 1 part salt to 4 parts methylated spirits and rub it hard on the grease stain, being careful to rub in the direction of the carpet's natural nap. Remove water marks from wood. Water marks left from glasses on a wood table really stand out. Make them disappear by mixing 1 teaspoon of salt with a few drops of water to form a paste. Gently rub the paste onto the ring with a soft cloth or sponge and work it over the spot until it's gone. Restore the lustre of your wood with furniture polish.


Clean your piano keys. Has tickling the ivories left them a bit dingy? Clean them up with toothpaste and a toothbrush, then wipe them down with a damp cloth. Makes sense, since ivory is essentially elephant teeth. However, toothpaste will work just as well on modern pianos that usually have keys covered with plastic rather than real ivory.

Remove ink or lipstick stains from fabric. If a pen opens up in the pocket of your favourite shirt, don't panic. This may or may not work, depending on the fabric and the ink, but it is certainly worth a try before consigning the shirt to the scrap heap. Put non-gel toothpaste on the stain and rub the fabric vigorously together and rinse with water. Most or all of the ink should have come out. Repeat the process a few more times until you get rid of all the ink. Works for lipstick, too.

Remove water marks from furniture. You leave coasters around, but some people just won't use them. To get rid of those telltale water-mark rings left by sweating beverages, gently rub some non-gel toothpaste on the wood with a soft cloth. Then wipe it off with a damp cloth and let it dry before applying your regular furniture polish.


Clean your coffee maker. Fill your percolator or the water chamber of your drip coffee maker with water and drop in four Alka-Seltzer tablets. When the tablets have dissolved, put the coffee maker through a brew cycle to clean the tubes. Rinse the chamber out two or three times, then run a brew cycle with plain water.

Clean a vase. That stuck-on residue at the bottom of narrow-necked vases may seem impossible to scrub out, but you can easily bubble it away. Fill the vase half way up with water and drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets. Wait until the fizzing stops, then rinse the vase clean. The same trick works for cleaning glass thermoses. Clean your toilet. The citric acid in Alka-Seltzer combined with its fizzing action is an effective toilet-bowl cleaner. Just drop a couple of tablets into the bowl and find something else to do for 20 minutes or so. When you return, a few swipes with a toilet brush will make your bowl gleam.


Clean your oven. Here's a practically effortless way to clean an electric oven. Firstly, turn the oven on, let it warm to 65°C and then turn it off. Place a small bowl containing 1⁄2 cup of ammonia on the top shelf and a large dish of boiling water on the bottom shelf. Close the oven door and let it sit overnight. The next morning, remove the bowl and dish, and let the oven air out for a while. Then wipe it clean using the ammonia and a few drops of dish-washing liquid diluted in 1 litre of warm water – even old burned-on grease should wipe right off. Warning: Do not use this cleaning method with a gas oven unless the pilot lights are out and the main gas lines are shut off.

Clean oven racks. Get the cooked-on grime off your oven racks by laying them out on an old towel in a large laundry tub. You can also use your bathtub, though you might need to clean it afterwards. Fill the laundry tub or bathtub with warm water and add 1⁄2 cup of ammonia. Let the racks soak for at least 15 minutes, then remove, rinse off and wipe clean. Remove grease and soap scum. To get rid of those ugly grease and soap-scum build-ups in your porcelain enamel sink or bathtub, scrub it with a solution of 1 tablespoon of ammonia in 4 litres of hot water. Rinse thoroughly when done.

Brighten up windows. Dirty, grimy windows can make any house look dingy. But it's easy to wipe away the dirt, fingerprints, soot and dust covering your windows. Just wipe them down with a soft cloth dampened with a solution of 1 cup of clear ammonia in 3 cups of water. Your windows will not only be crystal-clear, but streak-free to boot.

Fabric-softener sheets

Wipe soap scum from shower doors. If you're tired of scrubbing scummy shower doors, give it up. It's just as easy to wipe the soap scum away with a used dryer fabric-softener sheet. Buff chrome to a brilliant shine. After chrome is cleaned, it can still look streaky and dull, but whether it's your toaster or the hub caps on your car, you can easily buff up the shine with a used dryer fabric-softener sheet.


Remove tough scuff marks. Those tough black scuff marks on your kitchen floor won't be so tough anymore if you spray them with WD-40. Use WD-40 to help remove tar and scuff marks on all your hard-surfaced floors. It won't harm the surface, and you won't have to scrub nearly as much. Remember to open the windows if you are cleaning a lot of marks. Clean dried glue off surfaces. Clean dried glue from virtually any hard surface with ease. Simply spray WD-40 onto the spot, wait at least 30 seconds, then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Remove stickers from glass. You may wonder what manufacturers are thinking when they put stickers on glass surfaces. Don’t they know how hard it is to get off? When soap and water doesn't work and you don’t want to ruin a fingernail or risk scratching delicate glass with a blade, try a little WD-40. Spray it on the sticker and glass, wait a few minutes and then use a plastic spatula or acrylic scraper to scrape the sticker off. The solvents in WD-40 cause the adhesive to lose its stickiness.

Clean toilet bowls. You don't need a bald genie or a specialised product to clean ugly gunk and lime stains from your toilet bowl. Use WD-40 instead. Spray it into the bowl for a couple of seconds and swish with a nylon toilet brush. The solvents in the WD-40 will help dissolve the gunk and lime. Clean your fridge. When soap and water can't get rid of old bits of food stuck in and around your refrigerator, it’s time to reach for the WD-40. After clearing all foodstuffs from the areas to be treated, spray a small amount of WD-40 on each resistant spot. Then wipe them away with a rag or sponge. Make sure you wash off all the WD-40 before returning food to the fridge.