21 home hacks you should know in 2021
Many of the large purchases we make, like cars, appliances and electronics, come with a detailed owner’s manual to tell us how to care for them. And yet, for the largest purchase most of us will ever make – our home – there are many things that we figure out as we go. To help you start the year with ways to feel more comfortable at home, we have prepared a list of 21 home hacks you should know for 2021.
- Turn off the water before leaving for extended periods of time. Unless you have someone coming to check on the house every day while you’re away, turn off the water and let it all run out of the pipes before you leave. This can help prevent a pipe from bursting and avoid indoor flooding if it should happen anyway.
- Add holes to garbage cans to prevent bags from sticking. Many homeowners have had the unpleasant experience of a leaking bag sticking to the bottom of the garbage can. You can prevent this from happening by drilling a few small holes in the bottom of the can to allow for sufficient drainage.
- Apply painter’s tape before hammering in a nail. A small piece of painter’s tape over the spot where you plan to hammer in a nail can help prevent dust and keep the paint from chipping beyond the spot where the nail is going.
- Use soap to fill nail holes in a wall. Speaking of nailing holes in the wall, if you find out too late that the picture you just hung isn’t in the right space, you can fill the hole in the wall with a bar of soap. Simply run it counter-clockwise over the hole until it’s filled and wipe any excess soap on the wall.
- Use food colouring to identify a toilet leak. While water rates vary by province and municipality, a running toilet can cost a lot of money. This Toronto source estimates the cost is up to $81.47 – per day! You might not always hear a running toilet, but if you pour a few drops of food colouring in the back of the tank, you can spot a leak when the water in the bowl changes colour.
- Vinegar can be used in place of many household cleaners. From clearing soap residue from drinking glasses, to adding a streak-free shine to mirrors, or descaling the coffee maker, white vinegar can be used to replace many household cleaners with an inexpensive solution that is also safe to use around children and pets.
- Boiling hot water and salt can kill weeds. It’s frustrating when unsightly weeds appear between paving stones in your yard, and weed killing solutions are often unsafe to use. In fact, their use has been banned in some municipalities. However, you can take care of this problem by pouring a solution of boiling water mixed with salt on the weeds.
- Pipe cleaners make clothes hangers slip-proof. Some shirts and dresses come with plastic or fabric loops to help prevent slipping off the hanger, but not all articles of clothing include these loops, and they often break off during cleaning. Wrapping a pipe cleaner around the hanger near the shoulder creates a slip-proof surface.
- A leaky faucet is an easy DIY fix. Usually, the cause of a leaky faucet is a faulty washer that costs less than a dollar to replace. Simply shut off the water supply to the faucet, remove the handle and replace the washer. You’ll stop hearing the sound of your money going down the drain right away!
- Refrigerator condenser coils can be cleaned with a vacuum. Refrigerators are an expensive item to repair and replace, and the cause is often the result of condenser coils that have failed. You can save on that expense by pulling the fridge away from the wall and using the hose to vacuum any dust off the condenser coils.
- Cell phones and remote controls can be cleaned with alcohol wipes. Did you know your cell phone might have more germs on it than the average toilet seat? You can clean your phone, television remote and video game joysticks with an alcohol wipe to prevent germs from taking over.
- Baking soda can remove crayon from walls. While the so-called “magic eraser” is often touted as the best way to remove crayon from the walls, a little bit of baking soda on a damp cloth can also do the same trick. Life will never be the same for people with children!
- Mayonnaise makes plant leaves shine. Aside from gently dusting the leaves of house plants with a damp cloth, professional florists have another trick to help make leaves shiny: mayonnaise. Put a dollop of mayonnaise on a dry cloth and wipe it onto the top sides of the leaves and, voila – instant shine!
- Remove rings from wooden furniture. While the mayonnaise is out of the fridge, it can also be used to remove cup rings from wooden furniture. Simply use an amount about the size of a quarter on a clean kitchen cloth and rub the spot in a circular motion until the cup ring disappears.
- Use binder clips to keep desk surfaces tidy. With so many people working at home these days, we’re making do with the materials we have at hand. In some cases, that means working at the dining room table in a mess of cords and cables. To keep those cables secured, thread them through the loops of a binder clip and then clip it to the table. Then, when it’s time to use the dining room table for its intended purpose, you can simply unclip and move everything out of the way.
- Use tongs to clean blinds and ceiling fans. Blinds and ceiling fans are notorious for collecting dust. By using elastics to hold a slightly damp cloth on each arm of a set of tongs, blinds and ceiling fans can be cleaned without showering the surrounding area in a fine layer of dust.
- Shoe organizers can hold Lego pieces by colour. Anyone who has experienced the exquisite agony of stepping on a piece of Lego in the dark knows that storage can be a challenge. An inexpensive, over-the-door shoe rack with clear compartments can serve as a very effective system to sort and store those pesky pieces by colour.
- Noisy drawers can be silenced with soap. A drawer that makes a lot of noise as it opens and closes can be a nuisance. Make that drawer silent again by taking it out and rubbing a bar of soap along the rails to reduce or eliminate friction.
- Walnut can repair scratches in wood furniture. Wood furniture can add a classic look to any home, but dents and scratches in the wood can rob a piece of its beauty. Before shelling out money to refinish wood furniture, try rubbing the meat of a walnut over the scratch to see if the natural oils from the nut will do the trick.
- Shower heads can be unclogged with vinegar. Over time, especially in areas with hard water, shower heads can become clogged with mineral deposits. Rather than replacing the head, try soaking it in vinegar. Simply fill a plastic bag with vinegar, use elastic bands to secure it to the shower head and leave it to soak for at least an hour, and preferably overnight.
- Use corn starch to stop floor creaks. The old advice was to use baby powder to stop hardwood floors from creaking, but there are concerns about the health implications of talc powder. Instead, sprinkle corn starch on the floor and work it into the cracks until any squeaking stops.
You can learn more inexpensive ways to be more comfortable in our recent blog post, 5 fantastic upcycling ideas for your life at home. We are committed to providing you with valuable information for your home, finances, community, and well-being. Please follow @hometrustco on social media for updates all year long.
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