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14 Handy Hints That’ll Help You Ace Your Home Maintenance To-Do List

With each season comes a new set of home maintenance to-dos. These brilliant tips from DIYers like you will help you get through your list quicker and easier than ever before!

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Furnace Filter

Furnace Filter Reminder

Whenever I buy a new box of furnace filters, my wife writes the months of the year on the individual filters (we change them monthly). That way, I always know when I last changed the filter. — Ernest Salinsky. Plus: It may surprise you that buying furnace filters at The Home Depot is different than at other stores. Here’s why.

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Remove Crayon Marks From Walls 1

Remove Crayon Marks From Walls

Have your walls been redecorated with some original crayon masterpieces? Don’t lose your cool. Just grab a rag, dip it in some baking soda and lightly scrub the marks. They will come off with a minimal amount of effort and give your young Picasso a fresh, new canvas. Here’s how to get rid of those tough vinyl stains too!

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Family Handyman

Use Plastic Grocery Bags for Washing Windows

When you’re up on a ladder washing windows, it can be a hassle to keep all your equipment within easy reach. I loop my belt through the handles of two old plastic shopping bags so they hang at my sides. Window spray and a roll of paper towels in one bag and my garbage in the other. I look a little goofy (or a lot), but it sure beats going up and down the ladder to retrieve a dropped roll of paper towels. — William Elias. Try out these 10 window washing tips from the pros.

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writing breaker number inside outlet cover

Note Breaker Number On Outlet Cover

I discovered this useful tip after some trial and error and many, many trips up and down the two flights of stairs in my home: Once I’ve determined which circuit that a switch or outlet belongs to, I jot down the breaker number on the inside of the outlet cover or light switch plate. This way the next time I need to work on that switch or receptacle, I know which breaker to flip and just a single trip down to the electric panel is all that’s needed. — Jason Nizolek

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Painted CarpetFamily Handyman

Spilled paint on your carpet? Don’t panic, do this:

I used to think dropping a loaded paintbrush on the carpet meant replacing the carpet, until a former foreman told me this little tip. Pour some denatured alcohol onto a rag and scrub away the paint. Use a rag that is as close in color to the carpet, as the alcohol can transfer some of the rag’s color to the carpet. – Tom Gerdowsky

Need some denatured alcohol? Buy it from Amazon here

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window screen labelsFamily Handyman

Label Your Window Screens

Each year I wash all my screens and storm windows assembly line–style. It can be a hassle getting each one back in the right window. To avoid mix-ups, I labeled each screen and storm with a permanent marker in an inconspicuous spot on an outside edge. Problem solved. — Linda Gum. Do you have a broken window screen? We’ll show you how to repair it yourself.

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Family Handyman

Properly Clean your Electric Stove

Electric stoves can be a pain to clean. Food spills get trapped under the burner coils and can become caked on and hard to remove. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that the coils have electric connections that need to be unhooked in order to really get a deep clean. Click here for the full article!

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magnetized drill

I like to keep screws very close at hand when I’m working on a project. How close? I stick them right to my drill. Some drills are equipped with a magnetized portion for this purpose, but if yours isn’t, here’s an easy fix. Hot glue a rare earth magnet to the back of your drill and slap a few screws on it. For small tasks, I don’t even need a tool belt. — Lucas Kuck

Rare earth magnets are great to keep on hand. Buy some here!

Check out these ingenious hacks and practical uses for rubber bands that go far beyond their intended use.

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HH Handy hint garbage can deodorizer boraxFamily Handyman

Keep Your Garbage Can Fresh

Borax, or sodium borate, is a naturally occurring substance and is an ingredient in many household cleaning products. If you have a smelly garbage can, deodorize it with equal parts borax and water. For our small garbage can, we used 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of borax. Let it soak and then rinse it out. Sprinkle some borax in the bottom once it’s dry, to keep bugs away and to absorb any future odor-causing moisture.

Check out these professional secrets that will make your house sparkle.

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HH Handy hint hairdryer remove command hookFamily Handyman

Remove a Stubborn Command Hook

Accidentally rip off the pull tab of a Command Hook? No big deal! You can still get it off damage-free. First, warm up the adhesive with a hairdryer. 30 seconds or so seems to be about right. Next, use dental floss or fishing line to gently cut through the adhesive strip. Rub off any remaining adhesive residue, and the Command Hook is ready to reuse! These 25 why-didn’t-I-think-of-that hacks will help you save time, get organized and work more efficiently in your kitchen.

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HH handy hint swiffer sweeper dryer sheetFamily Handyman

Dryer Sheet Floor Sweeper

Don’t throw away used dryer sheets. There’s another use for them. Wrap a couple of dryer sheets onto the flat head of a sweeper. The dryer sheets pick up dust and hair just as well as name-brand sweeper refills. Say goodbye to those dust bunnies!

Over the course of a week, these cleaning ideas will make the whole house shine. Spend one day on each room, so nothing is overlooked.

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HH newspaper streak free glassFamily Handyman

For More Than Just the News

If streaky mirrors and glass tug on your nerves, we’ll show you how to get streak-free glass with a couple of items already lying around your home. To get started, you’ll need window cleaner and newspaper. Spray window cleaner on your dirty glass and then scrub in a circular motion, using the newspaper. Switch to a vertical, and then a horizontal stroke until all the liquid has dissipated and you’re left with shiny, streak-free windows!

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HH Steam clean ovenFamily Handyman

Steam Clean Your Oven

A simple, natural way for cleaning your oven is to place an oven-safe pot or bowl filled with water inside. Set your oven to 450 degrees for 20 to 60 minutes to loosen dirt and grease with the steam. Once your oven is cool, wipe off the condensation and the grease will come with it. If stubborn spots persist, scrub with a paste of baking soda and lemon or vinegar.

This steam-cleaning option doesn’t take as long as pyrolytic cleaning and doesn’t produce smoke, either. It’s a win-win!

Have company coming to visit? Check out these 11 tips for speed cleaning your kitchen.

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slow filling washer clean the inlet screens

Clean the Inlet Screens

If your washing machine fills at a slow trickle, your inlet screens are likely plugged. These screens catch debris in the water supply and protect a washer’s internal parts. To get at them, turn off the water supply valves behind the washer, pull the machine out and disconnect the hoses. Remove the screens with needle-nose pliers. Be gentle; they’re easy to damage. Clean the screens or buy new ones at a home center or an appliance parts store. Carefully press them into place with a screwdriver. Before you reconnect the hoses, check them, too. Some contain screens that can be removed and cleaned just like inlet screens.

Does your washing machine have a different issue? Fix 90 percent of clothes washer breakdowns with these four easy fixes.