Fix Household Problems Without Spending a Dime
Save yourself a trip to the store and some money, too, by trying these smart work-arounds for common home-related gripes
Save yourself a trip to the store and some money, too, by trying these smart work-arounds for common home-related gripes. The best part of all? You probably already have these items in your cabinet.
If you've got: a squeaky door
Ideal solution: Marine grease—thick enough to adhere to a hinge without running and has enough lubrication to silence the noise
In-a-pinch fix: Bar soap
How it works: Rubbing soap onto the hinges and pins provides a layer of lubricant that stays put. The result: a hinge that doesn't make a peep.
If you've got: a slow drain
Ideal solution: A plumbing snake that breaks up the debris causing the clog
In-a-pinch fix: Baking soda and vinegar
How it works: When you pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar and then hot water, the chemical reaction forms a powerful foam that may cut through the gunk in your pipes.
If you've got: tarnished copper
Ideal solution: Copper cleaner containing citric or oxalic acid, or a mild abrasive, such as fine red jeweler's rouge
In-a-pinch fix: Lemon juice mixed with rock salt
How it works: Air causes copper to oxidize and turn color. The acid from the lemon eats away at the oxidation, while the coarse salt provides a hefty dose of scouring power.
If you've got: a creaky floor
Ideal solution: Graphite powder, which provides a soft, microfine layer of lubricating particles
In-a-pinch fix: Talcum powder
How it works: Sprinkled into the grooves of your floor, talc can dampen the squeak of two boards rubbing together. The loose boards still slide, just more quietly.
If you've got: a stuck window
Ideal solution: Silicone spray, which provides a slick, long-lasting coating for window tracks
In-a-pinch fix: A candle
How it works: Rub the stub of a paraffin or beeswax candle along the tracks to leave a trail of waxy residue. This will help the window slide with less friction, so it won't stick.
If you've got: a grimy vent filter
Ideal solution: Chemical degreasers, which contain solvents that cut through grime in range-hood filters
In-a-pinch fix: Rubbing alcohol
How it works: Alcohol dissolves greasy muck, making it easier to remove, but is also flammable, so clean the filter in the sink and rinse well.