Quick fixes to common problems

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

As I write this, I’m looking outside at a cloudy, rainy day. I have used my coverlet for the past two nights to keep warm and I’ve started opting for boots over slippers when going out at night. Summer is definitely over. What lazy days used to be are now replaced with hectic schedules and long lists of chores.

While there is seemingly no time to take on big projects at home, little things are bound to come up that just can’t be ignored. Luckily, there are some quick fixes we can implement that take next to no time to do. Whether you have a whole weekend to devote to projects at home or just 15 minutes, these quick tips might come in handy:

• Remove a stripped screw. Get a wide rubber band and place it between the screw head and the end of a manual screwdriver. Apply firm pressure and rotate slowly. The rubber will help the screwdriver grip the screw head more tightly, especially in areas that may have gaps.

• Disguise bathtub mold. I’ve tried bleaching pens to disguise the black mold, but it just doesn’t work. First, tape off the areas above and below the affected caulk. Apply a thin layer of fresh caulk and let it cure overnight. Please note that this solution is not a permanent one, but a quick fix for a last-minute, temporary cleanup. To get rid of the problem properly, the moldy caulk should be removed completely and replaced.

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• Get the rust off your tools. Start by sprinkling salt on the affected area. Then squeeze the juice of one lime onto the salt. Let it sit for a few hours, then scrub it off using the lime rind. This also works with lemons. Keep tools from rusting by places some pieces of chalk or charcoal in each compartment of your toolbox that holds metal tools and hardware.

• Avoid paint drips while painting the ceiling by wrapping a cloth around the metal collar of the brush. Secure it with a rubber band or tape and it will absorb loose drippings.

• Clean a decanter (without a special tool). Squirt dish soap into the decanter and add warm water. Then add uncooked rice. Swirl the rice and soapy water around to remove the tannins from the sides. Pour out the contents over a colander and dispose of the rice. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat as necessary. Dry the decanter upside-down in a dish-towel-lined pot, which will keep it from falling over and breaking.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.