by Brent T.
There are few things more frustrating than beginning a repair, cleaning task or do-it-yourself project only to discover that you don’t have the items on hand that you need to complete the job. Often, products that you already have in your pantry, cleaning closet or toolbox can get the job done, sometimes more effectively than commercial products that you buy in stores.
DIY Drain Cleaner
Commercial drain cleaners can work for clogged drains but can be hard on pipes. Before calling in a plumber, try this handy recipe. Mix together equal parts salt/baking soda and pour the mixture down the drain. Follow up with an equal part of white vinegar. The baking soda reacts to the vinegar, creating a frothing solution. Wait 20 minutes, and then rinse with hot water.
If the baking soda/salt/vinegar solution doesn’t unclog a sink’s drain, you may still be able to unclog the drain yourself. Removing the P-trap, the U-shaped section of pipe under the sink, is not difficult. Place a bucket under the sink first to catch any run-off water. Use tongue-and-groove pliers to twist the P-trap loose.
Homemade Oven Cleaner
For those without self-cleaning ovens, baking soda works well as an oven cleaner as well. Create a paste with the baking soda and water and apply it liberally, being careful to avoid the oven’s heating elements. Allow the paste to harden for 8 hours, and then remove it with the help of a plastic spatula. Once cleaned, line the bottom of the oven with foil to make future clean-ups easier.
Unscrewing Rusted Nuts
A rusted nut can stop a DIY project short, but a few tricks can get things going again. First, never use pliers to try to wrench a rusted nut free. You’re likely to wind up stripping the nut. Instead, use a socket wrench. If the nut won’t budge one direction, try the opposite direction. Once loosened, you should be able to reverse directions easily. If the nut is still stuck and a light tap isn’t enough to shake the rust free, try heat. A hand-held hair dryer can heat the metal enough so that it expands slightly, freeing the nut.
Using brushes to dust off fabric-covered surfaces like lampshades and curtains can send dust flying. Lint rollers, if used regularly, offer a sneeze-free solution. You can easily fashion a DIY lint roller with a toilet paper roll and adhesive tape such as duct, masking or packaging tape.
After you’ve completed your projects, repairs and cleaning tasks, be sure to stock up again during your next shopping trip so that you’ll everything you need to tackle your next DIY project.