Home Maintenance For Dummies
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One of the more basic forms of home maintenance is also simple: cleaning. Nobody loves to clean, but the following homemade formulas make cleaning a breeze. Plus, you always know what’s in the cleansers you’re using.

  • All-Purpose, Handy-Dandy Cleaner: This solution works well to clean and freshen just about any surface. When cleaning surfaces in your home, regularly inspect each for any damage or deterioration and fix each promptly; doing so can help stave off costly repairs in the future. Simply mix together 1 teaspoon borax, 1/2 teaspoon washing soda, 2 teaspoons white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid, and 2 cups hot water.

  • Mildew Cleaning Formula: Left to its own devices, mildew can get so bad that the only solution is to re-grout your tub. You can stave off this home maintenance task by staying on top of the cleaning with this handy solution.

    This solution works well for removing mildew on painted or washable surfaces, inside and out, including walls, showers, tile, grout, flooring, siding, roofing, and concrete. Add 1 quart chlorine bleach to 3 quarts warm water. To this, add 1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent. Apply the solution using a spray bottle or sponge, and allow it to sit for about ten minutes, but don’t let it dry out. Rinse with fresh water and towel-dry. A light brushing with a nylon scrub brush and more than one application may be required.

    Even though the solution is mild, wear rubber gloves and safety goggles, and have plenty of ventilation.

    Note: Our Mildew Cleaning Formula works great, but if you’re looking for a green alternative, try spraying lemon juice or vinegar on mildew stains, letting it sit for 3 minutes, and then scrubbing.

  • Drain Cleaner and Freshener: Clogged drains are a common home maintenance repair. You can prevent this problem by keeping your drains clean and fresh with this formula. Boil 2 quarts of water. Pour 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of baking soda, and 1 cup of vinegar into the drain. Allow the solution to fizz for about 30 seconds, and then pour in the boiling water. For maximum results, do this once a month at bedtime when the sink won’t be used for several hours.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

James Carey and Morris Carey Jr. share their 55+ years of experience as award-winning, licensed contractors with millions of people nationwide through a weekly radio program and syndicated newspaper column, both titled On The House. They also appear regularly on CBS News Saturday Morning.

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