Effective and Inexpensive House Cleaning Materials

Household cleaning products and gadgets need not be expensive to get good results. Listed below are ordinary items which can double as cleaning agents.

Bathtub cleaner
Have a plastic bottle filled with diluted dishwashing liquid near your fiberglass bathtub enclosure. To get rid of the soapy film after you shower, sponge on the diluted liquid and rinse. It would leave a beautiful shine.

When you grate orange or lemon rind, use a new toothbrush to make the grater clean and do away with waste.

Crystal clear
Wash crystal prisms from chandeliers safely and promptly in a French fry basket. Just dip them multiple times in a solution of hot water and detergent till they're clean. Rinse them in clear water and drain in the basket.

Dishwasher Cleaner
Having hard water in your home calls for a weekly cleaning of your dishwasher. Run it through a cycle with vinegar. Rather than wasting the cycle, pull together all your glass knickknacks and seldom-used bar glasses and run them through as well.

Eyeglass cleaner
Keep a small spray bottle of glass cleaner with your cosmetics and every morning clean your glasses after putting on your makeup. Works like a charm!

Grout Mildew Remover
Grout stains made by mildew can not be removed by detergent alone. Instead, scrub grout using an old toothbrush dipped in a solution of 1 part laundry bleach to 4 parts water. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.

Quick Duster
The most manageable dust cloth would be an old potholder shaped like an oven mitt. Just turn it inside out, spray the furniture using your favorite dusting product and wipe. For especially tough spots, spray both sides of the mitt and rub your hand on all corners or in little crevices. Cotton work gloves does the trick as well.

Garage oil cleanup
Cat litter is wonderful for absorbing oil drips on the garage floor or the driveway. It is also very much cheaper than commercial oil absorbents.
Pour dry laundry detergent on oil spots. Place a small amount of water to make a paste and allow it to sit. The next day you will be able to wash the stains away quite easily. For more stubborn stains, employ a wire brush to help get oil and dirt out of the crevices.

Glass Door Cleaner
The glass doors on fireplace screens gather loads soot. To clean the glass, use an oven cleaner. Spray on the glass, allow to sit around 20 minutes and wipe it clean.

Jewelry rinse
When you're done cleaning jewelry using your favorite product, place the jewelry in a fine tea strainer and rinse every item well under the faucet without worrying of losing tiny pieces down the drain.

Lemon shine
Don't discard squeezed lemon slices just yet. Rub them on faucet fixtures, rinse and dry. They make chrome sparkle!

Nylon netting
There are several uses for nylon netting: as a dishrag, a pot scrubber, a lint-remover. Another use for the stiff but not too abrasive material is to speed up the removal of ice when you're defrosting the refrigerator. Just dip the netting in hot water first.

Soft scrubber
Use tiny squares of leftover carpeting to wash heavily textured plaster walls. The thick pile cleans the deep uneven surfaces without tearing up and is soft enough to scrub without scratching.

Squeaky clean
If you're using a sinkful of hot water to rinse the dishes, add a capful of vinegar to cut excessive grease or soap. It will give your dishes a clean, sparkling look.
Wash plastic-laminated counter and vanity tops using detergent and wipe dry. Remove stubborn stains by rubbing them with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda. If this does not do it, wipe with a cloth dipped in laundry bleach (test first to be sure this won't harm the top's color). Rinse well.

Vase Cleaning
If a favorite vase has become muddy inside and it's impossible to get your hand in to clean it, you can try this: Fill the vase with warm water, put in a denture tablet and let it sit. The vase will be clean very fast.

Window Cleaning
Never wash windows in direct sunlight; it tends to make them streak. Most commercially available glass cleaners work well. Squeeze the sponge almost dry before washing and prevent dripping water onto painted wood around the window. Stubborn streaks on glass can usually be removed using solution of 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water. Rinse and wipe dry.

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By Tip Writer

Cleaning Walls, Upholstery, and Furniture at Home

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House cleaning can be an overwhelming matter to think about. We may wish to shrug and put it off until the next week, or next month or next year. However, this is a reality each one of us needs to face. Do the cleaning task portion by portion to make the task easier. Here are cleaning tips for walls, upholstery, and carpets:

Interior walls
The paint job you imagined necessary might not be after all! To clean painted walls, clean with a vacuum to remove dust and wash them using a sponge dipped in a mild detergent solution. Wring out excess water and rinse the sponge when it gets dirty. Always wash walls starting from the bottom up to keep detergent from running down onto a dirty surface, creating streaks that could be difficult to take out.

Wall coverings
A lot of today's wall coverings can be washed off the same way as painted walls. However, if your wallpaper isn't washable, it can be cleaned using a wad of fresh bread or a dough-type wallpaper cleaner sold in several wall covering stores. Roll the material over the surface of the paper to lift up soil and keep folding it to expose a clean surface.

Upholstered furniture
Use a vacuum to remove dust and dirt from upholstery and clean with a commercial upholstery shampoo. You can also combine 1 part mild dishwashing liquid with 4 parts water and whip to bring out lots of foam. Put on the foam using a brush. Scrub one cushion or section at a time, trying not to wet the fabric more than necessary. Wipe away the foam with damp cloths or blot dry with towels.
A rug-cleaning machine that has a hand nozzle will do an even better job of cleaning upholstery. Shampoo each item by hand as described above, then go over them again with the machine to pull up deeply embedded dirt.

To thoroughly get out embedded dirt, use a vacuum having a power-driven rotary brush (vacuums that rely only on suction do not do as good a job). Spots left behind by food or beverages can be removed by rubbing lightly using a cloth dipped in a solution of 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid in 1 quart water. Don't wet the carpet any more than necessary. Blot dry with paper toweling. Greasy stains that are not water-soluble can be wiped clean using a cloth dampened with dry-cleaning solvent. A small plant mister or spray bottle kept filled with liquid rug shampoo and stashed away in a closet near your carpeted rooms makes it easy to spray and wipe up spills and soiled areas at once.

Instead of shuffling furniture from one room to another to shampoo the carpet, you will be able to save time and effort by putting a small plastic bag over each furniture leg and securing it with a rubber band. Then move the furniture aside to shampoo the area and bring back the furniture to its original spot right away; the bags can be taken out after the rug has dried.

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By: Tip Writer © 2012


Interior Home Decorating Ideas and Activities for Winter

Some people live where it's technicolor all year round. But for the rest of those who experience winter, here are some tips for brightening the homes and actually capitalizing on winter without leaving home.

Flowers in Winter
There is nothing like seeing fresh flowers in the middle of the winter to make a house cheerful. Have some small plants with white blossoms and dark green leaves in painted clay pots that sit on shelves in the kitchen and in a rustic basket on your dining table. They are clean and pure and little reminders of living things that make you look forward to spring. If no fresh flowers are available dried flowers will also do. But be sure you had them prepared way ahead.  Here's how to dry flowers.

Touch ups
Take charge of small areas of your house, like window sills and baseboards, and give them all a home makeover. This would put you way ahead of spring when it arrives and you actually would rather be in the garden. Plus, this is among the cheapest ways to improve the look of your house for virtually no effort or money.

Cooking for Later
When it's cold outdoors, use the time to make double batches of dinners that can be stored in the freezer for days when you'd rather do other matters. It's fun to experiment with dishes on winter weekends, and just the heat and aroma from cooking would add warmth and cheer to your home. You could also use the indoor time to get creative with your cooking so you could set a stylish table with a meal to complement it.

Try a new furniture arrangement that could make a room cozier for winter. Place a colorful wool blanket or warm throw to the back of a sofa or chair. Put some books on the coffee table for a spur-of-the moment read on the sofa, while you wrapped in that warm mohair throw.

Begin a New Project
Get all the stuff together, make a place to work, and start a project like a cross-stitch sampler or a needlepoint pillow, or learn to faux paint an old piece of furniture.

Most interior designers agree that the quickest and easiest way to totally change the ambiance of a room is to use fabric. Even a really simple, inexpensive fabric can soften a space and add warmth. Ever thought up upholstering walls? It brings a luxurious feeling to a room, covers up flaws, and helps soundproof. It's a classy way to add flair for minimal investment.

Decorator's Touch
Furnishing a brand new house can be overwhelming. A lot of people seek help from professionals. How does a design professional help you create a well-designed, beautifully put-together, and comfortable house that does not look "done"? Firstly, they give you access to showrooms for products, fabrics, and a wide array of colors and styles, sometimes without leaving home. They could help save you pricy mistakes and can give creative ideas for using what you have or solving present house problems.

Plans for the Future
Even when you don't go so far as to redecorate you home, planning to do so can be loads of fun. Make a wish list and keep a scrapbook of cutouts from magazine pages for the things you would like to have or the look you'd like to accomplish if time and money were no object. Gather up swatches of fabrics, paint color chips, and free booklets from home centers.

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© 2011 by Ecapz Tip Writer


The Best Time for Garden Bargain Shopping

Discerning shoppers know that the best garden sale events are held during specific months of the year such as January "white sales," spring sale, and year-end clearance sales. There are also bargains that gardeners and landscapers can look forward to when they focus on similar events on the calendar. March is a great time to shop for bare-root roses; while in June, annual plant prices are being marked down; spring-flowering bulbs are at bargain prices in July; September is a great shopping moment for roses, spring-blooming bulbs, and perennials; and October is generally the best time to buy fruit trees, shade trees, and shrubs at sale prices.

Annual Bargains

If you are bargain shopping for flowers and vegetable annuals, look for short, bushy, and green plants.  Avoid buying those that look "stretched out" and arched dangling lower leaves. Select the most rigid - looking breeds; these will likely endure the stresses of transplanting the most.

Best Deals in Bulbs

When on the lookout for garden plants for sale, find the ones that are huge, smooth, heavy, and firm bulbs. Refuse the ones that have moldy flecks and those that are shriveled or cushy. Also, don't buy bulbs that have already started to sprout.

© Athena Goodlight 

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Woodworking Tool: The Plane

Almost everyone will agree that the hand plane is possibly the most fun woodworking tool. A plane is simply a chisel enclosed a metal or wooden base to make it easier to use both hands and work a lot more quickly, lifting off at each stroke a very thin wood shaving. While using a plane, you can actually start to feel the pleasure of carpentry; the aroma of wood rising towards your nostrils; beautiful curled shavings come up from the blade; the area behind the plane (as long as you're planing along the grain, as you should be) is smoothened and slick.

When about to use the plane, check the blade before adjusting it. You'll find that by taking out the lever cap, the blade may be removed easily. A cap iron is screwed on the blade which rests slightly in back from the sharp edge on the un-beveled side. The cap iron serves as a planing deflector. The cap iron's sharp edge and the little flat surface that is set next to the cutter must lie tightly along the full width of the blade since they are screwed together. This prevents shavings from going between them.  When placing the blade back in the plane, be sure to place the cap iron topmost on the unbeveled side of the blade. Replace the lever cap, locking it with the little cam at the top.

More about hand planes: Tips on Using the Hand Plane

© 2012 Athena Goodlight


Preparations Before Molding, Panels, and Frames Installation

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The more popular types of moldings include the half-round, quarter-round, flat-edge, beaded, grooved, and fluted styles. Depending on the function and matching design, modifications are made for casings, baseboards, picture frames, coves,  paneling, cabinetwork, and battens.

Panels and frames should be mitred and may be connected using dowels, splines, glue, corrugated fasteners, screws, or nails. Where mitre joints are glued, the end grain must first be fitted using a thin coat of adhesive. This coat of glue should be dried and be scraped up smoothly prior to applying the last coat of glue. Mitring is also crucial for moldings utilized for edgings. For this type of edge, moldings must be cut into 4 slightly oversized pieces to give adequate stock left to give allowance for mitred corners. The moldings should first be set in place and any irregularities trimmed using a plane. It recommended to use a rabbet, mortise and tenon, or other concealed joint. If a power tool is used to cut the wood, a wooden spring should be clamped to the ripfence to clasp the molding on the dado blades. Use a stick to push the molding on the fence into the blade.

Moldings frequently have a hard grain and may deflect a brad. To minimize this issue, simply by drill a small hole using a brad with head removed (or a fine steel needle cut off above the eye) as a bit. Another safeguard is chopping off the tip of the nail before nailing it into the wood.

Read more on moldings:
Functions of Moldings For Home Interiors and Woodwork

© 2012 Athena Goodlight

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Functions of Moldings For Home Interiors and Woodwork

A molding is considered the easiest "finishing touch" you could apply to your woodwork.  With the proper power tools, you can create your unique designs or make any of the many different versions.  Of course, you may buy ready-made moldings at the lumber yard.  They are also sold in stores wherein you can choose from dozens of various patterns. Some moldings come already finished in common stains or varnishes.

Moldings are the popularly used to frame items but they're also applied as a completion edging on a plywood top, a tray, or whatever plain border. They can be used to increase the size of a contour or to conceal a join or a flaw.  On a big surface area, they can be applied to create the effect of a smaller board, perhaps coordinating with the shape of a window or a door, or in a diamond or an octagonal shape. It can also function as a finishing touch on the crown of a cabinet, column, or on as a base.  Moldings serve mainly for decorative purposes. To hold these on thin wood panels, backing cleats can initially be screwed to the base part, next, the molding is secured to the cleats with screws from the inner part. Moldings can also used to keep windows and screen doors in position.  The same goes for panel moldings on doors, drawer fronts, and such. However you use the moldings, it is recommended to apply some sealant or paint on the area under the molding to prevent warping or decay.

© 2012 Athena Goodlight 

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Common Types of Screws

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Choosing the best shape for the screw depends upon the purpose it must serve. Here are the most common shape and sizes of screws:

Flat head - This screw is the most popular and can be counter-sunk, meaning, screwed in until its head is level with or somewhat below the surface of the stock. 

Oval head - This screw type can be countersunk and commonly sunk to the rim, it usually bulges out a bit.

Round head - The screw head has a slightly decorative function for it bulges out totally.

Fillister head - The head is shaped like three checkers atop each other to be easily countersunk.

Bung head- The little head, not much wider than the shank, can be comfortably countersunk.

Binding head - This screw type has slightly tapered sides and round top.

Lentil head -This screw is shaped like a little M & M candy.

Headless- The slot of this screw is recessed in the stem.

Truss head, or stove head - The head of this screw is wide and thin.

Pan head - As the name implies, the head is formed like an inverted frypan, narrower on the top, flat on top and bottom.

Drive - A steel, spiral knurl (an elevated twirl) is tempered to make the screw easily driven into soft metal.

Dovel -It is a wood screw with threads on both ends.

Winged - The screw head is shaped like a wing for it to be turned using the fingers.

Hanger bolt -This is basically a wood screw on one end and a machine bolt on the other.

© 2012 Athena Goodlight

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What Types of Glues Can Be Used for Woodwork?

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Comparably, the best, and possibly the most arduous work in wood joining is done by gluing. Anyone can do an average gluing job without much thought or trouble; but a suitable, lasting joint, even stronger than the wood itself, can only be possible the right glue is used and if the glue is applied properly.

The effectiveness of a glued joint is determined by (1) kind of wood, (2) its moisture content, (3) type of joint, (4) precision where contact surfaces match, (5) kind of glue and the method of its preparation, handling, and application, 6) level and length of pressure used when setting, (7) process of conditioning glued joints, and (8) service conditions.

Basically, heavy woods are harder to glue than light woods; hardwoods are more toilsome to glue than softwoods; and heartwoods are more difficult to glue as compared to sapwoods.

There are eight types of commonly used glues available commercially. Of these, the first six are especially useful for the home carpenter: (1) liquid glue, (2) blood - albumin glue, (3) casein glue, (4) synthetic resin glue, (5) vegetable glue, (6) rubber compounds, (7) cellulose cement, and (8) animal glue. There are a lot of ready-made glues on the market that are user-friendly, but the hobbyist would want to know about some of the glues utilized by professionals.

Additional details of the qualities of each glue type can be seen here: Types Woodwork Glues

© 2012 Athena Goodlight 

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Getting Ready to Varnish Woodwork

Varnish is mainly used for wood finishing tasks, to preserve the natural state of the wood applying no additional finish, to preserve a stain coating, and to maintain and refinish an old furniture.

It is easy to create varnish finishes. The wood, of course, should be filled, and then shellacked, then it is readied for a light sanding for finishing. The common varnish finish consists of one or two coatings of rubbing varnish followed by a coating of sealant.

There are various varnishes that are used in finishing, both for cabinetry and for other functions in the home.

Start out with all your equipment ready and in place:


clean varnish pots


closed brush keeper

picking stick

tack rag


sheets of 6/00 split-garnet polishing paper

For wood staining and shellacking, the surface must be properly ready for varnishing because varnish is generally sheer. Old wood may be washed with laundry soap or dishwashing detergent, and then lightly sanded with No. 00 paper. Be careful not to remove parts of underlying color that should remain visible. Once the original paint has cracked or peeled, remove it through sanding or by applying chemicals.

Varnishing must be performed in a dust-free, well ventilated room, at a temperature higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Simply use a varnish brush for this varnishing job.

Read more about varnishing techniques:   DIY Varnishing: Tips on Creating a Good Varnish Finish 

© 2012 Athena Goodlight