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We all fancy ourself as Mr Fix-it so it can be embarrassing when we're done in by a leaky faucet. Here's how you can save face - and a few dollars - with your home repairs.
CLOGGED DRAINS Instead of plunging and plunging and *gasp* plunging, go wet a piece of rag. Use this wet cloth to block the overflow holes near the rim of the sink or tub and then plunge again, says Spike Carlsen, a former contractor and the author of A Splintered History Of Wood. “Otherwise you’re pushing air around instead of forcing water through the clog.”
SAGGING DOORS You try to tighten the hinges but the screws just keep on turning. Remove the loose screws and pound wooden golf tees dipped in white glue into the holes. When they’re dry, cut off the protruding parts of the tees and then reinstall the screws. Now they’ll take.
OLD WALLPAPER Almost as boring as watching paint dry is trying to remove old wallpaper. You punctuate periods of ineffectual scraping with fits of swearing. Take it easy and fill a spray bottle with a quart of warm water and two tablespoons of liquid fabric softener, says Carlsen. Spray the wallpaper and let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes before you scrape again.
RUSTY SHOWER HEAD You've noticed the water in your showers are a funny tinge of brown but you reckon you can't be that dirty. Time to clean up that old shower head? Bombarding it with highly toxic bathroom cleaners doesn't seem to work though.
What you can do is fill a plastic grocery bag halfway with white vinegar and submerge the shower head by tying the top of the bag to the pipe above. Wait an hour, remove the bag and run the shower to flush it.
CREAKY WOOD FLOORS You drive nails into every board, but still hear the creak. Solution? Grab some talcum powder and sprinkle a little between the boards. “The creaks are coming from between the tongues and grooves, and the key is to halt the friction,” says Carlsen.