Taking Care of Your Small Kitchen Appliances Keeps Money in Your Pocket

Over time, the average person will spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on small Kitchen appliances. While some of the smaller items aren’t too expensive to replace, some of the larger ticket items (such as foodprocessors and high-end mixers) can be costly. Taking proper care of these items is easy and takes little effort. Here are some tips to help extend the life of your appliances and keep that cash in your pocket.

  • Always clean and dry Kitchen appliances as soon as you’re done using them.
  • Pay special attention to drying anything made out of metal, such as blades found in food processors and blenders. This will prevent rust.
  • For toasters, make sure to clean the slide-out tray located near the bottom. Keeping this space clear of crumbs will reduce the chance of fire or attracting bugs.
  • The best way to clean a microwave is to boil a mug of water in it. The steam from the water will help to loosen any food that has been stuck to the insides. Using an abrasive-free cloth or sponge will allow you to easily wipe away old food or residue.
  • To clean the inside of appliances such as the dishwasher blender, or food chopper, a simple solution of water mixed with vinegar does a great job. Generally, a half-cup of vinegar to one gallon of water works best. This cleaner also works well for floors and even windows.
  • With any item you are cleaning, make sure to keep the cords away from water. It is also important to remember to keep appliances unplugged for safety.
  • To keep the garbage disposal clean, put a little liquid soap into it, turn it on and run the cold water on high for about 3 minutes. Keeping the water cold will help to solidify any grease and then allows the disposal blades to break it up. If you’re looking to get a fresh scent for the disposal, cut a lemon in quarters and drop it in, then turn on the disposal. The fresh scent of lemons will last for several hours. In addition, one of the best ways to keep the garbage disposal in good working order is to use it frequently. This allows the blades to rotate and the keep the unit from rusting since it is constantly exposed to water.

Using these tips will help to keep your appliances in good working order and looking good as well, but remember to always read the manufacturer’s instructions that come with each appliance when purchased. Some units have pieces that come apart and others do not. Knowing exactly how your unit works helps to keep it working properly.

DIY Painting Tips for Homeowners

Painting is one of those home improvement projects that can seem simple to anyone not aware of the steps involved. Although most people want to get started right away and would like to have their project done quickly, there are several considerations before starting.

b2ap3_thumbnail_painting1-150x150The most important question to ask before you get started with any painting project is: Do you have the right tools? Painting requires more than just a brush and paint if you’re going to successfully change the color of any room. Here are some important items you’ll need before you get started.

  • Paint Chip Colors – Almost everyone starts with a good idea of what color you want a room to be. Paint chip samples are free at paint and home improvement stores, and you can select several tones in the color(s) you are considering. When you decide which two or three colors you like best, tape the paint chip cards to the wall and leave them there for several days. This will allow you to see the color in all lights at various times throughout the day. What looks good in the morning may not look so appealing in the late evening. Additionally, some paint stores even provide small paint samples so you can put a little on the wall, let it dry and see how you like it.
  • Drop Cloth – It doesn’t matter how careful you’re planning to be, tiny paint splatters will get the better of you if you don’t invest in a drop cloth. The best are thick canvas ones that will hold paint even if the can itself were to spill. Though the better-quality drop cloths can be pricey, keep in mind that your investment is long term — they can be reused for many years and projects to come.
  • Primer – Primer is necessary if the room is any color other than white to begin with. It serves three purposes: to help the paint better adhere to the wall, to prevent mold issues in areas such as bathrooms and to reduce the number of coats of paint to be applied for darker walls.
  • Paint Brushes and Rollers – There are different tools for different tasks. Select your brushes depending on whether you are using water- or oil-based paint; use angled brushes to “cut in” along baseboards and the ceiling. There are also a variety of rollers depending on the type of wall you are painting, such as a textured wall or ceiling versus a smooth finish. A sales rep at the home improvement store can assist you in finding the correct tools for your specific needs.
  • Painter’s Tape – Along molding and edges where you don’t want paint, use a quality painter’s tape. This will allow for straight lines. Test out the seal of the tape first by lightly painting around the tape to ensure no bleeding occurs. If it does, make sure to press the entire length of the tape against the wall before starting again.

In addition, to prep the area, remove outlet and light switch covers, move furniture out of the way, and have ladders or other equipment nearby and ready to go.

When you begin the project prepared, the job will not only be easier, but it will cause less stress and allow you to enjoy the process as well as the results.

Kitchen Organization for Tight Spaces

One of the most common complaints homeowners have about their kitchen is the lack of storage space. One solution is to hire a contractor to remodel your kitchen; but if you aren’t quite ready for that project, here are a few tips to help you create a well-organized kitchen in your existing space.

One of the best ways to increase storage space in the kitchen is to think vertically. Installing shelves, pot hangers and other vertical storage options will allow you to conveniently store many kitchen items – decreasing clutter within cabinets, drawers and closets. Other vertical spaces in kitchens that can double as storage options are the backs of doors, tops of cabinets and above the island. Basically,
b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC_0114B-150x150anywhere you can add shelves or hanging storage units will help with kitchen organization.

Stackable food containers are a great way to achieve kitchen organization in pantries and other areas where you store food (including the refrigerator). Airtight plastic containers are easy to reseal, they keep foods fresh, and because they are stackable, they keep things neat and orderly.

Store everyday cleaning supplies under the sink or in a designated area, and hang a broom and dustpan holder in an out-of-the-way-yet-convenient spot, such as the little gap beside the refrigerator. All other cleaning supplies that aren’t used as often can be stored in another area of your home – perhaps the garage, basement or laundry room.

Closet, cabinet and drawer organizers are available for purchase at most department stores – all are designed to keep your kitchen tidier. If you don’t find the solution you are looking for in the housewares department, check out office supply stores. They have many handy options that can easily be used in the kitchen.

Finally, if after organizing you find that you still have too much clutter in the kitchen, it may be time to downsize your kitchen belongings. Instead of keeping all of your rarely used small appliances (such as the ice cream maker or the bread machine) on the countertop or cabinets, find another home for them – a hall closet, or a shelf in the garage or basement. You can grab them when you want to use them, yet they aren’t taking up precious kitchen storage space.

By implementing these tips, you should be able to organize your kitchen space so it is more functional, less cluttered and overall more enjoyable to cook and entertain in.

How to Powerwash Exterior Siding Safely

Homeowners might want to power wash the exterior siding of their house for one of two reasons: to remove the dirt, grime, mold or mildew that’s adhered to the side of the house over time; or to prepare the siding to be repainted. In either case, it’s important to know how to safely and correctly powerwash – to protect yourself, your home’s exterior and the plants around your home.

b2ap3_thumbnail_powerwashSince some washing requires the use of chemicals, homeowners must understand that not all power washers are made the same. Before adding any chemicals or cleaning solutions to your power washer, refer to your owner’s manual to make sure it is built for this. Further, if you are washing above vegetation, consider cleaning solutions that are environmentally friendly – since water (and chemicals) will drip down onto the plants. Additionally, make sure your skin and eyes are protected.

Common siding materials include wood, cement fiber and vinyl. Wood and cement fiber siding are known for attracting mold and mildew, so you will want to use a cleaner that will help to prevent this recurring issue. Typically, a half-cup of bleach in a normal-size bucket of water will do the trick. And when you are finished with the power-washer, be sure to rinse out all of the bleach before storing it.

Vinyl siding, which doesn’t need painting, is much easier to maintain. Cleaning using a mild soap solution is the only maintenance that should be required. But keep in mind that you’ll need to rinse the soap from the siding thoroughly. Dried-on soap can ruin siding when the sun hits it day after day.

The biggest issue with cleaning exterior siding is safety. If you have a two-story house or higher, it may be in your best interest to hire a contractor to do the work for you. Since most power-washers have a powerful force, the chore isn’t conducive to using a ladder. For safety reasons, many professionals will use a bucket truck to hold the person cleaning, and your professional contractor will also take precautions to avoid breaking any lighting fixtures or damaging any shrubbery during cleaning.

Whether you’re just looking for a good cleaning or are prepping to repaint your house, when it comes to powerwashing, safety should be your number one concern — for you, your home and the living elements so important to your home’s exterior environment.

Learn About Energy Efficient LED Light Bulbs

Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs have been used for years in the electronics field, but over the past decade they have become a popular choice for the home – as they are energy efficient, and help people save money and preserve the environment. The problem is, many homeowners just don’t know what kind of LED to buy for their light fixtures. It can be a tiresome and frustrating process, as many manufacturers don’t tell you what wattage their LED bulb is equivalent to.

b2ap3_thumbnail_LED-lightingThough most of the time you will use LED bulbs for spotlights, tract lighting and recessed lighting, you can also use them for lamps. Companies are slowly improving the bulbs available, and you can usually find bulbs that will fit your reading and ceiling lamps, along with other types of lighting fixtures you may have. That means that you can replace you whole home with great energy-saving lighting!

Before you replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs, however, make sure the new bulb is suitable for your area. LED lights do not create that warm glow; instead, the light is bluer in color and can be brighter looking then incandescent lights.

Additionally, if you have never bought an LED light, start by replacing just one or two bulbs at first to see if you like them. Unfortunately, only after spending a lot of money on LED bulbs do homeowners find they don’t like them in their home – or in certain rooms of their home. A trial run in each room of your house will avoid this situation.

If you do find you like them, however, LED lights do last a long time – so you don’t have to replace them as often as you would a regular light bulb or a fluorescent bulb. Not only do you save money and use less power, but you also are helping to keep less waste in landfills, making the price of an LED bulb worth every penny for the environment.

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