Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How to Snake Clean Dryer Vents

A dryer vent snake is commonly called a rotary vent auger. A brush is mounted onto flexible rods, and just like a motorized plumbing snake, it is attached to a drill and sent into the dryer vent duct. The turning action of the brush works just like a plumbing snake to remove any clogs in a dryer vent, like lint and other clothes debris, and they will even remove blockages from birds or other animal nests, squirrel caches and any other types of animal infestation. Plugged dryer vents can ignite under the right circumstances, so keeping a vent clear is a must.

1.      Remove the dryer vent cover outside your home with a screwdriver, if applicable. Some vent covers just slide on and off the dryer duct and some are screwed on. Look for screws on the direct front of the vent at the corners. If you do not find any screws, pull the dryer vent cover off the duct by turning it side to side as you pull.

2.      Measure the length of your duct with a tape measure. This will give you a general idea of how long the snake needs to be to reach from end to end.

3.      Assemble the auger snake. Screw a flexible rod onto the auger brush and hand-tighten it. Screw the next rod onto the back of the attached rod, and continue doing this until all of the rods are attached or you have determined how long the snake must be to reach from end to end.

4.      Attach the rod end into the drill chuck. Tighten the rod into the chuck securely.

5.      Insert the brush end of the snake into the dryer duct and turn the drill on. Begin rotating the brush on the lowest speed possible and slowly feed the brush into the dryer vent. The rotating action will clean and break through any debris that may be clogging the dryer duct, and the flexible rods will bend at sharp angles and follow the duct work all the way to the dryer. Push the brush all the way in, then slowly pull it out, rotating the entire time.

6.      Flush the duct by either turning on the dryer and allowing the air to blow it out or place a wet/dry vacuum at the vent mouth and suck the lint and other debris out. Replace the vent cover when finished and break down the snake back into its original state until next time.

Things You Will Need
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Dryer vent snake auger
  • Variable speed drill
  • Wet/dry vacuum, if applicable
  • Snake your dryer vent yearly as a maintenance task. If your dryer suddenly begins to take a longer drying time than normal, or if there is suddenly a buildup of humidity inside the room where the dryer resides, snake the vent and clean it out.

  • Always unplug the dryer before beginning to snake the vent.
  • A variable speed drill is a must for this application. A drill with only one speed will rotate the snake too fast and may cause irreparable damage to the dryer duct system.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Naturally Clean Washing Machine

When using appliances like washing machines and dishwashers — putting soap in and taking clean things out — one can sometimes forget that the appliance itself needs a good cleaning now and then. This can also be done very naturally and without a lot of harsh chemicals if you choose to use vinegar instead of bleach. 

What You Need
  • White Vinegar or Bleach 
  • Baking Soda
  • Toothbrush
  • Microfiber Cloth

1. Fill the washer using the highest load size, hottest water setting, and longest wash.
2. Open the lid and as the washer tub fills, add a quart of white vinegar (or bleach).
3. Next, add a cup of baking soda.
Close the lid and allow the washer to agitate for about a minute. Open the lid again and allow the water, vinegar, and baking soda to soak in the washer tub for an hour.
4. Meanwhile, remove any parts you can and soak them and clean nooks and crannies under the lid.
Soak and scrub removable parts like the bleach and fabric softener wells. Dry them thoroughly and replace. Using a toothbrush, clean the upper portion of the agitator and hard-to-reach areas under the lid and around the rim of the tub. You can also use this time to clean the front and sides of the machine, but don't close the lid yet!
5. After an hour, close the lid and allow the cycle to complete.
During this time, you can clean the top of the washing machine, the dials, and console with vinegar solution.
6. Repeat.
Run one more hot wash with a quart of vinegar in it to clean away any residue loosened and left behind by the first cycle.
7. Once the washer has drained, wipe the sides and bottom of the tub with vinegar solution to remove any last residue.

You can prolong the cleanliness of a fresh washing machine by leaving the lid open between uses. This allows the interior to dry out thoroughly and prevents mildew.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Clean a Burnt Flat-top Stove

A combination of cleaner, moisture and safe scraping helps remove cooked-on food remnants on a flat stove top to return your kitchen to an aesthetically pleasing and functional space.

Prep the Surface
Let the stove top completely cool down if you just finished cooking. This allows you to safely work on the burnt patch without burning yourself. Wipe off as much of the area as you can with a clean rag. If the patch is fresh, some of the food may come up just by wiping.

Use Cleaner
Several companies make cleaners designed for stove tops. Spread a layer of the cleaner over the burnt patch. Scrub the cleaner into the patch with a non-abrasive rag. Wipe away the remaining cleaner to check the progress of the cleaning. If the patch remains, spread another layer of the stove top cleaner on the area.

Scrape the Patch
If scrubbing with a cleaner and rag isn't enough, use a razor scraper along with the cleaner to remove the remnants. Hold the blade at a 45-degree angle against the surface of the ceramic cook top. This angle gives you the best leverage and helps avoid scratches in the surface. Apply light pressure as you scrape the razor across the ceramic surface. Wipe off the cleaner and pieces scraped off the patch. Repeat the process as needed to remove any remaining areas of burnt food.

Do not use the corner of a razor blade or hold it at a 90-degree angle as you may scratch and damage the cook top surface.

Home Remedy

Another approach is to use household items and warm moisture to loosen the burnt patch. Mix a paste of baking soda and water. Cover the patch with the baking soda mixture. Moisten a cloth with warm water and place it over the stain for about 30 minutes. Much of the burnt patch should wipe away.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Window Unit Air Conditioners

Most window air conditioners have an expanding curtain on either side to help seal any gaps between the window frame and the air conditioner, but sometimes this seal isn’t perfect. Even extremely small gaps can leak air, which reduces the efficiency of your air conditioner and may let bugs and dust into your home. There are several ways to seal these gaps, but the simplest method is to use adhesive-backed open-cell foam weather-stripping to fill the space and prevent air leakage. Smaller gaps can also be filled with a claylike material called rope caulk.

Gaps Larger than 1/8 Inch

  1. Clean the surface of the window and air conditioner around the gaps. Remove dirt, grease and dust to ensure proper adhesion of the weather-stripping.
  2. Measure the length of the first gap. Cut a piece of adhesive-backed foam weather-stripping to this length.
  3. Peel the paper backing off the cut strip of weather-stripping and position the seal, sticky side up, along the underside of the window frame.
  4. Press the strip along the window frame to get a smooth, tight seal. Do not adhere the weather-stripping so that it rests in front of the gap. This will not seal it properly. The foam must be within the gap so that it expands to give an airtight seal.

Narrow or Hard-To-Reach Gaps

  1. Measure the length of gaps that are 1/8 inch thick or smaller. Tear off a length of rope caulk to match. Rope caulk is similar to putty or modeling clay but is removable at the end of the cooling season when you remove your air conditioner.
  2. Press the caulk into the gap. If the gap is deep, you may need to press two pieces into the gap to fill it completely.
  3. Smooth the caulk and wipe away excess from the window frame and air conditioner with a dry cloth.

Things You Will Need:
Tape measure
Adhesive-backed foam weather-stripping
Utility knife
Rope caulk

Gaps larger than 1 inch should be filled with fiberglass insulation stuffed into the gap tightly.
In most types of windows, gaps are commonly found along the top, where the window meets the air conditioners, at the corners and along the bottom at the sill.

If the rope caulk is still clean and flexible when you remove your air conditioner, peel it off the window and store it in a sealed plastic bag for later use.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fixing Dented Stainless Steel

How to Remove a Dent from a Stainless Steel Refrigerator

Refrigerators made from stainless steel can often become dented when they reside in a busy restaurant kitchen or a busy home. Although a dent may not affect the performance of a refrigerator, it can usually cause a refrigerator to become unattractive, especially since dents in stainless steel are more noticeable due to the metal's reflective and shiny properties. A dent can be removed from a stainless steel refrigerator using a hair dryer and dry ice. Continue reading this article to learn about the dent removal procedure.

Clean the dented area of your refrigerator.
Cleaning the affected section will allow you to see the dent clearly, and will prevent any dirt, food particles, and other elements from negatively affecting the dent removal procedure.
Use a soft cloth, rag, or paper towels to remove any existing grime from the dented section of the refrigerator.

Heat up the perimeter of the dented area.
Use a hair dryer for between 30 seconds and 1 minute. The purpose of using the hair dryer is to heat up the metal so that it expands slightly. Use the hair dryer's medium or warm setting to avoid overheating the metal.

Place thick, heavy-duty gloves on both of your hands.
The gloves will protect you from injuries such as frostbite when handling the dry ice

Wrap a piece of dry ice in a soft, suede cloth.
The suede cloth will protect your stainless steel refrigerator from any scratches during the application of the dry ice.

Gently press the bundle of dry ice to the center of the dented area.
Then, rub the dry ice gently in a circular motion over the entire perimeter of the affected area. Continue to rub over the dented area until 1 full minute has passed.

Cease rubbing the dry ice over the dent on the refrigerator. The dent will pop out and disappear within seconds after the application of the dry ice

Repeat all steps using the hair dryer and dry ice if the dent is not removed from your stainless steel refrigerator after the first try. The rapid change in temperature from using the hair dryer to applying the dry ice should cause the dent to eventually pop out.