Ever since we founded ProCare Restoration we have been in the business of prevention. With the high potential for water damage and mold growth in the Chicago area (those two unsavory problems comprising the bulk of our work!) we want homeowners to understand that a little prevention saves you so much in possible reaction. Home hacks — however diluted by the Internet’s love for all things DIY and home improvement — can actually be helpful, too. These are our favorite DIY maintenance tips for a few of the little things that many of us might easily forget about.
These are our top 10 home hacks you should add to your home maintenance arsenal today.
Full disclosure: some of these are hacky, for sure, but we’re also including a few things you might otherwise miss.
- Sure, it makes your clothes clean, but how clean is the washing machine itself? Especially if you own a front-loading model, it’s necessary to give this appliance a thorough, regular cleaning. Odors and mold thrive in a good water trap. Focus on the rubber seal, the doors, and the area around the machine as well.
- Ask not what your refrigerator can do for you, but what you can do for your refrigerator. It’s the same story as the washer. Think beyond the shelves and the freezer…. Clean those gaskets on the doors! Dirty gaskets deserve some soapy love every couple months. Bonus? The door will finally close properly, too. And if possible, vacuum out the condenser coils and fan of your fridge at the same time. These can clog with dust and food debris, as well as grow mold — leading to higher energy bills and possibly jeopardizing the food safety.
- As soon as it’s warm enough, open the windows and let the fresh air in. Those sunny UV rays aren’t just warm and pleasant, but can actually help stop mildew in its tracks.
- Clean the house. You’ll almost instantly improve the air quality. Dusting, vacuuming, washing the walls — the works.
- Caulk everywhere! Not everywhere, but almost: caulking and weatherstripping all your doors and windows will help you save on your utilities. Keep the heated air in and keep the cold out. Here’s one of our favorite home hacks for doing this cleanly: use painter’s tape to help you get the lines straight, peeling off the tape before the caulk gets the chance to set.
- Clean up dirty grout with some form of non-liquid bleach. We recommend a bleach pen (the kind you’d use on clothes) or a bleach gel (like for the toilet or shower) to make it new again.
- Bring the plants indoors. Plants truly do help purify the air, and they even help absorb residual chemicals and problem odors. Peace lily and English ivy are some of our personal favorites. Bonus round? If they aren’t freshening up the air fast enough, opt for another natural method like essential oils. Scented products — candles, fresheners, you name it — may only introduce more toxins.
- Speaking of washing the walls: wash them often! Nabbing that spot of marinara before it has the chance to dry might just save you a yellow stain down the road. And over time, it’s not just spills — we all lean against the wall, scuff them, and so on. Spot cleaning and washing every few months keeps down the grime level and brightens up the space. No repainting required.
- Take dryer sheets to the next level. They can grab all the bits and pieces of dust that a wash or wipe might have left behind.
- You know your hot water heater? Most of us only think of it when it isn’t doing its job. But the hot water heater needs some care, too. Drain it! Calcium, lime, and other minerals build up inside…which precludes the appliance from heating your water, at least very efficiently. Do this at least twice every year.