7 Home Hacks That Make Maintenance Easier

These tricks make tackling prickly household chores easier.

Unexpected items -- like makeup sponges or tennis balls -- can be helpful allies in quick home maintenance tasks. Image: Libby Walker for HouseLogic

  

1. Tuck Chalk in Your Toolbox to Stop Rust

You can keep the metal tools and hardware in your toolbox rust-free with blackboard chalk. How so? Chalk is a moisture-sucking material that traps dampness. When you place several pieces throughout your toolbox, its porous nature will protect items prone to rusting. 

Bonus tip: Got a musty closet? Fill up a small muslin or cheesecloth bag with chalk and then hang it inside. It will absorb the dampness and stinky odor.

Chalk kept in a toolbox to keep metal tools from rustingImage: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

2. Spray Your Mower’s Blades to Keep Clippings From Sticking

If you have a lawn, mowing is one of those must-do drudgeries. Fortunately, cooking spray can make the chore problem-free. When applied to a mower’s undercarriage and blades, it can help prevent grass clippings from sticking. 

Bonus tip: You can prevent ice from building up in your freezer with cooking spray. Just spray a thick layer over spots prone to icing, and let it sit for five minutes. Afterward, use a towel to wipe up the oil.

Related: Season-by-Season Lawn Care Maintenance

3. Toss in a Tennis Ball to Clean Your Pool Water

Tennis ball in a pool to help keep water cleanImage: Sophie Heppell

Suntan lotions, moisturizers, and body oils will leave a greasy slick on pool water. To clean, toss in a fresh tennis ball. Its fuzzy surface will soak up the oils your guests left behind.

Bonus tip: A tennis ball will buff scuff marks off floors. To avoid stooping while cleaning, cut an X into the ball and place on the end of a mop or broom handle.

4. Use Painter’s Tape for a Perfect Caulk Job

Use painters tape when caulking for straight linesImage: Stephanie Strickland

To many DIYers (myself included), applying caulk in clean, straight lines seems like an impossible task. But it’s actually very easy if you use painter’s tape. You’ll need to thoroughly clean the area you’re caulking first. When it’s dry, apply medium adhesion painter’s tape, such as Frog Tape, above and below the area you’ll be caulking and then caulk. Be sure to peel off the tape while the caulk is still wet.

Related: How to Remove Old Caulk

5. Grab a Makeup Sponge to Repair Drywall Holes

Typically mesh or paper tape is used to fill small holes in drywall. But a cosmetic sponge will get the job done, too. Just stuff it into the hole (you may need to cut it down to size) and spackle. You’ll find the entire tutorial here.

Bonus tip: A little baking soda added to a dollop of strong, fast-acting glue, such as Krazy Glue, will fix a small wall crack. When the mixture is dry, it forms a hard plastic that can easily be sanded down to a smooth surface.

Related: How to Patch a Drywall Hole

6. Use Your Drill to Clean a Grimy Tub

It takes a lot of elbow grease to deep clean a dirty bathtub — unless you use a cordless drill with a foam ball polishing attachment (found in the automotive section of most big box stores). Attachments like these were designed to be tough on grime without scratching surfaces.

Bonus tip: Another automotive store item that saves cleaning time is rain repellent windshield sealant. Apply it to clean glass shower doors to reduce soap scum buildup.

7. Apply Nail Polish to Fill a Hole in Your Window

Found a tiny hole in your glass window? Repair it with clear nail polish. Apply a coat then wait for it dry. Repeat those steps until the layers of clear nail polish are flush with the glass surface.

Bonus tip: Clear nail polish can also fix torn window screens. You’ll need to apply multiple layers until you create a substantial barrier. You’ll find the tutorial here.