Guest article

Some things really are that simple to fix! These seven annoying household maintenance issues have surprisingly quick and easy solutions. Learn how you can take care of them right this minute with supplies you probably already have on hand.

1. Wood Floors That Squeak

If you have hardwood floors, it’s not uncommon to have a few areas in your home that make a loud, high-pitched noise every time you walk on them. Squeaky floors are caused by wood rubbing against wood, so the key is to create a barrier between boards. The easiest way to do this is to sprinkle a bit of cornstarch in the area and then sweep it into the cracks between boards. The cornstarch acts as a dry lubricant, and should dampen the sound significantly.

2. Ceiling Stains

Unsightly yellow ceiling stains can linger long after you’ve fixed a leak. Luckily, you can make your ceiling look like new again without breaking out the painting supplies. Just grab a plastic spray bottle and fill it with one part bleach to five parts water. Saturate the stain with the solution and walk away—no scrubbing needed. While it might not be completely gone, your stain should be noticeably faded within a few hours.

3. Sticking Locks

Few household issues are more frustrating than having to stand around and jiggle your key in order to open an exterior door. Over time, locks can corrode or collect dirt and grime, which makes turning your key more and more difficult. Try rubbing your key’s cuts with a graphite pencil or squirting a little graphite powder directly into the lock. This should work to lubricate the tumblers in the lock so that it turns easily.

4. Mildew in the Dishwasher

If you smell mold and mildew in your dishwasher, look no further than a bottle of bleach. Mix three cups of water with half a cup of bleach, and, using a sponge or cloth, wipe down the interior. Once you’ve finished, go and ahead and run the machine through a rinse cycle to remove any residual solution. Bonus tip: even if you don’t smell anything nasty, it’s still a good idea to clean the interior of your dishwasher every few months using this method, just to keep mold at bay.

5. A Running Toilet

This fix depends on what’s causing the issue in the first place, but with a running toilet, the problem almost certainly lies with the flapper or chain. If you’ve noticed a kink in your toilet’s chain, remove it from its arm attachment, slide a plastic straw over the flapper’s chain and then reattach the arm. You shouldn’t have to deal with gallons of wasted water again.

6. Impaired Water Faucet Flow

Faucet flow will gradually weaken over time due to the natural accumulation of hard water deposits and debris. This debris usually collects in the aerator screen, which can be easily removed by twisting to the left. Once you’ve gotten the screen removed, soak it in white vinegar overnight. It should be good as new in the morning. Reattach it and enjoy much better flow.

7. Stubborn Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows can grow more difficult to open and close over time because of—you guessed it—an accumulation of dirt and grime. All you need to clean and lubricate window tracks is a dry silicone spray. Just spray the silicone into the crevice between the window and jamb, then use a cloth to wipe the inside of the track clean. Your windows should open and close with ease.

National Property Inspections, Inc. is an Omaha, Nebraska-based property inspection franchisor with more than 200 locations across the United States and Canada. Find an inspector near you today or learn more about becoming an NPI inspector here.