Homeownership is not without its challenges, especially for a young homeowner! That’s why we have scoured the internet to find the top 20 home hacks to help you handle some of your homes little needs without having to spend a dime on the ‘man’ coming in and working on your home. These hack might help to keep your appliances from breaking down and extend their lifetime.
Let’s start in the kitchen!
Our days start and end with food, breakfast and dinner, so when something goes wrong in the kitchen it can rake havoc on your daily routine.
- Dishwasher (first hack): Since this appliance is responsible for cleaning your kitchen utensils, pots, pans, cups, plates etc. It is important to make sure your dishwasher itself is CLEAN. You can do this by running a cycle on your dishwasher with two cups of white vinegar in a bowl in the top shelf.
- Dishwasher (second hack): If you have some flimsy plastic cups or Tupperware be sure to place them on the top rack to avoid any melting issues while they are being cleaned. Even if you have what you believe to be sturdy plastic cups you can still get the occasional bend in your cups if they are placed in the bottom rack, which tends to get hotter and may cause some deformities.
- Garbage Disposal: If there is something funky smelling in your garbage disposal, no need for expensive cleaning product or harsh chemicals! It’s probably some little food particles that are rotting away in your disposal compartment, gross right!? Freeze some white vinegar into ice cubes and then toss a handful into the running disposal. The ice not only sharpens the disposal blades, but the white vinegar will help disinfect the disposal compartment. You can also run lemon wedges through your disposal be sure NOT to include the rind as it is not garbage disposal friendly!
- Clogged Sink Drain: When your sink is clogged even a plumber will tell you that harsh chemicals aren’t the best thing to use to unclog the drain. A safe option is use hot water, baking soda and white vinegar.
- Refrigerator (first hack): If you notice that your fridge isn’t cooling its contents like you want, check this first before just turning the temperature down. If your fridge is relatively empty, it is pretty hard for your fridge to cool an empty space. Be sure your fridge is relatively full because a full fridge cools easier and better than an empty fridge.
- Refrigerator (second hack): Just like you want top shelf liquor when you go out, what shelf you put your fridge contents on matters too! While the fridge door would seemingly have the perfect spot for your milk, this isn’t the best place to keep it. The fridge door temperature fluctuates the most. Be sure to keep your milk on the top or middle shelf to avoid the temperature fluctuations of the fridge door and put items like sauces with a longer shelf life in the fridge door.
- Refrigerator (third hack): Airflow is important when keeping your fruits and veggies fresh. If they are too compactly stored it won’t allow airflow to get around the fruits and veggies and they can tend to be warmer and go bad more quickly. Store them with ample air in the drawers where you can adjust humidity.
- Microwave (first hack): Ever burn your popcorn? If you have you know that smell lingers for what seems like days or longer! While opening a window and letting some fresh air through your kitchen might help with the initial smell, the next time you open your microwave you will get a good whiff of the burnt popcorn smell again. Use a cup or bowl of water with about a half a cup of white vinegar and microwave it for 5 minutes. After the timer goes off leave the bowl in there for another 10 minutes. Take out the bowl and wipe the interior of the microwave with a paper towel.
- Microwave (second hack): If your microwave is dirty with dried on food from bubbling over or spits and spatters instead of putting in a ton of elbow grease try letting the microwave do the hard work for you?! Using a microwave safe container using 50/50 water and white vinegar run microwave on high for 5 minutes, maybe longer depending on how dirty your microwave is. Let it stand for a few minutes to avoid getting burnt. Then remove the microwave safe container and then use a paper towel to wipe down the interior of the microwave. The spits and spatters should wipe right up!
- Oven: Tired of waiting for your oven to take 15 minutes to preheat?! Try turning your broiler on for 5 minutes to the desired temp and then after 5 minutes switch to oven preheat. This will dramatically reduce the time it takes to preheat your oven. Note this is probably best for cooking not necessarily for baking.
- Clothes Dryer (first hack): No need to spend money on dryer sheets to avoid static cling. You can make a couple balls out of tin foil and it will reduce the static build up in your clothes. These tin foil balls will work for months! Saving you the purchase of those dryer sheets. This is a good frugal tip for cleaning.
- Clothes Dryer (second hack): If you love the smell of fresh clothes and are using the tin foil balls for the static issue is your thing, then try putting a couple drops of essential oils on a damp sock and toss it in the dryer to bring that fresh scent to your whole load of fresh laundry.
- Clothes Dryer (third hack): If you can handle the racket sound or if you are going to run your dryer while you are out of the house and live in a single family home, try using a few tennis balls in the dryer and while they may be loud and obnoxious sounding, they will help dry your clothes faster!
- Clothes Washer (first hack): Wash the appropriate amount of clothes in your washer. If you cram as much into your washer as possible not only may your clothes not get clean and overloading your washer can actually damage your washer.
- Clothes Washer (second hack): Just like your dishwasher you need to keep what cleans your items clean itself. You want to clean your clothes washer and you can do it without putting harsh chemicals into your washer. Use a cup of white vinegar in the detergent compartment and the white vinegar will cycle through on the clean cycle on your clothes washer. If your washer does not have a clean cycle, use the hot water cycle with the white vinegar and it will still clean your washer.
- Clothes Washer (third hack): Front loading and top loading clothes washers will be damp after each use and to avoid having a mildew smell start in your washer, be sure to leave the clothes washer door open allowing air flow into the compartment to air dry the interior of the clothes washer. Follow number 15 above if you do have a smell in your washer and it will take care of the smell. Surprisingly you can also use the cup of white vinegar to remove any mildew smell from clothes if you forget to move them to your dryer promptly.
- Furnace (first hack): Maintaining your furnace is probably the best way to avoid large repair or maintenance bills.
- Furnace (second hack): The key is with the filter. It’s not always in plain sight, but the direction your place your furnace filter matters. If you look closely you can see which direction you need to have the air flow and the filter will have an arrow on it as well. Make sure the airflow and the arrow on the filter match up.
- Furnace (third hack): Changing out your furnace filter will help ensure that you aren’t making one of the most expensive home systems in your home work too hard and it will help prevent any major costly damage. You should change your filter every three months at minimum. Write the date on the side of the furnace filter you can easily access so you know when you last changed the filter.
- Plumbing: If you want to use let water in your toilet, place a plastic jug like a milk jug full of water in your toilet tank. This will help displace the water used when flushing and will save on water. Do not use something like a brick in the toilet tank because the brick will begin to breakdown over time.
All of these home hacks can help keep your home appliances or home systems working more efficiently. These helpful home hacks can help you maintain your home and you can consider this list a good start to your homeownership manual. However, you must remember that over time appliances need a repair or need to be replaced. You should consider buying an appliance insurance that may help reduces these costs.