13 Appliance Tips & Hacks for Household Chores



Modern home appliances make our lives so much easier: They tackle dreaded household chores, saving us time and effort. There are lots of ways to use them, however, that you may not have thought of before. From cleaning your ceiling fixtures in the dishwasher to vacuuming your pet, here are 13 little-known tricks for getting more than your money’s worth from your appliances.


  1. Sanitize small toys and more. Use your dishwasher to wash and sanitize teething rings, small plastic toys, mouth guards, and even baseball caps. Place items on the top rack and run the dishwasher as usual with detergent (without any dirty dishes). Put smaller items in a small mesh laundry bag so that they don’t move around.


  1. Clean ceiling fixtures. At least once or twice a year, remove and clean your glass ceiling fixtures and light covers in an empty dishwasher. Run the machine on the normal cycle.



  1. Eliminate wrinkles from clothing. To smooth out wrinkled clothes or linens left too long in the dryer, toss a damp, lint-free cloth in with them. Run the load on the lowest setting for 10 to 15 minutes. Newer dryers also feature a steam setting that removes wrinkles and refreshes clothing between wears.
  1. Disinfect sponges and dishcloths. Kitchen sponges and dishcloths contain billions of germs. Clean and disinfect them daily by zapping them on high in the microwave for 2 minutes to kill germs.
  1. Freshen up your curtains. Vacuum heavy drapes with the upholstery attachment. Use the dusting brush attachment for lighter drapes. Wash sheer curtains in the washing machine on the delicate cycle, then hang them up while they’re damp to prevent wrinkles.
  1. Remove wax from fabric or carpet. To get rid of wax on a tablecloth, place it in your freezer until the wax is hard. Then put a flat paper bag over the wax and another under the fabric. Iron the top bag with a medium-hot iron until all the wax transfers to the bag. To remove wax from a carpet or rug, place an ice pack on the spot until the wax hardens. Shatter the wax and vacuum up the chips.
  1. Clean baseboards. Dusting baseboards can be a backbreaking chore. Use your vacuum cleaner and the dusting brush attachment to avoid having to bend down. Do the same to clean chair and table legs.



  1. Organize your fridge. Use the built-in features of your refrigerator to organize food by category. Designate certain shelves or areas for leftovers, preferably front and center, so you don’t forget they’re in there. Use special-purpose bins for their intended use: crispers for vegetables, deli trays for deli meats and cheeses, cold storage trays for meats. Newer models also feature convertible cooling zones to keep food fresh.
  1. Dust blinds. Extend the blinds fully and turn the slats to the closed position. Use the dusting brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean the slats from top to bottom. Then open and reclose the slats in the opposite direction and repeat the process.
  1. Clean your microwave. The best time to clean your microwave is immediately after using it. Thanks to residual steam, all you have to do is wipe it out with a paper towel or damp sponge. To clean old messes, microwave 2 cups of water on high for 5 minutes. The steam will soften cooked-on spills, which you can wipe off with a paper towel or cloth.



  1. Exterminate dust mites. Dust mites live off human and animal dander and other household dust particles. They thrive in sofas, carpets, and bedding. Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum your mattress and upholstered furniture regularly to minimize dust mites. Be sure to empty the canister in an outdoor trashcan.
  1. Groom your pet. If your dog or cat doesn’t hide when you get out your vacuum cleaner, try using the dusting brush attachment to brush your pet. It’s a gentle way to collect shedding fur.
  1. Remove grime from shower liners. Wash plastic shower curtain liners in the washing machine with hot water and detergent on the regular cycle. Throw in a small bath towel to help “scrub” mildew and soap scum off the liner. Then rehang the liner and let it air-dry.

Have you found any unusual cleaning hacks for your appliances? Share in the comments below!

Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper writes for The Home Depot about easy organization hacks, including the best ways to use your appliances. To view The Home Depot’s selection of appliances, click here.

This article is editorial content that has been contributed to our site at our request and is published for the benefit of our readers. We have not been compensated for its placement.

The post 13 Appliance Tips & Hacks for Household Chores appeared first on Fort Collins Real Estate | Fort Collins Homes for Sale & Property Search.

Keeping Up with The Joneses: Seven Yard Tools a First-Time Homeowner Needs

So basically, when you have a baby and wife and a career, your home reno slows down a little when your extended family flies back to their respective time zones. Last month, we shared about that pesky 15% of a project that gets left undone.  And maybe we still haven’t fixed the grout line in the shower but… we did start a new project!  Cleaning up the yard!

Did you know that gardening tools are really expensive?  I didn’t.  We even priced out what it would cost to have a landscaper come every two weeks just to mow and edge our front and back yard (which would leave us to the weeding, sweeping, etc.) but alas… that is also expensive (about $100 per month).  So… Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to Home Depot we go…

Seven Yard Tools All First Time Home Buyers Need:

Lawnmower: Self-propelled so you don’t have to work as hard. Just being real.  Our lot is about 7,000 square feet so there’s a whole lot of other things I will do to break my back.  Mowing the yard doesn’t have to make the cut (the cut… because it’s a lawn mower… get it?) $399 + gasoline (verses $150 for a bagless push mower… ain’t nobody got time for that.)

Weed-eaterNot just for trimming weeds but more for making the edges of things look more like edges rather than wobbly overgrown lines.  It basically gets to the stuff your mower can’t.  My dad advised we buy a gas-powered trimmer – he said they last longer and can be more powerful.  A little more tricky to start though and more maintenance.  I guess we could have gone either way.  Who knew gardening would be such a gamble?  No wonder my wife loves to garden.  She also loves the casino. $119 + gasoline (Sorry, environment!)

Hose Reel: Speaking of my wife, I called Jenn from Home Depot and told her that I had found the perfect solution to our front yard hose, all coiled up on the ground.  I had found a $70 hose reel/box.  It was the prettiest hose box I had ever seen.  My wife said that spending $70 on a plastic hose box may be a little extravagant so we met in the middle and purchased this $30 reel that seems to do the trick.

Gardening Gloves: Protective gloves are probably the cheapest thing on this list… yet we have not bought them.  After paying over $100 for literal dirt to fill our raised garden boxes, I guess some luxury had to be sacrificed.  $3.98/pair which is less than my typical triple shot Americano (which is a luxury I cannot part with.)

Hedge TrimmerI haven’t used ours yet as my wife has taken up hedge trimming to express herself artistically.  The previous owner of our 1940’s fixer was really into her yard and planted some really cool stuff over the last 65+ years.  But as she aged, the yard was less tended to and some of the larger bushes took on a life of their own. This trimmer does the trick.  I recently asked Jenn to commission a topiary of our dog, Whiskey.  She declined. $49.97 for a corded trimmer.

Push Broom: Good for sweeping up the big mess you make when you’re trimming stuff.  I love that ours is called the “Quickie Bulldozer.” Doesn’t that just radiate power and sweeping efficiency? $9.98 well spent.

Blower/Vacuum: I experienced the thrill of my lifetime when I realized that our electric leaf blower was also a vacuum!  Perfect for sucking up all the lawn clippings left behind from the weed eater.  It puts that Quickie Bulldozer to shame.  It’s got a max air speed of 250 MPH for $63.21.  Enter manly grunt akin to Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.

Tyler Davis Jones is a Windermere Real Estate agent in Seattle who, with his wife Jenn, recently traded in their in-city condo for a 1940s fixer-upper. Tyler and Jenn, along with the help of some very generous friends and family members, are taking on all the renovations themselves. You can follow the transformation process on the Windermere Blog or on Tyler’s website and Instagram

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