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55 ridiculously cheap and easy home repair hacks

55 ridiculously cheap and easy home repair hacks
Posted at 4:00 PM, Jun 16, 2024

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Owning a home can sometimes feel like a project in constant need of upkeep. From dealing with issues like a leaky toilet or faucet to staying on top of the wear-and-tear a busy family home receives, it can be exhausting and overwhelming to maintain a house.

Here are some ridiculously easy home repair tips that just about anyone can accomplish by using everyday items you probably have around the house.

1. Use Crayons To Fill In Nail Holes

Choose a crayon that closely matches the color of the wall you’re repairing. With firm pressure, rub the crayon over the nail hole. It’s like coloring on the walls—but for adults!

2. Spot A Toilet Leak Using Kool-Aid

If you suspect a leaky toilet, use a 20-cent packet of Kool-Aid to find out. After removing the lid of the toilet tank, pour in the contents of a dark-colored Kool-Aid packet.

Wait 30 minutes, and if you return to find the inside of your toilet bowl the same color as the Kool-Aid, then you’ll know you have a leak. Just make sure that you don’t flush your toilet while you wait for the Kool-Aid to work its magic.

3. Use Ice Cubes To Clean Your Garbage Disposal

This is one you’ll want to run and try right now. You probably know that a lemon rind in your garbage disposal will leave it smelling fresh, but did you know that ice cubes really do the trick when it comes to getting the grinders clean? Try adding in a cup of ice cubes and letting them grind before running hot water and adding in citrus peels for freshness.

4. Treat A Smelly Garbage Can With Bread And Vinegar

Even if you line your trash cans with bags, chances are they’ll start to smell after awhile. One easy fix is to pour vinegar over a slice of bread, then drop into the bottom of your trash can overnight. Remove it the next morning before you put in a fresh garbage bag and see if you notice the difference! Try adding a paper towel or sheet of parchment paper underneath the bread for easier cleanup.

5. Drill A Hole In Your Trash Can Liner To Fight Suction

If you have a trash can with a liner in your kitchen, you know the pain of trying to remove a full bag without it tearing and garbage spilling everywhere. Combatting the suction generated between the bag and liner can help. All you need to do is drill a hole into the side of the plastic liner and voila! Suction solved. It’s important that you drill the hole on the side of the plastic liner and not the bottom so that your liner can still contain any leaks that may occur.

6. Achieve The Perfect Caulk Edge Using Tape

If you’ve ever attempted to use caulk but couldn’t figure out how to achieve that perfect straight edge, then pick up some painter’s tape next time you go to the hardware store.

Unlike with paint, the trick is to remove the painter’s tape while the caulk is still wet. If the caulk starts to dry, you might end up pulling up some of the dried caulk, leaving a less than perfect line.


7. Unscrew A Broken Lightbulb With A Potato

Have you ever broken a light bulb while it’s still in the socket? If so, you know how frustrating it can be to remove it. But, you can use a potato to get it out without cutting your fingers.

Cut the potato in half, push the soft side into the broken bulb and turn it counterclockwise until the broken glass is embedded into the potato. Don’t forget to turn off the power and put on protective gloves before you attempt this hack!

8. Use A Rubber Band To Remove Stripped Screws

Place a rubber band over the head of the screw before trying to remove it with a screwdriver. That will add extra friction, allowing you to remove that stubborn stripped screw with ease.

9. Patch Nail Holes With A Bar Of Soap

This is yet another simple trick to easily fill those unsightly nail holes in your walls. Rub a basic bar of white soap in a counterclockwise circular motion over the hole. If the soap leaves a little residue on the wall, just use a warm wet cloth to wipe it off.


10. Quiet Squeaky Floors With Baby Powder

If you have a few squeaky floor boards, it’s probably because pieces of wood are rubbing together. To fix the issue, try filling a small squeeze bottle (such as the kind you’d get with an at-home hair dye kit) with baby powder. Squeeze the powder in between the boards, and then use a makeup brush to push the powder down in the crack.

11. Repair Dents In Wood With A Hot Iron

You can quickly and safely remove small dents in furniture and hardwood floors with an iron. Wet the indentation with a small amount of water and place a moist towel over it. Then run the iron over the area in a circular motion.

12. Remove Marker Or Crayon Scribbles On Walls With WD-40

If your paint has a sheen, you can use WD-40 to easily wipe off markings from crayons or marker. However, if you try to use this trick on matte or flat paints, the oil in the WD-40 can stain the walls, making matters worse. In that case, you should try a Magic Eraser.


13. Clean Grout With Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Apply toilet bowl cleaner to the grout and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then scrub with a small cleaning brush or toothbrush. Finally, mop the area with warm water and prepare to be amazed.

MORE: How to clean your toilet without cleaning products 

14. Got Leg Cramps? Try Sleeping With Soap

While this isn’t quite a home repair hack, it is a home remedy that many people swear by. And like many home remedies, it’s one that science can’t quite prove or explain. The problem? Cramping or restless legs disrupting your sleep.

The fix? Placing a bar of soap under your fitted sheet. Experts guess that the reason this works may be due to the placebo effect — or possibly due to the presence of magnesium in soap. There isn’t consensus about which type or brand of soap works best, so you may want to test out a few different bars to find out which one (if any) works for you.

15. Use Your Phone While Wearing Gloves With Aluminum Foil

Once again, this isn’t quite a home repair tip, but it’s such a good hack we had to include. If you live in a cold climate, you know the pain of wearing winter gloves while trying to use a touchscreen. You could shell out for those touchscreen-friendly gloves, or you could simply use aluminum foil. Simply wrap a bit of foil around all the fingers you need to use on your phone screen and voila!


16. Clean Your Oven Door With A Dishwasher Cleaning Tablet

It seems too good to be true, but you can use a dishwasher tablet to clean the baked-on grease from your oven door. Make sure to wear gloves (the tablets contain bleach) and to wet — but not soak — the tablet before using it to scrub away the grime.

17. Add Tea Bags To A Sink Full Of Dirty Dishes

Ironically, the same chemicals — tannins — that cause tea to stain cups over time can also be used to clean dishes. If you have a sink full of greasy dishes, suggests you fill it up with hot water and about a dozen used tea bags before you take to scrubbing. The astringent properties in tea tannins can help cut grease. If you have just one greasy pot to clean, adding hot water and just a couple tea bags should do the trick.

18. Use Common Household Ingredients To Unclog A Drain

A slow-draining sink, bathtub or shower is frustrating. Not only do you have to wait for the water to drain, but you’re left with a residue to clean up. Who wants that?

If you don’t want to use harsh chemicals to unclog your drain — or don’t have any on hand — you can follow the following DIY remedy: First, boil water and pour it down the drain. Then, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain (some DIYers recommend mixing in a 1/4 cup of salt) followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then flush again with hot water from the tap. Voila!

Anna Weaver/Simplemost Media

19. Clean Your Bathtub With Dish Soap And A Broom

Save your back while you put dish soap and a broom to work cleaning your bathtub. The same soap that cuts grease on your dishes will tackle soap scum and mildew in the bathroom.

20. Use Aluminum Foil To Fight Static In Your Dryer

If you run out of dryer sheets or prefer not to use them on your clothes, simply ball up a few pieces of aluminum foil instead. This’ll cut down on static that clothes drying can produce and also help keep the items apart for faster drying.

21. Your Tape Measure Can Help You Find Studs

If you take a close look at the tape measure or measuring tape you have at home, you’ll notice some numbers are in red while the rest are black. Or, depending on the brand, you may notice small black diamonds at intervals on the tape. These markers are put there to help you find the studs and the space between the studs in the walls of your home.

Based on the way most homes are built, the studs are a certain distance apart (16 inches). The numbers in red should match up to where the studs in your wall sit. The black diamonds on the measuring tape are set 19.2 inches apart, so they should help you find the space between studs without requiring a stud finder (though it couldn’t hurt to use one at first to double-check!).

22. Use Aluminum Foil As A Funnel

No funnel? No problem. Form foil into a cone shape and problem solved!

23. Remove Rust From Chrome With Foil

Another nifty use of aluminum foil is clearing rust off of a chrome surface. Merry Maids cleaning service recommends cleaning the surface first with a microfiber towel and soapy water, then dipping your aluminum foil into clean water before rubbing it on the rust.

24. Prevent Doors From Rattling Or Slamming With A Cabinet Door Bumper

It’s amazing how the simplest things can have such a big impact—and this little hack is a prime example. By placing an inexpensive cabinet door bumper on the doorjamb, you canprevent a door from rattling or slamming. The same goes for drawers that slam closed.


25. Use A Magic Eraser To Clean Stained Walls

If you have yet to try this hack, you must. Stained or discolored walls are no match for a Magic Eraser. Score another point for this magical tool!

MORE: 11 Magic Eraser tricks to make dirt disappear around the house

26. Use Tennis Balls To Remove Oil From Your Swimming Pool

Part of using a swimming pool safely involves wearing sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. The only problem is that some of that lotion is sure to wash off in your pool. One easy fix is to toss a handful of freshly cleaned tennis balls into the pool. The felt on the ball will pick up the greasy residue that sunscreen can leave behind. Let the balls float around awhile before scooping them out.


27. Prevent A Door From Shutting With A Rubber Band

If you’re doing something such as bringing in groceries, let a single rubber band lend you a hand. By looping it over both sides of the door knob, it will be in the perfect place to prevent the door from latching.

28. Fix A Tear In A Screen With Clear Nail Polish

Small tears in a screen can be quickly fixed with a fewdrops of clear nail polish, which acts as an invisible glue.

29. Treat Carpet Dents With Ice Cubes

Place an ice cube on the dented area of your carpet and let it melt. As the water is absorbed into the carpet, it should start to spring back to normal. After the carpet is completely dry, use a hard-bristled brush tofluff any areas that are still dented.

30. Give Your Shower Head A Vinegar “Bath”

Remove mineral deposits and other grime from your shower head by simply soaking it overnight in vinegar.


31.  Use A Foam Pool Noodle As A Garage Wall Bumper

Cut a pool noodle in half and screw it into your garage wall at the height where your car door hits. This easy hack, as shown on Reddit, will protect both your wall and your car door from getting banged up. You’ll want to slice the noodle in half first for easier installation against the wall.

32. Remove Pet Hair From Carpet With A Squeegee

You’d be surprised how well a squeegee can remove pet hair from carpet. Give it a try!


33. Rotate Your Ceiling Fans Correctly

Changing the rotation of your ceiling fan can save you heating and cooling costs. Fans should turn clockwise, at a low speed, during the winter to pull the warm air up and around the room. During the summer, set them to counterclockwise to push the cold air down. While a fan won’t actually change the temperature of the room, the warm or cool air on your skin will make you feel warmer or colder and you’ll be more likely to give your thermostat a break. Note: Most fans have a switch that can be flipped to change direction, while newer models offer the option on the wall panel.

34. Use 2 Common Ingredients To Clean Grout

You may think that discolored, dirty grout is unavoidable or can only be cleaned with harsh chemicals.  But hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can also be used to make your tile grout look as good as new. Bob Vilarecommends a mixture of 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap to clean your grout on the cheap. For especially grimy areas, just let the mixture sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.

35. Winterize Windows With Bubble Wrap

Fixing a window that bleeds heat doesn’t need to be complicated. Wet the window with a little water, then stick bubble wrap to the glass and voila! You have a low-cost DIY fix that’ll help keep heat in and the cold out. This isn’t the most sightly look for your home, so this trick is best used for out of the way windows like those in a guest room or basement.

MORE: How to keep your house warm naturally without turning on the heat

36. Prevent Clogged Drains From Forming

Why not save yourself the headache of unclogging a drain by preventing it from clogging in the first place? The TubShroom is so effective it’s gained a cult following on Amazon. The product’s mushroom design catches hair and keeps it out of sight until you clean it.

37. Use Cooking Spray To Fix A Squeaky Door Or Cabinet

If you don’t have a can of WD-40 handy, no need to fret. Cooking spray will also work wonders on those squeaky doors or cabinets. Spray just a little on the hinges, and you should be squeak-free in no time.

38. Spray Your Plants With Dissolved Aspirin

Numerous studies have found that plants treated with an aspirin solution are heartier and more pest-resistant. Simply dissolve one tablet of aspirin for every gallon of water and spray throughout your garden every 2-4 weeks.

39. Paint Screws With Nail Polish To Prevent Them From Coming Loose

It’s amazing what a thin coat of nail polish can do! By painting a screw with nail polish, which acts like glue, it is more likely to stay in place.

40. Kill Garden Pests With Hydrogen Peroxide

While we love hydrogen peroxide for all the ways it can make our lives easier, bugs aren’t huge fans of it. If pests are wrecking your garden, you can keep them in check by simply spraying some hydrogen peroxide on the soil and the plants themselves, just be sure to use the common, 3% concentration variety.

MORE: Try these 4 clever ways to get rid of ants in your home

41. Revive A Scorched Pot With 3 Simple Ingredients

The blogger at Centsable Momma swears by a method of restoring burnt pots to their former glory by using three items you probably already have handy: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and aluminum foil. She recommends covering the burnt area with baking soda before spraying hydrogen peroxide on it to form a paste. After leaving the paste for several hours, you can scrub it away with some foil!


42. Move Heavy Appliances Using Windex

If you need to slide a heavy appliance out of a tight space in your kitchen or laundry room, you can “grease the wheels” with everyone’s favorite blue liquid. Liberally spraying some Windex on the floor in front of whatever you’re trying to move will help you easily scoot it around without making scuff marks or breaking your back. Because of the ammonia in Windex, hardwood floors wouldn’t be ideal for this trick.

43. Clean Your Grill With An Onion

If you find yourself without a grill brush, using half an onion as an alternative to a grill brush is a tried-and-tested hack. Stick a fork in half of an onion and glide it up and down the grill grates. The onion has enough heft and texture to break up grill gunk.

Brittany Anas/Simplemost Media

44. Line Your Potted Plants With Coffee Filters

If you’re tired of sweeping soil off your patio, there’s a simple solution. Before you fill your pots with soil, line the bottoms with coffee filters. The filters will keep soil in the pots while still allowing water to drain out of the hole in the bottom.

45. Clean Your Microwave Without Scrubbing

Clean the microwave without having to do a lot of scrubbing. Simply pour equal parts water and vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and then microwave it for about 7 minutes. The steam will help loosen any debris, making it easier to wipe away.

MORE: 5 genius ways to clean your microwave with minimal effort

46. Amplify Music With This Neat Trick

Broken speaker? No problem. Make a stand-in speaker by placing your phone inside a bowl or glass. The sound waves will bounce off the side, making it louder.


47. De-Ice A Frozen Lock With Hand Sanitizer

The alcohol in hand sanitizer will melt the ice off your a frozen lock — whether on your car, home or elsewhere. Other ways to de-ice frozen locks in a pinch include breathing warm air onto the door handle, warming your key with a lighter or applying some WD-40.

48. Use A Potato To Keep Food From Sticking To Your Grill

The starch in a potato can create a natural nonstick surface on your grill. Simply stick a fork in a section of a potato and rub it over the grates of your grill once it’s warmed up. This’ll save you the headache of trying to pry cooked food from the surface when it’s time to flip.

Brittany Anas/Simplemost Media

49. Fix A Clogged Printer Cartridge With Windex

If you’ve got a clogged printer cartridge, you can easily clean it with some Windex to delay the need for buying an expensive new one. Just spray some Windex on a paper towel before wiping the bottom of the cartridge, where the ink comes out, against the wet surface. You should see streaks of ink on the paper towel when the job is done.

50. Pour Hot Water Over A Propane Tank To See How Full It Is

Not sure how much propane you have left in your tank? There’s a safe and easy way to check before you fire up the grill. Boil a cup of water then pour it over the side of the tank. Then, feel the tank. The point where it goes from hot (empty) to cool (filled with propane) is your propane level.

51. Use Bread To Protect Hands From Broken Glass

If you find yourself with broken glass scattered across the floor, don’t pick it up with your hand and risk cutting yourself. Use a slice of bread! The bread will latch onto both small and big shards of glass, making it a safer way to clean up an accident.

52. Peel A Whole Head Of Garlic Using The Microwave

OK, this one isn’t really a home repair hack, but if you love garlic then you know the struggle of peeling it. Save yourself some time by placing individual cloves on a plate or paper towel and microwaving them for about 20 seconds. The skins will slide right off.

53. Prevent That Moldy Smell In Your Washing Machine With Baking Soda And Vinegar

It’s a good idea to clean your washing machine every so often; some experts advise as often as once a month, especially if you have a front loader. If you have a front loader, set it to the longest cycle and hottest water temperature. Pour three cups of white vinegar directly into the drum, then pour one cup of baking soda into the detergent well to ensure the well, internal hoses and other areas are flushed as the mixture is added during the cycle. Wipe the rubber gasket dry once the cycle has completed, leaving the door open so the entire machine can air out.

If you have a top loader, pour five cups of white vinegar directly into the drum, then two cups of baking soda into the water. With gloves on, dip a sponge or other cleaning tool into the water mixture and scrub the detergent well. Close the top and let the cycle run fully. When it’s complete, wipe the drum clean and leave the door open to air out.

54. Clean And Soften Paint Brushes With WD-40

Have you ever let a used paint brush dry without cleaning it? You’re not alone. WD-40 can help soften and remove paint, even after it dries. It can also clean spray paint nozzles, remove paint from shoes and help you open stuck paint can lids. You can also spray some on your doorknobs before you start painting to keep them clean and paint-free.


MORE: How to clean paint brushes so they last forever

55. Use Salt And A Potato To Clean Cast Iron

You may have read that you shouldn’t use soap when cleaning cast iron appliances because it’ll remove the seasoning on the pan that keeps food from sticking to it too much. But here’s an interesting way to make sure you get all the gunk off your dirty cast iron.

After you’ve gently scraped off as much of the food stuck on the pan, pour in some coarse salt and use a cut potato to scour away at the pan. This technique will safely remove stuck-on food. You can then re-season the cast iron by oiling and heating it up in an oven. But you only have to do this every now and then. Otherwise, just rub some oil on the pan after the salt and potato step.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.