Consumer Reports tips for quick bathroom improvements

(WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — Lots of folks took advantage of their time at home during the pandemic and did home improvement projects they’d been putting off.

The experts at Consumer Reports have come up with a list of fixes you can do in your bathroom and the rest of your house in less than two hours – whether you’re still working from home or have a free weekend this fall.

Check the water hoses on the back of your washer. These should be replaced every five years. If they look brittle, buy a braided stainless-steel version and swap them out. And once a year, deep clean your dryer by cleaning out the air duct and port in the back with a vacuum and a brush made for dryer ducts.

“Cleaning the lint out of your dryer can actually help the appliance run more efficiently and dry better and cleaning the duct work in particular can help prevent a dryer fire,” said Paul Hope, Consumer Reports Home Editor.

Check for loose door hinges and tighten the screws on any that are loose. If the screws are just spinning in their holes, remove the screws and try this contractor tip: coat two to three toothpicks with wood glue. Then push them into the screw hole. You can break off the ends that stick out. Allow the toothpicks to dry, then fasten your screws again.

A clogged showerhead is most likely the result of hard water mineral build-up. Spruce up your shower by de-clogging it. Remove the showerhead and let it sit on a bowl of distilled vinegar for an hour. Then wipe it clean with a sponge.

Here’s something I’ve found works if you’ve got a stubborn shower head that won’t come off – put your vinegar in a bag and tie it around the shower head with a twist tie and then let it soak.

For grimy grout and caulk, try using a bleach pen. Apply it along the grout and caulk. Rub it in with the tip of the pen. Then rinse or wipe clean.

“If you find that bleach doesn’t get out all the stubborn stains from your bathroom it may be time to re-caulk or even re-grout between the tiles. Caulking is an easy job you can do yourself in an hour or two. While re-grouting between tiles is usually a job best left to the pros,” Hope said.

If your windows need cleaning, Consumer Reports recommends that you check your window manufacturers’ website first for cleaning instructions before you do because some windows can stain and streak if you use the wrong type of cleaner – even some ammonia-based formulas and some Windex products.

If you have no idea who made your windows, then just spray a little on a cloth and do a small test in a corner or, I’ve been told, pickle juice also works well.

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