For questions relating to the removal of dirt, debris and other unwanted foreign material from various surfaces and porous materials, including methods, tools and supplies, and expected results.

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17
votes
11answers
3k views

What should we look for when buying a fixer-upper house?

My fiance and I are considering buying a fixer-upper house rather than an apartment when we get married. Obviously things like location, neighbors etc. are important, but; what should we be looking ...
16
votes
16answers
29k views

How do I remove Great Stuff foam from my hands?

I should have worn gloves but sadly I didn't. Now I have yellow stuff all over my hands. I got most of the stickiness to go away by using WD-40. Is there anything that will get this off without giving ...
12
votes
6answers
592 views

Is it worthwhile to have ductwork cleaned?

Was rearranging some ductwork in my basement, and noticed that the stuff I took down was pretty filthy inside (especially the return air ducts). Is it worthwhile to have ductwork cleaned out? What ...
12
votes
1answer
18k views

How should I clean and repaint a painted wooden deck?

My deck appears to have been painted with just a single layer of paint, which is now peeling off. I like the look of the paint (when it's in better condition, of course), and am uninterested in ...
11
votes
7answers
926 views

How do I clean stainless steel?

We have just finished building a house and we have some small stains on a stainless steel door handle. I was wondering what was the best way to remove them? Unfortunately I'm not sure what's caused ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

How to remove/clean black mold?

What is the best way to remove black mold from wood? Specifically, the mold on my back porch is black mold. Is the best option to use something like Kilz over it?
9
votes
3answers
7k views

How do I clean vinyl siding without a pressure washer?

My vinyl siding is turning green from mildew and I have to clean it up this weekend. I let a friend borrow my pressure washer at the beginning of the summer, and he's out of the country for awhile. ...
8
votes
9answers
9k views

How do I get leftover tape stickiness off of plastic surfaces?

Okay...there's kind of a long story behind it, but I have left-over stickiness on the front of my alarm clock because it was bright, and I didn't notice a switch on it. It's from scotch tape that's ...
8
votes
5answers
9k views

How do I remove moss from an outdoor brick walkway?

I've got a brick walkway that has parts that are in shade most of the day. Our winters are wet and cloudy and during these times it's not uncommon for the shady parts of the walkway to grow a fair ...
8
votes
1answer
618 views

How can I get the 2-part epoxy smell out of concrete?

Six months ago or more, my friend used a 2-part epoxy (no longer have the packaging, but it's a double-syringe with clear liquids, purchased at Home Hardware) on something, and some of it (one or both ...
8
votes
2answers
295 views

How can I remove a moisture mark from a wooden table?

I have a white mark on my wooden dining table that was caused by a potted plant sitting there for too long without a saucer. Attempts to clean it off have been futile because it seems not to be a ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

What are the red streaks in my toilet occasionally?

What are the red streaks in my toilet occasionally? It seems to come from where the water flows when flushing and go around the bowl. Sometimes settling in the bottom where the little bit of water ...
7
votes
7answers
14k views

How to clean rust in hard to reach points on a tool?

I have a cheap tool with some rust on it. It's probably cheaper to buy a new one than to clean it. But I wonder if is there any solution where I can drop it and retrieve it clean. Is there anything ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a home made solution that will clean drains?

Not sure if this counts as "Home Improvement", but it's worth a shot: I'm currently in an apartment where I'm not supposed to use chemicals to clear drains, like in the sink/tub. I've cleared out ...
7
votes
8answers
17k views

How do I clean a very dirty refrigerator?

I just got a new house and inherited a very moldy and mildewy refrigerator. My first though it to get some cleaning spray with bleach and just go to town, but I'm worried the bleach might damage the ...
7
votes
2answers
590 views

Can old concrete fragments be cleaned and used as crushed stone?

Suppose I need to replace old concrete on a driveway or in any similar scenario. The usual way is to just gather all the old concrete and dispose it to a landfill, then buy cement, sand and crushed ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the best way to remove dried egg from a house?

Some troglodytes egg my house anywhere from every 1-6 months, and have been doing so for the last four years. They just did it again tonight, so I have a fresh supply of drying egg to now remove. My ...
7
votes
7answers
6k views

How do I remove an oil stain from my concrete driveway?

Anyone have tips for removing oil stains from a concrete unpaved driveway? The spill was from a leaking car, now fixed, and they are a few months old. There are so many products and spurious reviews ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I remove a coffee stain from carpet?

Recently a cup of coffee was spilled on the carpeting of our home. We tried to get the stain out with a chemical solvent to no avail, and called in the experts. Unfortunately due to our preprocessing, ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I get stains out of a pine table?

I have a light pine dining table. After we got married, we left an orchid from the wedding on the table while we went on honeymoon, giving it a bit of water before we went. Didn't realise the pot ...
7
votes
3answers
7k views

How do I remove (food) oil stain from a wood table?

Spilled some oily salad dressing on a wood table that was not varnished or sealed in any way. Not sure the type of wood - it almost looks like teak, but I don't believe it is. We used water on the ...
6
votes
3answers
372 views

How do I clean a 96-gallon automated trash can?

The town provides us one of those automated trash collection 96-gallon trash cans. Ours really stinks... you do not want to be down wind from it in the summer. I have been avoiding cleaning it for ...
6
votes
8answers
7k views

How do I remove stuck (melted?) foam from under carpet on hardwood floor?

We just bought a house with lovely bright pink carpeting over hardwood floors, and tore it all up. The foam underneath was multi-colored, and the black spots appear to have melted to the floor. ...
6
votes
6answers
14k views

How can I remove graffiti from painted walls?

How do I remove graffiti (spray paint and permanent marker) from a wall previously painted with oil-base paint (or perhaps nitro paint - not sure) without damaging the original paint? I've seen a ...
6
votes
2answers
803 views

How can I remove tiny dust particles from the air?

As a basic prep step before I painted, I sanded some of my walls. Later, I cleaned the area and swept up any visible dust particles. Now however, a member of my family is having difficulty breathing ...
6
votes
2answers
844 views

How do I treat mold and mildew in shower grout?

I have a tiled shower in an older house, and it's been a struggle to keep the grout clear of mold and mildew. I'm planning on installing a bathroom vent to prevent future buildup, but in the ...
6
votes
5answers
386 views

How do I address a bedbug infestation?

This bug problem is really stressing me out. I doubt they are bedbugs though because there aren't a lot. I remove 3-8 from my bed a day, and I've read that bedbugs are present in much greater numbers. ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the best way to get superglue off a Corian countertop?

My kids and I have spilled superglue onto a Corian countertop in our kitchen, I've heard you can buff out scratches and such from these, but I'd rather avoid scraping and buffing if possible. Is ...
6
votes
3answers
819 views

Easy way to get crayon out of grout?

My daughter decided to get a little artistic in the bathroom and colored the grout with yellow crayon. Does anyone have a simple way to clean this out?
5
votes
6answers
29k views

How to fix stinky bathroom sink?

It smells like really musty water, but the water itself does not smell or taste bad at all. Only happens when I run the water, so it doesn't make the room smell, just when you fill something up or ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is there white crust on my dishes after they are washed in the dish washer? [closed]

Recently my dishes have been coming out of the dish-washer with a lot of white powdery-crust all over them. It's extremely hard to scrub off and often the only way to remove it is to soak them in ...
5
votes
6answers
14k views

How often should I run a bleach and water solution through condensate lines?

How often do you need to run a bleach and water solution through the condensate drain lines (of a heat pump) to keep the bacteria away? What are the recommended parts (e.g. 1 part bleach, 10 part ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I get rid of mold from the bottom of a bath mat (where the suction cups are)?

We have a bathmat that we use to line the tub when we bathe our daughter. After the bath, we remove the mat and suction it to the shower wall (which is some sort of frosted glass) I've noticed black ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Spray bottle w/ vinegar solution…eventually makes spray bottle not work…why?

I bought two spray bottles intending on using it for cleaning solutions. I filled one with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution for household cleaning. After a few weeks of use, the pumping action on the ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I clean a kitchen sink spray hose?

My kitchen sink has one of those sprayer-on-a-hose things off to the side of the main faucet. It has a clear plastic hose that pulls out to spray stuff around the sink. That hose has green stuff ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the best way to clean a brick paver patio?

Looking for ideas on how to best clean a brick paver patio. Background: I had a brick paver patio installed three years ago. The following year I had it sealed (not sure what product was used) with ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I clean out my gutters while still on the ground?

My roof is taller than I'm comfortable getting on a ladder. I've got a couple weeds/trees starting to grow in them. Is there a tool that would somehow let me scrape or use water-pressure to clean the ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I clean a very dirty concrete basement floor?

My basement floor has been made amazingly gross (thank you, cats) and I'd like to get it really clean. Is there an option other than scrubbing on hands and knees? Are there cleaning solutions that ...
5
votes
1answer
104 views

What is the proper personal protective equipment and procedures for removing mouse nesting that may contain Hantavirus?

Me and my uncle are working on cleaning stuff (various auto parts and tools built up over the last 60 or so years) out a garage on my parents' property prior to demolishing it. There are multiple ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a quick way to clean up walnuts from a yard?

I'm renting a house and it has a walnut tree in the yard which has started dropping hundreds of walnuts all over the place. Picking them up by hand seems like it'd be messy and very slow. Is there a ...
4
votes
8answers
3k views

What substances should you avoid contact with your bare hands?

I started thinking about this yesterday because I currently have a weird feeling second skin from the polyurethane adhesive I used to attach my kitchen backsplash on Sunday. I foolishly assumed since ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How long can I leave a paint brush and roller sleeve submerged in water without damaging them?

I'm painting my fence (with water based paint) and have more to do tomorrow. How long can I leave the paint brush in water until it's likely to be damaged? I think it's a synthetic bristled one. ...
4
votes
3answers
32k views

Should tile floors be cleaned with vinegar only? Is the advice against using other solutions a myth?

After we had ceramic tile installed at our house, the company said we should just clean with vinegar and water mixture. However, I haven't been able to find anywhere online that says that using ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the best way to remove spray paint from a blacktop driveway?

I have an area on my blacktop driveway that some kids thought needed some spray paint, what is the best way to remove it without damaging the blacktop?
4
votes
2answers
844 views

How do I replace an old Roomba's battery?

I've got an old iRobot Roomba "3100 Pro Elite" whose battery has died. A new Roomba is EUR 300 and upward, so I would prefer to revive the one I have. It's difficult (impossible?) to find replacement ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Do gas fireplaces need chimney cleaning?

Is it necessary to have the chimney cleaned by chimney sweeping service if I use a gas imitation fireplace log (no wood) exclusively? If so, what is the reason? What is the root cause for chimneys ...
4
votes
1answer
605 views

Should I use sugar soap or denatured alcohol to clean nicotine from painted walls?

I'd like to clean nicotine off of painted walls, but I'm not sure if I should use sugar soap, or denatured alcohol (methylated spirits). Which would do a better job all-around, specifically for ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Should I be concerned with the accumulation of road cinder in my garage?

Albuquerque, like many municipalities during snow storms has its roadways scraped and covered in a sand cinder mixture. This winter has gotten off to an early start and the road crews have been out in ...
4
votes
4answers
7k views

How do I safely clean my paver stone driveway?

I sprayed moss killer to prevent moss from growing between the cracks of my paver stone driveway. I tested a small area first to make sure it wouldn't stain the paver stones. It looked fine after ...
4
votes
5answers
6k views

How do I clean the oven really well?

I need to clean my kitchen's oven really well. It is electric, has a "grill" element on top, and a fan behind a grating which, apparently, cannot be removed. I tried with the spray products for ovens ...