Caring for Paintbrushes

You’ll end up with a great paint job every time if you take care of your brushes, here are some easy ways to do just that!

1. Wash your brush with warm soapy water before you start a paint job, this will rinse out loose bristles so they don’t end up in the paint, then just let it dry. Or, run a comb through the brush. The loose bristles will come out in the teeth!

2. To clean those brushes, remember latex paints will come off in warm soapy water, oil based paints need some turpentine or better yet – hot white vinegar will dissolve it!

3. By the way, if you soak a stiff brush in hot vinegar it will soften it back up!

4. Never rest your brush on it’s bristles when cleaning it, that will ruin them. Snip apart a wire coat hanger and thread the brushes through it, place the hanger across the top of the bucket and the brushes will soak clean and last longer.

5. Add some fabric softener to the final rinse and the brush will be nice and soft.

6. Always remember to hang your brushes for storage to keep the bristles safe!


Handy Person Tips

1. Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easy.
2.To keep white paint from yellowing, add 10 drops of black paint to each quart of white.
3. When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.
4. An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.
5. When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.
6. Before starting to paint with enamel paint, lightly coat your hands and underneath your fingernails with any name brand hand cleaner. After the painting is finished, your hands will be easy to clean.
7. Line your paint tray with aluminum foil. When its time to clean up, just roll up the foil and throw away.
8. To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.
9. To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.
10. When painting trim around windows, doorways etc. try using stiff paper to cover the area you don’t want painted. (An old phone book cover works well.) Slide paper along as you paint. It’s much faster and more economical than using masking tape. Works well with either a roller or brush.
11. When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact color with you and can match accessories in stores.
12. When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more evenly.
13. Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.
14. When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.
15. When painting old woodwork, fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.
16. When painting stairs, paint every other step first. When these are dry, paint the rest.
17. To avoid cleaning paint brushes and rollers if you intend to use the same color later, or if you do not have time to clean immediately, place the brushes and rollers in a plastic bag, tie shut and place in the freezer. They will keep for several days without drying up.
18. Protect hands from paint solvent by putting the brush and solvent into a strong plastic bag. With hands outside the bag, work the solvent into the brush through the plastic.
19. After cleaning your paint brush, a few drops of oil worked into the bristles will leave the brush soft and ready to use.
20. To clean paint rollers, fill an empty one-quart milk carton with solvent, put the roller inside and crimp the ends shut. Give the carton a few shakes, then let sit for a couple of hours.

Beyond Brushes

Look around your home, there are all sorts of everyday items that you can use to give you a cool paint technique and great texture for just about any room.

1. With any technique make sure that you have a nice base coat before you get started painting.

2. First idea, plastic grocery bags. Put on a pair of rubber gloves. Roll your favorite paint color onto the wall. Then, use a crumpled grocery bag to dab off some of the paint, this technique will leave you with a funky mottled effect.

3. Another tool, old clothes. Use them in much the same way that you would a plastic bag. The rags will give you a softer effect.

4. You can also try sponges. Dip a dry sponge into some paint, scrape or dab away the excess and then sponge a random pattern onto the wall. If you want more detail all you need to do is repeat the process with a second complimentary color!

5. Finally, potatoes. Cut a large baking potato in half. Draw a simple pattern onto the white of the potato. Then use a sharp utility knife to carve away anything that doesn’t belong. Blot the potato onto a piece of paper towel to remove excess moisture and then dip the potato in paint, blot it on a paper towel and stamp it onto the wall. The potato will give you a vintage stencil look.


Painting tips & tricks

Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easily.

To keep white paint from yellowing, add 2 drops of black paint to each Gallon of white.

When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.

An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.

When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.

To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.

Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.

To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.

When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact colour with you and can match accessories in store.

When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more easily.

When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.

When painting old woodwork fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.

Antique Gold

Antiqued gold home accessories are beautiful, but they can be pricey. Well, I can show you how to take a yard sale find and make it into a masterpiece.

TIP 1: Gently sand the item that you’re planning to paint to get rid of any rough spots. Then wipe it clean with a tack cloth to get rid of any residue.

TIP 2: Brush a couple of coats of gold paint onto the frame and allow it to dry.

TIP 3: Once the paint is dry you may want to scuff it up a little with some fine sandpaper to give it a time worn feeling, use your judgment on how much is enough for your piece.

TIP 4: Grab a clean brush and some dark varnish.

TIP 5: Lightly brush the stain over the surface letting a good amount of paint show through. You may need to wipe some off in certain areas to achieve the look you want. When you’re finished with the varnish simply allow to dry.


Painting tips & tricks

Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easily.

To keep white paint from yellowing, add 2 drops of black paint to each Gallon of white.

When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.

An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.

When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.

To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.

Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.

To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.

When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact colour with you and can match accessories in store.

When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more easily.

When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.

When painting old woodwork fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.

Painting tips – Cool Tip

If you are using water based paints, on a hot day, spraying walls with water before you paint will cool them down and make the job faster and easier – you can even paint them when they are damp.


Rolling. Dip your roller in the paint tray and then roll it back and forth on the ridged part of the tray. This squeezes out excess paint and evenly spreads the paint all the way around the roller.


When painting, start with diagonal or zigzag strokes to get the paint on the surface.


Paint each surface in blocks of roughly 4 feet by 4 feet. Paint adjacent blocks before each previous block dries. This will blend the edges together and help prevent lap lines. When using glossier paints, paint smaller areas at a time. Glossier paints have a greater tendency to show lap lines.


Brushing tips. When painting molding and woodwork with a brush, you can mask off adjacent areas that you do not want to paint (for instance window panes). Use wide masking tape along the edge you want to maintain.


With a little practice you can learn to “cut” in your paint edge and avoid the hassle of masking things off. With a steady hand, guide the brush along the surface you are painting, allowing a few bristles to overlap the adjacent surface by about 1/16″. Strive for a smooth, even line. Paint with the grain of the wood. Use short strokes to coat the surface with paint, the go back over the area with longer, smoother strokes for an even, finished surface.


Paint a room! The order in which to paint a room is essentially top to bottom. That means start with the ceiling, then do the walls and finally paint all the woodwork. To paint a ceiling, begin by painting the edge of the ceiling along the walls with a brush. Paint out about 2″ to 3″ onto the ceiling. This will provide an area to overlap with the roller.


The easiest way to paint a ceiling is with a roller and an extension handle. This allows you to stand on the floor while you paint. If need be, you can use a stepladder, but it is much slower going and awkward. Start in the corner of the room and work your way across the narrowest dimension of the room with a band about 4 feet wide. Continue back and forth across the room until you are finished.


When the ceiling is dry, you can start painting the walls. Start by using a brush to paint corners, ceiling lines and areas adjacent to woodwork. Paint one entire wall or area at a time.


Use the roller and work your way across the room, from the ceiling down to the baseboards.


Use the roller and work your way across the room, from the ceiling down to the baseboards.


When the walls are dry, you can start to paint the woodwork. This will probably be the most time consuming part of the project and requires a fair amount of patience. Use a good sash brush. They are worth the extra cost. Paint with the grain of the wood. When painting windows, paint the sashes first. Then work your way down the window casing to the sill. Don’t paint moving parts, like sash cords and pulleys, or the sash channels.


On raised panel doors, paint the panels first. Then work your way from the top to the bottom of the door.


If you desire, flat panel doors can be painted with a roller for quick application.


Paint Disposal

If you´re like most people, you´ve probably got a can or two of old paint sitting around in the garage. Paint doesn´t last forever, so what do you do when you want to get rid of the old stuff? Most garbage services won´t pick up sealed paint cans because they could rupture and drip all over the neighborhood. Here´s a great solution:

If you´ve just got a little paint left, just leave the can open until the paint hardens. For more paint, pour it onto a big piece of cardboard and leave it outside until the solvents evaporate, then just throw the whole thing away. Of course, if you´ve got kids or pets, put your cardboard in a safe place, where they can´t get to it.

Oven Light Burns Out

Problem: Range oven light does not work when switched on.

Background: If the oven light will not work, first make sure the stove is getting power. Check to see that the plug from the range is completely inserted in the electrical outlet. Also the circuit breaker in your house may have been tripped, or a fuse may have been blown. The light bulb may also be loose in its socket.

What to do: Before replacing the oven lamp bulb, disconnect the electric power for your range at the main fuse or circuit breaker panel. Let the lamp cover and bulb cool completely before attempting to remove or replace them. On many stove models, the oven lamp bulb is covered with a removable glass cover which is held in place with a bail-shaped wire. (On other models, you may have to remove screws to take off the glass cover.) With the bail- type, hold your hand under the glass cover so it doesn’t fall when re leased. With your fingers (on the same hand), firmly push back the wire bail until it clears the cover. Lift off the cover and try tightening the bulb, in case it was loose. If this doesn’t work, replace the bulb with a home appliance bulb of the same wattage.

Special advice: To replace the glass cover, place it into the groove of the lamp receptacle. Pull the wire bail forward to the center of the cover until it snaps into place. When in place, the wire should hold the cover firmly. Be sure the wire bail is in the depression in the center of the cover.

After the cover is in place, restore electric power to the range.

Helpful hint: If a new bulb doesn’t work, the problem may be that the switch operating the oven light is defective. Call for a technician or consult an appliance parts retailer.

Organize Kid’s Closets

Between the toys, the blankets, the shoes and the clothes, kid’s closets can get really cluttered. I have a few ideas to help you optimize that space and get rid of the clutter!

1. If you feel like you can never find an outfit for your child during the morning rush, hang a canvas stacking shoe bag in your child’s closet. Match outfits right down to the socks while you’re folding laundry, and then store an outfit in each of the compartments. This way you can simply grab and go each morning!

2. Kids grow so fast! To eliminate piles of outgrown clothes, keep a large plastic bin in your child’s closet. As the child out grows clothes, toss them in the bin. When its full, mark the size clothes, and stash IT in storage. Then replace it with another bin!

3. How about toys? Look for a portable toy bin that will fit in your child’s closet. Then, bring the whole thing out into their room or the family room and let them play. When they’re done, toss the toys back inside and stash the bin back in the closet, a big timesaver, believe me!

4. Keep your favorite pre-treater close-by, but out of reach of the little ones. Pre-treat stains as you undress your children and then toss the clothes in the hamper. This way you won’t forget that the stains are there and you’ll be all set on laundry day!


Organizing Instructions

If your recipes and project instructions are all messy and disorganized, I have some easy ways to organize and protect those directions.

1. Put your recipe or project ideas into a magnetic photo album. It’s easy to organize them because the pages can be taken out and moved as you add more ideas under a certain topic. Plus, if you splatter something, you can wipe it off of the plastic pages.

2. If you don’t have your instructions in a photo album, try putting a piece of plastic wrap over the top. This will protect the pages too.

3. If you’re working from an instruction booklet and can’t seem to keep it open, grab a bag clip. This will hold the pages open to where you need them, and you can clip your plastic wrap in there too. Plus, if you need those directions at eye level, just hang the clip from a hook on the wall.

Oil & grease removal from concrete

To remove grease and oil stains from new or old concrete.

Use T.S.P General Household Cleaner

Directions: (Do not apply in direct sun) Wet surface with hot water. Straight from the bottle sprinkle cleaning formula over stained area and scrub in. Lay a damp terry towel over the entire stained area. Lay a plastic sheet over the towel to ensure the mixture doesn’t evaporate. Tape into place with duct tape. (Leave for at least 5 hours) Remove plastic & towel; scrub and hose down the area. Repeat if necessary.

Caution: Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when doing this job.

Oil spots on asphalt

New Oil Spots

Remove using “T.S.P General Household Cleaner”. Spray on surface and scrub with scrub brush, allow setting for 2 to 3 minutes and flushing with garden hose.

Old Spots (Asphalt shows signs of softness) Wash area using “T.S.P”, heavy-duty mix, and scrub with patio broom, then rinse with garden hose. Allow to dry.

Apply two coats white shellac 1 hour apart and allow overnight curing. Apply asphalt-based sealer to damaged areas and allow drying for 3 hours

Coating the entire driveway area will last for 2-3 years.

Future coatings can be acrylic latex driveway sealer.


Handy Person Tips

• Use your fertilizer spreader to scatter sand on icy walkways.
• To remove dangerous ice off your steps, sprinkle with salt.
• Kitty litter can be used to de-ice your sidewalks and steps.
• Fireplace Starters or Lighters: Save the lint from your dryer and paper egg cartons (not Styrofoam). Cut egg cartons into individual cups and fill cups with lint. Melt wax (from old candle stubs) and pour some over the lint. When lighting the fireplace use these, place them under the kindling in the fireplace. They are slow burning and do a great job in lighting the lire.
• Dried orange and grapefruit peels and rind make good fuel in a fireplace and give off a lovely aroma as they burn.
• Throw salt on fireplace logs once a month to prevent soot in the fireplace.
86. To prevent your fireplace from smoking, raise the fire grate by placing bricks under the legs.
• Save your Nabob coffee bags to burn in the fireplace. Roll up tightly and then watch the varicolored flames when the bags are burned.
• To add a little color to your campfire, soak pinecones in a solution of 1/2 gallon water and ½ pound Borax. When dry, they burn a vivid green.
• To make your Christmas tree last longer, add sugar to the water.
• To preserve your Christmas tree longer, add Pine sol to the water.
• To fireproof the Christmas tree, mix eight oz. boracic acid in one gallon of water. Spray mixture over tree and let dry.
• To clean automobile chrome, rub with dampened aluminum toil.
• Add one cup of kerosene to the wash water when washing the car. Wipe well with a soft cloth — no rinsing is necessary. This will prevent rust and water will actually bead on the car during a rainfall.
• Wash your car with liquid dishwashing detergent. It won’t scratch the surface.
• Use dry baking soda on a damp cloth to clean the bugs off the car windshield.
• Windshield wipers smearing? Clean the windshield and wiper blade with rubbing alcohol.
• Make your own windshield washer fluid by combining one quart rubbing alcohol, one cup water and two Tblsp. liquid detergents.
• Use steel wool pads on your tire white side walls to keep them new looking.
• Keep open cans of motor oil clean by sealing them with the plastic lids from one-pound tins of coffee.
• A sheet of fabric softener under your car seat will keep the car smelling fresh.

Mold and Mildew Inside Home

Problem: High humidity levels re-suit in mildew growth, which causes damage and potential allergic reaction.

Background: Mold growths that develop under favorable conditions are often seen as a discoloration, ranging in color from white to orange, and from green to brown to black. If mold can’t be seen, it may be recognized as a musty odor. Mold growth can cause soiling and deterioration of appliances and other items in a home. The build-up of mold in air cooling and humidifying units, plumbing fixtures, condensation trays, and drains can cause serious and often costly mechanical problems. Mold can discolor paint, weaken fabrics, and degrade food stuffs. It can also lead to odor problems.

What to do: Relative humidity levels above 70% are optimal for indoor mold build-up. Controlling the problem in a home usually involves three steps 1) eliminating moisture from inside and outside sources; 2) re moving mold colonies and spores, and 3) installing a mechanical ventilation system. One method of deter mining whether your home has a potential problem is to measure the relative humidity inside your house.

Optimal levels are 15% if outside temperature is -20°F, 20% if -10°F, 25% if +0°F, 30% if +10°F, and 35% to 40% if +20°F. Also visually inspect for mold colonies, including areas of stagnant water, and room corners.
Regularly clean appliances that have water pans or use moisture. Other steps to reduce humidity include turning humidifiers down or off, using range and bath exhaust fans while cooking or bathing, cooking with covered pans, installing a fresh-air intake duct to bring in drier outside air, venting dryers to the outside, sealing cracks in house or vapor retarders, and not using un vented kerosene or gas heaters.

Special advice: To remove existing mold, clean affected areas with a homemade solution of cup cleanser (such as Ajax or Comet), ½ cup no phosphate detergent, I quart 5% sodium hypocblorite (such as Clorox or Hilex), and 3 quarts warm water. Brush solution onto affected area with a medium-sized soft brush. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly with fresh water and, if possible, paint area with a mold- resistant paint.

Helpful hint: If a member of your household is allergic to mold, adding an air cleaner can help remove mold spores present. (Heating ducts need to be cleaned before adding an air cleaner.) If carpet, upholstery, ceiling tiles, or other porous furnishings are contaminated, it is best to discard them rather than attempting disinfection because mold spores are likely to remain.

Microwave Doesn’t Work

Problem: Microwave won’t operate, or takes longer to cook food than times suggested in cook books.

Background: Microwaves are like radio or radar waves. They will pass through glass, plastic, paper and most other containers that are not of metal. Microwaves bounce off of metal and are absorbed by food. When food absorbs microwaves, heat is created because water molecules in the food bounce around, colliding with each other. Heat is created by these collisions, much like the way your hands warm when you rub them together. For minor problems, which you can solve yourself, see the following suggestions. For other problems, check your owner’s manual or call a service technician.

What to do: If the microwave will not operate, make sure the unit is plugged in. If it’s plugged in and still doesn’t work, the cause may be faulty wiring, a blown fuse, or a tripped circuit breaker. Check to see whether the oven door is securely closed and that the controls are set correctly. Also check the air vents to make sure they are not blocked. The oven may overheat and turn off if the air vents are blocked. Let the oven cool for an hour, then restart it. If it still won’t operate, call a service technician.
If it takes the microwave longer than it should to cook food, check with your local utility company to see if the voltage in your area is fluctuating below the normal operating range. Next check to see if the micro wave is operating on the same electrical circuit as another appliance. If so, the cooking times will increase when both of the units are on at the same time. (Note: It’s best if the microwave does not share a circuit with any other appliance.) If the unit has a glass shelf, check to see that it is in place. If it isn’t, cooking times may be affected. Cooking time will also increase if more or larger amounts of food are placed in the oven than a recipe calls for, if the food is frozen or was refrigerated immediately before being put in the oven. (Some recipes reflect the time needed to cook food that is at room temperature.)

Special advice: Microwaves should not be adjusted or repaired by any one except properly qualified ser vice technicians. After a repair is made, the technician should check for microwave leakage. To avoid potentially harmful exposure to micro wave energy, don’t attempt to operate the microwave with the door open. Don’t tamper with safety interlocks. Don’t put any object between the oven front face and the door, or allow soil or cleaner residue to accumulate on sealing surfaces. Also, don’t operate the microwave if the door doesn’t close properly, if it is bent, if its hinges or latches are bro ken or loose, or if its seals or sealing surfaces are damaged.

Helpful hint: Remove metal ties from plastic bags before placing bags in the oven and check carry-out food for metal before reheating. For cooking times longer than 4 minutes, avoid using paper containers which may burn, and be careful when using plastics because some may melt. Don’t attempt to cook eggs in the shell because steam build-up inside may cause them to burst.

Match Paint Color

Can’t find the original wall paint anywhere? Try using this method for matching color

You can still match paint color even if you don’t have an old paint can or color swatch with which to match. This is possible for any color paint, on any wall you come across.

Here’s how:

• With a utility knife, cut a small 2″ by 2″ square in the drywall, preferably in an out-of-the-way place, such as the side wall, or down low, in a closet wall.

If the color there is not what you’re looking for, try a square in the higher part of a corner on the walls, where there is presumably, no dirt. All you’re trying to get is just a little swatch.

The trick here is to press the knife blade only slightly into the drywall. No need to go real deep. You’re just trying to get the top layer of drywall off the wall.

Once you’ve accomplished this, take this swatch to your local paint dealer or home store, and have the technician match up the color with his computer.

Hint- use high-quality grade of paint, as there are more quality componenets (as opposed to being loaded down with a lot of filler that you’ll find in cheaper paints) that make up more expensive paint. You’ll pay a little more, but more importantly, you’ll get a more accurate color match.

Touch-up cut drywall area

• Next, smooth some drywall joint-compound on the cut area. Let dry, and sand smooth.

• Prime the area, let dry.

• Apply finish coats as needed.