Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Appliance cleaning with andy

You spent money on your applicances, so you may as well make them worth every penny. This post will cover the development of my standard operating procedure for cleaning and maintaining a great number of my home appliances.

The first appliance I will cover is the lifeblood of my household, The coffee pot.
Coffee pots by design are simple, water is pumped from a resvoir to a basket and filter assembly that contains coffee grounds. The water passes through into a container with a heating element and your coffee is complete.

The fastest killer of a coffee pot is build up of mineral deposits in the pump and pump related componets. Thus we will remove them by adding the appropriate amount of white vinegar into the water resvoir and running it through a brew cycle. I personally put a filter in the basket so I can continue to run the same vinegar through without any of the particles.

I do this for 2 to 3 cycles and run plain water for another 2 to 3 cycles. After I have cleaned the inteternal passages I will unplug the pot and rinse the resvoir and as many componets as I can to remove any coffee grounds that escaped the filter basket. Once it is sufficiently rinsed and dried you can continue to enjoy coffee for longer without having to replace your coffee pot nearly as often.

The next task to tackle is the microwave. Another often overlooked cleaning project that is simple to do. Combine 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of water in a container  (microwave safe) and microwave for 10 minutes.
After the cycle ends carefully remove the container carfully and use a dish rag to wipe away the now loosened grime.

From the microwave move to the oven. Heat a small pan of water and vinegar for 20 to 30 minute and 350 degrees (I reused what was left over from the microwave to save money). Allow to cool to a safe tempature and wipe down with a disposable cloth or paper towels. It may take more than one cleaning session to clean the whole oven but if you are consistent then it will simplify the process

Your clothes washer is another overlooked cleaning chore. Add 2 cups of vinegar to the drum and 2 cups of baking soda to the soap dispenser. Running through a partial Cycle and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before completing the cycle.

Your dishwasher is another overlooked cleaning project. It is another pump based appliance that doesn't like mineral build up.  On an empty dishwasher put a container of vinegar in the top rack and run through a cycle to break down deposits.
Run a second cycle with baking soda (a mild abrasive) and it's reactive component vinegar for an extra through cleaning. For a more in depth cleaning you can search for the filter locations in your machine and remove debris from them.

This concludes the first post on maintain your appliances. Feel free to comment and share this post.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dirt cheap furniture that looks great

Having nice furniture doesn't have to cost you a bunch of money. Some construction grade lumber, sand paper, screws and some finish will produce some fairly good furniture.

The tools are what usually scare people away.  But generally you only buy a tool once and it will pay for itself over and over again. You can make furniture with a hand saw and a screwdriver, although somewhat more difficult than with a well stocked garage.

I've built a fair few pieces of furniture since moving into my house two years ago. Most of it out of wood that was stashed under my garage by the previous owners. Mostly I built it on the fly and didn't finish it 100%. The pieces I did take the time to sand and apply finish to looked a whole lot better then cheap Walmart furnishings.

Another little utilized fact is most home improvement stores will cut lumber for you. Making the project more or less just measure, sand, screw and finish.  For under $100 you can buy a reasonable drill/driver.

The project I tackled over the last few days was a laundry table we had quickly built when we moved in. It was constructed from 2x6 construction lumber we collected from somewhere and a piece of furniture grade plywood. I don't have the before pictures, but if you are interested in seeing the progression from a stack of miscellaneous lumber bits to the final product then I will document the process a bit better

I started by disassembling it and moving it outside where it was sanded down to 400 grit and stained. I added some 2x4 braces to stabilize the legs and a shelf  for detergent. I finished it with wipe on poly urathane and left it in a garage for a few days to get rid of some of the fumes.

Most of the lumber here was left overs or throw away lumber. The only things I paid money for where stain, poly urathane, sand paper and screws/glue. The best part about what I did pay money for is I have enough left over to do more projects

Orange cleaner update

Well, after many months I have finally come to a verdict. This stuff is stupid strong. It ate the foam head off of my mop, use caution when applying it to things that may be sensitive to solvents. It will destroy toilet rings and any number of heavily soiled areas.

But again proceed with caution when using it.