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How-To, Tips & Tools

This is going to be a random, but useful, post. I’ve been coming across some good stuff lately, so I thought it was time to share some links with all of you….

Last weekend, we installed new baseboards in the kitchen. We were too lazy to share the full process, but This Old House has a great step-by-step article that’ll show you everything you need.
– Want a Room With More Stature? Start With the Baseboards

We don’t have a garage; our work spaces include a very small shed and a dirt floor basement. So Taunton Press’ suggestions for small workspaces.
Three solutions for small workspaces

Old House Journal introduced me to a new way to remove paint – steam! It looks even easier than the heat gun! Has anyone tried this?
Get up to Speed on Steam

Also, I found an easy way to save on cleaning supplies. I’m addicted to the Swiffer WetJet. It’s the best $20 I ever spent. I love it, since we tend to make messes daily and it saves me from having to all-out mop every time dirty footprints gets tracked from one end of the house to the other. But the little bottles of cleaner cost $3-4 each, and we go through two (one for hardwood, one for tile) about every 2 weeks.

I ended up wrenching the top off of an empty Swiffer bottle (literally pulling it straight up with a wrench – they’re stuck on their good!) and filling it with a mix of Murphy’s Oil Soap and water for the hardwoods. Pay no attention to the warning on the back that specifically tells you NOT to do this. Nothing exploded, I swear; they just want your money.
Not only is refilling the bottles much cheaper, the Murphy’s didn’t leave any dull residue on the floors unlike the Swiffer stuff. So save your old bottles and refill them with the cleaner of your choice.
Ok – that’s the end of the randomness. Enjoy!

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

amanda had this to say on 10.19.06:

I love my Swiffer too- especially for those dirty doggie footprints from where they seem to track through a mess. I also hate the $4 refills and try to stretch them as long as possible, so I love this idea. However, the guy who refinished our floors said to never use Murphy’s Oil Soap on them, that it would damage the finish. Do you have any gentler cleaner recommendations? Great idea!

Mindy had this to say on 10.19.06:

Hmm – well, I have never used anything else so I’m not sure what to recommend. Anyone out there know what we should be using??

I do know that the less water the better when mopping, and obviously the less mopping needed the better. Hence our area rugs ;)

Make sure you’ve got all the grit/dirt/sand up before you mop so you don’t put scratches in the surface. Also, a dust-mop will get the dust off without the need for any cleaner, so you can use that inbetween the wet mopping.

Greg had this to say on 10.19.06:

I saw an on-line video a few weeks back about steam paint removal. It worked great, but you’d better have some time to spare. It was a very slow process. It took about a minute to do a section that was 3X6 inches. I can do that with my heat gun less than 10 seconds. There is also the issue of water. The guy in the video was doing a window sash and he was standing in some type tub to catch all the water produced by the steam.

Danielle had this to say on 10.23.06:

We too were told not to use Murphy’s on our hardwoods by our floor refinisher… instead, he said to use 1/4 cup white vinegar to a gallon of water (we just eyeball it). We now use this “solution” on all our woodwork (floors, baseboards, staircase, etc.) Works like a charm and is probably even cheaper than murphy’s plus water! Cleans up baby spit up real well too!

Danielle had this to say on 10.23.06:

p.s. We wipe the floors using a soft cloth/rag w/the solution and either let it try, or follow with a clean, dry cloth to mop up the water.

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