Boring Light Bulbs Be Gone, Enter PLUMEN

Looking for a unique way to add some pizzazz to your light fixtures? No longer should you be forced to adorn your sockets with boring, tried, and tired bulbs of the last decade. There are so many new and exciting options to choose from, but here are two from a company called PLUMEN that recently caught our attention:

These are a completely new find for us. Plumen, claiming to make the “world’s first designer low energy light bulbs,” currently offers two distinct versions of compact fluorescent light bulbs. The Plumen 001 offers a chaotic twist to a mediocre spiral CFL, while the Plumen 002 has a more relaxed and minimalist feel. Check them both out below, click on the images for more information.

PLUMEN 001
PLUMEN 001

PLUMEN 002
PLUMEN 002

Motivation

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you actually stopped cleaning your home, just watch a few episodes of A&E’s Hoarders and you’ll realize how atrocious things could become.  Hopefully, this show will encourage people to never stop their pursuit of staying organized!

Removing Hard Water Stains from Glass

GlassIf hard water stains have you down, I have a few tricks to help you reduce or eliminate their appearance. I like to attempt to remove hard water from glass using the least abrasive ways possible before trying the harder ones. These methods are listed from least abrasive to most abrasive, try the lighter ones first then move onto the harder stuff if that doesn’t work for you.

Windex or Any Other Glass Cleaner – Before attempting to buff your glass clean, did you try cleaning it first? Grab your paper towels and favorite glass cleaner, maybe a microfiber if you’re concerned about dust, and see what a general cleaning will do for you.

Lime-A-Way – This one is pretty straight forward here. Spray it onto your glass and let it work its magic. After a few minutes wipe it down with a sponge and rinse the surface with water. This process can be repeated, but may take additional time to remove the calcium build up. If this doesn’t make your glass crystal clear, continue reading.

The scrubber pad on the back of your sponge – Using a lot of elbow grease, I’ve been able to remove hard water spots by scrubbing and buffing excessively using the back of a good sponge. Not only with it help your glass look marvelous, your arms will get one hell of a workout.

Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Pads – While very similar to using the sponge method, this is a slight step up in abrasiveness. Get yourself a new Scotch-Brite pad and go to town. Once these pads get worn they don’t work nearly as well or quickly. Make sure it’s wet and soapy, then begin scrubbing.

Steel Wool – This is hands down my favorite method of cleaning stubborn glass. However, test a small area before you start attacking your glass. You want to remove the hard water, but not scratch the glass. While I haven’t had any issues with scratching or etching my glass, that doesn’t mean you won’t. Make sure the steel wool or the surface you’re cleaning is wet before you begin. If your steel wool doesn’t have soap already embedded into it, then dip it into a water/soap mixture first. Work the wool in small circular motions and keep going until the surface feels and looks smooth.

Razor Blades – While I do not recommend this to just anyone, a NEW razor blade with a perfect smooth blade can be used as a last resort effort to chisel off whatever may be on your glass. Only attempt to use this on smooth glass. Be extremely careful if you attempt to use a razor blade as you can easily scratch and destroy your glass. With the surface wet, gently run the blade over whatever it is that is caked on the glass. Apply light pressure and move the blade in a gliding motion, imagine you’re shaving the glass smooth.

Fixing Low Water Pressure from a Shower Head

Shower HeadOver the last couple of days I’ve noticed that my shower’s water pressure has dropped to around half of how it normally flows. I spent the week procrastinating and finally fixed it this weekend. A large chunk of what appeared to be rubber was blocking the little openings on the inside of the shower head. Needless to say, removing the shower head and clearing out the debris quickly resolved the issue. Now, I have even better pressure than before this problem arose. While my shower head was removed I also took the opportunity to thoroughly clean and polish it up. It’s looking and working better than it ever has before and here’s how I did it:

 

You may need a couple of things to get this project going: A wrench, plumber’s tape (pipe thread tape), a new shower head (if you’re replacing the old one as opposed to cleaning it), Limeaway or CRL for calcium build up, a scrubbing pad, and about 15-30 minutes depending on how dirty your current shower head is.

  1. Ensure the water is in fact “off”. This may sound obvious, but we might as well cover all of our bases. Generally, just turning the water off using the handles that control your shower will suffice.
  2. Remove the shower head. I like to first see if I can use my hand to twist and remove the head before grabbing tools. Holding the shower arm (pipe coming from the wall) with one hand, twist the shower head counter-clockwise with the other. If it doesn’t come off with a good firm twist, find yourself a wrench. Shower heads usually have a slight notch on the base, where it attaches to the shower arm, that make it easy for a wrench to grab onto. I like to wrap a towel around where the wrench comes into contact with the base to avoid scratching or marring the finish.
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  4. Clean it out. After it’s removed, take a good look inside of the shower head. Check for anything that could be blocking the flow of water. Sediment from the water heater that has managed to make its way out can build up over time at water spouts. In one case, I found a wad of plumbers tape that had untangled and cut the water pressure in half. Clean out the old tape from the threads, make sure the threads on the shower arm are clean.
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  6. Check your pressure. Without the shower head attached, turn on the water and let it flow out of the exposed shower arm. Is the pressure still low? If so, it may be a bigger problem than a clogged head.
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  8. Clean the front. Calcium and lime can build up from hard water on the front of the shower head. Grab yourself a bottle of Limeaway or CLR and soak the head for enough time to break up the calcium. You may need to soak it more than once and manually scrub or brush the head to remove all of the build up. I like to use green Scotch-Brite scrub pads that you can find in the cleaning section at almost any store.
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  10. Prepare the shower arm. Using plumber’s tape wrap the threads on the shower arm, but be careful not to allow any of the tape to hang loose over the end of the spout. Remember that you’ll be twisting the head back on in clockwise manner. A good idea would be to wrap the tape in the direction that you’ll be turning the head, so it doesn’t get mangled and bunch up while you’re twisting.
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  12. Reattach the shower head. Begin twisting the shower head back onto the shower arm using only your hand. Try to get it as tight as possible by hand. At this point I like to take the wrench and turn it a quarter to half a turn around to ensure it makes a snug leak-free fit. Be careful not to over tighten the shower head as you can quickly turn a small project into a much larger one if you damage your shower arm.

Tips For Easy Paint Tray Clean Up

Are you tired of having to clean out your paint roller trays after using them? You could always use paint tray liners, sold at almost all home improvement stores. However, paint tray liners can be a costly option if you’re doing many projects.

A cleaner and cheaper alternative is to line your trays using aluminum foil. Be sure to use more than enough foil to cover the entire tray to avoid tearing it and having the paint leak through. The best part is that when you’re done, simply crumple up the foil and throw it out.  If you have with excess paint remaining, it’s easy to shape one end of the foil and pour it back into the can for future use.

What You Ought To Know About Windows

The way they are constructed, makes double hung windows very popular. Cleaning double hung windows are easier than windows based on a spiral or string system because they won’t allow the sash to drop out when you are cleaning them. Double hung windows tilt in a way that uses a flush fitting tilt release which is more attractive than screwed in tilt release systems that are more commonly used. You may find that choosing a quality window is difficult because of the overwhelming number of options. A solid warranty offered by a quality manufacturer as well as your budget should be important factors in the window decision you make. Windows are a large investment and if you pick wisely you can save money over the long run by improving your energy efficiency. In order to save money in the future you may be wise to spend a little more on your windows now.

Quality doors add to the curb appeal of a home and also enhance your home’s security. Block the noise outside from entering your home with a well built door which will provide a sound barrier. Energy efficiency is the most important door feature to have. Well built doors provide tight, long-lasting barriers by using effective weather seals to improve energy efficiency. The function of door (patio, garage, front or interior door) will certainly be a factor in your decision. When you install a door ensure it is up to code and meets the safety features in your area. There are a number of design options you can choose from when it comes to doors, such as whether you would like to use coloured, textured or wrought iron glass. There are many types of materials that hand formed bevels come in like black chrome, lead, brass, copper, zinc and antique black. Breaking a door by force in order to enter your home is more difficult when you have well built security plates in your door.

When installing doors and windows in your house don’t forget to factor in window coverings into the price. New technology has improved the quality of shutters and blinds now available. The decision of using a shutter or blind will come down to personal preference because there are so many benefits to both. Blinds are sometimes preferred because of the flexibility they offer for installation and the variety of colours and types you can choose from. Common types of blinds include roman, roller, sheers, pleated shades or cellular shades. The fact that shutters offer home owners privacy, durability and versatility are key benefits. Shutters are designed to allow you to control the amount of privacy and light in your home. The features of light and privacy control offered by shutters makes them a popular choice. Shutters don’t shrink, fade, peel or crack, which makes them a great investment for home owners. Shutters can be cleaned easily, making them a popular choice. The ability to easily remove shutters that have a hinge-release panel makes cleaning them very accessible. Whether you want to install shutters inside the window frame or not is up to you. If you find a reliable manufacturer they will usually offer a solid warranty, perhaps even up to 25 years. The quality, type or size of window coverings you choose will impact the price.

Carpet Spot Removal Tips

The stain resistant quality of today’s carpet makes is much easier to clean. Spots on carpet can be removed quickly if you work on them immediately. When spots remain on the carpet for a while, they get absorbed into the carpet, making them difficult to get out. Eventually these stains will become impossible to remove. You can get spots on your carpet from stains that set in, even if your carpet is stain resistant. As soon as something spills on the carpet, you should hurry to get a towel to soak it up right away. Use a clean, dry cloth to gently blot the stain. Rubbing the spill could cause it to spread throughout the carpet. Blot the edges first to prevent the liquid from spreading and then keep blotting until all the liquid is out of the carpet.

 

Food and dry particles can be picked up and vacuumed away. Brushes made for hard scrubbing may damage your carpet fibers so it is not advisable to use them. To ease the removal of a spot, prior treatment of the spot or stain in your carpet is a good idea. There are several products available that will help clean soiled carpets. Read the directions before starting a cleaning project. Work the cleaner gently into the carpet using a blotting method during application. Continue doing this until the stain is no longer there. A set-in or heavily soiled carpet stain may require more than one attempt to remove it, but only use the directed amount of cleaner when attempting to remove stains from your carpet.

 

If you don’t have carpet cleaner on hand and don’t want to run to the store, try making a homemade stain remover. Try removing the spot with water first. Water may be all you need if a stain has not set. A small amount of clear dish detergent with warm water may work if water alone does not work to remove the stain. This really works, as long as you don’t use a detergent that contains bleach. Another carpet stain treatment is a mixture of white vinegar and water. First test the solution on another scrap of carpet before using it on the stain. This is done to ensure that there will be no carpet discoloration.

 

The stains pets leave on rugs can be very difficult to get rid of. Those of us who have pets are quite familiar with carpet stains. Pet stains should be removed with a spot cleaner as soon as possible. Ignoring a stain for a length of time allows it to set in, making it more difficult to remove later. It can also cause unwanted odors.

A Journey in Do-It-Yourself Projects