Category Archives: DIY

How To Get Rid of Tough Hard Water Stains

My husband and I are huge into DIY, budget projects, and re-purposing antiques. If we want something for our house, we first see if we can make it ourselves at a much lower cost than buying it. In some cases, it would just be less expensive to purchase the item. But, many times we find ourselves making things to save money. We love doing projects together, so that just works out perfectly for both of us! The best thing is that each item is usually unique and screams “us.”

Hubby and I recently decided that we wanted to do a re-do of each room in our house, to make the whole house more coordinated and nice looking. Not to mention, it gives us an excuse to do projects. Our goal is to confine ourselves to a limited budget for each room, which forces us to become super creative and limit our options. It’s like a DIY scavenger hunt. I will share each little project with you, as well as do a full room reveal after each room is completed.

The first room we decided to work on is our master bathroom. I am beyond excited for the changes we have in store for our bathroom! But, to get the ball rolling, I knew I was going to have to clean up the massive hard water stain issue we were having with our granite sink.

Gross, right? Now, before you say, “Did ever clean that thing?” Yes! All. the. stinkin. time! It just seemed like our efforts kept making it worse. The problem with water stains is that you’ll think you’ve gotten it clean, but then once the surface dries, you’ll find that your efforts were for naught. We tried everything (save for CLR, because you can’t use that on granite). At least, I thought we had tried everything. I threw my hands in the air and started researching how to naturally get rid of water stains. One of the things that came up was “vinegar.” Duh! Why didn’t I think of that?! Vinegar is amazing! It can clean pretty much anything. Think about it. You use it to clean your coffee pots, dishwashers, washers, etc. The list is endless.

So, I pulled out my huge tub of vinegar and got to work.

I wasn’t quite sure how to get the ball rolling, so I just started slowly pouring the vinegar on the countertop. I couldn’t believe what started happening. I could literally see the vinegar eating away at the surface of the stains. It foamed!

While I let that sit for a little while, I decided to tackle the drain in the sink. It was completely crusted.

This part was easy. I pulled the plug closed and filled the sink with vinegar until it completely covered the problem area. I let that set for at least fifteen minutes, while I worked on scrubbing at the countertop with the abrasive side of a sponge, a washcloth, and a toothbrush. When I came back to the drain, this is what I found.

My vinegar looked like cloudy water. It had eaten away and released most of the hard water stain. I then used the sponge to scrub up any residue and drained the sink. After that, I went back to the counter. There were areas where the hard water stains were just too much for the vinegar. So, I utilized a tip that my mother-in-law gave me a while ago . . .

Yes, that is a butter knife. Now, before you go thinking that you could NEVER do that, it is very effective. And, if you do it the right way, you won’t damage your countertops at all. You just have to scrape the stains gently but firm enough to actually break through them. You will know if you’re scratching your countertops. Thankfully, for me, granite is pretty forgiving, so I was able to scrape that bad boy pretty hard.

As I went along working on this, I occasionally dried off the counter to check my progress. Even after a while, the counter still had this large layer of hard water film. So I saturated my washcloth and sponge in vinegar and placed them on the problem areas. I then poured water on the counter between the two. The sponge and washcloth created nice barriers that prevented the vinegar from running off the counter.

I’ll admit, this whole process was slow, long work. It took me about an hour total (including little children interruptions). But, it was well worth it! I wasn’t able to get the counter completely spotless, but it came quite close! Our bathroom sink looks so much better now! Here are the lovely before and afters.

I love my now beautiful, hard water stain-free bathroom sink!

What about you? Have you ever had really tough hard water stains? What did you do to get rid of them?

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

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It’s the end of the pay period, the money has run out, and we are finding ourselves in a pinch in every way. You know, eating canned meals, scraping out the remainders of my deodorant, running out of everything, and so on. Oh, we do have some money in savings, so I could run out to the store and get the necessaries. But, we try to avoid dipping into savings as much as possible, which makes the end of the pay period get interesting (especially when everything seems to run out at the same time).

Well, one of the things that ran out was our dishwasher detergent. I was dreading having to wash the dishes by hand, so I watched as the piles in the sink got higher and higher and demanded that the family use paper plates to lessen the load. When I woke up this morning, I mustered up the will to attack the overflowing sinks of dirty dishes. As I was about to organize the piles to open up a sink, a thought occurred to me. Maybe I could make my own dishwasher detergent! So, I whipped out my laptop and started googling like crazy. After collecting ideas from different sources, I buckled down and put together a super easy solution. After making the solution, I filled the dishwasher, tried it out, and it worked! I am never going to spend $7 on a bottle of dishwasher detergent ever again!

Want to know what it is? I’m not kidding. It’s super easy. Below are the ingredients that you’ll need . . .

cleaned 1/2 gallon milk jug (or use a gallon and double the recipe)
4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp liquid dish soap
warm water

Wait, that’s it?! Yes, that’s it! When I made the recipe, I used a gallon jug, because it was one of the things cluttering the sink. Here’s what you do . . .

Put your 4 tsp baking soda in the jug and then fill with a bit of warm water. Slosh the jug around until the baking soda dissolves some. Then, add your 2 tsp dish soap and SLOWLY fill the rest of the jug with warm water, lightly sloshing the jug around to help mix the ingredients.

To use your homemade dishwasher detergent, simply fill the detergent cup of your dishwasher with the solution and add a little extra to the dishwasher itself. (A tip for those who have hard water, which would result in foggy glasses/water stains. Add borax to the open cup next to the closed cup, and that should take care of the stains.)

But won’t the regular dish soap suds up in my dishwasher? Nope! By mixing it with the water, you are diluting the soap enough that it won’t cause catastrophic suds in your dishwasher.

Below is how the end product came out, without doubling the recipe. Remember, if you are going to use a gallon jug, double the recipe or only fill it halfway.

Some other things I’d like to mention, that I did, in helping with the process. I rinsed off my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I also lightly scrubbed/wiped out dishes that had food caked on them. I also always put my dishwasher on the pot/pan cycle, no matter what is in it. It gives the dishes a nice, good scrubbin’. So, voila! There you are! Your own homemade dishwasher detergent that you didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for!

Easy Homemade Dishwasher Detergent Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 gallon milk jug
4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp liquid dish soap
warm water

Steps:
1. Clean out your milk jug.
2. Add baking soda and enough warm water to jug to dissolve the baking soda.
3. Add dish soap.
4. Slowly fill the remainder of the jug with warm water, lightly sloshing the mixture around to help the ingredients mix.

DIY Pot/Pan Wall Hangers

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Hubby and I had been wanting to make pot/pan wall hangers for quite some time now, and we finally finished our little project. My wonderful husband had gotten me a very nice stainless steel set of pots and pans, and they were just too nice to let our son play with. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a place to store them without him getting to them. So, we immediately started brainstorming about what to do. We looked up a whole variety of pot/pan hangers, but they were all more than we were willing to pay for. Hence, the decision to make our own. And here’s the finished product . . .

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Nice, huh? I’m not trying to toot our own horns, but I absolutely LOVE how this looks in our dining/kitchen area!
 
In my last post, I promised that I would write a tutorial about this when we finished it, so I will try my best to do that right now. We absolutely love antiques, so most of the stuff we got came from an antique store. Here are the things you’ll need for this project:
  • 1 full-sized outside window shutter (can find them at an antique shop)
  • matching small door knobs for as many things you want to hang (found ours at an antique shop)
  • 1 pack of leather strap shoe string
  • 4 long screws or dry wall screws that hold over 100 lbs each.
  • a drill
  • paint color of your choice
  • a saw
  • course sandpaper
1. Saw the shutter clean in half.
2. Paint each shutter piece with the color of your choice. Do not remove the original paint, because it is prevalent for the weathering part of the shutter. Once the paint has dried, you can put on a second coat if desired.
3. After the paint has dried . . . Using your course sandpaper, make long, quick strokes across the wood until you start seeing the paint underneath show through in random places. You can see what I mean in the picture below:
 
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4. Next, you’re going to add your doorknob hangers. For this, you need to first lay out your pots and pans according to how you want to hang them. This way, you can know exactly where you need to place the knobs so that the pans hang properly. Mark your measurements. (Be sure you are doing this on the flat edge of the shutter and not the rounded edge.) We chose to hang our largest pan on the side with our utensils.
 
5. Our doorknobs had long metal “prongs” coming out the back, so be sure you have doorknobs with something sticking out the back. Using a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the prongs, drill holes where you made your marks.
 
6. Then, very carefully push a knob into each of the drilled holes.
 
7. Now you’re going to hang the shutters. Find wherever you want to hang them on the wall and make sure they are level. Then, using your screws or drywall screws, put one screw on each side of each shutter. (You’ll want to cover the screws with small dabs of the paint you used on the shutters.)
 
8. To hang your pots/pans/utensils, cut off same-size pieces of the leather shoelaces, making sure there will be enough to make a knot and allow the item to hang. Put each leather piece through the holes in your pots/pan/utensils and tie off the ends with a tight knot.
 
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9. Hang your items, and there you go! You have homemade pot and pan wall hangers!
 
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Now, you may be wondering about the box in the middle. That’s something we added for necessity and aesthetic purposes. We used it to cover up our security system touchpad, and it acts as a nice place for us to store our salt and pepper shakers.
 
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I apologize if my “tutorial” was confusing, but that’s the best way I could explain it. Happy building!

*Btw, this entire project only cost us about $30-$35.

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