Your home should feel like it is a sanctuary, but all too often the outside world creeps in and makes a mess of it. To keep irritants at bay, we’ll show you some simple DIY fixes for common problems like dust, noise from the street and bad odors.
Too Much Sunshine
A bright, sunny home is usually a selling point, except when an early morning sunrise rouses you from a deep sleep. To keep the sun at bay until you’re ready to rise, get a set of heavy blackout curtains, which are designed to block out all light.
If the sun is bearing down through the windows in the summer, the home can quickly become too warm, causing you to either sweat through the hottest months, or run the air conditioner constantly. To keep your home cool, while still letting some light in, you can install a heat-control window film, which you can pick up at most hardware stores.
Dust in the home is a fact of life, but if your home seems unusually dusty, you can take some steps to keep fine particles in check. To start with, a high-quality air purifier is a must-have to keep your home dust-free. If you’re looking to reign in the finest particles, make sure you get one with a HEPA filter. While an air purifier can help scrub the air, it’s only one weapon in your arsenal. If you have a forced-air heating and cooling system, make sure you replace the filters regularly. While furnace filters and air purifiers can treat the dust in the air, these fine particles are heavier than air, which means they will eventually settle to the floor. Every time you walk by, these particles get kicked up again, creating a new plume of irritants to deal with. To tackle the carpet-bound dust, make sure you vacuum often, or invest in a robotic vacuum that you can schedule to regularly clean your home.
Deodorize Your Home
After a while, your home may begin to acquire a distinctive odor. Cooking on a regular basis, living with pets, or just being a little bit messy can cause certain smells to set in, and those smells can be really hard to eliminate. To get odors out of carpets and fabrics, try sprinkling baking soda or a carpet deodorizing powder over the smelly bits. Let the powder do its work overnight and then vacuum it up in the morning. If your fridge is starting to smell a little ripe, ditch the box of Arm & Hammer, which will do little to improve things, and get an activated charcoal odor absorber instead.
Cleaning Up Mold
Mold and mildew, which cling to the cracks and crevices of shower grout, is an unsightly mess, but it is not one that you have to live with. A simple mixture of diluted bleach — around one cup of bleach per gallon of water — is a cheap and easy way to lift mold off your shower walls. Spray on the bleach mixture, let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub it off with a stiff brush. However, because bleach can easily discolor fabrics, make sure to wear old clothes and remove any towels, bathmats or other fabrics in the area before spraying.
Basements and crawl spaces are also common spots for mold and mildew. If your basement has a musty smell, you might consider getting a dehumidifier to keep the dampness in check, particularly in the wet and warm summer months when mold and mildew thrive.
A Little Peace and Quiet
Most of the noises that assault you creep in through overlooked cracks and crevices in windows, doors and duct work. Rather than spend a pretty penny on soundproof insulation and triple-pane windows, invest your time and a little money hunting down gaps and crevices that allow sounds to get into your home. By caulking cracks around windows, adding weather stripping to doors, and insulating the areas where water pipes enter the home, you can shave several decibels off the noises of your neighborhood.