9 Annoying Household Problems With Brilliantly Simple Solutions

home repair hacks

One of the reasons I started this blog was to have a place that I could share the simple solutions and household hacks I’d discovered while solving everyday problems I would encountered around the house. This predisposition for solving problems and fixing things was always more of a testament to my stubbornness than any sort of natural handiness, but I think most of us are probably more handy than we give ourselves credit for!

I’ve heard a lot of homemakers say things like, “I’m not very handy, so I usually just have someone else do that sort of thing.” While it’s definitely smart to call in a professional when you need one, most of the solutions I’ve found for everyday problems are a lot quicker and easier than you’d think!

To show you what I mean, today I’ll be sharing some of my very favorite dead-simple household hacks! These tips cover all sorts of minor issues you might encounter around the house, from stripped screws to sticky locks.

By the end of this post, you’ll see that you don’t necessarily have to be “handy” in order to be a problem solver around the house! :-)

9 Easy Household Hacks That Solve Everyday Problems

home repair hacks

1. Check For Toilet Leaks

If your toilet is leaking water from the tank into the bowl, it could be costing you on your monthly water bill! To check for a leak, just grab a packet of brightly colored Kool-Aid drink mix. Sprinkle the powder into the tank and let it sit for 30 minutes (without flushing).

After 30 minutes, check the water in the bowl. If the color of the Kool-Aid has seeped into the bowl, then you know you have a leak. Fixing it could be as simple as replacing the toilet’s current flapper with a new one (but if that doesn’t stop the leak, you may need to consult a plumber.)

Related: These 9 Problem-Solving Toilet Hacks Are Weird, But They Work

home repair hacks

2. Fix A Squeaky Hinge

Have a squeaky door somewhere that’s driving you crazy? You can silence the squeak with shortening! Just rub a small amount of shortening over the hinge, then open and shut the door a few times. It’s a quick and easy fix, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

Related: 24 Housekeeping Hacks From Grandma That Save Time And Money

home repair hacks

3. Remove Stripped Screws

There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve accidentally stripped a screw head while trying to remove a stubborn screw. But this problem’s easy enough to fix if you have a rubber band on hand!

Place a section of the rubber band over the screw head, then use your screwdriver or drill to remove the screw like normal. The rubber band will help grip the screw so you can get it out!

home repair hacks

4. Secure Screws In Place

Want to make sure a screw stays in place? Once it’s screwed in, coat the head with a layer of clear nail polish. When the nail polish dries, it will seal the screw in place and make it much less likely to loosen over time.

home repair hacks

5. Clean Grout Lines

Could your grout lines use a good cleaning? Try using carpet cleaner! Spray a foaming carpet cleaner like Resolve or a DIY carpet cleaner onto grout lines, then scrub with a stiff brush. Let it sit for 10 minutes then rinse clean.

home repair hacks

6. Fill Nail Holes

You can fill nail holes (or at least make less visible) with a few different common household items. Use a bit of plain white toothpaste, a bar of soap, or a white crayon to fill nail holes in a pinch!

home repair hacks

7. Tighten A Loose Screw

If a screw is feeling a little loose, you can “tighten” it using a bit of steel wool. Just remove the screw, wrap a small amount of steel wool around the outside, the screw it back into the hole. The steel wool adds extra grip that will keep the screw in place!

Related: 10 Unexpected Uses For Steel Wool

home repair hacks

8. Clean Your Shower Head

If you have hard water like I do, then you probably have already experienced those stubborn mineral deposits that form on your shower head. Those deposits can eventually slow your water flow, and even stop it completely if it gets bad enough!

But there’s a secret to easily removing those mineral deposits—white vinegar! Remove your shower head and soak it in plain white vinegar overnight. In the morning, just give it a scrub with a sponge and all that gunk will slide right off!

Related: 50 Amazing Uses For Vinegar That You’ll Want To Know

home repair hacks

9. Fix A Sticky Lock

Use a graphite pencil to loosen up a lock that keeps sticking. Scribble inside of the lock hole with the pencil, then sharpen the pencil and repeat until your keys opens the door with ease.

Have you used any helpful household hacks lately?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Great ideas. Vinegar is also great for getting the faucet handles shiny. I just used a paper towel. I don’t shine the fixtures very often just when company is coming. This other use is going to sound weird but the vinegar also helps get rid of Urine stains and odor by the toilet and floor.

  • I’ve recently tried the vinegar tip for the shower heads when I have problems with the water flow., I usually stand on a chair or step stool to reach it ..We recently had family in town so I did the treatment before my brothers family came.

  • I’ve used vinegar to unclog the holes in my shower heads (or other faucet heads). I don’t remove the whole head but fill a baggie with enough white vinegar to cover the head and use a rubber band to attach it right on the shower head. No need to remove the whole head. Works every time!

  • Great tips,I use WD 40 on squeaky things (door hinge) or noisy things like a fan,just spray some around the motor. Also spray some ON a key and it’ll lubricate inside the lock.

  • I can vouch for the efficacy of using Resolve carpet cleaner on grout. Used it on the biscuit colored grout in my kitchen, scrubbed with a toothbrush, and mopped. Like new. Bought the scrubbing attachments for my drill for next time.

  • You probably have a hair clip or toothpick causing a slight obstruction which has hair caught around it. Other than calling a plumber try feeding a long length of curtain wire down the plug hole. If you hit anything try thrusting the wire back & forth to help clear it. You will have to do this to both the bath & hand basin as they share the same drainage pipe. You could use Sodium Hydroxide at 95% strength to clean beforehand , by pouring into the drain & running hot water for 1 minute. Leave for an hour before using the wire & run more water to wash it through the pipes. Thie S.H (aka lye) will help loosen anything and melt away soap scum buildup as it heats up when in contact with water.

  • My father taught me to break a toothpick in the hole before returning a loose screw a & dusting of talcum powder or cornflour will fix squeaky floor boards.

  • Hey folks! I’m such a fan of Jillee’s and have learned to read all the comments too, for even more great tips.
    I’d like to tell you how I clean my hand-held shower head. The baggie with vinegar thing just didn’t hold, so I grabbed a plastic pitcher, sat it on a little plastic step-stool (the shower head doesn’t reach to the floor), dropped the shower head into the pitcher, and filled the pitcher with vinegar just to cover the shower head. Doesn’t take too much vinegar.
    When you go to take a shower, just move the stuff (saving the vinegar), take your shower, let the shower head drip til the water is all drained, then put it back in the pitcher & soak it some more. It can soak for days to break up the mineral deposits.

  • Or, if trying to get the point of that pencil into the lock isn’t working for you (if you break off the point, you’re done for!), reverse the process and scribble on the key with your pencil.

  • Great tips, as always! Just wanted to add one of my own. If you have a door that makes a popping sound when you open it that’s the edge of the door sticking to the frame. Keep a cheap pack of white tea lights on hand. You can pop the candle out of the little cup, rub it along the corner edges of the door where it touches the frame, then run it on the frame where it touches the door. There will be no more popping.

  • Jillee, you are a marvel! I appreciate you and your blog and your delightful personality. Thanks so much for helping me and others out with all your handy tips.

  • If you can find it, you can buy loose graphite in a tube. Makes it easier to coat the key and insert to coat the lock. I’d be afraid of breaking the pencil tip off in the lock and not being able to get it back out. Just my luck. :)

  • You have so many fixes that I wonder when you have time to live. You have a son with type 1 diabetes and both my sons had it. That can be fairly time consuming. Do you have an army of maids, cooks, gardeners etc.?

    • I totally understand that feeling, Lana! In fact, one of my sons has type 1 diabetes as well. I also fought a battle with alcoholism before starting my blog. Things are definitely looking up these days! I do have a great army of coworkers and employees, and I could never run this blog without them! :-)

      • You are a remarkable person! I love the tips along with your heartfelt honesty. I would like to suggest that our neighbor call local nursing schools to find a helper for her son’s needs. Sometimes, they can submit assignments & obtain needed school credits.

  • Great ideas! I have something I made up and it really works. Use nail polish to fill in little chips on ceramic, toilet seats, furniture, etc. Just choose the closest shade. There are a lot available and they are inexpensive. And it works on shoes, too!

  • Re: #7: I usually tackle this problem with a plain wooden toothpick. Stick it in the screw hole, break it off at the edge of the hole, and re-insert your screw. As you tighten the screw it will press against the toothpick. Don’t worry if you hear a crunch! That’s just the screw “seeding” into the pick, making a nice seal. Don’t use glue, however…you may want to remove that screw someday!

    My other favorite fix is replacing the washer in the faucet head. Drips can drive you crazy and waste water. I just unscrew the faucet head (where the water comes out) and go to my nearest hardware store to get help for a replacement washer. This is the easiest and cheapest fix you will ever do and you’ll be so proud of your self for doing it! Tip: Put an old wash cloth in the bottom of the sink when you do this. A. You don’t want to accidentally drop something down the drain, and B. if you drop the faucet head you don’t want it to chip the porcelain. Oh yeah…in Spring when you are attaching your outdoor hose to the spigot, you may get an impromptu shower when you turn the water on. This is probably because the washer didn’t survive the cold Winter weather. Just run back to the hardware store and get (probably) a little bit larger washer for this project.

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