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Like New: 8 Common Garden and Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Save time and money by using household items for common repairs, like a torn window screen or leaky garden hose.

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Repair a garden hose with toothpicks.

Fix a leaky garden hose by plugging the hole with a toothpick. Cut off the excess part of the toothpick and the water will make the wood swell, stopping the leak from springing again.

2 / 8

Repair window screens with pantyhose.

Don’t invite the bugs in for a bite. Instead, use a small square of pantyhose to temporarily patch a hole in your window screen. Apply rubber cement around the hole before pressing the patch in place. If you want it to last longer, sew it on to the screen with some thread.

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Protect fingers with clothespins when hammering.

Never whack your finger with a hammer again! Use a clip-on clothespin to grip nails when hammering in hard-to-reach places.

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Unclog a downspout with a garden hose.

When leaves and debris clog up your rainspout and gutters, stick a hose up the spout and poke through the blockage. You don’t even have to turn the hose on because the water in the gutters will flush everything out.

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Repair cement floors with vinegar.

Painted cement floors tend to peel after a while. Make paint stick longer by brushing the floor with a coat of white vinegar before painting. Be sure to let the vinegar dry before slapping on the paint! Working with plaster? Keep it pliable longer for easier smoothing by adding a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to the plaster mix. You can also make rusty tools brand new by soaking them in full-strength white vinegar for several days. 

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Repair siding with duct tape.

If stormy weather damages your vinyl siding, patch the tears with duct tape. Choose tape in a color that matches your siding and apply it when the surface is dry. Smooth it with your hand or with a rolling pin and the patch should last at least a season or two. If your windows are cracked, crisscross the broken glass with duct tape to hold the pieces together before removing the pane; that way, shards won’t fall out and cut you.

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Repair a leaky fridge with a baster.

If water is dripping inside your refrigerator, it’s most likely from a blocked drain tube, which runs from a drain hole in the back of the freezer along the back of your fridge. Try forcing hot water through the drain hole in the freezer with a baster. After clearing the tube, pour a teaspoon of ammonia or bleach to keep algae spores away, the probable culprit.

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Repair the roof with a box.

Cardboard slipped into a plastic bag works just like a shingle. Place the plastic-wrapped cardboard underneath shingles for a temporary fix.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest