Since the kitchen is the hub of activity in many homes, it can be a room filled with problems because of the constant, everyday use. Whether your cabinet doors won’t close, or your drain is starting to smell, ignoring common kitchen problems can cause you even more hassle in the future if you don’t give them some attention now.
For some kitchen issues, it is best to call a professional, like a plumber, when the problem is major. But, there are many common kitchen problems that you can take care of yourself with some simple tricks and tips.
Over time, food and bacteria can accumulate in the drain of your kitchen sink and dirty water often passes through the drain and rots. This can cause your drain and sink to smell, but you can easily fix it with baking soda, white vinegar, boiling water, lemons, and ice cubes.
- Start by dumping a half cup of baking soda down the drain and let it sit for about 15 minutes before adding a cup of white vinegar.
- After you let that combination bubble, pour in a kettle of boiling water to rinse.
- And, if you have a garbage disposal, toss in a few ice cubes to sharpen the blades and knock loose any food that is stuck.
- Finish up with a few lemon slices in the disposal to freshen it up.
If you don’t have a garbage disposal, always rinse out the drain and do your best to keep the food out.
Sensitive Smoke Detector
For some reason, the alarm on many kitchen smoke detectors goes off when you start to boil water. The easiest solution for most of us is to take the batteries out, but it is important to find another way to fix the problem.
There are a few options, with the most obvious being to move it to a different spot with the hope that it doesn’t trigger so easily. Or, you can invest in a better smoke detector because an upgrade with better technology often solves the problem. If neither of those options is doable, you can cover it while cooking. Using a shower cap or a plastic bag and rubber band, simply cover it while you cook, and then remove it when you aren’t.
A Sticky Drawer
If you have a drawer that sticks every time you try to open it, you can easily fix the problem with some soap and water and a little WD-40. Start by carefully removing the drawer (after you muscle it open) and wash the tracks with a wet rag and some soap. Then spray some WD-40 on them before putting the drawer back in its spot. That is all it takes to make your drawer work perfectly.
And, if you don’t have tracks, and everything is made of wood, use beeswax or paraffin to fix the problem.
Greasy, Greasy, Greasy
Greasy surfaces in the kitchen are very common, but you can easily remove grease from everything (including the kitchen sink) by making your own heavy-duty cleaner. Combine hot water, a cup of white vinegar, and a squeeze of grease-cutting dish soap and apply it to your greasy surfaces with a microfiber cloth. However, if you have natural stone in your kitchen, skip the vinegar.
Another tip is to polish your surfaces every six to twelve months with olive oil, and that could help you to avoid grease buildup completely.
Cabinet Doors Will Not Close
Over time, the screws holding the cabinet hinge can become loose and come out which can keep your doors from closing properly. This is especially common in houses with children because they tend to pull down on cabinet doors. Luckily, you can fix this common problem with a few tools. If you have loose screws, simply have someone hold the door in the right spot and tighten them. And if the screw is gone, either replace it with one that is longer and fatter or fill the hole with some epoxy wood filler and a small screw before tightening.
If you have older cabinets and the hinges aren’t adjustable, remove the hinge and repair the holes with epoxy wood filler. Or, if you need to, move the hinge and create new holes for your screws.
The most likely cause of a dripping faucet is a worn O-ring or washer. But, you don’t need to call a plumber to fix this common problem. Each of those pieces cost less than a dollar, and you can replace them on your own.
For faucets with two handles:
- Feel the drip to find out if it is hot or cold and focus on that handle.
- Use the valve under the sink to shut off the water and be sure your sink drain is closed.
- Next, remove the cap on top of the handle, which either pops or screws off.
- Take out the screw in the knob’s center, then pull the knob straight up and remove the stem.
- Then, simply replace the washer at the bottom of the stem and the worn O-rings, which are thin, rubber washers.
To make sure you get the right parts, take the intact stem with you to your local home store. And, if your plastic stem does not have replaceable washers, you will have to buy a new stem which will cost you less than twenty bucks. Just make sure you know the brand of faucet that you have.
Also, when you take the stem apart to replace the washer and O-rings, be aware of the order that you remove everything and take a pic before you do to help you reassemble. Once you have replaced everything, apply plumber’s grease on the new parts and coat the stem threads with thread seal before you reinstall.
If you keep your pan and food storage container lids in random drawers and cupboards, you can easily misplace them. To avoid this common problem, attach a lid organizer to a cabinet door or the inner cabinet wall. This will leave space for your pots and food storage containers, plus it makes the lids easy to find.
And, if a rack doesn’t work on your cabinets, try some vertical storage or an old dish-drying rack to organize and store your lids. And remember to pare down your pots and food storage containers to the ones you actually use.