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All Year Long Home Care Guide

All Year Long Home Care Guide

All Year Long Home Care Guide
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The Home Care Guide from Consumer Reports will help you improve, repair, organize, and maintain the home you love in all seasons. Also includes "Do it Yourself" tips for windows, gutters, floors, appliances, A/C & furnace, and much more. Plus 1,200+ home products rated.

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United States
Consumer Reports, Inc.

in this issue

1 min.
household help from cr’s experts

Whether it’s your first home or your fifth, you want to keep it sparkling clean and running well, inside and out. But most of us aren’t born knowing the secrets to streak-free windows, or how to change a furnace filter, or when leaf blowers go on sale. Don’t worry: Consumer Reports is ready to pitch in. Our home pros—engineers, researchers, market analysts, and editors—know the best and fastest ways to care for your home, from organizing the garage to clearing the gutters, and much more. This issue is filled with our experts’ DIY tips for seasonal cleaning and maintenance—plus advice on when it’s safest to hire a pro. Our exclusive tests of thousands of products reveal the best home gear, and our sales analysis tells you when to shop to get the…

2 min.
your year-round project planner

CLEAN Did you know you should dust your refrigerator coils in the spring, blot up grease from the garage floor in the summer, and clean ceiling fan blades in the fall? Now you do—and our pros share the best (and fastest) ways to get those jobs done. MAINTAIN Find guidance for bigger chores and outdoor upkeep here, from making grill repairs in the summer to winterizing your lawn mower in the fall to preventing pipes from freezing (or thawing them if they’re already icy) in the winter. SHOP Our market analysts track sales trends for hundreds of products throughout the year to help you find the lowest prices. Use our expert buying advice and exclusive ratings of the products on sale each month to pick the best-performing gear. HOW TO USE CR’S RATINGS Overall Score combines the…

13 min.
spring clean

YOUR SPRING CLEANING CHECKLIST ▪ Rotate mattresses and wash mattress pads and blankets. P. 9▪ Wash curtains and draperies or have them dry-cleaned. P. 10▪ Clean upholstery. P. 11▪ Shampoo rugs. P. 12▪ Wash windows. P. 14▪ Clean out the refrigerator and dust coils. P. 15▪ Go through closets to discard unwanted clothes; clean winter coats.▪ Hang blankets on a clothesline to air out before putting them away. Mattresses If you find yourself sniffling as you snuggle in for the night, it might be a sign that it’s time to clean your mattress. Dust mites—microscopic bugs that feed off the dead skin cells of humans and their pets—can take up residence in bedding. When we inhale their feces, it can trigger an allergic response, leading to a runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and other…

2 min.
out, damned spots!

Wine/Juice/Soda Act quickly, gently blotting the liquid with a white cotton cloth. Mix 4 cups of water, a tablespoon of dish soap, and a quarter-cup of white vinegar, and apply using a clean sponge. Soak the area with the mixture, allowing 5 to 10 minutes for it to work on the stain. Blot again—don’t rub—with a clean cloth. Repeat these steps until the stain is gone. Mud Let the mud dry completely or it may become much more difficult to remove. Once it has dried, slowly vacuum over the area in all directions to pick up loose dirt. Soak a white cotton cloth in 1 cup of lukewarm water and a teaspoon of dish soap, and apply. Then use a clean white cloth to blot the area. Repeat these steps until the stain…

9 min.
spring maintain

YOUR SPRING MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST ▪ Clean and refinish decks. P. 17▪ Clean outdoor furniture. P. 18▪ Check air conditioner filters. P. 19▪ Inspect siding. P. 19▪ Get the yard ready for the growing season. P. 20▪ Take steps to prevent ticks and mosquitos. P. 21 Decks Lumber, like skin, doesn’t fare well unprotected. The sun’s ultraviolet rays are always on the attack, breaking down lignin, the glue in wood that keeps the wood fibers together. Rain and sun alternately swell and dry wood, eventually causing it to crack and split. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and mildew. Dirt lodges between wood fibers and sticks to stains and sealers. Apply the sealer or stain to a new deck as soon as possible. Any time the wood is allowed to go untreated, it begins to…

2 min.
7 anti-pest tips to follow this spring

More people are becoming ill with diseases carried by ticks and mosquitoes, biting pests that arrive with warmer weather. The annual number of these infections, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus, reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than tripled between 2004 and 2016 in the U.S. But before you spray your yard with pesticides, opt for effective yet less drastic methods. Here, some of the best ways to thwart the bugs. 1 ELIMINATE STANDING WATER Mosquito larvae must live in water to grow into the buzzing bugs. Once a week, eliminate or empty areas with standing water, such as birdbaths, buckets, tires, planters, wheel barrows, clogged rain gutters, and even holes in tree trunks or stumps. 2 PROTECT YOUR PETS Ticks can spread disease to cats and dogs.…