Best Way to Clean Wet Dry Vac Filter

Helpful Tips for Cleaning a Pleated Wet Dry Shop Vac Filter

A wet dry shop vacuum is great for heavy duty cleaning throughout your house and in your vehicles. Often called a shop vac based on the brand name and registered trademark “Shop-Vac,” the vacuum with a big tank holds a lot of dry debris or water. If you notice that the vacuum is losing suction when being used for cleaning dry surfaces, it is time to clean the cylindrical pleated filter. The tank could be almost empty, but a clogged filter will dramatically reduce suction. The pleated vac filter can be cleaned and reused many times. However, if you see dust being discharged from the vacuum exhaust, the filter is either not installed correctly or needs to be replaced because it has a hole or tear in it.Shop vac with vac filter

Cleaning the vac filter on a regular basis is a good idea to keep your vacuum working the most effectively. It is amazing how much dust and debris builds up on the filter. Here are a few simple steps for cleaning the filter, including one that is usually not included in other guides.

1. Open Vac
Follow the instructions for your particular shop vac to release the top motor assembly from the lower tank. The cylindrical pleated vac filter should be hanging down from this top unit. With this top unit only partially removed from the tank, bang the lower rubber ring of the filter against the inside of the tank to cause as much debris from the filter to come loose and drop into the tank.

2. Remove Filter
Then completely remove the top unit from the tank and follow the instructions for your shop vac to remove the filter. Note that you might want to wear a dust mask during this whole cleaning process. Then put the filter in a plastic trash bag, hold the bag closed, and gently bang the rubber edges of the filter against a hard surface, such as the floor, to dislodge more dirt from the filter without damaging the filter.

Cleaning vac filter3. Special Step to Clean Out Pleats
If you use the shop vac for cleaning a variety of surfaces, there is usually a mixture of dust, hairs, pet fur, and who knows what else that stays stuck in the pleats. The best way to remove this clingy mix is to use the flat blade of a Scrigit Scraper cleaning tool. The wedge-shaped top end of the scraper is just the right size to remove the debris from each pleat without tearing the filter, though still be careful not to press too hard. While a large screwdriver can be used for this cleaning process, its narrow shape is much more likely to poke a hole in the filter.Scrigit Scraper flat tip

Once you have used the Scrigit Scraper to clean each pleat while holding the filter over the trash bag or can, put the filter bag in the bag and gently bang the filter against a hard surface to knock the loosened debris off the filter.

4. Optional Washing Step and Reassembling the Vac
If you need to resume using the shop vac, reinstall the filter and you are ready to go.  For a more thorough cleaning, use a spray of water from the inside of the cylinder outwards to wash off more dust stuck to the filter. See this video on how to wash the filter. However, once the filter is wet, it must be completely dry before being put back in the vac and used. If you skip the pleat cleaning step using a Scrigit Scraper before washing, the clumps of dust and hairs in each pleat tend to turn into a stringy glop of mud and are then harder to remove. Do NOT use a brush. The bristles will ruin the filter.

Once the vac filter is cleaned, dry, and inspected for damage, put it back in the vacuum. You are ready for more heavy-duty cleaning.



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5 Ways to Clean Your Kitchen without Toxic Chemicals

Avoid Using Toxic Chemicals to Clean Your Kitchen

Take a look at the ingredients list of any commercial household cleaner and you will find a collection of words that are practically unpronounceable.  We typically use harsh cleansers to disinfect and clean our homes, not paying much attention to the chemical film that is left behind, or the pollutants we spray into the air. Luckily, there are some tried and true products that you can use to effectively clean your kitchen (and bathroom, too!) without having to worry about breathing in or coming in contact with toxic chemicals.  The best news is that these items are probably already sitting in your home.clean kitchen without toxic chemicals

1. Vinegar
Vinegar has been used as a medicinal application, cleanser, and food preservative for more than 2000 years.  Its typical 5% acidity and antiseptic properties makes it the perfect tool for household cleaning.  Diluted at a 1:4 ratio with water, vinegar can be used to clean floors and cabinetry.  However, at full strength, it can be applied to cutting boards and countertops to naturally disinfect surfaces; sprayed onto glass for streak-free windows; or even used on stainless steel sinks and appliances to really bring out the shine!

2. Baking Soda
Like vinegar, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) has been used as a cleaning agent for thousands of years.  Its gritty texture is perfect for scouring jobs in the kitchen.  Mixed with water as a paste, baking soda can be used to scrub dishes and tile grout.  Use your versatile Scrigit Scraper™  to assist with scraping burnt-on foods after soaking or getting into corners, edges and crevices.  While baking soda is a natural degreaser and scourer, it becomes a super stain remover with the help of a halved lemon.  Sprinkle some baking soda onto a copper-bottomed pot, rub with lemon, and watch the original patina shine through!  Baking soda is great for cleaning ceramic sinks and tubs without the noxious smell of commercial cleaners, and is a superb natural cleanser for greasy ovens.

3. Olive Oil
For cleaning and removing scratches from wood furniture and cabinets, use equal parts of olive oil and vinegar, such as a half-cup of each. Use a clean soft cloth to rub in the mixture. Rub back and forth with the grain. Use another clean soft cloth to remove the excess liquid and buff the wood. For light-colored wood, you can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Rather than suffering with the noxious fumes of ammonia or bleach, hydrogen peroxide is an odorless, non-toxic solution.  Long used in wound care for its antiseptic properties, peroxide has also been used for hair bleaching, teeth whitening, and household cleaning.  Combined with baking soda, it is effective in removing tougher stains, such as coffee or tea stains in ceramic mugs.  However, with a 1:3 warm water ratio, you can also use peroxide to wipe down the stovetop, clean the inside of the refrigerator, or clean the microwave.

5. Hot Water
This one is often overlooked as a way to avoid toxic chemicals.  At the right temperature (at least 140°F), hot water can kill many bacteria in your kitchen.  Most people maintain their hot water at 120°F to minimize the chance of scalding, thereby rendering it useless for killing most bacteria.  But hot water in and of itself can remove dirt and grime from countertops, appliances, sinks, floors, cabinets, and dishes.  Some people opt to exclusively clean with hot water; its sanitization properties are effective at 170-180°F.  Therefore, you may choose to boil some water to use as a cleaning agent.  Just be sure to use sturdy rubber gloves when handling.

For other household cleaning ideas to avoid toxic chemicals, look here.

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7 Gadgets for Minor Home Repairs

Scrigit Scraper Chosen as 1 of 7 Gadgets for Minor Home Repairs

Entrepreneur Christina Daves presents her favorite products as a recurring guest on television show Good Morning Washington. On one segment of “Try It Tuesday,” she featured seven gadgets that are easy to use for doing minor home repairs and household cleaning. The handy pen-shaped non-scratch Scrigit Scraper was one of her favorite products included in the group of seven. Christina described the tool as “so cool” for cleaning up the house, such as quickly removing spots of dried food or drops of candle wax instead of using your fingernails.Gadgets for minor home repairs

Here is a complete list of the seven products.

– Erase-A-Hole wall repair putty in a convenient stick deodorant style container
– Slobproof Paint Pen – holds a small amount of your paint for touch-ups
– ScreenMend for easily patching window and door screens using a hairdryer
Scrigit Scraper for removing spots of unwanted substances and stickers
– Furniture Repair Markers in wood tones for making scratches disappear on wood surfaces
– Fanbladecleaner – a large plush sock for dusting ceiling fan blades
– BaseBoard Buddy – an angled pad on a long handle for cleaning baseboards

Christina Daves is an award-winning inventor, serial entrepreneur, publicity expert, author of PR for Anyone, and keynote speaker. She is best known for creating a line of accessories for decorating those ugly plastic medical boots. She eventually got some celebrities to wear her CastMedic Designs accessories, such as Diana Ross. This helped her get on several of the national morning and daytime shows. She used her entrepreneurial spirit to build on this exposure and grow her businesses.

“Try it Tuesday” is hosted by Veronica Johnson (on the left in the photo) who is a meteorologist on the TV station and is one of the hosts of Good Morning Washington. This program airs on WJLA, the ABC Network affiliate covering Washington, DC and neighboring Maryland and Virginia areas. The program also airs on sister station NewsChannel 8.

So if you are looking for handy gadgets for doing minor home repairs and household cleaning tasks, check out this episode of “Try It Tuesday.”

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Quick Holiday Gift Ideas You’ll Love

Take a Look at These Clever Holiday Gift Ideas

We all know the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be exhausting!  What can make it even more stressful is coming up with a gift for someone whose tastes we may not be familiar with—a neighbor, a coworker, a boss, a new friend.  Sure, there are generic gifts available at retailers, but why not save a few bucks and give something that shows the receiver you were thinking of them? Here are 4 holiday gift ideas that add a thoughtful touch from Guest Blogger Cyndi G.

1) Homemade hot chocolate gift basket

Holiday Gift ideas-mugThe most important part of this gift is the mug you choose.  Make sure it’s large enough to fit the items you’re including.  You can always choose a mug with a holiday theme, but why not choose one that reminds you of the intended recipient?  Perhaps a mug with flowers to give a nod to your neighbor’s garden, or one with an inspiring or funny quote to give to your boss.

Use your Scrigit Scraper™ to remove the price sticker on the bottom, and wash the mug thoroughly.  After it is completely dry, add an unopened envelope of hot chocolate, a few marshmallows, and either a couple of candy canes.  Place the mug in a cellophane bag, tie off with a piece of wrapping ribbon, and your gift is set!

2) Polymer clay ornament or key chain

clay ornamentsThis gift is so charming and simple, you will wow your recipient with your artistic creativity!  Head to your local craft or hobby store, and purchase polymer clay in your favorite colors.  You can find a multi-colored pack here.

You can design the clay any way you choose.  Whether you decide to form a heart, or stamp a butterfly (rubber stamps can be purchased at your local craft or hobby store), or design a flower, make sure that you leave approximately ½” at the top to poke a hole for stringing.  Use either end of your Scrigit Scraper™ to shape the clay and create a hole for hanging. Bake on a lined cookie sheet at 150° for 10-15 minutes and allow to cool completely before stringing with ribbon.

3) Gardening gift basket

Along the lines of the other basket, this is a fun one to throw together for a recipient who may or may not have a green thumb!  You can use an oversized mug, or a small flower pot for this gift.  Place 1 cup of potting soil in a sandwich-sized plastic zip bag, and add it to the pot.  Toss in a packet of flower seeds, a pair of rolled-up gardening gloves, and a Scrigit Scraper 2-pack or single scraper. The tool can be used for various gardening activities, such as poking holes in the soil for the seed and cleaning mud out of the bottom of your shoes.  Place the entire mug/pot in a cellophane bag, and tie off with a ribbon.

These holiday gift ideas are by no means exhaustive of the possibilities!  Instead of hot chocolate, use packaged herbal tea bags and shortbread cookies, or gourmet ground coffee and biscotti.  Add pretty jewelry stones to your polymer ornaments (after baking) with a little craft glue.  Whatever you choose to do, your recipient will be appreciative of your efforts, and your gift will certainly stand out from the status quo.

4) Scrigit Scrapers

Scrigit stocking stufferIf you don’t have time to make something, remember that a Scrigit Scraper 2-pack makes a very thoughtful gift for people who like to cook, work on craft projects, tackle DIY projects, and work on their cars, boats and motorcycles. The pen-shaped non-scratch tool is very helpful for parents with young children, teachers, and even school bus drivers. You can even decorate individual Scrigit Scrapers with small stickers.

For more easy holiday gift ideas, look here.

Happy Holidays!

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Three Easy Christmas Tree Ornament Crafts

A Tree Ornament is An Easy Way to Spruce Up Your Tree or Decorate Your Wrapped Gifts

The holiday season is upon us, and in between the shopping, baking, cleaning, and decorating, there is also the traditional tree decorating.  Some people put up their Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, while others choose to wait until they’re well into December.  The Romans used evergreen boughs and trees as a celebration of winter solstice and a symbol of new life in the spring.  Though the Germans are credited with introducing America to the modern Christmas tree, it didn’t really become an accepted holiday ritual until the late 1890s.  Today, we decorate our trees proudly with store-bought ornaments, handmade tree ornament crafts, and other decorations.tree ornament crafts

While store-bought ornaments can be beautiful, the charm of handmade decorations calls to mind the simplicity of German trees with their ornamental fruits, nuts, and cookies.  Here are three easy tree ornament crafts from Guest Blogger Cyndi G. that you can make for your own tree, to give as gifts, or to attach to wrapped gifts as fun bauble.  You will need ribbon, cord, or fishing line for each of these crafts; cut to desired length to hang.

Round Stenciled Ornament


Round shatterproof ball ornamentStenciled ornament

Acrylic paint in two colors

½” wide paintbrush

Paper plate

Small paint dauber

Adhesive stencil

Rubbing alcohol

Cotton ball

Glitter (optional)

Wash ornament and allow to completely dry.  Using the cotton ball, apply rubbing alcohol to the entire surface.  Once dry, you are ready to paint.  Make sure that your painting area is covered with newspaper or other protective material.

Shake your primary paint well, and squeeze a small amount onto the paper plate.  Using your brush, cover the ball completely and evenly.  You may use a hair dryer to speed up drying times.  Apply two coats.

When completely dry, attach the stencil.  If you need to move it, use your versatile Scrigit™ Scraper to gently lift the stencil and then reattach.  Shake your secondary paint well, and squeeze a small amount onto the paper plate.  Using your dauber, lightly tap the paint into the open spaces.  If you’d like to apply glitter, do so now and allow the stencil to dry before removing.  You may use a hair dryer, but make sure it’s on the lowest setting.

Thread the precut ribbon or cord through the ornament cap, and tie the ends together in a tight knot.  You’re ready to hang!

Fanciful Wood Snowflake

Supplies:Snowflake ornament

Precut wooden snowflakes

Craft glue


2 Paper plates


Parchment paper or craft paper

Lay out a sheet of parchment or craft paper.  This is your drying area.

Prepare your paper plates by pouring several tablespoons of craft glue onto one plate, and the glitter onto the other.  Lay the snowflake in the glue, then turn over to ensure coverage on all sides and surfaces of the snowflake.  Quickly lift the snowflake and place into the glitter.  Use the spoon to drizzle glitter onto the uncovered areas (you don’t want to flip the snowflake in the glitter, or you’ll have glitter everywhere!).  Place the snowflake onto the parchment paper to dry.

Once your snowflakes are completely dry, thread the precut ribbon or fishing wire through one of the snowflake holes and toe the ends together.  These look very whimsical attached to a wrapped gift under a bow!

Simple Salt Dough Ornament

Supplies:star salt dough ornament

4 cups flour

1 cup salt

1½ cups warm water

Craft spray

Cookie cutters (optional)

Rolling pin (optional)

Large baking sheet

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 300°F.  In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt thoroughly.  Gradually add in the warm water, stirring as you go.  Once all of the dough has been mixed, knead with hands for 10 minutes, and then allow the dough to sit uncovered for 10-20 minutes.

You may choose to roll out your dough to create a bunch of symmetrical ornaments.  Roll out to desired thickness, then use cookie cutters to create shapes.  If the dough sticks, use a little flour to dust both your rolling surface and your rolling pin.

You may also create free form ornaments, and adorn with fingerprints, children’s handprints, or even pet paw prints!  Just roll some dough into the shape of a meatball in your palms, then flatten to desired thickness.

Place shapes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and use your Scrigit™ Scraper to create a hole at the top for hanging and add designs.  Bake in the oven until hardened (typically 1-2 hours).  If the shapes still seem doughy or puffy, keep baking until firm.

Allow to cool completely before decorating.  These may be painted using acrylics, or bedazzled with glitter and glue—the options are endless!  No matter how you choose to decorate your salt dough ornament, always use a clear craft spray at the end to seal out moisture and protect from cracking.  Thread the precut cord through the hole, and give as a gift to your favorite people!

You can make all of these tree ornament crafts in a single afternoon, so why not make it a craft party?  Invite your friends over for some laughter and fun, or sit down with the kids or grandkids and explore your creativity.  Maybe this activity could even become a new tradition for you and your loved ones!

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Easy Turkey Thanksgiving Craft Project

Here’s a Fun Thanksgiving Craft That’s Sure to Gobble Up Attention!

The turkey is basting, the pies are cooling, and the guests are arriving.  While the food takes center stage at the Thanksgiving dinner table, fall and holiday décor add to the ambience of the meal.  This year, why not spruce things up with festive paper turkeys?  This Thanksgiving craft is fun and simple to make with just a few items from your local craft supply store.  While the photo above depicts plain paper, you can use coordinating printed paper for a craftier look!  Turkey Thanksgiving Craft

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 pieces of decorative paper in red, orange, and yellow, or purple, red and yellow as in the photo. (you can opt for sturdy scrapbook paper or card stock)
  • 1 piece of dark brown card stock (this is for the body, so feel free to use another color, or even a brown print!)
  • 1 each, white paint pen and black paint pen (you may opt for googly eyes)
  • White glue
  • Transparent tape
  • Scissors
  • Flat ruler (approx.. 1” wide)
  • Pencil
  • Scrigit Scraper

Once you have all of your supplies, you’re ready to get started!

Step 1:  Starting with the red piece of paper (purple in photo), line up the edge of your ruler with the side of the paper.  If you are using rectangular paper, start on a long side. Take your versatile Scrigit Scraper and run the rounded tip of the angled end along the entire length of the ruler.  You should now have a 1” scored strip. Fold it back over itself on the opposite side of the paper, and run the flat end of the Scrigit Scraper along the fold a couple of times.  Tear off or cut off this strip and set aside.

Turkey craft score & foldStep 2:  Repeat Step 1 for the orange piece of paper (red in photo), but score 2 strips and remove. Set aside one strip for the turkey claws.

Step 3:  Repeat Step 1 for the yellow piece of paper, but score 3 strips and remove.  Set aside one strip for the beak.

Step 4:  For this Thanksgiving craft, you are now going to make the “fan” body of the turkey.  With the remainder of the red sheet of paper, line up the ruler with the edge of the short side of the paper at a right angle to the previous scoring, but this time only score on one side of the paper and do not tear anything off.  Repeat the ruler process along the entire length of paper, creating 1” score marks.  Then, starting with the leftmost score, fold the paper inward and run the Scrigit Scraper alongside the fold. Turn the paper over and fold on the next scored line, again running the Scrigit Scraper on the fold.  Turn the paper back again and repeat this process to create an accordion-style fold pattern in your paper.

Step 5:  Repeat Step 4 for the remainder of the orange and yellow sheets of paper.

Step 6:  For each color, fold the entire accordion into a strip. Fold the strip in half end-to-end.  Take the center-most edges and tape them together to form a fan shape.

Step 7:  Lay the folded red strip down with the fold towards you and the taped center edges on the left. Place the folded orange accordion (with the taped edges on the left) to the right of and touching the red accordion. Place the shortest yellow accordion (with the taped edges on the left) to the right of and touching the orange one. With the bottoms of the strips lined up, tape the folded strips together on both sides. Then open the fan. The body is now complete. Set aside.

Step 8:  Take the dark brown card stock and fold in half (if using rectangular paper, fold width-wise).  Score the fold and refold several times and tear. Taking one half, create a 2” strip using the method from Step 1. Do not fold down the center of this strip.  Once created, set it aside.  With the other half, draw a fat bowling pin (use the image above as a reference), approximately 3” tall.  Cut out the shape.

Step 9:  Using the yellow strip of paper, draw and cut out a small piece for the beak as in the photo.  Use the orange strip to draw and cut out claws, and the red strip to draw and cut out a wattle, as in the photo above.

Step 10:  Using your white and black paint pens, draw the eyes onto the body. (If using googly eyes, glue them).  Glue the wattle to the underside of the beak, and then glue the beak to the body with the taped edges of the body facing backwards.  Glue the claws to the body.  Glue the body to the front of the accordion, applying glue lightly to the edges of the yellow folds.

Step 11:  Your turkey should stand up on its own.  If it doesn’t, glue or tape the remaining brown strip of card stock perpendicular to the bottom of the turkey.  Trim the excess of the strip behind the turkey.

Step 12:  Enjoy your creative Thanksgiving craft!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are some more Thanksgiving crafts for kids.

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Home Safety Maintenance Tips for Autumn and Winter

Follow these Home Safety Maintenance Tips to Ensure Your Family’s Safety
by Paul Denikin
Pipes for home safety article

Photo: Pixabay

It is said that “Procrastination is the thief of time.” When life moves fast and responsibilities are endless, it is easy to neglect the necessary safety maintenance of your home until it becomes a problem. Procrastinating on simple maintenance can certainly rob you of precious time and money as well as create unsafe living conditions. As autumn and winter set in, you want to keep in mind some home safety maintenance tips to keep your place in tip top shape.

The Air You Breathe

CO Detectors

We all protect our homes through common security measures like alarms and locking doors, but we often neglect the “invisible killer” carbon monoxide, which is odorless poisonous gas responsible, according to Forbes magazine, for making 20,000 to 30,000 people sick a year and killing about 500.

As Science Daily reports the importance of CO alarms in residences is very important according to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which showed that the poisonous gas could easily penetrate gypsum wallboard (drywall) commonly used in apartments and houses.

According to the Do It Yourself Network, to check your carbon monoxide detector:

  • Make sure it is installed properly, in every floor and at least 10 feet away from CO sources
  • Press Test button to ensure the detector is drawing electrical power
  • Use a low level of CO to test digital readout, such as a lit cigarette or incense wand and move it around eight inches from detector. Watch the digital display for changes to make sure it identifies CO presence.

Smoke Alarms

According to FEMA residential building fires increase in the months of January, February, and March. In the years of 2010-2012 they caused approximately 890 deaths and smoke alarms were not present in 22 percent of non-confined winter fires in occupied residential buildings. All of this translates to: people are more likely to face house fires in winter and working smoke alarms can save lives and prevent damage.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends to check your smoke alarm once a month and replace it every ten years.

  • Press the test button to ensure the alarm is working
  • Replace batteries when needed, or about every 6 months.
  • Use smoke, from a blown out candle, for example, to test the alarm

Maintaining smoke and CO alarms is an important part of home safety and a way to ensure your family’s safety this winter.

The Pipes Need You

When water freezes it expands and if that water happens to be in your pipe, then that presents an obvious problem to you and your house. You can avoid this and any potential flooding and damage by lending a bit of attention. According to The Spruce:

  • Insulate pipes that might present a problem with foam insulation. This is important on those that run through unheated spaces.
  • Open cabinet doors occasionally to allow heated air to reach pipes inside cabinets
  • During coldest time of day and night, consider leaving the faucet slightly dripping. This keeps water running in the pipe.
  • Install heaters in unheated areas

Heating Your House

As the cold weather really sets in, you want to prepare your fireplaces and heaters to get ready for winter. Clean and check for damage in your fireplace.  If you have portable heaters make sure to check they are working properly and they are never left unattended.

Your furnace is most likely the primary source of heat in the winter. According to Family Handyman a few major things on your checklist for this should include:

  • Check the air filters. A clogged air filter can cause damage to your furnace and raise your bill.
  • Check power. Make sure to turn it on for your furnace and humidifier, if you have one.
  • Check and set the thermostat. Turn down the temperature when you are not home to save energy.

Ignoring seasonal changes and putting off simple preventative measures indoors and outdoors, can be a health hazard and cost you thousands of dollars in painful and tedious repairs. Not only that, but this carelessness is surely to be a thief of your time, as you have to work harder to solve problems that could have been prevented. Keep in mind these home safety maintenance tips.

Thanks to guest blogger Paul Denikin for these valuable tips. Check out DAD knows DIY for more of his expertise.

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10 Fall Outdoor Cleanup Tasks

Get Ready for the Winter with These 10 Fall Outdoor Cleanup Tasks

For much of the country, autumn produces beautiful foliage— a brief transition between the warm summer days and cold winter nights.  It is a good time to clean up the remnants of summertime fun and prepare for the harsher impending climate.  Handling these fall outdoor cleanup tasks could save you time and money rather than waiting for “spring cleaning.”ladder by house for fall outdoor cleanup

Regardless of whether you use your grill year-round, fall is the perfect time to give the grill a thorough cleaning after a summer full of cookouts and tailgates.  Use a wire brush to scrape the grates, and a pen-shaped non-scratch (for most household surfaces) Scrigit Scraper to loosen any stuck-on grime before giving everything a complete wipe down.  If you are storing your grill, be sure to use an appropriate grill cover.

Check windows and doors for loose or missing caulk.  A weak seal around windows and doors can result in cold winter drafts and cost you hundreds of dollars in heating bills!  Use a Scrigit Scraper to pry up any deteriorating caulk, and make sure that the spaces are dry before applying new caulk.  This helps avoid sealing in moisture.

Wash exterior house windows. Use your Scrigit Scraper to clean sliding glass door and window tracks with no scrubbing by following these directions.

Check the gutters and downspouts for debris.  With the falling leaves and heavy rains in some areas, debris may accumulate quickly and require you to clean them out a few times through the season.

Check weather-stripping around entry doors and garage doors.  Replace if needed.

Remove window cooling units and wipe down before storing.  Use a Scrigit Scraper to remove any debris on the unit, as well as in the window sill.  Remember to clean the filters!

Touch up exterior trim and paint.  If you were planning on painting your entire house, many experts recommend waiting until late spring or early summer, when the temperatures are more cooperative for drying.  However, autumn is the time to check for loose paint on trim (e.g., window and door frames) and to touch up spots as needed.  Use a Scrigit Scraper to remove loose, flaking paint before lightly sanding and repainting.Scrigit Scraper cleaning slider tracks

If you have a fireplace, wood burning stove, or pellet stove, schedule a professional cleaning company to service the chimney before you start burning for the winter.

As your greenery goes dormant, trim overgrown trees.  Don’t prune your perennials yet— wait until the first frost.  But remove all of the dead annuals from your flowerbeds.

Drain and store garden hoses and sprinklers. Have your built-in sprinkler system winterized by a professional company.

Walk around the perimeter of your house and check for any small holes that may be enticing for mice and spiders to gain access.  Seal those with the appropriate material following manufacturer’s instructions for your structure.

Once all of your fall outdoor cleanup tasks are complete, settle inside to prepare for the upcoming holidays and winter season!

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Super Spooky Fun: Halloween Crafts

You Will Enjoy Making and Displaying These Clever Halloween Crafts

The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling down, and fall fun is here! You’ve done your fall cleaning, put away your summer supplies and it’s time to bring out some amazing Halloween crafts and decor.Halloween crafts - pumpkin spiders

Of course, fall festivities start with great pumpkins, spooky spiders, and crafts made alongside a cup of warm apple cider. These spider-inspired pumpkin candle holders make for perfect bathroom, hallway or even desk companions. They’re super easy to create and extra fun for the kids to help make.

Your creepy crawling pieces can be made with ease. Grab your Scrigit Scraper, a few craft tools, and some of cute mini-pumpkins.

What you’ll need:

  • mini-pumpkins
  • 8 pipe cleaners per pumpkin
  • 1 tea light per pumpkin
  • 1 Scrigit Scraper
  • 1 knife

To create:

Step 1. When selecting pumpkins, be sure they are wide and deep enough to insert your small tea light. You’ll find the best deals on pumpkins at local greenhouses vs. large chain stores. Wash pumpkin thoroughly.

Step 2. Insert your knife at the top of the pumpkin, cutting straight down in a circular motion, with a circle slightly wider in diameter than the tea light. If you have a drill, you can also use this to drill a circular hole into the pumpkin. Use your Scrigit Scraper to remove the seeds and debris inside, making surface as smooth as possible by scraping with the flat edge of your tool.

Note: Don’t forget that the hole you insert into your pumpkin must be large enough to hold a candle!

Step 3. Using the corner of the flat edge of the Scrigit Scraper, poke 4 indentations on each side of the pumpkin (where your spider legs will be). Gently press each pipe cleaner into the indentation, forming them to shape bent legs.

Note: If they don’t stay inserted into the pumpkin, make the hole deeper with a toothpick OR simply use super glue or white glue and allow to dry.

Step 4. Insert the tea light into the hole in your pumpkin, light, and enjoy your spooky new fall friends! If young children are in the house, be sure to opt for battery operated tea lights.

There you have it! These Halloween crafts are super simple to create, super affordable, and extra adorable. Create dozens of these spooky spiders to decorate a long driveway, a porch, or countertops inside your home. Fill them with a glass candle holder and candies, or grab a bigger pumpkin and insert an entire bouquet to make a floral critter.

Don’t forget to stock up on handy Scrigit Scrapers to keep craft season mess-free and easy here. The Scrigit Scraper was a featured product in last fall’s issue of Craft Ideas magazine, though the magazine is currently looking for a new publisher.

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Essential Tools for New Homeowners

Ace Hardware Store Owners Pick Scrigit Scraper as Essential Tool for New Homeowners

As owners of two Twins Ace Hardware stores in Fairfax and Arlington, Virginia near Washington, DC, Craig and Jeff Smith were asked to talk about the tools needed by new homeowners. This includes owners of single-family detached homes, townhouses, condominium units and co-op units. They were asked to appear on the WUSA-9 morning talk show called Great Day Washington, which covers Washington, DC and parts of Maryland and Virginia. Their segment on the show was called “Ace Hardware: 5 Tools Every Homeowner Needs” and helped to promote Ace Hardware’s participation in the 2017 Co-op Festival that was held on the National Mall in DC at the end of September. The festival was held to create recognition of the cooperative business model by showcasing a variety of cooperative businesses, such as Ocean Spray, Sunkist, Cabot Creamery, Ace Hardware, and many more.Advice for new homeowners

Twins Ace Hardware owners (and twins), Craig and Jeff Smith were asked on the subject of tools, “How do you get started if you have never owned your own home before?” They identified five essential tools for new homeowners.

  1. Hammer – either a full-size hammer or something called a stubby hammer for small jobs, tight work spaces, or if you find a regular hammer too hard to control.
  2. Tongue and groove pliers – Often known by the brand name, Channellock pliers, this versatile tool can be used for a wide range of gripping, tightening and loosening tasks.
  3. Screwdriver – The 6 in 1 screwdriver features six different screwdriver bits with one handle.
  4. Tape measure – A metal tape measure is a compact device that allows you to measure spaces around your home so you buy the right size furniture, drapes, and many other items. The featured model had a durable plastic case around a metal mechanism so it won’t break if dropped.
  5. Scrigit Scraper – There are are always a wide range of small areas around your home that need cleaning, such as corners, edges, grooves, and flat surfaces with small spots of latex paint, food, wax or unknown grime. Instead of using your fingernails, which don’t hold up well, the rounded tip of the Scrigit Scraper is much sturdier, can reach into areas that fingers can’t, and won’t scratch most household surfaces. This tip is also very good for removing those price and product stickers from all the new things you buy for your new home. Instead of using a screwdriver or knife, which can scratch the surface being cleaned, the flat edge of the Scrigit Scraper provides an excellent alternative that will not scratch any surface that would not be scratched by your fingernails.

    Scrigit Scraper on Great Day Washington

    Stubby Hammer, Scrigit Scraper, Tape Measure

Great Day Washington is a live, daily talk show on WUSA-9 focusing on a variety of the latest trends in DC, MD and VA, such as food, fashion, fitness and fun. The show is hosted by Markette Sheppard and Kristen Berset. Craig and Jeff Smith own their two hardware stores that are part of the Ace Hardware cooperative.  For new homeowners and everybody else, Scrigit Scrapers are available online and at many independently owned hardware stores in almost all 50 states. If you don’t see Scrigit Scrapers at your favorite store, ask for them.

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