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14 Handy Hints to Help with Kid Messes

It's no secret that kids are messy, so check out these clever handy hints that will make cleaning up their messes a little easier.

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HH disinfect legos in dishwasherFamily Handyman

The Quickest and Easiest Way to Clean Legos

Children’s toys are a breeding ground for germs. A dishwasher makes quick work of disinfecting toys that are washable, like Legos. To quickly clean Legos:

  1. Drop the Legos in a laundry bag to keep them contained.
  2. Run your dishwasher as usual.
  3. But, remove the Legos before the drying cycle, letting them air dry completely on a towel.

This method also works well for other treasures like seashells, dish brushes, rags and sponges.

Take a look at 11 other things you didn’t know could be washed in the dishwasher.

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easy sticker removal HHFamily Handyman

Renew Your Furniture in Minutes

My son plastered all of the furniture in his room with stickers from skate shops, arenas and gumball machines. Once he moved out, I wanted to use his furniture in the new guest room, without the stickers. I peeled off all the stickers using a putty knife in combination with hair dryer, to soften the adhesive. Some are harder to remove than others, but I had them all off in a couple hours. – Steve Winter

Here are 28 handy hints for removing hard-to-remove stuff.

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HH hand sanitizer remove permanent markerFamily Handyman

Permanent Marker Solution

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do a good job of removing permanent marker ink. They reactivate the ink, allowing you to easily wipe the stain off. Cover the entire ink stain with hand sanitizer. Let it sit for about 30 seconds and then wipe off the ink with a soft rag. Plus, check out these secret cleaning tips from the pros.

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HH ice remove gum stuck in carpetFamily Handyman

The Easiest Way to Remove Gum From Carpet

When gum freezes, it gets brittle and easily breaks apart. So, if you have gum stuck in your carpet, freeze it to remove it quickly and neatly.

  1. Place a sandwich bag filled with ice cubes on top of the gum and wait about a half hour.
  2. When the gum is frozen, break it apart and pull it out of the carpet. No trace left behind.

Plus, we’ve rounded up the best way to get gum out of almost anything.

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foam pipe insulation to babyproof a table HHFamily Handyman

Pipe Insulation for Baby-Proofing

My granddaughter is at the age where babyproofing the home is important for her safety. To avoid any injuries when she visits our house, I added some foam pipe insulation around my kitchen countertop and along dangerous edges and corners on furniture pieces in the living room.

The pressure created by the curve of the insulation holds it in place without having to use the adhesive strip that comes on the insulation. It also makes the babyproofing solution temporary, so I can remove it when my granddaughter isn’t at our house. The adhesive strip does, however, allow you to stick the insulation to edges and corners if it has a tendency of slipping off or if the baby removes it. — Joe Zayac

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Remove Crayon Marks From Wall HHFamily Handyman

Remove Crayon Marks From Wall

Have your walls been redecorated with some original crayon masterpieces? Don’t lose your cool. Just grab a rag, dip it in some baking soda and lightly scrub the marks. They will come off with a minimal amount of effort and give your young Picasso a fresh, new canvas.

Check out 50 more ways you can use baking soda to clean around the house.

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HH clean sneakers with a toothbrush and toothpaste whiteFamily Handyman

Use Toothpaste to Clean Sneakers

All you need is an old toothbrush and a little toothpaste to learn how to clean sneakers and get your kids or your old sneakers looking like new! Non-gel white toothpaste works great for cleaning white-soled sneakers (colored toothpaste may stain rather than clean sneakers). Apply toothpaste to an old toothbrush and then work the paste into the dirty spots. Leave the toothpaste on the shoes for about ten minutes, and then wipe it off with a damp towel. Repeat the process if necessary.

Important: The ingredients in toothpaste may vary from brand to brand, so make sure to try this method on a small unnoticeable spot on your sneakers before applying it to the rest of the shoe.

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Lego HHFamily Handyman

DIY Lego Keychains

You’ll always know where your keys are with this handy hint! To make Lego keychains, start by drilling a hole into the base of a Lego that is slightly smaller than the screw portion of an eyelet screw. Next, wind the eyelet screw into the lego. Thread a split ring through the hole and use it to attach keys. Mount the Lego board to a surface using your preferred method. Attach the Lego board to the wall by first marking the desired location for the board and making sure that it is level. Drill pilot holes in the four corners of the Lego board and into the wall. To finish, drill screws with small enough heads to fit in between the Lego pegs into the board. You’ll be so excited to put the Lego on the Lego board that you won’t lose your keys (hopefully) ever again!

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HH cereal container car trash canFamily Handyman

Keep Your Car Clean!

Keeping your car clean can be difficult. Toss out any wrappers, bottles and other objects in a sturdy car trash can. Line a plastic cereal container with a grocery bag and use it as an in-car trash can. To keep the container upright, apply a strip of self-adhesive hook and loop fastener to the bottom of the container, so it’ll stick to your car’s carpet.

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vacuuming up baking soda from upholstery HH

Clean Upholstery with Baking Soda

Use this handy hint if there’s a funky smell lurking in your couch or upholstered chair: Sprinkle a generous amount of regular baking soda onto the fabric and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. The baking soda will help to release odors and break up some light stains in the fabric. After about 20 minutes, remove the baking soda—and the funky smell—with a handheld vacuum or a hose attachment for your large vacuum.

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HH Handy Hint Vacuum cleaner nylons find lost itemsFamily Handyman

Vacuum Hack for Finding Small Items

Everyone knows how annoying it is when you can’t seem to find a dropped pill or the back of an earring. So how do you find these items quickly and easily? Use your vacuum. Here’s the trick; before you turn the vacuum on, cut off the end of a nylon and secure it on the end of your vacuum hose with a rubber band. Here are more unusual cleaning tips that actually work.

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HH lemon juice remove highlighterFamily Handyman

How to Remove Highlighter Stains

Ever wish you could remove highlighter marks from a book? Lemon juice fades highlighter enough to make it virtually undetectable. Cut a lemon in half and get some juice on a cotton swab. Run the swab over the highlighted text and watch the color fade. That’s not the only way to clean with lemon around the house!

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HH pool noodle fishing poleFamily Handyman

Transport Fishing Poles Safe and Tangle-Free

To protect my fishing rods in the back of the truck, I cover them with pool noodles. Cut the noodle and slip it over the rod. Depending on your rod style, use either one or two pieces of pool noodle. No more broken tips, thanks to a $1.00 pool noodle! — Tim Wurmlinger

Also, check out our favorite camping hacks that you’ll wish you knew earlier.

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HH DIY Ice Pack Sponge home cookFamily Handyman

How to Make Your Own Ice Pack

Ice packs are a great way to keep your kid’s lunch cool, but they’re a bit expensive if you’re in the habit of losing them. This make your own ice pack hack is reusable, so it is good for the environment as well.

First, grab a sponge and soak it in water. Then, put the sponge in a small sandwich bag with a zip close. Now, freeze the wet and bagged sponge overnight. In the morning, all you need to do is toss the ice pack into your lunch container. Once you get home from work or your kids get home from school, just toss the ice pack back into the freezer and it’ll be ready to use again the next day.

Check out these handy hints you can use around the house.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman