Home Fixes in a Flash

Need some quick tips on fixing those annoying stains and scratches? We've got answers.

Keeping House

Stains, scratches, spills—they're all part of life at home. Here, some remedies you should know.

Getting crayon off walls.

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When it comes to kids, crayon is a fact of life. There are a few ways to get crayon marks off of walls: 1) Use a blow dryer to heat up the wax scribbles, and then, using a rag with dish soap, wipe away; 2) spritz WD-40 (which we consider a miracle product) on the mark and wipe; 3) it's also helpful to have a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in your tool kit.

Furniture scratch repair.

You know that uniquely horrifying feeling when you see a scratch on a favorite piece of furniture? So do we. Large scratches can be repaired with Old English Scratch Cover or a furniture marker, This Old House is always an excellent resource, and their advice on scratches, shallow chips and water rings doesn't disappoint.

Carpet spills.

Ketchup, red wine, grape juice—they're just a few of the offenders that can snap any homeowner into a panic. The folks at Shaw Carpet suggest always blotting spills (never rub or scrub), working from the outside in, so you don't spread the stain. Their site offers a dropdown menu with a remedy for every imaginable stain.

Cleaning marble.

If you have a marble-top table at home, you need to be prepared for stains. So, how to clean marble? Spilled beverages like red wine and coffee should be wiped up immediately, since marble is a porous material and will absorb stains quickly. Never use vinegar, lemon or any other acidic cleanser, because it will eat into the stone. Do use baking soda—just rub it into the marble with a damp cloth, rinse with water, and dry (but don't air dry, because water can also stain marble!).

Scuffed linoleum.

According to Real Simple, rub the scuffed spot with white toothpaste and a dry cloth. Or, spray WD-40 on a towel and rub lightly—just make sure to degrease the area afterward with liquid dishwashing detergent and water. No one likes to slip and fall.

Ink on upholstery.

Did your honey accidentally scrawl his pen across the couch while doing the crossword puzzle? Don't panic, but more importantly, don't rub it out. Spray some hairspray on the mark and blot. Repeat the process until you feel you've gotten out as much as you can. If the stain persists, mix equal parts lemon juice, baking soda and laundry detergent (a teaspoon each). Put on the stain, and let sit for a few minutes; then blot. When the stain is out, blot with hot water to remove the cleaning solution.

Bubbles in wallpaper.

Has your pretty wallpaper suddenly sprouted an air bubble? The folks at For Dummies suggest making a small slit in the offending bubble with a razor, and pushing down on it to remove the air. Then, put wallpaper glue in a syringe (your hardware store should sell them, or simply ask your pharmacist), inject it under the hole, and smooth with a roller. Presto!

Ryan Homes Tip: Many commercial stainless-steel cleaning products make fingerprint marks look worse. Instead, use good, old-fashioned Murphy's Oil Soap mixed with water.