Handyman: Get home ready for holiday stress

Glenn Haege
Special to The Detroit News
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The holiday hosting season has arrived, and now is the time to get your home ready to handle the parties and house guests you will have during the next few weeks. By now you have probably done a thorough cleaning of your home, but you also need to prepare it to handle the extra use certain items will be getting during the holidays.

With all the cooking and dishes you will do, your sink, garbage disposer and dishwasher all need to be in perfect working order. First, for the drain use a product like Build-Up Remover from Whink, whink.com. For the garbage disposer and dishwasher, clean and disinfect them with Summit Brands Disposer Care and Dishwasher Magic, summitbrands.com.

Your bathrooms will also get a good workout during the holidays, especially if you have overnight guests. In the bathroom, hair-clogged drains in sinks, tubs and showers can really slow the water from draining properly. Usually a liquid drain cleaner won’t clear out these types of clogs. Instead, you can use CLR’s Power Plumber Pressurized Drain Opener from Jelmar, jelmar.com, or Hair Clog Blaster from Whink. If you are on a septic system, keep it “active” and working properly by using Rid-X, rid-x.com.

With all the cooking you will do during the holidays, it increases the chances of a kitchen fire. A working and easily available fire extinguisher is mandatory. Check the pressure gauge to ensure it is in the “green,” and make sure the safety pin is intact and the nozzle unobstructed. You may also want to add a portable aerosol fire extinguisher such as the Tundra Fire Extinguisher Spray from First Alert, (800) 323-9005, firstalert.com. Also check to see if your smoke detectors are working properly and replace the battery if needed.

If you will have guests staying the night in your home, have night lights in the bathrooms, guest bedrooms, hallways and at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Coffee is one of the favored drinks during the holidays, but too often the coffee maker is a forgotten item on the holiday cleaning check list. Use a cleaner like Whink’s Automatic Drip Coffee Maker Cleaner or Single Cup Coffee Maker Cleaner from Nuvera, nuveraproducts.com, for Keurig models.

One of my favorite holiday hosting tips is to lower the thermostat. Try 3 degrees lower than normal about three hours before guests arrive, and turn your furnace fan to the ON position. This helps compensate for the added heat from your oven, the fireplace and the overdressed guests. This will help keep everyone cool and comfortable.

Odds are that someone will spill something on the carpet. Now is a good time to assemble my Handyman Emergency Stain Removal Kit. It consists of a bottle of club soda, foam-style shaving cream and facial tissue. When a spill happens, first blot it with a facial tissue but don’t rub it. Then pour a small amount of club soda on the stain, let it fizz, and use more tissue to blot it dry. If it’s a food spill, pick up the excess food with tissue and apply a little foam-style shaving cream. Work the foam with your fingers, using a plucking motion. Then blot with more tissue, sprinkle with club soda and blot it dry.

To prepare for a really bad stain from red wine or cranberry juice, get a bottle of Motsenbocker’s Lift Off Stain Remover for Drinks, Pets & Food, liftoffinc.com.

Follow these proactive holiday hosting preparation tips and you will be the host and hostess that everyone will be talking about.

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail askglenn@masterhandyman.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.

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