Tag Archives: Less than $25

Coffee Pot Cleaner Alternative – Week 6

I’ve had my Mr. Coffee 4-cup coffeemaker for probably over two years. I’m ashamed to say but I’ve never done the suggested manufacturer maintenance to keep the coffee tasting delicious. I’ve blamed the coffee for the nasty burnt flavor. What a shame to have wasted delicious coffee since I brewed it with my dirty coffeemaker! Seeing how vinegar is the all-purpose solution to all cleaning problems, I tested this eco-friendly coffee pot cleaner alternative.

Why Vinegar as a Coffee Pot Cleaner Alternative?

–          Cheap

–          Leaves zero toxic residues inside your coffeemaker

–          Environmentally friendly

When Are You Due for Coffeemaker Maintenance?

Manufacturers recommend decalcifying, every 80 cycles when using soft water and every 40 cycles when using hard water (most of us, use filtered tap water, which has tons of stuff that result in mineral deposits). This means that depending on how often you brew, you would do maintenance every three months when using soft water (who uses soft water treatment? I heard it’s good for your hair) and every month and a half when using hard water (AKA tap water).

Some signs that your coffeemaker is due for maintenance:

–          Increase in time it takes to brew

–          Excessive steaming

–          Build up of white deposits on the surface

–          Nasty tasting coffee, regardless of what type of coffee you buy

What You’ll Need

Coffee Pot Cleaner

For this “DIY” project (let’s consider this a DIY…) all you need is:

–           White vinegar

–          Water

–          Time

Steps to Remove Mineral Deposit Build-up in the Water Reservoir

  1. Pour a mix of ½ white vinegar and ½ water to the top of the water reservoir.
  2. Let the unit sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  3. Place a coffee filter like usual.
  4. After 2 hours, brew the vinegar and water mix.
  5. For those of us that have neglected our coffeemakers for years, repeat steps 1 – 3 above two more times, and just let it sit for 20 minutes instead of 2 hours. **Make sure you let the decanter cool before pouring cold water to avoid cracking of the glass.
  6. Trash the used coffee filters and make sure to use a new one each time you brew.
  7. After the vinegar mix brews, pour fresh water and fill the water reservoir to the top.
  8. Brew fresh water 2-3 times to rinse out the vinegar from the coffeemaker (or as many as you think you need).
  9. Clean the decanter following the steps below while you let the unit sit for 2 hours.

Steps to Remove Mineral Deposit Build-up in the Decanter

  1. Pour equal parts of white vinegar and hot water inside your decanter to the top.
  2. Find a bowl that will let the decanter’s bottom fit nicely in a vinegar solution. Just pour enough vinegar to cover the bottom part of the decanter (where the hard minerals are built-up).
  3. Let the decanter sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  4. After 2 hours, empty the decanter and rinse with clean water.
  5. Clean the removable filter basket at the same time you clean the decanter (see below).

Steps to Remove Build-up in the Removable Filter Basket

  1. Place the filter basket in a bowl where you can immerse it in vinegar mix to the top.
  2. Pour equal parts of white vinegar and hot water inside the bowl to the cover the filter basket.
  3. Let the decanter sit for 2 hours. The vinegar will break down the lime and mineral deposits.
  4. After 2 hours, rinse with clean water.
  5. You can wash inside the basket with a new toothbrush or q-tips to keep the coffee oil and coffee grime from building up between the crevices.
  6. Follow the steps below to clean the exterior of your coffeemaker.

Steps to Clean the Exterior of Your Coffeemaker and Under the Top Lid

  1. Wipe down all the areas with 100% vinegar using a cloth or paper towel. You can use q-tips for tight spots.
  2. Wipe down the area under the top lid. Mine has accumulated lots of coffee stains but I read that placing a second filter on top of the coffee ground will keep the spattering to a minimum.
  3. For the warming plate, you might have to place a cotton cloth / paper towel soaked in vinegar and let it sit for 2 hours (depending on the hardness of the build-up). Then, once softened, it will a little easier to wipe.


–          Better-tasting coffee

–          Coffeemaker will last you longer

–          Faster brews

–          No embarrassing dirty coffeemaker

Coffee Pot Cleaner How much cleaner the water is in the before/after picture??


Coffee Pot Cleaner Did you see that nasty bug that came out from my coffeemaker???


I did the test, and coffee definitely tastes much better! And I feel much cleaner.


DIY Bathroom Window Privacy Film – Week 5

Our downstairs dungeon bathroom has been privacy-less for years and years, as you can see from the before picture. Inspired by the window privacy film DIY from our kitchen, I found this perfect post on 7th House on the Left that shared a Moroccan pattern stencil perfect for contact paper. So using the left over contact paper from the Kitchen Window Privacy Film DIY from week 2, I added much needed privacy to that bathroom (disregard the poopoo color wall, it will leave the bathroom soon, forever).

DIY window privacy film

So this project will really cost only $8! I used the Con-Tact Frosty 288 in. x 18 in. Clear Liner that I got at Home Depot: Con-Tact Frost Clear Liner.

supplies diy window privacy film

Then I used this handy Moroccan Pattern Stencil (click on the pdf link) that 7th House on the Left sweetly provided for all of us to use.

There aren’t any real instructions needed. Just measure your window to the contact paper, trace away using the stencil, then cut them up, and stick them to the window following your pattern.

The window privacy film DIY has been there three months and it looks the same as the first day – meaning, the contact paper has stuck very nicely (along with the kitchen one). Yay!

Best of all, I still have tons of contact paper… : P


PS: I’m 11 weeks behind… But I will eventually catch up!

Replace Your Window’s Insect Screen in 15 Minutes– Week 4

I never knew how easy it is to replace an insect screen. Replacing a raggedy, old, dirty, used up insect screen also makes a HUGE difference. We have that ugly galvanized window frame but combined with the ripped up insect screen, it is just a hideous sight.

Here is the before and after picture of my window:

Before and after replacing the insect screen.

Before and after replacing the insect screen.

I have an easy DIY project coming up to make the galvanized window frame look a little more pleasant without having to change the entire frame. Changing window frames would cost way too much money and time AND expert contractor to install. I can’t wait to do this project!

Anyway, proceeding to how to replace your window’s insect screen in 15 minutes!

You will need:

Supplies needed to replace insect screen.

Supplies needed to replace insect screen.

  1. Insect Screen Material
  2. Roller
  3. Spline (you could reuse the old one!)
  4. Scissors
  5. Screwdriver
  6. Small pliers (may not need if old spline is easy to remove)

You can get a little kit at Home Depot for less than $25 and it includes 36 inches by 25 feet of screen material, 60 feet of spline, and one roller. Here is the link for your reference:

Phifer Screen Kit


  1. Remove the insect screen by pulling up the lift tab and then pulling the screen panel towards you.

    replace insect screen

    Remove the window screen panel.

  2. Stick in the screwdriver in the corner where the spline is free and use it as leverage to yank out the old spline. You might need a pair of pliers to pull it out if it’s stubborn. Mine had over 20 years of grime and nasty build up so it was encrusted in the groove.

    replace insect screen

    Remove old spline from window screen panel.

  3. If you can’t reuse your old spline, cut a new piece that fits your screen by using the old spline as your measuring guide. Consider cutting an extra inch because sometimes as you insert the spline, you will notice the spline will be used up more than you expected.

    replace insect screen

    Remove old insect screen. Beware! Lots of dirt may come out as you pull it out.

  4. Cut a piece of the insect screen material that fits your window screen and add an inch on all sides as a precaution. You can trim it easily after you install it.
  5. Place the spline over the border of the window screen and use the roller to insert the spline into the window screen groove. Make sure the insect screen is aligned properly and has a tight feel but not too tight because you might end ripping it as you insert the spline into the groove.

    replace insect screen

    Insert spline over the new insect screen.

  6. Once you have the spline installed, use your scissors to trim the extra insect screen to make it seamless.

    replace insect screen

    Trim the extra insect screen.

  7. Insert the lift tab back on the lower right corner of the window screen.

    replace insect screen

    Don’t forget to put back the lift tab.

  8. Now you are ready to put the window insect screen back! First, insert the top then once it feels properly aligned push the screen down. You might have to use the lift tab to align it properly until you are happy with the fit.

    replace insect screen

    Put the window screen panel back.

Super easy to replace, right? Now you can open your windows again without worrying about insects coming in through the window!

PS: I will continue with the remaining 10 days of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China but I want to move on to catch up with the past couple of months of DIY projects : )

Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs for a Few Dollars – Week 3

Week 3 of 52 DIY Home Projects! One of my favorite DIY blogs, Young House Love, had a post on painting oil rubbed bronze door knobs and door knobs accessories (in Hank Hill’s voice, of course). At first it intimidated me because I’ve never touched a spray paint can in my life. But considering how much money I would save in painting these old and heavily abused brass door knobs, I gave it a shot. I’m glad I did because it was so easy! You can see Young House Love post on the project right here.

You will need:

Supplies for Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs

Supplies for Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knobs

  1. Screwdriver
  2. All-purpose cleaning solution
  3. Paper towels
  4. Cardboard (Home Depot let me take a couple of empty boxes)
  5. High grit sandpaper (I bought 3M Pro Grade Sandpaper Extra Fine 400 grit at Home Depot for $3.97)
  6. Deglosser (I bought the Klean-Strip Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser at Home Depot for $6.98)
  7. Steel wool (I bought the Rhodes American Grade #3 Steel Wool pack at Home Depot for $3.98)
  8. Spray can with primer (I bought the Rust-Oleum Universal Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic Paint & Primer at Home Depot for ($7.28)
  9. Gloves

Total amount spent on supplies: $24.15 (incl. 8.75% tax).


  1. UNINSTALLING: Start by bidding farewell to your door knobs. Use your screwdriver to remove all screws, including the matching strike plate to have a matching set. Be careful when you remove the door knob. Black dust stained the carpet. I recommend placing a rag or towel under the door while removing the door knob.
    Carpet Stain

    Beware of staining your carpet

    To remove a door knob that looks like mine, turn the knob as if you are opening the door. Next, pull knobs opposite to each. You can easily remove the deadlatch from the door after you remove the knobs. Don’t forget your strike plate and keep all the screws together. This diagram might help in describing how to remove your door knob:

  2. CLEANING: Clean your knob and parts with your all-purpose cleaning solution like 409 cleaner. Clean any superficial built up grime off.
  3. SANDING: Cut up a small piece of your sandpaper and sand every groove and crevice of your door knob and its parts. I don’t think I did a good job on the grooves so I hope the paint adheres as long as the other parts that I sanded well. I recommend using a lower grit because 400 grit was a little too fine for me to get a thorough sanding. I thought I did a thorough sanding but now that I look at the pictures, I see that I could have been rougher. To remove white paint from the strike plate, I rubbed the steel wool heavily on the plate and it came off beautifully. Good-bye white paint that doesn’t belong there! The steel wool is good to remove any heavy, heavy stuff from your door knob.

    Papersand Door Knob

    Sanding – Done!

  4. DEGLOSSING: Read the instructions on your deglosser. I was an eager beaver; I put on my gloves, poured deglosser on a cotton rag, and lightly rubbed each door part. I wiped the deglosser off with the dry part of my rag after a minute or two. Me thinks I used it wrong… 

    So why use a deglosser AND sandpaper?? Doesn’t the deglosser OR sandpaper have the same result??Well… Apparently not. So paint expert Home Depot says that deglosser is useful because grime collects heavily on door knobs overtime and it’s not evenly spread. Deglossing helps clean that heavy grime. Also, the deglosser goes in the little nooks and crevices of your curvy door knobs and parts, where the sandpaper doesn’t reach. Somebody says deglossing protects the door knob from chipping when other objects bump into it.

    So how do you apply a deglosser to door knobs??

    My bottle instructions suggested a coarse material that is lint free so I though a cotton rag is coarse right?? WRONG. Next time, I’ll use something that is COARSE LOL Like a sandpaper sponge or dish scrubber or even steel wool.  Another approach I’ve seen is soaking the knobs in a container with deglosser and just wiping them down. I’ll let you know which one works for me better than my cotton rag…

    CONCLUSION: Degloss BEFORE sanding. Why you ask? Because the deglosser softens the first layer of paint on a door knob, preparing the knob for sanding. The sanding will make your door knob smooth but not the deglosser. Deglossers work best when door knobs dry off well before sanding it for maximum adhesion of your paint. And if your door knobs are just as sad and dirty and mine, consider deglossing and sanding twice to make sure you have the door knobs ready to receive and forever cohabitate with the paint.

    As you can see my door knobs are still too glossy after I supposedly deglossed them. Sad but lesson learned… Even so, after spray painting, the results are still two enthusiastic thumbs up!

    Door knob deglosser

    Door knobs after applying deglosser – still glossy…

    WARNING: Deglosser stinks. Use the deglosser in a ventilated area and do follow instructions on the container. Make sure to consider that I used a low VOC deglosser since I live in California.

  5. CARDBOARD: Prep your cardboard to spray paint by poking holes to fit your door knob parts and screws. I used a knife to puncture the cardboard. The cardboard will help hold all of the door knob parts conveniently placed to spray paint.

    Door knob in cardboard

    Place the door knobs on a piece of cardboard

  6. SPRAY PAINTING: Finally, ready to spray paint! It was exciting (I know, what a dork haha)! Make sure you spray paint in a ventilated area, free of gusty winds and falling leaves or dust, or cover your face if you don’t have many choices, like me. Although I knew to spray light coats, or “mists”, and allow drying for 15 minutes between thin coats, I was too eager. I ended doing 5 coats allowing to dry for 10 minutes. However, after waiting 24 hours I noticed the stem area needed an extra coat! Gahhh! I spray painted a couple of times again, twiddled my thumbs, and waited for 48 hours for the knobs to dry.
  7. REINSTALLING: Start with the easiest part – screw back the strike plate. Next place the deadlatch first making sure the sloping side of the latch faces toward the outside knob. When inserting the outside knob, make sure you place the keyhole how you typically insert your key to open it. Then to insert the inside knob, make sure you place the lock on your preferred position of locking and unlocking the door. Start screwing in the deadlatch followed by the inside knob. Just make sure you are gentle and don’t scratch the inside knob with the screwdriver. To protect the knob from scratches, use a towel. Voila!

    After DIY Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knob

    After DIY Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Knob

I love the “like-new” look on my new oil rubbed bronze door knobs! I love that the supplies cost less than $25, of which we have plenty to paint the remaining knobs! I’m so thankful for Young House Love, I would have never known :*) Thank youuu

I won’t spray paint the door hinges (not like it’s noticeable but it can be bothersome) but I’ll move on. The biggest sacrifice, as expected, is the paint chipping at the strike plate and latch. I’d much rather overlook that flaw than spend a couple hundred of dollars on new door knob sets…

So… Did you redo your door knobs?? Any tips or anything you would suggest for painting the rest of the door knobs?

Thanks for stopping by!

Easy DIY Window Privacy Film – Week 2

I was eyeing cute window privacy films made by Brume. I love the window film called “Cutlery,” which looks like this:

Window Privacy Film

Brume Window Film Cutlery


But that “Cutlery” window film costs $75 for one 21.5 inches by 31.5 inches (or around 55 cm by 80 cm). Times that by two, it would cost me over $150, plus shipping costs (if they even ship to the US).

A better alternative is to DIY a custom window privacy film for less than $20!

Here is the kitchen window before:

Kitchen Windows BEFORE

Kitchen Windows BEFORE

A very ugly sight of the neighbor’s fence along with overgrown weeds, which I no longer have to look at!

Kitchen window looks like this after this easy DIY:

DIY Window Privacy Film

DIY Window Privacy Film


For this easy DIY, you will need:

  1. Frosty contact paper (I bought the Contact Paper Frosty 18″ x 24′ for $7.47)
  2. Black contact paper for the cutouts (I bought the Black Faux Leather Contact Paper 18″ x 15′ for $7.47 – it’s a beautiful textured black contact paper)
  3. Pen or marker
  4. Pair of scissors or utility knife or razor
  5. Measuring tape or ruler
  6. Stencils. You can download the heart cup stencil and “ENJOY” letters right here:
    DIY Kitchen Stencils


  1. Start by cleaning your window thoroughly. I use an ammonia based window cleaner to avoid any streaks.
  2. Measure your window with your measuring tape or ruler. My kitchen window is split into two 21.5 inches by 31.5 inches windows.
  3. Based on your windows’ size, decide what layout you will use with your contact paper.The contact paper I bought at Home Depot is 18 inches wide. My kitchen windows were bigger by a couple of inches! Therefore, I ended using this layout to create seamless unity between my contact paper pieces.

    Kitchen Windows Layout

    Kitchen Windows Layout

  4. Decide the size of your stencils. Try out two to three sizes and place them on different angles on your window to see what looks best on your window.
  5. Cut out your stencils from your paper printout using either a pair of scissors or utility knife. If using a pair of scissors to cut the heart shape, just fold the cup in half and cut following the line like this:
    Heart Cup Stencil

    Heart Cup Stencil

    For the handle and letter “O,” you can use this same technique if you are using scissors. For the handle hole, just cut at an angle so your handle doesn’t come out round. Save your little heart cutout if you are going to use it as part of your stencils.

  6. Using your paper cutouts, trace onto the paper side of the contact paper. Make sure you use the inverse side of the letter “N” and “J.” Also, depending on which side you want your cup’s handle to face, trace it the opposite direction.

    Heart Cup Stencil

    Heart Cup Stencil

  7. Cut out your stencils that will go on top of your frosty contact paper using the same technique as #5.

    Heart Cup Stencil

    Heart Cup Stencil

  8. Cut out the frosty contact paper based on your windows’ size and layout and start sticking it to the window beginning with one of the bottom corners. Stick the contact paper to the window slowly. For any bubbles, just gently rub it with your fingertips. For any lining up problems, gently pull it away from the window to redo.
  9. Once you have your windows covered with your frosty contact paper, you are ready to place your stencils wherever you wish and you can stand back and admire your windows 🙂


Wasn’t that easy? And we still have a lot of contact paper left for other uses. So really, it’s even less than $20 for this DIY window privacy film! Share your windows in the comments section; I would love to see how it turned out!

Thanks for visiting Cleaning Junkie!

PS: In case you missed the downloadable heart cup stencil link above, here you go:
DIY Kitchen Stencils