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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Fabric Blinds Best Cleaned With Brush, Vacuum

March 12, 1994|JOHN MORELL

Question: The house we just bought has fabric vertical blinds that need a good cleaning. Is it OK for them to just be thrown in the wash or will that damage them?

E.E.

Lake Forest

Answer: "In most cases, you just need to vacuum fabric blinds," says Gidon Adlan of Bob's Shades & Linoleum in Orange.

"The problem with washing your blinds is that there's a good chance they'll shrink. There are lots of different fabrics available; you may want to take one of the slats to a blind shop so they can give you an idea of what it's made of and what you can use on it to remove spots. Generally, though, you'll just need to brush the blind and use a small vacuum to dust and clean it."

Q: We recently bought an old house, and our first project will be a remodeling of the bathrooms. The old stainless steel towel racks are connected with tiny allen screws that have become rusted. Is there a trick to removing them?

S.C.

Westminster

A: "The best way to do it is with your drill," says Steve Johnson of Familian Pipe & Supply in Costa Mesa. "Use a tiny bit that will fit in the middle of the screw and pull the trigger. If the screw is old and rusty, it should fall apart. If you're trying to keep the screw and hardware intact, you'll have a harder job. Use some spray lubrication to help break down the rust, then very slowly, with a variable speed drill, try to draw the screw out with the bit."

Q: We have central air conditioning, and neighbors say they will run their unit for a few minutes each month, even in winter, to keep it running properly. Does this really make a difference?

H.K.

Orange

A: "It's not a bad habit to get into," says Rod Albright of Albright Plumbing & Heating Supply in Los Alamitos. "Running your air conditioner about 10 minutes per month will help keep the seals lubricated. You'll want to let it run as you feel the cool air coming through the vents, which means the coolant is running freely through the system, doing its job."

Q: The stucco on my home is avocado green, and I'd like to paint it white this summer. What kind of paint can I use that will cover this darker paint in one coat?

M.M.

Buena Park

A: "For that kind of job, you probably shouldn't expect that you'll get that kind of coverage in one coat," says Harold Brobst of Hal's Paint & Decorating in Fullerton. "Even if you found a paint that provided adequate coverage with one coat, you'll still find shadows in various areas that will have to be painted over. When using white paint, you always have to figure that it will take two coats over a darker color. If the condition of your stucco is good and you won't need a primer, you should figure on using two coats of white to cover the avocado."

Q: A large glass cabinet in our living room fell recently, and we had a hard time getting the broken glass up from our 5-year-old pile carpeting. We were told that it's virtually impossible to remove all the little shards of glass from carpet. Is that true?

S.D.

Yorba Linda

A: "If you do it right, you can probably get most all of the glass up," says Steve Hix of Aarron Anthony's Floor Coverings in Anaheim. "Many carpet stores sell special rakes you can use to raise a matted area of carpeting. Rake the area well, then go over it with a good vacuum. Keep repeating this process until you just don't see any more shards of glass."

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