3 DIY Projects Worth the Time

A hand wiping a baseboard with a green cloth.

While some home projects may seem tedious, paying special attention to them can reduce your workload and stress in the future, especially the small projects that require close attention to detail. Addressing them now—whether they require fixing, cleaning, or painting—can save you both time and money in the future.

1. Clean Tile Grout

A man scrubbing tile grout with a brush.

Tile grout collects dirt, dust, mud, and anything that gets tracked into the house. Due to its porous nature, all of this yucky stuff doesn’t come up out of the grout when you sweep and mop, which can damage the tile and make it look drab and dirty. Grout must be intentionally cleaned every so often in order to keep your floor in its cleanest and best condition. Here's how:

Step 1: Sweep and mop the floor, as usual.

Step 2: Create a cleaning solution for the grout using dish soap, vinegar, or your favorite general household cleaner. Mix one tablespoon of only one of these ingredients with two cups hot water. Carefully pour this solution into the grout in a small area that’s only a few feet in size.

Step 3: Leave the solution on the grout for 5-10 minutes, or until the grout comes clean with a simple scrubbing.

Step 4: Use an old toothbrush or small, thin, scrub brush to clean the grout, using scrubbing movements back and forth with the line of the grout. When the dirt lifts and the gout looks clean, wipe it with a damp rag or cleaning cloth.

2. Detail the Baseboards and Trim

Baseboards and trim add style and beauty to the walls of your home, but are also avid collectors of the dust and dirt that move along the floor and float through the air. If you look closely, you will probably see little dark lines in the creases and edges where dust and dirt collect. Wipe the baseboards and trim clean and touch up any knicks or scratches with matching paint.

Step 1: Mix a cleaning solution with hot water in a bowl or small bucket. Dip a cleaning cloth into the solution.

Step 2: Wring out the cleaning cloth so it’s damp, but not dripping. Use it to wipe the baseboards and trim clean. When the cloth becomes dirty, dunk it in the cleaning solution, wring it out, and continue cleaning. (If the cleaning solution becomes too dirty, you may rinse the cloth in the sink, dump the solution down the drain, and make a new, clean solution.)

Step 3: After cleaning, allow the baseboards and trim to dry completely (at least 30 minutes).

Step 4: Use a small touch-up brush to paint any spots on the baseboards and trim where paint has been scratched away. Make sure to use the same paint that was used in these areas, or to get paint that matches as close as possible. Allow the paint to dry.

3. Wax Your Floors

A mop cleaning a wood floor.

Waxing any surface is time-consuming, but well worth the work. Not only will it look glossy and fabulous, but wax protects your floors from regular wear and tear caused by foot traffic and the debris dragged across the floor. Wax it to keep it clean, shiny, and as new as possible.

Step 1: Sweep and mop the floor, as usual. Allow it to dry completely (at least 30 minutes). If there is any wax on the floor from previous applications, you will want to strip the wax before applying a new coat.

Step 2: Read directions on the bottle of floor wax before applying. If using a mop bucket, line the bucket with a trash bag before using it, in order to protect your floor finish.

Step 3: Most floor waxes suggest applying wax to the wax mop directly, and in thin coats. A thick coat of wax will not dry correctly, and you will need to strip it and start over. Apply the wax in small areas, being careful to apply it in the corners and up to the baseboards and edges of the walls, but not splashing it on them.

Step 4: Allow the first, thin layer of wax to dry completely (at least 30 minutes). Apply additional coats by following the same directions for the first coat.