Super Handyman: Make it easier to see your LED bulbs - The Buffalo News
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Super Handyman: Make it easier to see your LED bulbs

LED bulbs are very energy-efficient. They are used on all sorts of appliances and other gadgets. But if you are trying to see the status of an appliance or some other indicator, and you’re outdoors or in another brightly lit place, it can be a little hard to see. One way to make the status easier to see is to surround the bulb with darkness. Place an empty toilet-tissue roll over the bulb and peer through it, telescope-style. In the darkness, you’ll be able to see if the light bulb is lit.


Q: I would like to know, once and for all, how to completely clean my white-tiled shower. I just can’t get it to stay clean. What will work? – H.N.

A: Regular laundry bleach is the best stuff for killing mold and mildew. Make a paste of bleach and baking soda (wear gloves, safety glasses and a paper mask when you do this), and spread it on the grout and allow it to sit in place for a long time. This will bleach the grout clean again. Once clean, apply a grout sealer to the surface to seal it and keep it looking good for a long time.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: I had to replace a leg on our coffee table. It was easy enough to do, but I wanted to try to stain it to match the rest of the table. I found an old can of stain out in the garage that I thought would work. I wanted to stir it up really well, but I didn’t want to spend all day doing it. I dropped a half-dozen large bolts into the can, and the nuts made the stirring process go a whole lot faster. – R.M.


Dear Al: We installed a new fence around our backyard. It’s our first in a long time, and we spent a little extra money to get the best materials we could so it would last a long time. We used our old post-hole digger, but sharpened the blades first. It took only a few minutes to sharpen them both, and it was amazing how quickly the blades cut through the clay soil we have. It was well worth the extra time spent doing it. And the fence looks great, too. – T.A.


Dear Kelly: We don’t need air conditioning where we live, but I do like to use box fans in my windows to bring the fresh air into the house. My husband, though, has allergies and would prefer that I not keep the windows open, so we compromised. I bought HVAC filters and placed them over the fans to filter the air coming in.

This seems to help enough for us to both get what we want during the summer. – R.S.


Dear Carrells: I like my woodworking projects, but try to keep my shop clean. I end up with a lot of sawdust when I do my projects, and have discovered that it’s a great way to soak up greasy messes. You can use it on your garage floor, driveway or even your deck. Just put some on top of a grease stain and let it sit long enough to soak up the mess. Then vacuum it up. It works well and makes good use of your sawdust. – H.S.

A Super hint

If you want a finely finished tabletop to last, place a piece of clear plastic sheeting over the top. You also can use glass, but the plastic is so inexpensive and easy to cut. Do this to your tables and dressers to protect the surfaces from everyday wear and tear.


Duluth Trading Co. makes some pretty neat stuff for us do-it-yourselfers. We like their Magnetic Tool Saver Tarps. These heavy-duty tarps come in several sizes and have magnets built right into the rolled, seamed edges. They’re water-resistant and keep out dust, rain, snow and lots of other things that Mother Nature likes to throw our way. The magnets make it easy for the tarp to grab hold of tool tables, grill stands and trailers, and it won’t slide or blow off. To find out more about the tarps and where you can get one or two for yourself, go to

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at

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