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DIY, how to, kitchen, making do

Home hack: Never Refill the Dish Soap Dispenser Again!

03/29/2021
In-Sink Soap Dispenser Hack - Never Refill It Again!

When we gave the kitchen a facelift and installed a new countertop and sink, I was excited to add a built-in dish soap dispenser. As a minimalist at heart, I looked forward to not having a bottle of dish soap sitting on the counter next to the sink. How easy it will be to push the integrated pump and dispense dish soap directly into the sink! And it really is convenient … until the dispenser bottle under the sink needs to be refilled. When that happens, all thoughts of minimalism and daily convenience are replaced by frustration as I climb under the sink to remove and then replace the little bottle that seems to only hold a few dozen pumps of soap. Removing that little bottle is easy, of course. Screwing the bottle back into the fitting under the sink? That’s some sort of torture!

Well my days of climbing under the sink are over! With the addition of a simple rubber hose, I can replace that tiny dispensing bottle with a giant jug of dish soap. Screw that little bottle! Or, rather, never screw that bottle back into the sink again! And all it took was a few feet of latex tubing. Specifically, latex tubing with 1/4″ inner diameter and 3/4″ exterior diameter – found at your local hardware store. I purchased a 10 foot coil of tubing because that’s what I found on the rack at the Lowes where I was shopping. I used only 3-ish feet of the tubing but am happy to have enough leftover to fix the pump back at the city apartment, too. If you can buy your latex tubing by the foot, get only as much as you need. But if you happen to buy extra, offer to use the remainder that save your friends from screwing the bottle.

But before you can go out and help your friends, you’ll need to know how to do it, right? OK, so here goes…

Standing at the sink, remove the pump. It should be as easy as pulling up on the pump – the entire thing, the pump and existing tube, should remove easily. Now, slip one end of the latex tubing over the end of the soap pump tube.

Place the pump, with tube attached, in the receptacle in the sink. Now, let this be the last time you climb under the sink. While you’re down there, snip the end of the latex tubing where it meets the bottom of the under-sink cabinet.

Remove the cap from that extra large bottle of dish soap that you’ve been using to refill the measly little bottle that came with the dispenser. Place the latex tubing into that large bottle of dish soap.

And there you have it. In just a few simple steps you’ve created a workaround that will eliminate the need to ever refill that little soap pump dispenser bottle again! It may take a number of pumps before the soap works its way through the latex tube and out the dispenser, but once it does you’re good to go.

Happy washing!

DIY, how to, kitchen, renovation, thrifty

How to Install a Tile Backsplash
(Good News: It’s Easier Than You Might Think!)

04/08/2018

Before installing the backsplash in our kitchen I had never in my life tiled a single thing. But how hard can it be? I reasoned. I mean, people have been tiling for thousands of years! And all of those people couldn’t have been geniuses. But then as I watched YouTube videos and read how-to posts with all their steps and warnings of pitfalls, I grew increasingly worried that tiling was a job best left to professionals. No! my inner adventurer called out. And so my can-do, DIY spirit kicked in and I decided to tackle the job on my own. And you know what? It’s not as hard as you might think! Now that I’ve mastered the art of tiling (because, you know, I’ve done it once so now I’m an expert), I’m going to share the process with you. Continue Reading…

DIY, how to, renovation

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

02/07/2018

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

In taking a year to rehab the kitchen in fits and starts I ended up experimenting with my approach to painting the cabinets. By the time I got to the second half of the job, I had perfected my method. And now that we’ve lived with the painted cabinets for a few months, I’m proud to say that my method worked! The painted cabinets are holding up nicely and are easy to clean. In other words, my trial and error is your guide to doing it right the first time.

When I first started the project, I used my Craftsman Nextec tool to sand the doors and drawer fronts before applying primer and paint. That was a messy and time consuming job that I thought was necessary to get good paint coverage. I soon realized I was making more work for myself than was necessary. So without further adieu, here’s the method for painting the cabinets that I finally landed on.

Continue Reading…

how to, kitchen, recipes, setting up home

Super Simple Tomato Salsa for Canning

08/27/2017

Simple Tomato Salsa for Canning

Every year that we’ve planted a garden at the house (for those of you not keeping score, the number is 4), I’ve announced that I’m going to have a salsa garden. Each spring I’ve started out by planting all the ingredients for salsa. I excitedly bury my pepper and tomato seedlings in the garden and declare that this will be the year that we’re swimming in salsa! But something always ends up going wrong. The garlic doesn’t come up or the tomatoes under-deliver in their bounty.

Well, mark it in your calendars, folks, that 2017 is the summer of the salsa garden at the Delbert Meier house. The tomatoes have come in strong, garlic is abundant and the peppers have performed. And what I’ve lacked in ingredients from our own garden, I’ve managed to pick up at farmers markets.

Salsa is one of those simple recipes that makes you question ever buying it from a grocery store. In addition to the veggies, it’s really just some vinegar, salt and herbs all mixed up to make a yummy dipping sauce. I improvised my recipe for salsa so my measurements aren’t exact. I did check the label on the side of a jar of salsa to confirm that I was on the right patch with ingredients. But from there, it’s all a matter of taste.

Continue Reading…

DIY, how to, kitchen

Replacing a Kitchen Faucet is the Easiest Plumbing DIY

10/06/2014

Replacing a Leaky Faucet is One of the Easiest Plumbing DIY Project | This American House

Apparently the developer who rehabbed our condo building back in the early 2000s used some of the cheapest materials he could find. Over the past seven years everything that was new in the condo has failed. Take this faucet on the kitchen sink, for instance. Within a few months of moving into our condo the faucet started leaking. Not a slow drip kind of leak, mind you. That we could live with. No, this leak came out of a hole in the back of the faucet and would slowly flood the entire counter top.

Over the years I’ve found some little fixes for the faucet but the leak would always return. And then a month or so ago the leak became intolerable. If we didn’t tie a towel around the base of the faucet, water would shoot out of the back of it and flood the counter top. The towel would get soaked but at least it would absorb some of the water and also divert it into the sink instead of onto the counter. I lived with the towel wrapped around the faucet for a few weeks but I would groan every time I saw it.

And then one day I said to The Mister, “It can’t be that hard to replace a faucet. I think I can do it myself.”

I pulled up my old friend Google and searched around for faucet replacement tutorials. And you know what? Replacing a faucet is actually one of the easiest DIY plumbing projects in the history of ever!

Replacing a Leaky Kitchen Faucet | This American House

I’ve learned my lesson from past hubris when it comes to DIY projects. Sometimes a project may seem easy at first glance but then when I’m elbow deep in grease and screwdrivers I realize that it’s not easy at all. With that in mind I watched a few tutorial videos before I finally accepted that this was a project I could tackle on my own. The video I found most helpful was this tutorial from Lowes. In fact, I was going to try to photograph my own faucet replacement so that I could write a tutorial but this video is so good that that didn’t seem necessary.

After watching that video a few times I was totally confident that this was a project I could handle on my own. And I was right! In fact, the only trouble I encountered with the project was disassembling the old faucet to remove it. Oh, and of course, it wasn’t exactly a picnic contorting my body under the kitchen sink. How do plumbers do that all day?

With the old faucet removed (and after I did a little happy dance because I wouldn’t have to deal with its leaks ever again) it was quite easy to install the new faucet. It’s really just a matter of slipping the faucet into place, securing it to the counter from underneath and then connecting the water lines. The new faucet I bought – the Cantara by Pfister – even came with a handy tool that made securing it to the counter super easy.

Pfister Cantara Kitchen Faucet | This American House

Oh, new faucet. You make me so happy! I never liked that old faucet to begin with. It was too short to be useful and the sprayer was always a bit wonky. This new faucet works like a charm and the arched spout makes it super useful.

Of course the best part of any DIY project (besides economics) is the satisfaction of knowing that I DID IT ALL ON MY OWN! Every time I walk past the kitchen sink I am filled with a sense of accomplishment. Plus, I never had to witness plumber butt during the installation of the faucet!

Images: This American House