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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)


    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are broadcasting a very special edition of The Money Pit today from the 2008 BookExpo America at the LA Convention Center. Now, why on earth would we be broadcasting from a book expo, you might ask?

    LESLIE: (chuckling) That’s a good question.

    TOM: Well, because we’ve got some very exciting news to share. Our first ever Money Pit book is coming out in just a few days, and we’re here to launch it. It’s called ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure’.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right and we wanted to take our information and our advice and bring it to our audience, you, in a whole brand spanking new way. ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure’ is the ultimate look-before-you-leap guide to home improvement, and in this book you’re going find the tips and advice that we deliver every week that will help you successfully tackle almost any home improvement project.

    TOM: You know, for years we’ve been hearing your stories that usually end with something like ‘If I’d only known before I started my project that (Leslie chuckles) chances were good when I ripped open my walls, termites would come tumbling out or that the plumber’s bill would triple if I moved the sink or I didn’t probably need to spend that 15 grand installing the sump pump in the basement.’ Well, that’s the kind of advice we’ve captured. You’ll get it before it’s too late in ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure’.

    LESLIE: That’s right. That’s why this hour we’re going to pry open the cover of our brand new book – crackity-crack; that’s the new spine – and share some tips from its pages and we’ll be spreading the wealth because every single caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a copy of our book before anybody else gets their hand on it.
    ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure’, which is set to hit the bookstores in just a few days, is packed full of fun and humor and helpful advice and information that we offer on our radio show every single week.

    TOM: So let’s get to it. The number is 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement dilemma. Call us with your home improvement question. We’re here to help you get the job done.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Alright, we’re…

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: We’re going to start off the show with a question on hold right here. We’ve got somebody from LA. Sarah is on the line with a question about converting a garage. Sarah, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you?

    SARAH: Hi, I’m so glad you’re taking my call. I’m running out of space in the house and I want to make the garage – it’s a one-car garage and we don’t put our car in there – and make it into a playroom, like a full playroom: finished, carpeting, everything.

    TOM: OK, are you thinking about then sort of really converting this to total living space?

    SARAH: Yes.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Well …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And never going back?

    TOM: Yeah, because you really have to make that decision. I’ve got to tell you, in all those years I spent as a home inspector I saw a lot of garage conversions that were not totally done. In other words, people used the space but they didn’t really make it look like it was never there in the first place and if you want to do this, Sarah, that’s what you have to do. Now, keep in mind that you’re going pick up some square footage with additional living space by converting it, but you may suffer somewhat in real estate value if everyone else on your street has a garage and people happen to like that. So that’s definitely a consideration. If you don’t so much care about that and you’re willing to make the conversion, couple of things to consider:

    First of all, you need to make the front exterior of that garage look like it never existed. What does this mean? It means adding additional foundation …

    LESLIE: Don’t leave the garage door there.

    TOM: (chuckling) Don’t leave the garage door there. (Leslie chuckles) Build a foundation, extend the siding; you know, maybe put in a window or two; make it look like it was part – a natural part of the front of your house.

    The second thing is that floor is going be sloped because when garage floors are poured, they slope down towards the front of the garage so that when water drops off your car it can roll out. So you’re going have to put in …

    LESLIE: Can you build sort of a platform to sort of even it out and then do a new deck on top of the whole floor?

    TOM: I think that would be a good idea, depending on what your dropdown is. Now, a lot of times you have a couple of steps to go down into the garage, so you can essentially …

    SARAH: Right.

    TOM: …suspend, you know, a floor structure above that. You could insulate, you could add some ventilation and you’ll be, you know, totally good to go.

    Now, the next thing to think about is the HVAC, because you have to add heating; you have to add air conditioning; and remember, those garages are not insulated. They’re not considered finished living space, so the only wall in that garage that’s insulated now is the one between the garage and the house, where you go in through the door. The rest of it’s not going be insulated. So those are the things that are really involved in doing the right kind of conversion.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yes.

    SARAH: (overlapping voices) Sounds like a big job.

    LESLIE: It can be, Sarah, and if you’re looking for something that’s not, you know, fully living space and you’re still going to use some of it for storage of items, make sure that you’re not storing any toxic garage-type items in the same area that your kids are playing. and if you are, make sure you use proper containers to lock things up so you keep your kids safe from any sort of hazards that could be normally associated with the garage.

    SARAH: OK, thank you. I can’t wait for the book!

    TOM: (chuckling) Well, it’s coming out shortly. Sarah, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright, well ‘My Home, My Money Pit’ is full of ideas that are going save you money; something we could all use a little bit more of right now. Like in chapter four we talk about kids’ spaces and how to decorate them in a fun way without spending a ton of cash.

    TOM: Yeah, for example, if you decide to shop at a flea market to save some cash and the planet at the same time, there’s a lot more than those fleas you need be concerned about. You need to make sure those beautiful vintage pieces are safe for your child’s room. We’ll tell you exactly what to look for, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional-feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi Power Tools. Pro features. Affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Broadcasting a very special edition of The Money Pit today from the LA Convention Center at the site of BookExpo America to kick off our brand, spanking new book, ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure’. Going to be available everywhere beginning next week. And we’ve taken the most popular projects and questions that we’ve been asked about on our show and turned it into a very useful book and just like our show it’s very user-friendly, full of great info like this: how do you decorate a kid’s room on a budget?

    LESLIE: (chuckling) You don’t, OK?

    TOM: (chuckling) OK, move on. Next tip.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Well, if you’re decorating a kid’s room, like I just did, it’s a great idea to find vintage pieces at tag sales and such. But you do have to keep a couple of these key tips in mind. We featured in Kid Spaces, which is chapter four – when you get your book, turn to it – of ‘My Home, My Money Pit’ and you don’t want to get anything with old chipping and potentially lead-based paint. Old furniture, you know, it can be very beautiful but it’s often potentially unsafe.

    TOM: You also want to make sure that you stay away from furniture with out-of-date latches and hardware, especially chests and cribs. Now, you can check out the website for the Consumer Products Safety Commission at CPSC.gov for recalled items and, in fact, if you are a parent it’s a real good idea to sign up to be on their Recall List. Whenever they have a recall, they’ll e-mail you and let you know. I’ve got to tell you, I’m so glad I’m on that list because as we were bringing up our kids there were at least two or three times when we found something that was recalled that came across to me in one of those e-mails.

    LESLIE: And you might not have found out about it any other way.

    TOM: Exactly right.

    LESLIE: I’m like it’s one more thing to put on my new parent to-do list.

    TOM: There you go. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Alright. Well, when you’re tackling home improvement projects, especially if you’re refinishing some new furniture items that you’ve just picked up at a yard sale for your kids’ room, you know it really takes a team effort to get the job done. and like our book, you know, we’ve been very fortunate to work with a fantastic publisher to get our book complete and in a hurry. So now, we’d like to welcome the man who led that team, Scott Watrous. He’s a new parent, as well, and he’s the president of Globe Pequot Press, who are the publishers of our book. It’s good to see you again, Scott.

    SCOTT: It’s good to see you, Leslie.

    TOM: Well, Scott, first of all, thank you. You must get hundreds of book ideas. What was it about ‘My Home, My Money Pit’ that really wanted you to make you want to crack the cover?

    SCOTT: Well, we get literally, I don’t know, tens of thousands of book ideas and the exciting part about this for us was the fact that the radio show is so fabulous and really speaks to the people who are out there trying to get by and make improvements to their house and do it the right way but not do it with too much expense.

    TOM: Now what do you think is different about this book? I mean this has been our first book so it was sort of an enormous project for us to pull all these ideas together that we talk about; you know, usually without putting much thought into it sometime ahead of time, and pull all of those ideas out of our heads; capture them, get them into the book, and hand it over to you guys. So what really made this a different book when it actually was printed?

    SCOTT: Well, when you look at the book and you think back to our original dinner together when we talked about it and we decided that we wanted to do something that was accessible, that was fresh-looking and that really wasn’t a copycat kind of a book and the design is where I think we pulled it together because we have a four-color book that is not all about glossy pictures of what you might like to be able to create. It’s four colors that actually help you get to the point of sitting down and doing the job. So design-wise, I think we did something fabulous. It takes the accessibility of the radio show and really puts it between the pages.

    LESLIE: And Scott, do you think that, you know, because the way Tom and I speak is very clear in how we wrote the book and it’s – you know, we’re kind of funny I’d like to think, in some places (Scott chuckles) – does that make it helpful for the reader?

    SCOTT: Oh, it makes it very helpful. One of the things we struggle with as a publisher is trying to create a design that brings the voice of the author through and that’s the same thing in a non-fiction book, a fiction book. It gets more complicated when you’ve got really multiple levels of things going on. So when you open the book you see lots of different colors, lots of different callouts, boxes that give you information that really is what you need to be thinking about. I’m a new father, we’ve got a three-year-old and we just did two kids’ rooms; so I understand what you’re going through, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    SCOTT: And I’m looking at page 55 and it’s kid-safe cleaners and we made this decision to go to non-toxic stuff. Not so much because we are green; as far as how we live our lifestyle, we probably should do more …

    LESLIE: But because of the allergies …

    SCOTT: … but because of the kids, because of the allergies, because of the dangers in the chemicals. So this lays it out very clearly for you and I think that’s what makes it so helpful.

    TOM: We’re talking to Scott Watrous. He’s the president of Globe Pequot Press and this book is actually coming out under a new imprint called Knack.

    SCOTT: It is and we feel like at GPP – which we sort of changed the name to, to try to add a little more life to a company that’s been around for a while – we felt that there was a real need for a very highly-designed, well laid-out series that really focused on what people could do to be able to get from point A to point B in their lives and we have different types of topics that we deal with but we wanted to lead off the series with ‘My Home, My Money Pit’ because we felt like it was going to be the building block of the series for us; not only with great authors who have a fabulous platform to be able to bring the word out but also because we wanted to start with what we thought was the best thing and be able to grow from there.

    TOM: Leslie, we’ve always wanted to be a foundation and now we are.

    LESLIE: I know. (Tom and Scott chuckle) Like we certainly talk about them enough.

    TOM: Yeah, you know we tried to capture the spirit of the radio show. One of the things we did was we put a sidebar in every chapter called ‘Songs To Work By’. What did you think about that?

    SCOTT: Well, I think it’s great and here we’re in the kids room and, you know, ‘Teach Your Children’ is, of course, the perfect …

    TOM: Has to be. (Leslie chuckles)

    SCOTT: … Crosby, Stills, and Nash song.

    TOM: Yeah, ‘New Kid in Town’ by The Eagles.

    SCOTT: (overlapping voices) And…

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I have to tell you, I was never so thankful for a plethora of things in my iTunes that I could just go over every title (Tom chuckles) and like that seems to work here.

    SCOTT: Well, the thing about this is it’s got to be fun. When people are going into a project – and my wife and I have a house that was started in 1700 and is finished in 2006 – and between one end of the house and the other …

    TOM: That was a long remodeling project. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)

    SCOTT: It was a really long – it was a long project. Many people were involved and …

    LESLIE: And Scott, you know it’s never truly finished.

    TOM: Yeah.

    SCOTT: Oh, oh I know it’s never truly finished and believe me, the parts in the front end of the house that were done in 1700 are falling apart pretty quickly. (Tom chuckles)

    TOM: Well, it’s a complete circle. You know, once you get it done, you either have to start again or sell it.

    SCOTT: (overlapping voices) Well, we’re…

    TOM: (overlapping voices) That’s the way it goes. Yeah, you’ve got a whole houseful there. You just had a baby. You’ve got dogs, cats, and goats I hear.

    SCOTT: Got two kids, one dog, three cats, one rabbit, and three goats out in the barn that was built in 1725 so … (Tom chuckles)

    LESLIE: Oh, my goodness.

    SCOTT: … and the barn is the ultimate money pit.

    TOM: Absolutely. (Scott and Leslie chuckle)

    SCOTT: I’m not even thinking about doing that one anytime soon.

    TOM: Well, Scott Watrous, thanks so much for publishing our book and for joining us here on The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: Thanks for believing in us.

    SCOTT: Well, absolutely. We’re thrilled about it and we really want to thank you guys for giving us the best book we could possibly have.

    TOM: Thank you so much.

    You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma and we will give you a copy of ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure’ if you join us on today’s program. Let’s get right to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got Nancy in Michigan standing by who’s got a mold situation inside of a very old house. Nancy, tell us about the problem.

    NANCY: Well, we’re just wondering if there’s anything that can be done with an older house that’s been remodeled, but it must still have hidden mold because one of the children with mold allergies is always sick.

    TOM: Hmm. Now you say it’s been remodeled. What was the remodeling project? What did it involve?

    NANCY: The remodeling project …

    TOM: Yeah, what did you …

    NANCY: … was putting on an addition and also …

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    NANCY: … remodeling the kitchen and the upstairs; the bedrooms.

    TOM: OK. Well, a couple of things. First of all, if you want to reduce mold in your home you need to reduce the sources of mold, which is water.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: So anything you can do to reduce humidity and moisture; for example, you mentioned the new addition. Now the addition, obviously, had a foundation. When you build a foundation, you disturb the soil; that soil needs to be recompacted several times over the first couple of years to make sure that it maintains its pitch and runs water away from the house. You also want to look carefully at the grading and the drainage in terms of the gutters and the soil to make sure the water is running away. You try to keep the house as dry as possible; you make sure you have plenty of ventilation. So when you eliminate that moisture source, that now makes the environment inside that much more difficult for you to grow mold in.

    Are you on a basement?

    NANCY: Yes, but it’s on a hill and all the moisture does run down.

    TOM: OK, and the basement is finished?

    NANCY: Yes, partly, partly.

    TOM: And is it finished then with drywall?

    NANCY: Yes.

    TOM: Alright. Well, drywall is not a good material for a basement. I’m just going to give you a couple of…

    LESLIE: Because it’s all paper. It’s a complete food source.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s mold food. Yeah, there’s a better product that’s called Dens
    Armor that’s made by GP, Georgia-Pacific, that’s fiberglass-based. If you were …

    LESLIE: And it’s made perfect for a moist environment like a basement …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: … or a kitchen or a bath.

    TOM: Yeah. If you’re convinced that there’s still an active mold problem in the house, what you need to do is have a mold inspection done. I would contact the local home inspectors in your area. I would go to ASHI, the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org and I would – they have a search there by zip code. You can find inspectors in your area. Ask them if they do mold investigations and if not, get a reference from them in terms of who they use for, because it is a specialized service. It would be worth having this mold inspection done because while we can give you sort of the most common ways mold builds up in your house, you know someone that’s used to looking for this could find it very quickly.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Does your child get better when he or she is not in the house?

    NANCY: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, well, that’s definitely a symptom. (Nancy chuckles)

    NANCY: Yeah.

    TOM: Absolutely. That’s exactly what we do.

    NANCY: OK. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Alright.

    TOM: Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: We’ve got Peter from New Jersey who’s got carpenter bees, which I can relate to …

    TOM: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: … because we have them around our house. (chuckles) Peter, welcome to The Money Pit.

    PETER: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Hi there. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit?

    PETER: Well, my house, on the upper eaves – it’s a two-family house and I have these carpenter bees and they just keep flying around and I can’t – I tried everything and I can’t get rid of them. And I’ve had them for about five years but they only come out in the summer.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) They love the summertime.

    TOM: Yeah, they do.

    PETER: Right.

    TOM: And they drill these perfect holes that are about three-eighths of an inch in diameter…

    LESLIE: They put a perfect wood plug.

    TOM: Exactly. (Leslie chuckles)

    PETER: Right.

    TOM: They’re like…

    PETER: That’s right, a drill. It’s like a drill.

    TOM: Exactly, exactly. They’re like – and also very aggressive. They’re sort of like low-flying attack helicopters. They’ll go …

    LESLIE: But they don’t sting, so don’t be afraid …

    PETER: Yeah, they’re very nervy, these things …

    TOM: Yeah, they are. They’ll go right in your face.

    PETER: They’ll fly right in your face.

    TOM: Yeah, well that’s because …

    PETER: Yeah, and I got about 25 or 30 of them.

    TOM: It’s all bravado because, as Leslie said, they can’t sting. So they just try to …

    PETER: Right, I heard that.

    TOM: … scare you away with their size. But if you had the problem that long, there’s a couple of things that you can do. First of all, you’re not going be able to treat these with over-the-counter pesticides. You need to have what’s called a wettable powder insecticide sprayed in by a professional. They have the right kinds of materials that can get rid of these guys once and for all.

    The other thing that you can do – we used to have carpenter bees at our house; specifically at our garage – and besides spraying them, which you end up having to do every year or two, at one point we just decided to replace that fascia board that they love to eat with something called AZEK which is cellular PVC. Now, it looks just like wood. It looks – you cannot tell the difference between that and …

    LESLIE: But the bees can…

    TOM: Yeah, well actually when I replaced it, Leslie, they actually swarmed around it for quite a bit of time trying to figure out …

    LESLIE: Scratching their heads…

    TOM: … what it was. Yeah, saying, ‘Hmm…looks like wood. Doesn’t taste like wood. I don’t get it.’

    LESLIE: ‘Doesn’t taste like it. I can’t eat this. I can’t drill my perfect hole in this.’

    TOM: Right, so we totally removed all the fascia and that’s actually what did the trick; that plus the spraying every couple of years really did the trick for us, Peter, because you’re right; they are very intimidating; they really do get in your face.

    Peter, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We are broadcasting from BookExpo America. This is the major trade show where all the book publishers come to roll out their books that are going be seen on store shelves. Our book, ‘My Home, My Money Pit,’ coming out in just a week or so across the country, available at book stores. Certainly hope that you will check that out.

    You know, over all the years The Money Pit has been on the radio, never before has there been such an interest in eco-friendly products for the home.

    LESLIE: That’s why in ‘My Home, My Money Pit’ we are featuring green ideas, including safe and natural cleaning products. When we come back, we’re going tell you how to keep a clean and green home.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help you save time and money while preserving your home’s exterior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Making good homes better. You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: We’re coming to you today from the 2008 BookExpo America; the book industry’s premier trade show. Why? Well, we’re here to celebrate and launch our first ever book, Leslie, which I’m happy to tell you is flying off of the trade show floor right now.

    LESLIE: Excellent.

    TOM: There’s a crowd of people standing around picking up these books and walking away with them.

    LESLIE: Excellent, and that book is called ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure’ and we are really, really excited to finally share this with you all. And it’s full of the very important and pertinent information that Tom and I bring to you every single week, along with the fun and humor, if I don’t say so ourselves; I think we’re a pretty fun crowd (Tom chuckles) and we like to add to the mix.

    TOM: Because you can’t take home improvement too seriously.

    LESLIE: No. (chuckles)

    TOM: After all, it is an adventure. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s exhilarating and it doesn’t always end up where you expect it to be. And as most of you know who have taken on a home improvement project, that is really what it’s all about and that’s why we’re so glad to be able to bring it to you here in the pages of ‘My Home, My Money Pit.’

    So join the conversation. If you pick up the phone right now and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, every caller that gets on the air with us today is going to get a copy of ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure.’

    LESLIE: That’s right, and our book is published by Knack, which is an imprint of Globe Pequot Press or, as Scott just told us, GPP. So we’re also talking to other Globe authors who are launching books today about home improvement and right now about how to clean your home safely. And about 15 percent of the questions you all ask us here at The Money Pit are about cleaning and today, more than ever, we are obsessed with wanting to accomplish, you know, using green materials and not exposing ourselves to harmful chemicals. So to teach us about this we’re joined by Kim Delaney. She is the author of ‘Clean Home, Green Home’ and Kim’s book is also being launched from BookExpo America.

    TOM: Hi Kim! Welcome to the program.

    KIM: Thanks so much for having me.

    TOM: Well, it’s our pleasure. Now, we’re hearing over and over again that people really want to be more environmentally conscious but they don’t really know what’s going to be the appropriate first step; what’s going to make a real impact for themselves and their families. Is that what your book attempts to address?

    KIM: It does. Definitely what are the first steps to take but also, you know, how to do it in a way that’s not overwhelming. Some of the information that’s available about this topic can really just send you into hysteria. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: It’s true. (Tom chuckles)

    KIM: So my book is really about doing it in a way that’s manageable and even fun.

    LESLIE: And Kim, you cover, I mean, a variety of subjects in your book, from light bulbs to upholstery. How did you get this fire in your belly to sort of keep a green home?

    KIM: Well, it’s funny you should say ‘fire in my belly’ because it really came with my pregnancy. (chuckling) You know, I’ve really tried to keep most chemicals out of our house, you know, for quite a long time but it was really when I got pregnant that it really drove – you know, drove it home for me that we wanted to live a toxin-free life the best we could. So I started doing a lot of research and that’s how this book really got its start for me.

    TOM: Well, you’ve got a lot of very practical, great ideas in there; one of which is – for example, you talk about turning, reusing furniture; turning a bicycle into an end table. What kinds of projects like that might our listeners want to tackle?

    KIM: I think, you know, in my book a lot of what I’m talking about is really just the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. And so even in cleaning you’re reducing the products that you’re buying. A lot of it is – you can make at home with just a few products that you might already have. And, you know, really getting your garbage can small and your recycling bin big so when you are throwing things out you’re going to find places to donate; you’re going to find where you can recycle all different types of things and not just throwing it all into the landfill.

    TOM: So it’s really all about repurposing when it comes to that.

    KIM: Right, and finding people – you know, a lot of people want to update their computer before it’s really all that outdated. So there’s …

    TOM: Right.

    KIM: … you know, programs that will take computers; give it to kids in schools. You know, there’s all kinds of things like that – or take-back programs from the manufacturers.

    LESLIE: Now, you mention cleaning products. You know I know some of the products that you have at home, you know, or items in your cupboard that you could use to make really great cleaning materials. But what are some of the, you know, chemicals that we might buy that we should think about not using and replace more with homemade items?

    KIM: I’ll tell you what the top three are. The top three cleaners are that are considered the most toxic are drain, toilet, and oven cleaners. And all of them are really easy to change into just products that you’re making out of vinegar, baking soda, salt and water. I mean, you can’t get more benign than that.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    KIM: For drain cleaners, a lot of people do have problems with drains and so they go straight, you know, the big toxic cleaner to get a …

    TOM: Yeah, the big guns.

    KIM: Yeah, to the big guns and when really all you need to do is, if you have a persistent problem, put hot water – boil a tea kettle and pour the hot water down once a week. That’ll keep it pretty open. When it starts to slow down a little bit, use baking soda and vinegar and you get that fun, you know, science project … (Tom chuckles)

    LESLIE: It makes like a great volcano. It’s excellent.

    KIM: It makes you feel like you’re really doing something, but all that bubbling will clear the hair or whatever else is in that drain.

    And then, for the toilet, you can just use vinegar, baking soda; give it some scrubbing and again you can get that bubbling going that’ll help get rid of anything else in there. Vinegar is a great way to get rid of the bacteria.

    And then oven cleaning – oven’s the one that people get really stumped on because if you’ve ever tried to scrub your oven it can be really tough and, you know, and all these …

    TOM: Yeah, and the odor that comes off of those oven cleaners when it’s going through that cycle …

    LESLIE: It’s terrible.

    TOM: … is terrible.

    KIM: Oh, it’s terrible. And you know – so you know it’s toxic.

    TOM: Right.

    KIM: And I’ve tried to scrub and it’s tough but if you do soaking instead – so it’s just being strategic; putting a paste of baking soda, salts, and white vinegar or baking soda, salt and water – excuse me – and making it a paste; coating the whole oven; leaving it overnight. That’s the key. Then all you need is a little spatula and you can scrape everything off and it doesn’t break your arm trying … (chuckling)

    TOM: You know, part of the secret here sounds like just not letting it get too bad to begin with …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: You can just do a bit more preventative …

    LESLIE: Maintenance.

    TOM: … maintenance with natural products, then you really never need to bring out those big guns.

    KIM: That’s exactly the point. Yep.

    TOM: We’re talking to Kim Delaney. She’s the author of ‘Clean Home, Green Home.’ Kim, before we let you go, you also talk a lot about green. Do you think that that, as used, is a word that’s very overused today and misunderstood?

    KIM: Well, I’m actually really happy to see it everywhere. (chuckles) Happy to see it go mainstream. I know that it does get used a lot and at times there’s green-washing and you have to watch out for it. So in the book I try and give …

    TOM: Yeah, let me stop you right there. Green-washing means when the greenness is over-exaggerated. Correct?

    KIM: Right.

    TOM: Yeah.

    KIM: When a product that maybe isn’t too green is kind of …

    TOM: Exactly.

    KIM: … [labeled as] (ph) green. So in the book I try and give the tools that you need to pick products that really are green and one of the main – I mean, the rule is if they list all their products proudly they’re probably going to be green; especially if you can understand what that list says.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: Fantastic. Kim Delaney, author of ‘Clean Home, Green Home,’ coming out to bookstores everywhere under the Knack imprint by GPP. Thanks so much for joining us. Good luck with the book.

    KIM: Thanks so much for having me.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, no doubt your budget is tightening as you feel the pinch of rising costs on everything from fuel to food. I just filled up the other day – $90.

    TOM: (chuckling) Oh my God.

    LESLIE: But home design – and that was regular! But home design does not have to cost a fortune.

    TOM: And to prove that, we’ve included a new chapter in our book called ’50 Under 50: 50 Great Design Ideas That You Can Do All For Under 50 Bucks’; less than it costs to fill up your car, I hate to say it. We’re going share a few ways that you can decorate on the cheap, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: It’s time to do your civic duty as an American and vote – for the ugliest door in America. You’ve been hearing about this contest for months. Now the judging panel at Therma-Tru has chosen ten finalists. But it’s up to you to decide who wins a $5,000 entryway makeover. Visit UglyDoor.com to see America’s ugliest doors and cast your ballot today.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you from BookExpo America and in Los Angeles, California. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are here at the largest trade show in the world for book publishers to launch our brand spanking new book: ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure.’

    LESLIE: And it is full of great ideas that are going to help you save money, among other things, and you know, we are seeing the cost of every single thing that we consume on a daily basis go up and home d

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