9 Common Kitchen Problems You Can Easily Fix Right Now

updated Sep 10, 2019
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You know that running to-do list that you keep in your mind? The little chores that you need to do someday, but, until you do, the fill-in-the-blank-issue annoys you every single time you think about it or have to deal with it? Yeah, we all have those lists. Well, today is SOMEDAY. Today is the day we’re going to tackle any and all of those things on that list. They’re all easy enough to do right now (with maybe just one trip to your local hardware store). Ready? Let’s go.

1. Fix a leaky faucet.

Gah! What’s more annoying than listening to drip, drip, drip? It may seem like something you need to call a plumber for, but fixing a leaky faucet is totally doable.  Turn off the water supply valve (or the main water supply to your home if there’s not one under the sink). Turn the faucet on to let it empty any remaining water, then line the sink with something like a dish towel to prevent a mishap with tools falling down the drain. Note: These next steps assume you have a faucet with two handles. If you have a ball faucet, Home Depot can walk you through that!

Remove the sink handle (get tips from Home Depot for each type of faucet). Look where the handle was and you’ll see a cartridge. Remove and replace that cartridge by loosening and removing the nut in the handle assembly (here’s where that protective towel over the drain comes in!), then popping out the old one and popping the new one in. Check your owner’s manual to see if yours requires any special tools for this step. Now reattach and tighten (but don’t overtighten) that nut and reattach the handle. Clear anything left in your sink and turn the water back on. Run it with both hot and cold water to make sure there’s not a clog in the aerator. 

2. Clean a clogged sink sprayer.

The opposite of a leaky faucet! Hard water can clog the holes of your sink sprayer (and your faucet!). But vinegar can clear those holes right up.

Read more: How To Clean Your Kitchen Sink Sprayer

3. Fix a hard-to-open drawer.

You know that sticky drawer that you struggle to open and close? The pros recommend paraffin wax (which you can find with canning supplies at a grocery store or in a craft store), but if you don’t want to buy something special just use a candle or a bar of soap. All you do is rub the wax onto the parts of drawer and cabinet casing where they meet.

Credit: Kitchn Video

4. Get your microwave turntable spinning again.

Microwave stopped spinning ’round? As long as the plastic piece the glass tray sits on isn’t split or broken, this is fixable. Unplug the microwave, and wash the glass tray and the turntable guide in warm soapy water until there’s no gunk anywhere and the rollers on the guide spin freely. Then, clean any grossness/speed bumps in the microwave’s center cavity. Dry everything and put it back together.

Related: How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally with Just a Lemon

5. Stop ice buildup in the freezer.

Ice is for cocktails, not for lining the inside of your freezer. If you’ve got wall suitable for stopping an army of ice zombies forming in your freezer, you may just be leaving it open too much. An open door amps up the humidity, causing frost and ice to build up. If you’re diligent about closing it while debating which flavor of ice cream you’re going for, it could be a faulty seal. They can get gunked up, and then the door doesn’t properly close. Clean the seal with warm water and soap, then dry it. To get rid of the ice that’s in there now, put all your groceries in a cooler, unplug the freezer, and use a hair dryer (plus plenty of towels) to melt the tundra.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Address a constantly running refrigerator.

Is your fridge (constantly) running? You better go catch it! Or at least fix it. Groan-worthy jokes notwithstanding, a fridge that’s constantly running can be a problem. If yours won’t stop running, there may be an easy fix: adjusting the temperature. Colder is not necessarily better, as too low of a temp can freeze food not meant to be frozen and it could make the fridge work overtime. If your fridge doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, set one inside in a glass of water and check in every few hours, adjusting your fridge’s temperature setting until you hit the sweet spot between 37 and 40 degrees. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Replace the seal on your fridge door.

A faulty fridge seal, or gasket, will cause air leaks that make your fridge less efficient. To replace it, check the make and model details in the manual or inside the door and check the manufacturer’s website to find out where to buy a replacement. Once you’ve got it in hand, set it in some warm water to make it more pliable and easy to work with. Meanwhile, remove the old gasket from its retainer. You’ll lift up the inside edge to see the screws holding it in place, then pull the gasket back from the inside flange. Loosen the screws, but don’t remove them.  

Now work the new gasket into the retainer, starting at a top corner and working your way around. (It only fits one way.) Snug up the screws (but not too tight!). Check the door for alignment, and finish tightening the screws. Now, bonus tip from Family Handyman to prevent drag: Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the gasket along the hinge side. 

Credit: Cat Meschia

8. Make your range hood efficient again.

Has your range hood become a pointless decorative object? If it’s not clearing smoke, you may be overdue on cleaning the filter. Pop that sucker out and soak it in water mixed with dish soap and baking soda for 10 minutes, then scrub, rinse, and dry before replacing.

Get the full tutorial: How To Clean a Greasy Range Hood Filter

Credit: Leela Cyd

9. Unclog your gas burners.

If your gas burner is giving off sporadic flames, you may have a clogged burner. Just take a needle (or a nail or an unbent paper clip … you get the idea), and poke through each of the holes on your burners. They probably got clogged from too many pots boiling over.

What else is on this little to-do list of yours? Tell us and we’ll try to tell you how to fix it!