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Wicker furniture has been around for years and, if you don’t take good care of it, yours might start to look like it’s actually that old! Here are some steps you can take to keep your wicker from unraveling!

It’s OK to take it outdoors, but don’t leave it out there for long periods. It’s also a good idea to keep it away from heat, because too much heat will dry it out.

Wiping it down with a damp sponge or cloth weekly is about all you need to do after that. Vacuuming also is another way to clean it.

Washing it with warm, soapy water is something you should probably do once a year. A pressure washer would have too much power, but a strong spray from a garden hose would be about right for getting the dirt out of the nooks and crannies. Add a little laundry bleach to the mix if you find any mildew spots that need treating. Allow it to dry in the sun to tighten any loose spots in the wicker.

If you need to make repairs, check your craft store for products you can use. Glue can be used to hold it in place.

If you want to paint the furniture, keep in mind that this material is porous and will absorb paint, so several coats will be needed. Spraying it on is the easiest. Just make sure that you do it in an area where over spray won’t damage anything. You may want to use a clear polyurethane to seal the paint. If you leave it natural, try a little furniture polish to add a layer of protection.

Just keep an eye on things and make repairs as soon as you see a problem. The longer you let it go, the worse it will get.

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Q: Last year, we discovered that our air conditioner was draining through the eaves on our roof. It has caused a rust stain down the side of our house. Is there a problem, or is this normal? This is the first year that I have noticed it, so I’m not sure what to check next. What should I do next? – G.P.

A: Take a closer look at your AC in the attic. Most have a drain pan located under the coils. As the coils melt after it cycles off, this pan catches the drips and should drain into your house drain lines. When this drain or pan becomes clogged, most systems have a built-in secondary drain pan that drains out the side of your house. See if you can access the main drain pan and use a plumbing snake to clear the line so it will work the way it’s supposed to. Pour a cup of bleach into the main drain pan a couple of times a season to prevent clogs. That should take care of things. If you can’t clear it yourself, have a pro take a look at it. A good tune-up before the season starts usually is a smart thing to do anyway.

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Q: I always have peeling paint in my bathroom. I’ve sanded and painted several times but still have the problem each time. Is there any particular kind of paint I can use to avoid the problem? – N.B.

A: What type of ventilation do you have in the bathroom? You might just need to add more or use it more often. A lot of people have bathroom ventilation and rarely use it or use it only when using the toilet. Try leaving it on for 15 minutes after a shower and see if this doesn’t help.

Shoptalk

We all use chip clips, but they don’t do much good on large bags that we all have for the shop or garage. The Handy Camel will take care of these big items. It’s a super-heavy-duty, industrial-size clip made for sealing up large, heavy bags like charcoal, potting soil, fertilizer and concrete. It’s easy to use and won’t let go. It even has a handle on it so you can hold the bag more easily and with just one hand. With a little adjustment, it even can be used to help make pouring easier. To see it in action and to find a local dealer, go to www.thehandycamel.com or call (816) 651-2568.