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If your metal patio furniture doesn’t have rubber tips on the bottom of the legs, go to your hardware store and buy some. These are great at protecting your deck, avoiding that screeching sound when you move the furniture and preventing rust stains on the patio. Our tip for this is to put a small metal washer down inside the rubber tip before putting it on the legs. It needs to be placed flat down into the bottom of the tip. Then the legs will sit on the washer and not the actual rubber. This will keep the metal legs from pushing through the rubber tip as quickly and help it last longer.

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Q: My countertops are wooden and very old. I’m told that they are better than granite, but I’m not sure why. I know I have to clean them often. I would like to know how to get rid of the stains that have built up on them through the years. What should I use? – A.E.

A: Bleach is a good way to clean and disinfect the surface. Once it’s clean, see if it is rough. If so, sanding might be required. You can finish it off with a rub-down with mineral oil. Wipe off any excess. This will help protect it from future stains.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: This past fall, we bought a pressure washer. We have used it on the driveway but nothing else. We decided to try using it to wash the house before painting. Wow! It was amazing. It took off all the dirt, plus a lot of the old paint that we thought we would have to sand or scrape off. It has saved us a lot of time and effort. I’m going to do the deck next. I can’t wait! – N.R.

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Dear Al: My wife has a couple of cats. I am not really a “cat person,” but I love my wife, so I put up with the cats. I finally found a great way to get all of the hair off my couch. I just use a damp sponge to wipe it off. It really works quickly, and usually in just one swipe. I keep a sponge around just for this. If only I could train the cats to do it ... but you know cats! – W.S.

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Dear Kelly: My appliances are all white, except for the new dishwasher that we had to buy to replace our old, broken-down unit. The new one has a black finish on the front, but I was told that I could change it out to a white. I wasn’t sure what they were talking about, but they said everything I need is all in the box. I had to get out the instructions, and finally realized that I could just loosen the screws on the front panels and pull the covers off and turn them around. They were white on the back side. That’s so cool. I never knew they would do that. – J.R.

A Super hint

Replacing patio furniture can be very expensive. If all you need to do is make repairs or paint, do that instead and save a bundle. Replacing the chair webbing is easy and fun, and it comes in tons of colors. Or you can add new cushions.