Money Wise--Inexpensive Improvements

You can forget about high-cost solutions for home-cleaning and renovation projects, because there are some products out there that will make fixing up your house a whole lot easier. Good Housekeeping went on a search and found some products that work well and are quite cost effective too.

The Good Housekeeping institute has found a few fix-it and cleaning products they think are terrific and cost less than $10 apiece. First: Dap Dry Dex paste, for spackling. If you have a wall that needs repairing, the big problem with using spackle is knowing when it's completely dry. Dap Dry Dex eliminates the guesswork.

"This spackle when first applied is pink, and when dried turns white," explained Good Housekeeping Institute tester Andrew Farhat.

Once the walls are prepped, it's time to paint. The flat parts are easy, but it's the corners that always get you. Quick Corners are pre-cut 90-degree stickers for masking windows or corners where the trim meets a wall. Good Housekeeping found the stickers went on smoothly and evenly, and the majority of the time, left a clean edge.

And just in case you get paint on your clothes, there's Carbona chlorine bleach tabs to clean them.

"The benefits of using these tablets are convenience, portable, easy to use," product analyst Mia Kang said.

To determine their effectiveness, Good Housekeeping washed one load with regular bleach and another with the tablets. The results: the tablets cleaned clothes as well as liquid bleach. Good Housekeeping says one Carbona bleach tablet is the equivalent of using one cup of liquid bleach. You can find other helpful gadgets costing under $10 in the April issue of the Good Housekeeping magazine.

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Reported by: Dmitra Denmark,