May 23, 2022

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The Interior Breakfast

Today’s Homeowner Radio Show | April 9, 2022


How do you clean a glass-top stove without scratching it? Also, what do you need to do before laying sod? Read on to find out!

This week, we’re talking about getting green grass, cleaning stubborn, stuck-on food on a glass-top stove, and solving the mystery of what’s stuck on a power tool cord.


3 Ways to Get a Green Lawn

Laying down sod will give you an instant lawn, but it’s also the priciest option. (©vadimgouida, Getty Images)

There’s nothing more satisfying than an instant lawn. Of course, the only way to have one is to lay down some fresh sod. 

I’m visiting my daughter to lay some zoysia grass sod in her yard this week, so I thought I’d share my tips on how to successfully get that green grass to stick. 

First, if you want all new grass in your yard, don’t lay fresh sod on top of an existing sod lawn. The new roots of the sod will need to penetrate the soil, and a blanket of existing sod will be another barrier for them.

Second, eliminate any vegetation you can by raking it or tilling it. You can rent a tiller from The Home Depot for less than $100 a day (prices vary based on your location). You’ll need to rotate and cultivate the soil about 4 to 5 inches deep.

After that, add some bagged compost and rake it again. Water the soil and, finally, put down the sod. 

Get all the sod down as soon as you can because you don’t want your exposed soil to sprout any new growth. Otherwise, you’ll be back to square one.  

Once you’ve laid your sod, take care of it like any other lawn. Water it regularly until it’s established. Mow it, but never remove more than a third of the height of the grass. 

An alternative to laying down sod is hydroseeding. This process involves spraying a watery mixture containing seed, mulch and fertilizer. Because this mixture is so rich in nutrients, new grass will sprout fast — reaching about 1 inch tall in about a month, in some locations — and it will stick to any surface where you spray it.

You usually see highway workers spraying this along the sides of highways to replenish bare spots. However, you can rent a hydroseeder from a lawn equipment company and do it yourself, or hire a landscaper to do it.

Laying sod and hydroseeding are some of the pricier options to get a green lawn. The most budget-friendly way is to overseed it.

It’ll take longer to see results — maybe eight weeks — but be sure to water it frequently to guarantee that new grass grows.

Skip to [1:24] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.


How to Clean a Glass-Top Stove

Gloved hand cleaning a glass-top stove
Be careful when cleaning a glass-top stove. Using anything too abrasive will damage the cooktop. (©solidcolours, Getty Images Signature)

Erin McDonald, of Dallas, Texas, loves to cook, so she bought a new glass-top stove last year.

There’s just one problem: She’s finding it difficult to clean the appliance! Burnt-on food and spills just won’t budge.

Now, she’s wondering how can she clean her new stove without damaging the beautiful glass top.

This is a common problem for homeowners; glass-top stoves — especially stainless steel ones — look stunning when they’re in top condition, but they can be notoriously difficult to maintain.

Fortunately, there’s a kit for that!

You can head to the home center and buy a cleaning kit designed for cleaning glass-top stoves. Cerama Bryte has a three-piece kit with everything you need.

If you don’t want to buy a kit, there’s a do-it-yourself alternative using everyday household items you probably have on hand. 

First, make sure the stovetop is cool. Use a plant mister to spray the surface with distilled white vinegar. Then, sprinkle on a coating of baking soda.

Finally, take a terry cloth rag or microfiber cloth, dip it in hot water, and set it on the stovetop. Wait 15 to 30 minutes and wipe away the baking soda with another cloth. 

If you have any caked-on particles, use a plastic putty knife to scrape them from the surface. Afterward, spray everything with more vinegar to wipe it clean. 

Do this frequently, and it will be easy to keep your glass-top stove clean. 

Skip to [47:03] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.


‘What is This Cylinder on My Power Cord?’

Screen capture of an Emtag, as seen at https://bit.ly/3ulHmYG (©B&G International) Used as illustration.

Mikey Ray, of Temple, Texas, just bought two new power tools and both have a round black plastic cylinder on the cords. The cylinder slides up and down, and he wonders about its purpose.

So, what is this thing and what does it do?  

The cylinder he’s referring to is called an Emtag, a cylindrical anti-theft device manufactured by B&G International.

Here’s a fun fact: The same company also manufactures the security devices you see on clothing, hardware packaging, laundry detergent and wine and liquor bottles.

Now, here’s what you really want to know: Can you remove it?

Absolutely! Removing it won’t affect the functionality of your power tools.

So, if you’ve purchased the tool, and you’re ready to remove the Emtag, here’s what you can do: simply grab a pair of pliers or a screwdriver to crack it open. The device will come off in two pieces.

Just be careful not to damage the cord when you remove it! 

Skip to [52:46] for the full segment on the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.

Also in this episode:

  • Repairing Cracks in Stucco
  • Cleaning Red-Clay Stains Off White Brick
  • Recreating This Accent Wall 
  • Replacing a Whole-House Generator
  • Adding Exhaust Fans Along a Roof
  • Repairing Peeling Drywall Tape
  • A Caller’s Tip for Preventing Rust on a Swamp Cooler
  • Advice on Dealing with Range Hood Exhaust
  • Installing Expansion-Joint Material on a Concrete Driveway
  • Repairing a Drain in Clay Tile
  • Removing Paint From Brass Without Damaging its Patina
  • Opening Up a Kitchen

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