Top 5 Google Fixes- The nation types!

When something is in need of fixing (during National Doughnut Week no less) it can be tricky to decide who to turn to for advice. Some may subscribe to the Homer Simpson School of DIY ‐ the king of bodges, known for his approach to fixing things with the wrong tools. Doh!

Homer to Lisa; ‘I’m going to fix your mother’s camera. Easy…easy…Hmmm, I think I need a bigger drill’.

A more common approach would be to consult the information treasure trove that is Google. So in the spirit of scientific research, we were curious to find the most popular searches people make when getting into a fix. We’ve assembled the top 5 most googled requests for things people want to fix and here's the (surprising?) results:

How to fix:

A stuck zip

You’re about to put on your favourite jeans. It’s been a while since you last wore them and you approach them with trepidation. You pull them up and bring both sides of the waistband together and…miracle of miracles ‐ they fit! You beam with joy, assured in the knowledge that it’s going to be a perfect day. Then as you reach for the zip to seal the deal you realise that it's stuck. Grrrr! You cry, shaking your fist at the heavens with an emphatic appeal to Levi (the god of jeans) for help.

Luckily the solution for your trauma doesn’t require divine intervention. If your zip is stuck, use a pencil! Believe it or not, the graphite in a number 2 pencil contains a natural lubricant. All you need to do is run the pencil up and down the zip teeth, or just on the area where the zip is stuck, then wiggle the zip slider until it works free. If you don’t have a pencil to hand, then washing powder will do the trick. Dip a cotton ball into washing powder and then into water which makes a solution. Coat the zip generously and repeat until the zip is worked free.

A dripping tap

This universal disturber of the peace requires a more involved fix but is perfectly doable. You will need to tackle this issue with specific tools (or a call to DAD #justsayin). A slot or crosshead screwdriver, an adjustable spanner, replacement washers/cartridge, your phone camera.

First, you will need to determine what kind of tap you have. In the UK there are generally two types; traditional taps where there is a separate hot and cold and lever taps which control the flow and temperature with a single handle.

Traditional taps drip because the internal rubber seal, known as the washer has worn away, so needs replacing. The equivalent in Lever taps is a ceramic cartridge.

Before fixing the leak, turn off the water supply by either turning off the stopcock, or the isolation valve, which are usually found in the pipes under the sink. Once you have done this, turn the taps on to flush any remaining water which may still be in the pipe.

Then find the screw which holds the tap together, usually located inside the handle underneath the cap on top of the tap. It’s wise to put the plug in the sink, so that any loose screws won’t fall down. To remove the screw, you may need to use a screwdriver or adjustable spanner if you are unable to unscrew it by hand. For lever taps, the screw can be found underneath the hot and cold indicator button.

Remove the tap head, (the one that you use to turn the tap on and off) which will reveal a brass valve underneath and use the adjustable spanner to unscrew the valve, while holding firmly on to the tap to prevent the pipes underneath from twisting.

Take a photo of the components in the order that you dismantled them from the tap, which will make reassembly much easier.

You can get a replacement washer or cartridge from a plumbers’ merchant and they are pretty cheap to replace. If you’re unsure of what size washer to get, take the worn washer/cartridge along to the plumbers’ merchant so they can select the right size for you.

Then when you have the right sized washer, reassemble the tap and bask in the sense of achievement!

A split fingernail

Having a split nail snagging against your clothing or in your hair is an underrated everyday peeve. It’s particularly annoying when the split happens below the white tip of your nail, which is pretty painful to rip off and leaves the skin underneath raw and exposed.

To avoid an ouch follow this temporary fix while your nail grows out. The tools you need are a pair of scissors, a teabag, nail glue and a nail buffer.

Cut a section from the teabag to fit the width of your nail, you don’t need the tea inside — just the gauzy paper which holds it.

Cover the top of the nail to below the affected area with the nail glue.

Then put the section of tea bag over the split. Press down gently so that it is smooth and there are no bumps or bubbles, making sure that you are covering the split completely.

Give it about half an hour to let it set and dry.

Use the buffer to gently smooth the nail and the now hardened edges of the teabag. You may also want to put a base coat on the nail afterwards for cosmetic reasons. Ta-dah!

Cracks in plaster

One of the most common causes of plaster cracks comes from removing wallpaper. Damaged walls usually show up in the form of cracks or missing chunks, often caused by stripping off wallpaper.

To repair cracks you will need a dust sheet, Stanley knife, filling knife and medium grade and fine grade sandpaper.

Put down the dust sheet in the area where you will be working.

Then use the Stanley knife to dig out the cracks in the plaster. Cut into the cracks to create a groove in the plaster until you don’t see the original crack.

Once you’ve dug the groove, use a vacuum to get rid of any loose dust inside the groove you have cut.

Mix the plaster filler with water until it’s a stiff paste.

Lightly spray the groove with water to dampen so that the paste will adhere better to it.

Smooth the paste into the groove with the filling knife.

Once the filler is dry, sandpaper over with medium grade and then with the fine grade before you start to decorate.

A broken heart

ouch

There are several ways to do this, depending on who you speak to. Of course, time is the best healer, but there are also three other things which may assist while time does its thing:

Wine. Netflix. Doughnuts.

As we like to be helpful, let’s end on a recipe for…

Delectable DAD doughnuts

You’ll need:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 7g dried active baking yeast
  • 60ml warm water + 60ml hot water for icing
  • 355ml lukewarm milk
  • 75g butter + 75g butter for icing
  • 625g plain flour
  • 1-litre vegetable oil for frying
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • We add (on-brand) aqua food colouring to our DAD icing
  • Hundreds and thousands (for a Simpsons-esque finish)

Method
Serves 16–20 (depending on how greedy you are). Prep is 10 minutes and cook time is 30.

  1. Sprinkle the yeast across the warm water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, 75g butter and 1/2 of the flour. Stir for a few minutes with a wooden spoon. Beat in the second half of flour a little at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5 min, or until stretchy and smooth. Grease a bowl, place the dough inside and cover. Put in a warm place to rise. The mixture should be double the size when ready. A good test is -if you touch the dough, the indentation marks should remain visible on the surface.
  3. Place the dough on to a floured table. Roll out to a 1cm thickness. Cut into circles with a floured cake cutter. Cover lightly with a tea towel and let the doughnuts sit and rise once more until doubled in size.
  4. Melt second half of butter into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the icing sugar and vanilla. Take off heat and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is slightly thin. Set aside to thicken.
  5. Heat the oil in a large pan (or deep-fryer) at 175C. Slide doughnuts into the hot oil (be careful). Turn the doughnuts over as they appear on the surface. Fry on each side until yummy golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the icing whilst still warm, and set back onto the rack to let the excess dribble off.
  6. Eat.
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