Pardon the interruption. Be sure to check back next time as the series of posts on housekeeping authors continues.

In a recent comment to this blog, a reader posed a question that I thought might be of interest here. Following is her question and my answer. Please feel free to chime in via comments to this post if you have any other suggestions I didn't think of. Also, please feel free to post your own household cleaning questions for me to address in future blog entries as well. Thanks!

Q - Charity said:
I have hidden a small garbage can in our entry so that we can immediately purge any incoming things from making it into the rest of the house. It is an old metal milk box that used to sit outside on the porch for the milk man to fill each week. I absolutely love the way it looks and the way it conceals the garbage but it is scratching the wall..bad. I have tried putting sticky felt on the part that scratches but it doesn't seem to help. Any suggestions?

A - Mindy said:
Hi Charity, great question. I have a similar issue with a clothes-drying rack in my laundry room. My solution is to paint the wall the exact same gray color as the scratches that the rack makes. (No kidding, I actually held paint samples up to the scratches till I found the closest match!) I haven't painted it yet, but I've purchased the paint and hope to get around to it soon. I'll be sure to post about how it goes once I do. I doubt the scratches will disappear completely but at least they should be less noticeable.

Any chance you could do that in your entryway?

If not, I wonder if it might help to paint the metal box the color of the wall (or at least the part of the box that makes the scratches.) Hmmm, not sure if that would do any good or not, but it's worth a thought. Or perhaps there's a varnish that could be used on the box to seal in the surface and eliminate some of the discoloration that the scratches are making? You might ask someone at a local home repair store about this approach.

How about hanging a tapestry or curtain or other fabric item on the wall behind the can? I'm surprised the felt idea didn't work, maybe you just need to try that again but use thicker/better/different colored felt this time.

Finally, if it were me and none of the above solved the problem, I would consider buying a small, square seat cushion or similar and hot-gluing it to the back of the box. (Unless the box is a valuable antique or something.) That way, the only thing hitting the wall would be the padded fabric.If you don't want to hurt the box, maybe you could just affix the cushion to the wall directly behind it instead.

Anyway, these solutions are just off the top of my head, but they might get you thinking in the right direction. Thanks again for asking, and best wishes on your own House That Cleans Itself!


  1. They make these silicone strips that you can put onto a crib railing so your child doesn't teethe on the crib. One side is sticky (to stick to the crib) and the other is soft. I wonder if that might work for the milk box? It is clear, so it wouldn't be noticeable. Just a suggestion--hope you find an answer!

  2. I agree with Char that the silicone strips are a good idea as well as Mindy's suggestions. But, if it wears down too might want to try using some type of adhesive backed padding that is thicker. Good luck!

  3. Thank you,girls! I love the silicone idea.

  4. I have a similar problem with the Brita water filters in my kitchen. They keep getting pushed to the back of the counter and there is now a line along the wall where the spouts have scratched the paint off. Any ideas on preventing this from happening?

  5. Very common problem, scratches damage walls and become eyesore especially for house owners, next time I face this issue, I will have some solutions to try:)