Baking soda, white vinegar, white chalk, mineral oil, car wax, WD-40, dryer sheets, and ammonia. These are your new cleaning products. And yes, they can just about clean anything in your home, either by themselves or in combinations.
Now, cleaning may not be anyone’s idea of spending a day, or even a half-day, when there are so many other great things to do. Before you give up the effort and call in the troops from a service to keep you clean, take a look at these cleaning hacks that will shorten your time, be “greener,” and actually do a better job than the chemicals you are spending hundreds of dollars on every year. So, sit back, have a good read, and make sure you stock up on those items mentioned in the first sentence.
1. White Vinegar is Your New Favorite Friend
Learned this hack from Fil Boksa, co-owner of King of Maids: “Vinegar should be the staple cleaner in every household. Its ability to remove stains, clear mineral buildup and as an all-purpose cleaner has long been known.” Here are all of the things you can do with vinegar:
- Cleaning Your Blinds: Put your hand in an old sock, dip it in a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and water and wipe those blinds down. You don’t need to scrub – just wipe. Wipe any leftover drips off with another old sock on the other hand.
- Cleaning Your Oven: No one likes this chore, and those oven cleaners are so caustic. Do away with the plastic gloves. Combine 4 tablespoons of vinegar, 5 tablespoons of baking soda, and 5 drops of Dawn dish soap. It should be like a paste. Spread it over the oven with a sponge – let it sit for about 20 minutes. Scrub it off with a wet sponge. You can also scrub with a half-lemon and salt.
- Those Pesky Carpet Stains: That party was great but now there are some mystery stains on your carpet. Put two parts water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle. Saturate the stains pretty well. Then take a damp clean rag and lay it on top of the stain. Iron the damp rag using the steam setting on the iron for about 30 second, longer if the stain is old. The stain should come up with the rag. You may need to repeat this another time if the stain is stubborn.
- The Grunge in the Microwave: For some reason, no one can remember to put a paper towel or some kind of a lid on the food they cook or heat in the microwave. Spaghetti is the worst. Instead of using a chemical microwave cleaner, put 2 tablespoons of vinegar in 1-2 cups of water in a bowl. Heat it on high for 5 minutes. All you need to do is wipe off those food particles with a paper towel now.
- The Scum and Minerals on that Shower Head: You can get out the toothbrush and some pretty toxic mineral deposit removers, put on gloves, and go at that shower head. Or, you can pour vinegar into a plastic baggie, put it over the showerhead, secure it with some ties and let it sit overnight. Be sure that the head is immersed in vinegar. In the morning, run cool water through your shower and, all that scum and minerals will fall off. If there is anything left, now take the toothbrush to it – they will come right off.
2. Dryer Sheets
Most people have heard of dryer sheets keeping mosquitoes away if they are just put in a back pocket, and that is pretty cool. However, these little gems have some other uses to. They actually repel dust, so here are two uses for them after you have taken them out of the dryer.
- Use them to wipe TV and computer screens, and even furniture. They leave no residue but their anti-static properties, repel dust.
- Use them to wipe down all of your baseboards, and you will be doing that chore far less. The baseboards will not repel dust for quite a while.
3. Ammonia – Smells Bad; Does Great Work
- Ammonia is also a great oven cleaner. You can put about ½ cup in a bowl and place it in your oven overnight. The next morning, just wipe off the grime.
- You can also clean burners and grates this way. Take large baggies and put about ½ cup ammonia in them. Put the burner and grates each in a separate bag and zip it up. Leave them in their bags overnight (maybe outside in case a bag has a leak, and just wipe them down the next morning.
- Ammonia cleans jewelry too. Put rings in a small bowl of ammonia for a few hours, and they are shiny and new looking!
- Ammonia is also a great glass cleaner because it leaves no streaks – ever. If you can tolerate the smell and can ventilate the room, try a mixture of ½ ammonia and ½ water in a spray bottle. Mirrors too.
4. Baking Soda
In addition to working with vinegar as an oven cleaner, there are some other cool uses for baking soda, vinegar, and Dawn dish soap.
- Sprinkle baking soda on any grease stain and let it sit for a few minutes before vacuuming it. Then, mix 2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon each of vinegar and dish soap, and sop it on the stain with a sponge. Leave that on a few minutes and then wipe it up with a clean damp sponge.
- For laundry stains, mix baking soda, peroxide and Dawn – about 4 tablespoons baking soda, a couple of teaspoons of peroxide, and 1 teaspoon of Dawn. Rub the paste into the stain and thrown in the washing machine.
- Cut the odors in your upholstered furniture by sprinkling with baking soda, letting it sit for about 20 minutes, then vacuuming it up.
5. Citrus Fruits
- Bathtub Rings: Cut a grapefruit in half, and sprinkle salt all over the top. Wet the tub, sprinkle some extra salt on the ring, then scrub with the grapefruit – comes off much faster than the scrubbing you do with cleaners.
- Faucets: Rub stainless steel faucets with lemon and they will shine right up – all stains gone. Works for stainless steel sinks too.
Yes, it does great lubricating many things. But it does much more too.
- It will remove stains from stainless steel sinks. Spray on, let stand for a minute or so, wipe off.
- It will take lipstick and tomato stains out of clothes. Just spray on and throw in the wash.
- Those black scuff marks on your kitchen floor are a pain to get off. Usually, you have to use something like a soft scrub cleanser and really rub. Spray some WD-w0 on them, wait a minute and wipe off.
- Spraying WD-40 on shower doors keeps them from spotting, and it will also remove crayon marks from walls and furniture.
7. Miscellaneous Extra Hacks
- Rub white chalk on greasy clothing stains and launder as usual. The chalk absorbs the grease.
- Use mineral or cooking oil to remove all of the greasy buildup on your range fan hood. Wipe the oil over the surface (it doesn’t take much) and then wash it with a sponge and soapy water
- Put a coat of car wax on our range top after you clean it. Let the wax dry and wipe it off just like you would do with your car. You will be amazed how easily spills, even dried on spills, will come right off with a wet cloth.
- Use nail polish remover to clean stains off the side panels of tennis shoes.
- If you have microfiber furniture, you know how tough a stain can be to get out. Spray the stain with rubbing alcohol. Use a white sponge to wipe the stain away. When the alcohol fully dries, use a whit bristled brush to smooth out the fibers.
- If you have white rings from drinks left on your wood table tops, hit them with a blow dryer – they will disappear – really they will. Then use a furniture polish or some mineral oil to renew the wood.
- Clean stainless steel appliances with cream of tartar. These appliances always look bad with finger prints and other dulling spots. Mix 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar with water to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the stainless steel and just wipe it off. Good for stainless steel fronts on larger appliances too.
- Sponges hold lots of bad stuff – especially germs. You can completely sanitize your sponges by putting them in the microwave on high for two minutes.
- If you have pets that leave a lot of hair on and in your carpet, use a squeegee on a pole and run it over your carpet. You’ll get a nice pile to easily pick up and throw away.
- Here’s a tip from Oprah Winfrey about getting your closets cleaned out. Put all of your clothes on hangers with the hangers hanging backwards. When you wear something, hang it back up with the hanger hanging the right way. Any clothes that are still hanging on a backwards hanger in one year get thrown out.