Looking for a safe, chemical-free way to make your home spotless? Check your cabinets! These everyday household items double as germ-busting superstars.
Vinegar cleans much the same as a standard all-purpose cleaner does. Simply mix a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and you can tackle almost all areas of your home. It disinfects and deodorizes, and the smell dissipates after drying.
Just remember to test your solution on a hidden area before your cleaning spree. Improperly diluted vinegar can eat away at tile grout, and isn't good to use on marble surfaces.
A spoonful of this powder is all you need to sop up a grease spill on your carpet. Pour it directly on the spot and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming. The grease will be absorbed by the cornstarch and should come right up.
And if your little one's favorite stuffed animal is in dire need of a cleaning, try this: Place the toy in a plastic bag and sprinkle it with cornstarch. Shake the bag and let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove the toy, shake off the cornstarch, and all the dirt and grime will fall off, too!
Cream of Tartar
This kitchen staple isn't just for baking — it's a stain remover, too! Create a paste using cream of tartar and water (or lemon juice), and apply to the spot (think grass stains, hair dye, bodily fluids). When it comes out of the wash, the stain will be gone.
Cream of tartar can also be used to clean and buff brass or copper pots and pans, stainless steel, and any other metal appliances.
Club soda is a champ at making stainless steel shine again.
The next time your sink is looking a little scuffed up, buff it with a cloth dampened with this bubbly liquid, and then wipe it dry with another clean cloth. It'll look brand new again!
Like vinegar, lemon juice can be used to clean many places in your home. It can dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits, and is great to use for cleaning and shining brass and copper.
Try mixing lemon juice with baking soda and vinegar to create a paste for cleaning dishes, surfaces, and stains, or mix it with olive oil to use for polishing furniture. The possibilities are endless!
Just be aware that lemon is a natural bleaching agent (great for stains!)— make sure to test it out on hidden areas to avoid any damage or bleach marks.
Oh, how versatile this is!
For example, did you know rubbing alcohol can remove permanent marker stains from finished wood floors and solid-surface counters? Just pour a small amount on a cotton ball and apply to the offending mark. Don't worry about damaging the wood — this technique works because you're only using a small amount.
This also rings true for ink stains. Apply a bit to any clothing that has been stained, let it sit for 5 minutes, and wash normally. The spot will come right out.
And those dirty bathroom mirrors? A quick swipe of rubbing alcohol will remove makeup stains, hairspray, toothpaste, and anything else that has found its way from sink to mirror during your morning routine.
Aside from its place on the condiment food chain, ketchup can also be used to remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware.
Simply squeeze some onto a cloth or rag, rub the offending pot or pan, and watch the tarnish disappear. Rinse with warm water and voila! Your cookware is like new.
Unsure of how to clean those decorative, thin-necked bottles and vases you have in your home?
Fill each about ½ way with warm water, and add 1-2 tablespoons of uncooked white rice. Cover the opening of the vase or bottle with your palm and shake vigorously for a few minutes. Repeat as necessary until the rice scrubs off all the dirt and dust that had accumulated.
The rough texture of coffee grounds makes them the perfect scrubbing agent. Wrap a few spoonfuls in a rag, secure with a rubber band, and scrub away any hard-to-clean gunk from last night's dinner.
Coffee is also a deodorizer. Soak your cutting boards in it to remove any smelly odors, and place a bowl of it in your fridge or at the bottom of your trash can to keep your home smelling fresh and clean.
Baking soda is known as the most versatile natural cleaning agent, and for good reason.
It can be used to scrub surfaces the same way any non-abrasive cleaning agent is used. It also absorbs odors, making it the perfect natural deodorizer for trash cans, the fridge and freezer, and laundry room.
Speaking of laundry — baking soda can be used for that too! Is there anything this super cleaner can't do?
The tanic acid in tea makes it a great natural cleaner for hardwood floors — it'll even leave them with an extra shine! To start, boil a pot of water and add 5 to 6 tea bags. Allow the tea to steep for about 10 minutes, and pour the tea into your mop bucket (add cool water if the mixture is still very hot.)
As always, make sure to test your tea solution on a hidden area to avoid discoloration, and refrain from using tea to clean laminate wood floors.
Did you also know that tea is the perfect solution for your dirty microwave? Add a few green tea leaves to boiling water and allow it to steep. When it's cool enough to handle, wipe the microwave down with the mixture to remove stains and odors.
White bread is sticky, making it a great for removing dirt from hard-to-clean artwork, like oil paintings. Simply dab a piece of bread to any that need a cleaning — it will pick up any dirt, dust, and grime while leaving your painting unscathed.
Another useful tip: Use white bread to help clean up shattered glass. Once you've gotten all the big pieces, dab a piece around the area where the glass broke to pick up any remaining shards. Just remember to use caution, and dispose of the used bread properly when done.