I read yesterday that somewhere in North Dakota the snow and wind chills registered at 52 below zero. If you’re snowed in like half of North America, make the best of it, and get your deep clean on. No need to brave the snow and sleet to go out and buy chemical cleaning products. Got lemons, vegetable oil, white vinegar and baking soda ? You’re in business.
I’ve read a few books and done a lot of research online over the last few days on natural cleaning agents. I am now a virtual Cliff Clavin on the use of household products for all natural cleaning. Of course, this is spoken by someone who believes just about everything she reads online. Like this internet shocker from Erin, did you hear ? Scrunchies are back.
But come to think of it, if you’re snowed in, a scrunchie might make a great dusting tool, wrapped around the tip of a toothbrush. Just close the blinds so your neighbors don’t catch you on camera holding such a relic of bad fashion. Of course, that’s assuming anyone still owns a scrunchie. I think some gals still do. But if you ever leave your house wearing a scrunchie, do not admit this, because I might have to defriend you on Facebook.
Lemons are not just for cocktails, my friends. Oil and vinegar are not just for salad dressing. Baking soda is not just for making cakes and removing odor from the fridge. These handy household kitchen staples work wonders as natural cleaning agents.
Wipe half a sliced lemon onto cutting boards to freshen and clean.
Toss peels in your garbage disposal and rinse with hot water to freshen up your kitchen sink in no time.
Clean grout stains by mixing lemon juice with a few tablespoons of baking soda.
Out of bleach ? Need to whiten whites in the wash ? Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to your rinse cycle instead.
Mix the squeeze of a lemon with a full spray bottle of water for a quick all purpose cleaner.
Got ants? Squeeze lemon juice at their entry point to repel them.
Use cooking oil mixed with coarse salt to clean a cast iron pan.
To keep fingerprints off stainless steel, or to remove streaks, buff with olive, vegetable or baby oil.
Mix 1 part lemon juice and 2 parts of vegetable oil to make your own furniture polish. Speaking of wood furniture, have you ever tried to use a dry paintbrush dipped in wood cleaner to clean and polish those nooks and hard to reach places ? Try it, it works !
Rub a small amount of vegetable oil on your grater before using it. It will clean up quicker.
Lightly sprinkled on carpets, it makes a great deodorizer. You can also mix it with a few tablespoons of cornstarch or baby powder to make a homemade carpet freshener.
Scorch your nonstick pan ? Mix a paste of baking soda and a few tablespoons of water. Allow to set overnight, and rinse away the burn in the morning.
Clean your oven window with a paste made from baking soda and water. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes to remove stubborn oil spatter and grime.
1 teaspoon to 3 cups hot water will deodorize stinky plastic containers.
Remove coffee or tea stains from ceramic cups with a cloth dipped in baking soda.
Remove greasy buildup on your kitchen cabinets with a paste made from baking soda and water. Wipe down with a small amount of white vinegar.
Clean stove burner grates by soaking them in your sink with 1 gallon of hot water and 1/2 cup of baking soda for an hour.
Whiten lace that has yellowed by bringing to a boil 1/4 cup baking soda, 6 cups of water and 1 tsp laundry soap. Dip lace in hot water and remove with tongs.
Make an all purpose cleaner for kitchens and bathrooms by filling a water spray bottle with water and 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar. You can add a squeeze of lemon too, if you want to neutralize the vinegar smell. This solution cleans chrome, tile, enamel, glass, just about anything ! You can even spray your vegetables with it, then rinse them, to clean off your produce from the grocery store.
Run 1/2 cup in empty dishwasher to deodorize and steam clean.
Rinse 1/4 cup vinegar with 12 cups of water through your coffee maker to keep it fresh.
Clean just about any floor except marble with 1/4 cup of vinegar in a large bucket of water. I do this with my wood floors about once a month.
Moisten a cloth with vinegar and wipe down your fridge shelves. This also helps to prevent mildew.
Use distilled white vinegar to remove soap scum from shower doors.
For many many more uses for distilled vinegar, click on over to VinegarTips.com.
– More Household Items that Double Duty as Cleaners –
Mouthwash (1/2 cup) mixed with a bucket of water makes a great cleaner for tile countertops and floors.
Toothpaste on a dry cloth removes crayon marks from your walls, buffs tarnished silver and chrome, and even claims to repair CDs that skip (that last one I’m dying to try).
Hairspray removes ball point pen ink stains from garments.
Mayonnaise removes water rings from wood. Use a tablespoon to cover the ring and allow to sit for 4 to 6 hours. I’ve used this trick before, it works !
Shaving cream renders your bathroom mirrors fogless. Of course, that information is so January 7th. If you followed me on Twitter you’d have learned this by now. I actually tried this, and it works. Try cleaning and then buffing them with shaving cream to avoid having to wipe off steam after your hot shower. Shaving cream can also be used to remove carpet stains.
Want more cleaning tips using ordinary household products? Real Simple is the best at revealing new uses for items you already have in your home. Click on over here to read about smart uses for old things, like cooking oil as a substitute for Goo Gone. Or how about this article as a resource for cleaning solutions, like using rice to clean your coffee grinder.
In truth, I was disappointed with this tip, recommending I spray my vintage sweaters with vodka to remove musty odors. Fat chance I’ll part with my Smirnoff for that.
This ends my overly ambitious series on getting a fresh start in 2010. Thanks so much for all your kind comments throughout the week. I’m tired. I think I’ll have some of that Smirnoff now. Cause it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
Top Five Images 1) Country Living 2) Cooking Light 3) EHow 4) Quick and Simple 5) Beverage Warehouse
Feel free to share your best cleaning tip so we all might benefit from your expertise ! Know of another household item that works double duty as a cleaning agent ? Do share.
Have a great weekend all. Be safe and stay warm !