20 Secret Household Cleaners
Coffee Grounds – Use your morning pick-me-up to eliminate odors in the fridge. Simply place coffee grounds, new or used, in a bowl on a shelf. Replace them every two months for a fresh, slightly caffeinated smell.
White Vinegar – Keep your dishwasher extra clean with white vinegar. Pour ½ cup into the detergent cups and run the empty machine for a complete cycle. Cleaning tips: you can also use a few tablespoons of powdered laundry bleach, Tang or lemon-flavored Kool-Aid (it must be lemon) for the same results.
Ice Cubs – It won’t be a pretty sound, tossing ice cubes into the garbage disposal break sup grease and keeps it clean. Every few weeks, toss in a handful of cubes, turn on the disposal and run cold water. Add some orange, lemon or lime peels to ward off odors.
Dryer Sheets – Get baked-on foods off pots and pans with these laundry cleaning tips. Just place a dryer sheet in a pot, fill with water and let sit overnight, then sponge off the next morning. The antistatic agent weakens the bond between the stuck-on food and the surface of the pan, while the fabric softener works its loosening magic.
Sponge and Baking Soda – Use this classic combo to get rid of scuffs on vinyl flooring.
Play-Doh – Use this playtime gear to pick up tiny slivers of broken glass (you know, the ones you don’t notice until you’ve stepped on them). Simply press a piece into the area to grab those smaller shards. Be sure to wrap the glass up carefully before throwing it away!
Microwave – To keep bacteria from taking up permanent residence in your kitchen sponges, rinse them with water at the end of each day, squeeze, then put in the microwave for three minutes. Let cool before touching. Do the same with your cutting boards, if they are microwaveable.
Lemons – Harness the power of citrus to clean your microwave. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze juice into a small bowl of water, add both lemon halves and place in the microwave for five minutes. The fresh scent eliminates cooking odors, and condensation from the steam loosens random splatters that have hardened. Wipe away the loose stains with a damp cloth.
Mouthwash – The same product that kills bad-breath germs also zaps the gunk beneath your feet. Add a capful of mouthwash to a gallon of water and mop vinyl or tile—but not wood—floors with the mixture.
Baby Oil – After going over your bathtub, sink or shower with disinfectant, wipe the area with baby oil or lemon oil. Do this once or twice a month to help dirty water bead and roll down the drain faster, buying you more time before the next cleaning.
Baking Powder and Lemon Juice – Combat mold and mildew on tiles and shower curtains with a paste of equal parts lemon juice and baking powder. Spread on the mixture, leave for two hours, then rinse.
Vinegar – For one of our most popular cleaning tips ever, fill a spray bottle with white vinegar to clean chrome and stainless-steel fixtures, and to remove scum, grime and mildew from your bathtub, tile or shower curtain.
Bread – Cut the crust off a piece of white bread, squish the bread into a doughy ball and use it to gently dab the surface of paintings (but not valuable or antique works). Once the ball is covered with dirt and grime, start again with a new slice. Use a pastry brush (or another soft-bristled brush) to clear off any crumbs.
White Gloves – Take a hands-on approach to your mini blinds and venetians. Just slip on a pair of white cotton gloves, dip fingers into a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm tap water, then run your fingers across both sides of each slat. Rinse gloves as necessary in a bowl of clean water.
Houseplants – Keep air pure with houseplants. Research from NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America suggests that palms, English ivy, ferns, mums and similar plants remove up to 87 percent of indoor pollutants.
Rice – To wash a narrow vase, pour in 2 tablespoons of dry rice and ½ cup warm water, cover with the palm of your hand, shake vigorously, then rinse.
Hair Spray – Did your child use the painted walls as a canvas? Mist them with hairspray and wipe immediately to remove colored marker. For crayon, scrub with a toothpaste-covered toothbrush, or gently massage with baking soda and a damp microfiber cloth.
Ketchup – Shine brass using a dab of Worcestershire sauce or ketchup. Squeeze the condiment onto a cloth, rub the item, then rinse with water and dry with a towel.
Tennis Ball – Use a new tennis ball to wipe scuff marks off tile, vinyl, woodwork—even painted walls. It won’t harm the surface.
Chalk – To remove ring around the collar, draw over the stain with a piece of white chalk. Let it soak up the grease for a few minutes, then dust off excess chalk and launder as usual.
Use these household cleaners to help you with some of the more difficult cleaning areas in your home.