For many of us, keeping our living spaces clean is a never-ending battle that often results in stocking a ton of cleaning products that are expensive, have many strange chemicals, and are used maybe twice a year.
However, alternatives to these expensive products do exist, and many are already in your kitchen. Certain foods have remarkably powerful cleaning effects and cost far less than chemical-laden options. The next time you need to clean your home, consider grabbing that jug of vinegar rather than the bottle of tile cleaner.
Vinegar is one of the go-tos of natural cleaning. If something needs to be sanitized, vinegar is probably capable of doing the job. It’s even able to simplify jobs that would normally take hours of scrubbing.
For example, if the grout between your tiles has gotten dirty, pour or spray some vinegar on the problem areas. Allow it to sit for about an hour and then scrub the grout with a toothbrush. Within a few minutes, your tiles will be completely free of grime.
Thanks to their unique shapes and thin openings, vases can be notoriously difficult to clean. Trying to scrub the bottom of a vase is often an exercise in futility.
The next time you need to clean a vase, start by pouring some rice into it. Add some soap and water and then swirl the vase, allowing the rice to scrub all of the hard-to-reach areas. Once you’re done, you can simply pour out the mixture and rinse the vase.
Copper pots are the cookware of choice for many people, but they are exceptionally difficult to clean. While copper holds heat well and has some interesting qualities for cooking, it also tends to tarnish easily. Luckily, the solution is probably in your pantry or fridge.
When cleaning your copper cookware, use ketchup like soap, and massage it into the metal. This helps remove discoloration and returns the metal's unique shine.
Taking care of cast iron can also be tricky because even a small amount of moisture can quickly lead to rust. While you could take the time to scrub away the rust and then season your cookware, there is an easier option.
Slice a potato in half and cover one of the halves with dish soap and salt. Use this to scrub your pans. Potatoes contain oxalic acid, which naturally removes rust. Combined with the abrasive nature of the salt, this method can take care of rust in moments.
While aluminum cookware has fallen out of fashion in recent years, many households still utilize it every day. However, one of the major issues with using aluminum products is that they stain and become tarnished pretty easily.
If your aluminum utensils have accumulated a strange grayish residue, reach for the cream of tartar. Wash the items with the cream of tartar and then rinse them with warm water to recapture the cookware’s original sheen.
Home chefs know to keep rosemary on hand because it’s a versatile herb that fits into a massive range of meals. But what they might not know is that it’s also an ideal ingredient to create a completely natural cleaning solution. Grab some sprigs of rosemary and pop them into a container of white vinegar. Let the sprigs soak for a couple of weeks so the rosemary has time to fully infuse into the vinegar.
This mixture has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Spray or pour it onto whatever you need to clean and then simply mop or scrub it away. If the smell of the vinegar is too strong, feel free to add lemon juice for additional cleaning power and a fresh scent.
Though using a coaster is infinitely easier, there is a solution for stubborn water rings on your wood surfaces. If someone made the mistake of placing a cup onto bare wood and seemingly ruined your favorite piece, head to your fridge.
Slather mayonnaise over the entire area and allow it to sit for a few hours, then wipe the surface clean. If you catch the ring soon enough, the mayo will completely eliminate the stain.
Breaking a glass is basically a rite of passage in the kitchen. While sweeping up the bigger pieces is pretty straightforward, the smaller pieces are where the danger lies. These pieces are often invisible to the eye but can still cause significant harm.
If you don’t have a vacuum that can handle glass, pull out a slice of bread instead. Gently push the bread across the area where the glass shattered, allowing its soft fibers to grab all of the remaining shards.
It seems like no matter what you put in a microwave, at least some of it will end up staining the inside of the appliance. If you don’t clean up messes immediately, microwave spills quickly become resilient and near impossible to remove. Unless, of course, you use a bit of lemon juice.
Pour half a cup of water into a bowl. Squeeze a whole lemon into the water and then place the rest of the fruit into the mixture. Microwave it for three minutes, and then let the bowl sit for another five minutes, keeping the door shut. You should then be able to scrub away any stubborn grime with minimal effort.
Tang is probably most famous for being the drink of choice for NASA missions in the ‘60s, but it also makes a pretty incredible cleaning agent. Run your empty dishwasher for a couple of minutes, then stop it. Add powdered Tang to the detergent container and then sprinkle some along the bottom rack. Let the dishwasher finish its cycle and then watch as the orange drink eliminates hard water stains.
After using it a few times, your garbage disposal will probably start to emanate a foul odor. This is due to stubborn and difficult-to-clean food residue. To keep your garbage disposal free of kitchen-ruining smells, use it to grind some orange peels. You can soak the peels in vinegar first for a little extra cleaning power.
Few things are as disappointing as noticing a scratch on the surface of your favorite table or desk. You could head out and buy some pricey wood polish, epoxy, or filler. Alternatively, you could save money by grabbing some walnuts instead.
Carefully rub the shelled nuts over the scratches in your furnishings. The oil in the walnut fills in minor scratches, restoring the wood to its previous glory.
Chances are, your grill is no stranger to onions, but did you know their relationship goes beyond delicious meal accompaniments?
Grill grates are incredibly difficult to clean, often requiring wire scrubbers and all kinds of chemicals. However, sliding half a raw onion on a warm grate will remove a significant amount of the accumulated grime. Plus, you don’t have to worry about chemical residue contaminating your food.
If you have some silver in your home that’s lost its luster, walk to your kitchen and grab a banana. Place the banana peel into a blender, reducing it to a fine mush. Gently rub the banana slush into your silver and wash it away.
If you don’t have a blender, you can rub your silver with a whole banana peel. However, this might be less effective with jewelry and other small pieces of silver.
Cutting boards accumulate all kinds of knicks and scratches over their lifetimes. These small recesses are the perfect hidey-holes for bacteria and other contaminants that may infect your food.
Rather than using potentially harmful chemical cleaners, sprinkle salt all over your cutting board. Rub half a lemon back and forth across the board, getting rid of odors, germs, and stains. Afterward, rinse the cutting board with water.
Wine stains are some of the worst in terms of resilience. If you happen to spill some wine on your clothes or carpet, it might as well be permanent. However, if you’re quick enough, you can save yourself from the curse of the wine stain.
Immediately pour a healthy amount of salt on the spill and let it sit for a while. This soaks up much of the liquid and will prevent the stain from setting, giving you more time to clean it up.
Ask anyone who has spent time with children and they’ll tell you that gum is one of the riskiest treats around. It tends to end up in places that are far from ideal, such as hair or carpeting.
Rather than breaking out the scissors, grab a jar of peanut butter. Rub a small glob over the gum and the surrounding area. The oils in the peanut butter will loosen the gum, allowing you to easily scrape it away. Afterward, clean up the peanut butter with a bit of soap and water.
Even if small children aren’t turning your walls into colorful murals, scuffs and marks are bound to appear over time. Often, these blemishes are extremely difficult to remove and active scrubbing risks ruining the paint.
Remove the peel from a cucumber, and then gently rub it against marks on your walls. Most marks, crayon streaks, and other stains will easily vanish!
Hardwood floors are gorgeous but can seem impossible to clean if you want a natural approach, but worry not.
Boil a few tea bags in about a gallon of water. After the tea cools, soak a soft cloth in the mixture and use it to scrub your floors. The tea is slightly abrasive, removing grime and odors from the wood. After using the tea cloth, dry the area with a dry, soft cloth.
As you might have noticed, citrus fruits are great natural cleansers, and grapefruit is no exception. Slice the tart treat in half and sprinkle plenty of salt on top. Rub the fruit around your tub and sink, squeezing out its juice as you go. Once you’ve made a few passes, rinse the areas you scrubbed. This eliminates dirt and grime while giving your bathroom a lovely citrus scent.