The Habitat
The Best Cleaning Hacks for a Healthy Household
The Best Cleaning Hacks for a Healthy Household

A clean house can be a great source of pride, and there are plenty of ways to achieve it. Today, many people are in search of eco-friendly, kid-safe, and pet-safe home-cleaning products. Just as importantly, we want to avoid products that cost an arm and a leg. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to expensive cleaners that are also safe; you probably have a lot of them already lying around the house.


Use lemons to clean your garbage disposal

Garbage Disposal -Oxford- / Getty Images

Garbage disposals are a great way to get rid of excess food when scraping plates, but with all that we put into them, it's no wonder they can start to smell after a while. To safely and easily refresh your garbage disposal, cut some lemons into quarters and place them down the disposal while the water is running. The citrusy scent will freshen up your kitchen, while the rinds help push down any stuck-on debris.


Scrub your tub with baking soda and vinegar

Vinegar and Baking Soda ozgurkeser / Getty Images

Let's face it — bathtubs can get dirty fast. One effective and eco-friendly way to keep your tub clean calls for two items you've probably got stashed in your pantry already: baking soda and vinegar. To clean your tub, plug the drain and fill the bottom with hot water. Pour in one cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda and allow it to sit for about five minutes. After, pull the plug and rinse thoroughly. If any residue is too stuck on for this watered-down method, you can also make a scrub from these two ingredients and go in with a bit of elbow grease.


Microwave a wet cloth to remove caked-on food

Woman Cleaning a Microwave MediaProduction / Getty Images

If your microwave is full of caked-on food and other stains, you're certainly not alone. Instead of using harsh chemical cleaners, though, place a wet dishcloth or sponge inside and microwave it on high for two minutes. The steam produced by the wet cloth kills any bacteria and loosens stuck-on food. Afterward, you should be able to effortlessly wipe away the mess — just be sure to use a different cloth than the one you microwaved — that one should be removed with tongs because it will be hot.


Use vinegar to neutralize pet odors

Dog Napping on a Sofa Solovyova / Getty Images

If you have a dog that just won't get off the couch, there's a good chance your furniture has some set-in pet odors. To neutralize those smells, mix one part vinegar with one part water, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil and spray the solution directly onto the upholstery. Once dried, vacuum your furniture. This solution works well on sofas, chairs, and rugs, but be sure to spot test in an inconspicuous area and allow it to dry before spraying everything down.


Skip the feather duster and grab a coffee filter

dust computer screen with coffee filter

TV screens, computer monitors, and tablets can be quickly cleaned with nothing but a coffee filter. Unlike a traditional duster or towel, coffee filters don't leave fibers behind or spread dust from one end of a surface to another. Instead, they effectively pick up dust and leave behind a streak-free shine.


Your dishwasher can clean more than dishes

Open Dishwasher kunertus / Getty Images

Dishwashers are great for cleaning the dishes, but what most people don't realize is that they do an excellent job of cleaning other household items. The list of things you can put in the dishwasher is seemingly endless; it includes hair brushes, makeup brushes, toothbrush holders, showerheads, baby toys, flip flops, and even baseball hats.


Make your own air freshener with vodka and essential oils

vodka and essential oil natural air freshener

By mixing vodka with essential oil, you can create your own air freshener that stays fresh and kills bacteria on top of it. All you need is a reusable spray bottle, one cup of vodka, and 20 drops of your favorite essential oils. Lavender, lemongrass, and orange can work well on their own, or for a spa-like fragrance, try mixing orange, peppermint, niaouli, and lavender. Of course, remember to label your bottle and keep it out of reach of children.


Use olive oil to make stainless steel sparkle

Cleaning Stainless Steel With a Microfiber Cloth DanielKrylov / Getty Images

Stainless steel appliances are notoriously hard to keep fingerprint-free. Instead of using harsh chemicals, grab a soft cloth and some olive oil to buff your fridge and stove to a beautiful shine. To do this, apply four or five drops of olive oil to a soft cloth (microfiber works best) and slowly buff the surface. Be sure to work with the grain of the steel, which will run either horizontally or vertically. Once you've buffed the surface to your satisfaction, use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe clean any excess oil.


Clean up kitchen splatters with baking soda and coconut oil

Baking Soda, Coconut Oil and a Toothbrush MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC / Getty Images

Mix one part coconut oil with two parts baking soda to create a tough degreaser that easily tackles oil splatters throughout your kitchen. For best results, apply the mixture liberally to walls, backsplashes, cupboard doors, and any other surface that needs a spot clean. Then, grab a spare toothbrush and slowly scrub the splatter before wiping the area clean with a damp cloth. This mixture also works great to remove sticker residue on glass jars you want to reuse!


Get rid of shoe scuffs with white erasers

Cleaning White Shoes With an Eraser NorGal / Getty Images

If you've ever worn a pair of white shoes, chances are you're no stranger to unsightly scuffs. Luckily, these noticeable marks are easy to clean with nothing but a simple white pencil eraser. Just rub the eraser over the rubber or leather part of the shoe and wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth.




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