Cleaning Tips & Tricks using household items you already have
Keep your dishwasher extra clean with white vinegar. Pour ½ cup into the detergent cups and run the empty machine for a complete cycle. 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.
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.
Get baked-on foods off pots and pans with this laundry staple. 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 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!
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.
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.
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.
Freshen the toilet bowl with effervescent tablets (denture or antacid) in between scourings. Drop two in the water, let soak for at least 20 minutes, then brush and flush. A can of cola dumped in for one hour also does the trick. The phosphoric acid in this mixture removes rust rings and other mineral deposits.
Vinegar and Rags
Baking Powder and Lemon Juice
A dry paintbrush (with bristles at least 3 inches long) is great for both the surface and grooves of your collectibles. Dust framed photos with a pastry brush, which is softer than a paintbrush and easier to dip into corners and places that are difficult to reach.
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.
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.
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.
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.