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|20 Secret Household Cleaners|
These 20 money-saving cleaning tips can help solve almost any household cleaning problem. Just shop your pantry for these secret cleaners to disinfect, polish and shine.
|Eliminate Odors with Coffee Grounds|
Try coffee grounds to keep your refrigerator smelling nice and fresh, just as you do with an open box of baking soda. Place them, new or used, in a bowl and remember to replace them every month or two.
|Clean your Garbage Disposal with Ice|
Use ice to cleanse the blades in your garbage disposal and break up the grease that collects on the rotors. 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.
|Soften Grease with a Dryer Sheet|
Soften up Grease
Get baked-on foods off pots and pans with a dryer sheet. Just place one 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.
|Absorb Grime with a Newspaper|
Cover the bottom of your trash can with old newspapers. It's an easy way to keep clean and soaks up leaks and odors.
|Gather Shards of Glass|
Gather Shards of Glass
Pick up tiny slivers of broken glass—the ones you don’t notice until you’ve stepped on them—by gently pressing a slice of bread or a piece of Play-Doh on the area. Be sure to wrap the glass up carefully before throwing it away—you don’t want an animal to eat it or a child to play with it.
|Zap Bacteria in your 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.
|Clean your Microwave with Lemons|
Use Lemons to Clean your MicrowaveHarness 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 with a damp cloth.
|Use Mouthwash as a|
Use a Substitute Floor CleanerTry Listerine mouthwash if you’re out of floor cleaner. Add a capful to a gallon of water and mop vinyl or tile—but not wood—floors with the mixture. The same product that kills bad-breath germs also zaps the gunk beneath your feet.
|Use Disinfecting Wipes|
Use Disinfecting Wipes
Grab a few disinfecting wipes to give faucets, sinks, tubs, toilet seats—you name it—an easy daily touch-up.
|Pretreat your Tub|
Pretreat your Bathtub
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, and it will help dirty water bead and roll down the drain faster, buying you more time before the next cleaning.
|Clean your Toilet with Effervescent Tablets|
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 the beverage removes rust rings and other mineral deposits.
|Dust with a Dry Paintbrush|
Dust Tough-to-Clean Items with a Paintbrush
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.
|Revive Canvases with White Bread|
Revive Canvases with White 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.
|Dust with a Pair of|
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.
|Clean mud with a potato|
Remove Mud with a Spud
Slice a potato in half and gently rub the cut end on a muddy slipcover or comforter. Soak the fabric in cool water, then throw it in your next load of laundry.
|Keep Air Pure with Houseplants|
Go Green with 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.
|Use a lint brush to dust plants|
Use a lint brush with disposable sheets to dust lamp shades and plant leaves.
|Use Dry Rice and Water to|
Shake it up
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.
|Shine up Brass with Ketchup|
Raid the Fridge to Polish Brass
|Wipe up Scuffs with a|
Scour Scuffs with a Tennis Ball
Use a new tennis ball to wipe scuff marks off tile, vinyl, woodwork—even painted walls. It won’t harm the surface.