Believe it or not, we don’t need to buy fancy products at the store to handle cleaning, repairs and conditioning. Practically everyone knows you can use dryer sheets for freshening things up and lint pickup. Here are some other tips using household items you probably already have around the house.
Rubbing Alcohol: It’s a great cleaner and disinfectant. It also leaves a streak-free shine.
- Wipe candles with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove dust being careful not to touch the wick.
- For your car, wipe your windshield wiper blades with a bit of rubbing alcohol. It removes road grime and they are less apt to become iced up.
- Unclog hair spray or paint nozzles by gently removing the spray top and soaking in rubbing alcohol for about 10 minutes.
- Make a home-made ice pack by mixing 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water in a seal-able plastic bag. Next time you have a sore area or injury, use this clever ice pack which also molds to your body. (alcohol doesn’t freeze)
- Get rid of fruit flies by mixing rubbing alcohol with water in a spray bottle and spraying them. They’ll soon drop so you can clean them away. So much cleaner and less smelly than commercial bug sprays.
Cooking Spray: This has become a staple in many modern pantries and for good reason. Did you know you can also…?
- Spray a thin layer inside plastic containers before storing tomato-based sauces. Stains normally left behind from the acidic sauce can be prevented this way.
- Being very careful not to get any on the floor of the bathtub, spritz the shower walls with cooking spray to help loosen soap scum. Again, if you’ve ever over sprayed in the kitchen and it’s landed on the floor, you know it’s important to be careful. It is, after all, an oil.
- Who needs commercial products when you can use cooking spray to take care of a squeaky or tight hinge?
Vinegar: It’s probably best to use white vinegar for these tips. The smell is milder and there’s no color.
- Would you rather not use alcohol on the wiper blades? Vinegar may not keep them from icing up, but it also cleans away the grime that builds up.
- For your laundry, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup white vinegar to a full load of laundry. It will soften, deodorize, and de-lint clothes. It also removes excess soap, which can cause skin irritation.
- Warm white vinegar in the microwave for about 30 seconds and use it to cut though hardened soap scum and hard water stains in your bathroom and shower.
- Preserve fresh-cut flowers by adding 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar to the water. Vinegar kills the bacteria and sugar feeds the flowers.
Cornstarch: It’s not just for making gravy.
- After cleaning wood furniture, sprinkle a little cornstarch over the area and rub with a lint-free cloth. Cornstarch absorbs the excess polish and cleans away fingerprints.
- Remove greasy stains such as lotion and baby oil from clothing. Blot as much as you can with a cloth, then sprinkle the cornstarch. Let it sit 10 minutes, shake it out, and dab with (that good old) white vinegar to break up the greases. Launder as usual.
- If your shoes seem to retain odor, sprinkle a little cornstarch in them at bedtime. The smells are absorbed and it’s easy to just dust it away into a waste bin.
- You can also make dry shampoo from cornstarch. Use ¼ cup cornstarch, 4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (rosemary is a good one), a small jar with a wide opening, and a fluffy makeup brush. Mix the cornstarch and oil together in the jar. Before bed, dust the shampoo into your roots so it can absorb oil then carefully brush it out the next morning. If you’re pressed for time, try to do this at least a couple hours before you leave the house, so you don’t get that ‘grey’ look.
- Clean your child’s favorite stuffed animals with cornstarch. Put the fluffy little beast in a paper bag with a bit of cornstarch, seal and shake the bag, then leave it overnight. The next day, remove the toy and shake it well or use your vacuum attachment to remove any residue.
Do you have tips for cleaning with ordinary pantry stuff? It’s environmentally cleaner and much cheaper to use those items you already have on hand. In fact, of the pantry items mentioned here, cornstarch is the only one I’ve not found at the dollar store. Use the comments section and let me know your tips and tricks.