If you're like most people, cleaning house isn't tops on your list of favorite things to do. And if you've recently shopped for household cleansers, you know how expensive they are, as well as full of caustic chemicals and the noxious fumes they produce. What you might not know is you most likely have everything you need to clean your house without adding harmful chemicals to the environment. I've compiled a list of unusual cleaning products that most people always have lying around the house. Read on, then get cleaning!
Oh yeah! We all love the Kool-Aid man, and the refreshing beverage he provides is a reminder of long ago summers as a kid. But did you know that Kool-Aid Lemonade is also a great product to use as a cleanser? Sprinkle a whole packet into the detergent section of your empty dishwasher. Run the dishwasher through an entire wash cycle. The Kool-Aid will remove soap scum and deposits from your dishwasher walls and racks, and the interior will smell lemony fresh. This only works with the lemonade flavor however; go ahead and try the cherry or strawberry, but you will end up with a red stained dishwasher!
The next time you make hardboiled eggs or omelets, don't throw away those egg shells. They are useful in a multitude of ways. Have narrow necked vases that are hard to clean? Fill them with warm water and a couple of crushed egg shells, then shake. The abrasive action of the shells will clean any deposits out of the vase. Just rinse with warm water and the vase is ready for a pretty bud.
Egg shells can also be used to fertilize your plants or garden. The calcium in the shells helps feed the plants, and you will get better yield and faster growth. Some gardeners also claim adding egg shells will keep slugs out of your garden; this hasn't been tested by myself, but it couldn't hurt to try.
If you're like most people, you probably have several half-used bottles of shampoo in your bathroom cupboards. Shampoo is a great cleanser and degreaser. Fill the bathroom sink with warm water and a couple of squirts of shampoo. Soak your hairbrush and combs in the sink for an hour, then rinse and lay on a towel to dry. The shampoo will get rid of any dirt or grease lurking in your brushes and combs. Shampoo also works well on those "ring-around-the-collar" stains on shirts, and on any greasy shop towels or work clothes. Just squirt some on the greasy areas and scrub with a scrub brush, then launder as usual. The shampoo breaks up the grease and your clothes will be good as new.
Non-gel toothpaste is a great cleanser. It's mild abrasive action scrubs away spots and stains. Use toothpaste to clean and shine your bathroom and kitchen sinks. It also removes spots from stainless steel appliances and faucets. Just rub a thin layer on the spotted areas, leave for an hour, then buff away. The spots will be gone and the stainless steel will look sparkling and clean. Toothpaste also makes a good jewelry cleaner. Wipe on your rings, necklaces and bracelets, then buff off to a shine. Be cautious however; do not use toothpaste on jewelry containing gemstones, as the abrasives can scratch the stone, causing it to lose luster.
Most of us have old pillowcases that have seen better days. Don't toss them out however; use them as cleaning cloths. Dusty ceiling fans are often hard to clean, and the dust seems to get all over the room, making a bigger mess. Place a pillowcase over each fan blade, then gently pull it off, running your hands along both sides of the blade. The fabric will dust the blades and the dust is trapped inside the pillowcase. Empty the dust into the trash (or vacuum it out if you wish) then repeat on all other blades. I've used this method to clean my ceiling fans for years and have yet to find a neater or better way to do this job.
Mayonnaise is the stuff that makes sandwiches complete. It's tangy, zesty and delicious. It's also a great household cleaner that you most likely have on the door of your refrigerator. Mayonnaise will take crayon off walls. Anyone who has a budding Picasso in the house armed with crayons knows that at some point, the walls will become a canvas. Just spread some mayonnaise on the crayon marks and wipe with a cleaning cloth. It may take more than one application, but the crayon marks will eventually be removed. It's also mild enough to not remove the paint from the walls. Mayonnaise will also remove stickers or gummy adhesives from windows, mirrors or the bumper of your car. Spread on the sticker and allow to soften; then using a putty knife, gently scrape the sticker off the surface.
No one likes to clean house, but it is an inevitable part of life. Do it regularly so your neighbors aren't calling the health and safety people to recommend your home for condemnation! Unfortunately, I don't have any tips to make cleaning fun; I don't think those actually exist. Just put on some music that gets you going, pull your hair back and have at it. Cleaning the natural way is the better way for the health of your home, your family and our environment. Try some of these tips to make your life easier and your home healthier.