Instead of buying expensive household cleaners, using these common and inexpensive household products can be an effective and frugal way to cut your cleaning expenses. These are my favorite alternate products to have on hand to take care of almost every household cleaning need. |
Vinegar is an inexpensive cleaner, good for removing hard water deposits, shining glass, windows and most metal surfaces. It can also remove stains and mildew. Use in your coffeemaker to keep it brewing quickly. More: Very Vinegar Homemade Cleaner
Bleach is best known as a fabric whitener. It also disinfects bathrooms and kitchens, and kills mildew and mold. (Warning: Do NOT mix with ammonia-based products.) More: How To Remove Mildew Stains
4. Borax Borax is also known as a laundry booster; add a handful to your washer to help your detergent work better. Also deodorizes garbage pails and disposers, cleans and whitens walls and floors, and cleans cookware. Top Picks: Top Uses for Borax
5. WD-40 WD-40, a petroleum-based lubricant and cleaner, has many household uses beyond the garage. Among the many household uses for WD-40 are crayon and adhesive removal, grease and grime cleaning and lubricating metal parts throughout your house. Here are my favorite household uses for WD-40. Brass polish: Paste of equal parts vinegar, salt and flour. Rinse completely afterward to prevent corrosion. Car battery corrosion: Pour baking soda and water or cola over battery posts and scrub with a wire brush. Copper cleaner: Paste of equal parts vinegar, salt and flour. Be sure to rinse completely afterward to prevent corrosion. Decal remover: Soak in hot water if practical; otherise use white vinegar or coat with peanut butter and let it set overnight. Disinfectant: Mix 1/2 cup Borax into one gallon hot water to disinfect and deodorize. Drain cleaner: Try plunger first. Then pour in 1/2 cup baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup vinegar; wait a few minutes and pour in 2 quarts boiling water. Repeat if needed. If this fails, rent or buy a drain snake. Fabric softener: Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup baking soda per wash load to make clothes soft and smell fresh. Fertilizer: Compost and organic fertilizers. Fleas (on pets): Vacuum living space frequently and immediately remove vacuum bag, seal it, and dispose of it outside your home. Wash pet bedding. Use flea comb on pets, drowning fleas in hot soapy water. Restrict pet access to human living areas until infestation is over. Furniture polish: Almond, olive or vegetable oil and lemon juice in a 2:1 ratio. Apply and polish with soft cloth. Hand cleaner for paint/grease: Rub hands with baby oil, vegetable oil, or margarine, then wash with soap and water. Household cleaner: Liquid castile soap. Use as directed. Insects on plants: Identify insects on plants and select appropriate control. Least toxic methods include hand or water spray removal, soapy water spray, barriers and traps. Laundry bleach: Use borax on all clothes or 1/2 cup white vinegar in rinse water to brighten dark clothing. Dry bleach (sodium perborate) also works. Linoleum floor cleaner: Damp mop with mild detergent and water. Add skim milk to the rinse water to shine floor without polishing. Mildew remover: A non-chlorinated scouring powder cleans mildew stains from grout. Scrub hard. Moths (in clothes): Clean any used clothing or furniture before introducing into home. Wash woolens before storing: use tight container. Vacuum rugs, behind and under furniture. Shake out woolens periodically. Oven cleaner: To prevent problems, cover the oven bottom with a sheet of aluminum foil.
Clean up spills promptly.
To clean, use a copper scrubber with baking soda, soap and water. Or, use a non-chlorinated scouring powder or non-caustic oven cleaner. Paint (oil-based): Latex paint, avoid aerosols. Roaches: Remove all sources of food and water. Remove hiding places such as old newspapers, garbage bags and other clutter. Caulk or plug cracks and crevices. Last resort is to use boric acid (a poison). This must be kept away from pets and children. Rug/carpet cleaner: Sprinkle with baking soda, then vacuum. Silver cleaner: Rub gently with baking soda and damp sponge (large objects). For small objects place in pot of hot water on stove with small piece of aluminum foil; add 1 tsp. each baking soda and salt; boil 2-3 minutes.
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