Cornstarch, mayonnaise, and 11 other weird kitchen items you can use to spring clean your home
Spring is here, so that means it’s time to clean and freshen up your home. But if you’re anything like us, scrubbing and dusting aren’t your idea of a good time. On top of that, household cleaners can get pretty pricey — not to mention the fact that they often leave your home smelling like a gross mix of chemicals. Like we said, it’s not exactly fun. Luckily, there are ways to make your spring cleaning a little more enjoyable and a lot less pricey. All you have to do is get creative.
“You may be surprised to find that instead of purchasing fancy cleaners, you can spring clean your house with items you find in your house every day,” Meg Roberts, president of the residential cleaning service Molly Maid, tells HelloGiggles. She says many common household items can serve as low-cost methods for removing stains and build-up, without the harsh chemicals you typically get with store-bought products.
So if you want to do some spring cleaning this weekend, head to the kitchen.
It may seem a little weird, but your pantry could hold the key to all your spring cleaning needs. Here are some unusual kitchen items you can use to spring clean your home:
1 Paper lunch bag
Banish oily couch stains using a simple paper lunch bag. According to Roberts, all you need to do is place the paper bag on the oily spot to absorb the grease, then run a warm iron over it to lift the spot away. This method works best on non-leather couches.
2 Corn starch
If your leather furniture has any oily spots, Roberts suggests sprinkling a little bit of corn starch on the stain and letting it sit for two to four hours. Afterwards, wipe away the cornstarch and be surprised to find the oily spot gone.
3 Non-gel toothpaste
This tip will definitely appeal to those with artsy kids who like to create masterpieces on the walls. According to Roberts, using a non-gel toothpaste with a scrub brush can gently wash away any markings left on your walls by crayons.
Love it or hate it, mayo can be an effective spring cleaning tool. Use it to remove water marks and rings left on wooden furniture. Says Roberts, “Dab a quarter-size amount of mayo on a towel and scrub the surface. Within seconds, the stains will disappear.” But mayonnaise isn’t the only condiment you can use to clean your house…
Ketchup can leave annoying stains on your clothes, but it can be useful for polishing your appliances. According to Roberts, using a dollop of ketchup on a a cloth or towel can help polish silverware, as well as copper and brass appliances.
6 Lemon or orange juice powder mix
If you’re looking to get rid of rust, powdered lemon or orange juice mix can be effective. “Rub the mixture on the surface of your metal appliances and the citric acid from the drink powder will eat away at the rust,” Roberts says.
“Coca-Cola can be used to scrub toilets and showers, though you’d need a great deal to sort out an entire tub,” chef and lifestyle expert Bianca Osbourne tells HelloGiggles. To clean your toilet, just pour one can of Coca-Cola and let it sit for about five minutes. “It works just like Mr. Clean,” she says.
8 Black tea
Megan Lewis, a home and lifestyle expert with Lowe’s, tells HelloGiggles that brewing a strong pot of black tea can help clean grimy surfaces. All you really need is tea and a cloth to clean. According to Lewis, you can use black tea to clean mirrors and hardwood floors. “This homemade cleaning solution is meant to cut away dirt and grease,” she says.
9 Lemon juice
“One of my favorite spring cleaning hacks is to use spent (squeezed) lemons and herb stems to make an all-purpose cleaner,” Clare Langan, chef and culinary producer for SCRAPS on A&E, tells HelloGiggles.
Just chop up two lemons, put them in a spray bottle with a handful of mint and/or rosemary stems, and pour in two cups of water and two cups of white vinegar. “You can use immediately, but the scent is most intense after a few weeks of infusion,” she says. “It’s amazing for kitchen or bathroom counters, cleaning the inside of the fridge or in and around trash cans.”
Out of all the kitchen items you can use for cleaning, vinegar is one of the most common. You can use a simple vinegar and water mixture to clean your carpet, as well as glass surfaces like mirrors or windows — and you can even create a mix that eliminates odors.
As Claudia Sidoti, head chef for HelloFresh, tells HelloGiggles, frozen white vinegar can be used to help eliminate odors in garbage disposals. All you need to do is freeze white vinegar in an ice cube tray and then run the cubes through the garbage disposal to deodorize and clean drains.
11 Baking soda
If your mom is anything like mine, baking soda is her solution to anything and everything. If you want to deodorize your shoes, throw some baking soda in there and leave it overnight. If you want to remove burnt food left on pans, boil some water, throw in some baking soda, leave it for a bit, and it should make cleaning a lot easier.
“Baking soda is a common household item that can be used to freshen up the bathroom or kitchen when you’re spring cleaning,” Lewis says. If you want to unclog a drain, pour in a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar. Give the reaction a few minutes to work, and then rinse with hot water.
Baking soda can also be used to deodorize your entire space. All you have to do is sprinkle a bit on your mattress, couch, cushions, and rugs. Let it sit for a few hours and vacuum up any excess. As Lewis says, “This hack is an easy way to refresh your living area or bedroom.”
12 Kitchen tongs
When it comes to cleaning your blinds, a duster is unnecessary. If you happen to have kitchen tongs laying around somewhere, those can be just as effective. According to Chip Smith, chief marketing officer for Sears Home Services, all you need to do is wrap rags around a pair of tongs and secure them with rubber bands. Clamp the tongs onto the blinds and drag them across to pick up excess dust. It’s like your own DIY duster.
You can make a simple, all-purpose cleaner by mixing vodka (or rubbing alcohol) and water in a spray bottle. As Stephanie Seferian, host of The Sustainable Minimalists podcast, tells HelloGiggles, it’s a great mix if your countertop is made of marble, granite, or stone. “Sometimes vinegar, which is more often used, can be too acidic for some countertops,” she says.
As you can see, there are so many different kitchen items you can use to spring clean your home. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find another creative cleaning hack yourself.