December 28, 2018 by

Start the year fresh with these quick, helpful cleaning hacks.

Hacks in general exploded in popularity when websites such as BuzzFeed and Pinterest started pitching them at us. This made finding housekeeping hacks incredibly easy, even for us not-so-savvy web users.

The following hacks can reduce the number of cleaning products in your home by using products you already have.

Lemons:

These citrus fruits are one of the most useful and beneficial items to keep around. The acid in lemons is antibacterial and antiseptic, as well as a natural bleach.

Uses:

De-stink your garbage disposal with lemon rinds. Run a few through and follow with cold water to dispel odors.

Clean your microwave with one lemon. You will need a microwave-safe bowl. Fill with four cups of water. Cut your lemon in half. Microwave on high for three minutes and let it set for another five minutes. Remove bowl and turntable. Wipe surface with clean towel.

Remove stubborn water stains from chrome kitchen and bathroom fixtures (it even works on copper). Cut a lemon in half and scrub the surface with the halves. This will also remove any rust stains left from bobby pins or razor blades.

Vinegar:

Though not registered as a disinfectant with the EPA, this powerful liquid will kill both salmonella and E. coli, two bacteria you definitely want to avoid.

Uses:

Unclog your drain. Pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar down the drain. Let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse with hot water.

Remove mineral spots from a showerhead. Fill a plastic bag halfway with vinegar and tie around the showerhead. Let the bag sit overnight and rinse in the morning.

Shutter and blinds need cleaning? Get out a soft sock and slip it onto your hand. Make an even mixture of water and vinegar. Spray this onto the sock and get into every nook and cranny that collects dust. We all have a mismatched sock or two we can use for this.

Baking soda:

This does more than fight refrigerator odors. It’s non-toxic and, unlike vinegar, does not have a strong smell. Because of its abrasiveness, it can fight tough stains as well.

Uses:

Remove tough burned-on food from pots and pans. Sprinkle on burned areas and add just enough hot water to cover. Let it sit overnight, and scrub it off in the morning.

Polish silver flatware. Make a paste with 3-parts baking soda and 1-part water. Rub onto silver with clean cloth and rinse.

Deodorize rugs and upholstered furniture. Sprinkle on the rug and furniture, let sit for 15 minutes, and vacuum.

Below are a few quirky tips that I had not heard of and will try soon.

Aspirin:

Got fresh flowers without a green thumb? Keep them around longer by placing crushed aspirin into the water. The salicylic acid in the aspirin will help keep the water clean and free of the flower-damaging bacteria.

Soap:

Want a clever way to keep your fingernails clean when doing a dirty job? Pack soap under them by rubbing them across a bar a few times. When the dirty work is done, simply scrub it out with a nail brush.

Rubber gloves:

While we love our furry, four-legged family members, we could all do without the fur they leave behind. Pick up some rubber gloves at the dollar store and sweep the worst areas with the glove. Hair will ball and pick up easy.

Plywood and bricks:

Lastly, living in Nebraska, protecting your air conditioner is important. Cover it with plywood weighted down with bricks to protect the compressor in the winter. This also encourages rodents to move on. And if you want to protect the metal and keep it looking good, coat it with car wax before the snow flies.

At the end of the day, a hack should offer a clever and unique way to repurpose an object or solve a problem. It should also be realistic—for those of us lacking an engineering degree or carpentry apprenticeship—to implement. And most importantly, it should help your home look great without requiring a lot of extra work. So go forth and spruce!


This article was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

baking soda vinegar and lemon on the white background