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DIY Cleaning with Common Household Items

Posted on 3/26/2013 13:42 EST

With winter coming to a close, get ready to spring clean your house. But don't run out to buy loads of special cleaning supplies -- chances are you have all the necessary items right at your fingertips. Common household products make the most effective and safest spring cleaning supplies.

Photo by sxc.hu/lusi

Here's how to spring clean your house on the cheap by using what's already in the cupboard.

Hydrogen Peroxide.

Commonly used to clean minor scrapes and scratches, hydrogen peroxide also has a talent for cleaning. One Good Thing by Jillee offers up a huge list of in-home uses for 3% hydrogen peroxide, including many spring cleaning tasks: cutting boards, countertops, dishwasher, and refrigerator in the kitchen, for example, and toilet bowl and shower grout in the bathroom. It works wonders wherever there's tile, and will brighten floors considerably. You can wipe down kids' toys and lunch boxes with hydrogen peroxide and pre-soak the laundry to get rid of armpit stains and other hard-to-remove blotches. One cup added to a laundry load of whites brightens the items considerably and one part hydrogen peroxide to one part vinegar removes the mildew smell from towels.

Baking Soda.

In addition to using baking soda for the usual baking needs, repurpose it as a deodorizer and spring cleaning ingredient. You can place an open box in the refrigerator or deep freezer to absorb rancid smells and in the bottom of smelly trash cans to eliminate the odor. Sprinkle some on your carpets and upholstered furniture, let it sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up to wipe out pet and other odors; baking soda also gets rid of odors emitted by the vacuum cleaner. When mixed with a small amount of warm water, baking soda can spring clean the inside of the oven, the surface of stainless steel and chrome appliances, and the inside and outside of pots and pans. One part baking soda mixed with one part vinegar unclogs sinks, as well.

White Vinegar.

Aside from showing up in many a salad dressing and making hardboiled eggs easier to peel, vinegar has a myriad of spring cleaning uses. It can tidy up a shower head caked with grime and, after a quick burst of power, loosen the grime in a microwave (wipe down the interior with a damp cloth). Run white vinegar through an empty cycle of the dishwasher, washing machine, and coffee maker to freshen and brighten, and put some in a spray bottle to spring clean windows and mirrors. All You features an extensive list of ways to use vinegar. The spring cleaning ideas that appeal to us include spraying the grates on your outdoor grill with distilled white vinegar and then scrubbing clean; removing crayon marks, unsticking stickers, and cleaning up dripped wax; loosening carpet stains; and getting rid of the telltale signs of coffee and tea in mugs.

Photo by sxc.hu/vierdrie

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

The ability to remove scuff marks and other smudges from walls, baseboards, and floors makes this common household item irreplaceable, but Magic Eraser is another multi-talented common household cleaning supply. According to The Fun Times Guide, this nifty product can tackle a variety of spring cleaning projects: wipe down textured appliances; clean scuffed-up shoes; eliminate cooking stains and those from tea, coffee, rust, and soot; remove dry paint from door hinges and knobs; get rid of soap scum, mold, and mildew; clean window screens; polish silver; wipe down outdoor furniture; and clean up paint and nail polish spills.

Dawn Dish Soap.

Dawn dish soap triumphs over grease and grime on dirty dishes and does the same for grease and grime in other areas of the house. Use blue Dawn to spring clean shower and sink scum, carpet stains, and automotive tools. For grease stains on clothing, dab on some Dawn, let it sit a few hours, and then wash as usual.

Dryer Sheets.

When used in the laundry, dryer sheets help control static and leave clothes smelling fresh, but they can also be used for spring cleaning throughout the house. Run a dryer sheet over the baseboards and through the mini-blinds to remove dust and prevent additional accumulation. They also pick up clingy pet hair from furniture and upholstery and dust from computer and TV screens. Layer a few on a dry mop to dry-clean floors.

And finally, don't forget the obvious spring cleaning aids: Socks that are missing mates and old rags find a second life as dusters and scrubbers, while old winter gloves can spring clean blinds and hard-to-reach crevices.

by Raechel Conover (Google+ Profile)

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