1. Cleaning blinds. Mix equal parts white vinegar (not apple cider vinegar) and water in a bucket. Put a clean sock over your hand and dip it in the mixture, then wipe each slat. For mini blinds, use a paint stir-stick instead of your hand to get in those smaller spaces between slats.
2. Removing burnt-on gunk in baking pans. Have a skillet or Dutch oven that has burnt-on residue from your last concoction? Add about an inch of water to the pan, then a cup of white vinegar. Put the pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Turn off the burner and remove the pan; add a tablespoon of baking soda. Empty the contents into the sink (be careful – it’s going to be hot!) and now you can easily remove the gunk with a scrub pad.
3. Getting rid of all the pet hair in your carpet. Even if you vacuum regularly, you’ll notice “leftover” pet hair in your carpet or hard-to-reach hair in the corners of the room. An easy way to get these last few strands is to “rake” it with a window squeegee.
4. Cleaning a coffee grinder. You can’t immerse a coffee grinder in water, so to clean it, grind a small amount of uncooked white rice or baking soda. This will get the blades clean and also help remove the smell of coffee or spices you’ve ground. Be sure to wipe it clean after you dispose of the rice or baking soda.
5. Getting rid of residue of hair products on a curling iron. To remove the buildup on your iron, gently rub a piece of clean steel wool (plain, not the kind that has soap incorporated into it) across the metal rod.
6. Cleaning dust and grime from a lampshade. Lampshades collect and hold a lot of dust and are often missed during routine cleaning. The easiest way to get rid of it? Roll the shade with a lint roller.
7. Get pen ink out of clothes. Try this next time you brush against a pen that leaves a mark on your shirt: spray the backside of the pen mark with hairspray and blot both sides with a clean towel.
8. Clean your sponges and kitchen scrubbers (not any with metal threads, though!) by getting them wet, then microwaving for 1.5 minutes on high. Cool thoroughly before reaching in to grab the item. This also removes e-coli and other nasty germs and bacteria.
9. Give your garbage disposal a quick refresh by grinding lemon wedges. Use baking soda and an old toothbrush to clean the gunk from around the neck of the drain.
10. Make a 2-to-1 solution of vinegar and water (2 of water, 1 of vinegar) and run it through your coffee maker to clean out the buildup. Run clean water through the machine after the vinegar/water batch so you don’t get the vinegar taste into your next pot of coffee.
We would really like to know what your cleaning tricks are, whether they save time, are a low-cost alternative to purchased cleaners, or if they’re just really novel. Please share your ideas, and we’ll share with our readers!