10 weird cleaning secrets from grandma that actually work

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Today we rely on an arsenal of cleaning products to clean even the most basic surfaces of our home. These products take up precious space in our cabinets and often are packed with chemicals. But it hasn't always been like this.
Back in the day, Grandma cleaned her house just fine without all these products. And you can too. A lot of the time, there are very simple homemade solutions for tackling everything from dirty surfaces to stubborn stains. And sometimes, Grandma was just really clever, #vintagelifehacks.
For our ultimate list of weirdly awesome cleaning secrets from Grandma, check out the list below.
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1. Homemade streak-free window cleaner
Grandma didn't have any of those fancy branded window cleaners that boast about their streak-free formula. Did you think people just had streaky windows back then? No way. They mixed common household products to create an awesome solution to get windows squeaky clean. Here's one recipe to follow:
1½ cups water
1½ tablespoons white vinegar
1½ tablespoons rubbing alcohol
3 drops peppermint essential oil
Pour everything in a spray bottle and clean windows like normal.
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2. Borax
Chances are your grandmother used this magical, and powerful, powder for just about everything around the house. Borax can help you clean tiles, kitchen and bathroom sinks and greasy kitchen cabinets, and it even works as an awesome presoak or detergent booster.
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3. Cotton tea cloths
How many rolls of paper towels do you go through a week? Most likely, too many. Not only are these bad for the environment, but they cost you a ton of money a year too. Grandma never had paper towels and did just fine, so you can too. Instead, opt for cotton tea towels. They won't leave any lint behind, they dry quickly, and they wash easily too.
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4. Natural air fresheners
Grandma didn't have Febreze, a stockpile of scented candles or room sprays. How did she keep the house smelling great? Grandma probably used vanilla around the house instead.
If you leave a dab on a cold light bulb, it will spread throughout the room when the light gets hot. Another trick is to put a cotton ball soaked in vanilla in potted plants around the house. You can substitute essential oils here too. For more ideas, be sure to check out these top natural ways to freshen any room.
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5. Lightening and whitening, naturally
Tired of using all those chemicals to get rid of stains on your white clothes and linens? Instead, do what Grandma probably did. Soak your whites in a bucket of hot water with lemon juice for a couple of hours. Then hang it all out to dry in the sun.
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6. Use a pillowcase to clean the ceiling fan
This one is pretty genius. Instead of getting dust all over the place next time you go to wipe down your fan blades, use a pillowcase. Simply place the blade inside the pillowcase, then wipe all that dust away. Easy and mess-free!
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7. Cut your dish sponges in half
A reader told us that her grandmother who lived through the Depression used to cut her sponges in half. It was a tactic to make everything she had last longer, and it still rings true today. Use this tip to save a few extra bucks and make your sponges last longer.
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8. Toothpaste to clean silver
Many of us have been there: You're about to host a big lovely dinner when you realize your silver is filthy. Instead of running to the store for silver cleaner, reach for the toothpaste instead. Simply rub it on, rinse and let it dry. It will look shiny and new.
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9. Remove sticky adhesives with a little oil
Trying to clean a jar but can't get all that sticky label adhesive off? Instead of sitting there scrubbing or using harsh chemicals, do what Grandma did and grab the olive oil. With a little oil on a cloth, you can rub that adhesive right off.
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10. Get rid of hard water with vinegar
Clean up hard water stains on your faucet, shower head and areas around the kitchen by using vinegar. It will lift the stains right off. For extra-tricky spots, like the shower head, let it soak in vinegar. It will work while it sits there and look good as new. For more, check out these 7 tips to help remove hard water stains easily.
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