11 cleaning tricks from grandma that still work today

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The modern world of advertising keeps consumers on their toes. With new products hitting television screens and the market nearly every week, it’s tempting to continue stocking the cleaning shelf with big-name brands. Over time this behavior can lead to a large and unnecessary dent in the budget.
Although the ads may be intriguing, turning to some of the most tried and true cleaning methods is an effective and financially responsible way to keep a home in shape. Those tricks grandma passed down have stuck around for a reason and it’s generally because they work. Use the following 11 cleaning tricks that have made their way through generations to keep cleaning a simple, effective and inexpensive process at home.
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1. Keep a box of baking soda in the refrigerator
The refrigerator may be a modern convenience but an open box of baking soda placed strategically in the back is an old trick that still works. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can prevent strange aroma odors that originate with the many pans, dishes and products in a refrigerator. Simply place an open box toward the back of the refrigerator and remember to replace once every three months for a fresh and clean smell inside.
2. Use olive oil to polish wood furniture
There’s no need to purchase an expensive wood polish when olive oil and lemon oil are on hand. Combining one cup of generic olive oil with three to five drops of essential lemon oil creates a solution perfect for putting a finishing shine on wood furniture. Apply a small amount with a dry cloth and gently massage into the surface for a good-as-new look that takes just a few minutes to accomplish.
3. Boil vanilla extract
When there isn’t time to clean everything at home to perfection and guests are on their way, it’s easy to create the impression of a clean ambiance with a quick stovetop solution. Bring a small pan filled with three cups of water to a boil. Add one tablespoon of vanilla extract to the water and an orange peel. Allow the solution to simmer for a clean and fresh scent that permeates the entire home.
4. DIY glass cleaner
Grandma had the secret to saving money on glass cleaner and it’s a method that still works. Skip the cleaning aisle and instead craft a DIY glass cleaner using four simple ingredients. Combine one cup of water, one-half cup of white vinegar, one-half cup of rubbing alcohol and five drops of lemon oil in a spray bottle. Shake gently and spray on glass for a streak-free shine.
5. Clean top to bottom
There are times when cleaning is about the products and other times when it’s all about the strategy. For a more effective and less stressful cleaning experience, remember what your grandma said and always clean the house starting at the top and working toward the bottom. This means beginning by dusting fans and frames on the wall and finishing up with the floor. Any missed dust or dirt particles will float down and end up in the vacuum or dustpan instead of waiting on walls and fan heads for the next cleaning.
6. Cut sponges in half
A simple sponge can go a long way toward keeping a home clean but cutting it in half is a quick solution to extending the life of this powerful cleaning tool. Cut one sponge into two in the name of faster drying, easier storage and a product shape that allows for more easily reaching small cracks and corners. As an added bonus, the sponge supply is instantaneously doubled, meaning automatic financial savings.
7. Dust with a pillowcase
Fan blades are notorious for collecting large amounts of dust and equally as infamous for being difficult to reach and clean. Although there are many extendable dusters on the market, it’s just as easy and far less expensive to clear away dust with an old pillowcase. Place the pillowcase over the head of a broom and secure it with string or a rubber band. This DIY duster can easily reach overhead and picks up as much dust as a brand-name product. When dusting is complete, remove the pillowcase and put it in the wash so it's ready to use next time.
8. Shine silver with toothpaste
There is a lot to be said for the finer details when it comes to cleaning, particularly when guests are coming. Silver utensils can be an elegant touch to the table setting but must remain polished regularly to maintain a beautiful shine. When silver polish isn’t easily accessible, use a small dab of toothpaste and a dry cloth to get the job done. Gently rub the toothpaste directly into the silver, wipe, rinse in warm water and dry for gleaming results.
9. Turn to denture tablets for cleaning jewelry
Cleaning day doesn’t exclusively apply to home goods. In fact, many smaller items such as diamond rings and jewelry need to be attended to just as regularly as countertops and floors. When a collection of preferred wearable pieces is starting to look dingy or dull, a denture tablet is all it takes to remove grime buildup. Drop a single tablet into a glass of water and allow jewelry to soak in the solution for approximately 10 to 20 minutes. Once removed, rinse under warm water and allow to dry for a sparkling shine.
10. Remove stickiness with olive oil
A surface that looks clean from a distance isn’t necessarily clean to the touch. Residue that leaves tables, floors and chairs sticky can be difficult to remove with all-purpose cleaners. Instead of reaching for a spray bottle, place a small amount of olive oil onto a dry cloth and massage it directly into the sticky surface. When the affected area is entirely covered, allow the oil to sit for five minutes before wiping dry for a fresh and stick-free clean.
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11. Boil water to kill sidewalk weeds
Significant attention is paid to cleaning a home's interior, but the exterior greets guests upon arrival and shouldn’t be neglected. When weeds are wreaking havoc on sidewalk cracks or patios, don’t waste precious time trying to pull them by hand. Instead, boil six to eight cups of water in a pan on the stove and add one tablespoon of salt. Once the water is bubbling, take the pan outside and pour the solution directly onto the weeds and enjoy watching them quickly disappear.
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