Cleaning generally isn't anyone's favourite activity, but it's a lot less fun when you're spending your hard-earned dollars on several supplies. You can, however, effectively clean your home with a few things you probably already have. Here's how to do it.
Photo by John Kwan/Shutterstock.
This post is broken down room by room, but since many rooms have similarities you'll find that, for example, a living room tip is also very applicable to the bedroom. This is mentioned when relevant, but be sure to read about similar rooms if you're looking for more options than a particular section provides.
When you're doing the dishes, sometimes you'll encounter a stubborn stain or piece of food. Baking soda can remove stains from coffee mugs. Vinegar can clear up cloudy drinking glasses. Lemon juice will kill stains on tupperware. If rusty cookware is the problem, all you need is a potato. If your silverware needs a polish, try a banana peel. On the other hand, flour is great for polishing stainless steel. For stinky refrigerators, toss some charcoal inside.
If your microwave is disgusting, steam-cleaning it with vinegar is one of the easiest ways to solve the problem. You should also take preventative measures to avoid future spillage. A damp coffee filter, two bowls or even a shower cap can help reduce potential mess.
Finally, my kitchen has a ceiling fan and that fan gets pretty dusty. If you've got the same problem, you can clean it in seconds with a pillowcase.
The Living Room
The living room is a centre for all kinds of messes as it tends to be somewhat of an all-purpose room in the house. People will go there to relax, kids will play, animals will too, and all kinds of cleaning will be necessary. Perhaps someone will forget to use a coaster and you'll end up with a sticky soda stain on your table. Vodka can get rid of it quickly. If that stain ended up on your carpet, a vinegar solution and an iron can lift it right out. Shaving cream can help too. Speaking of carpet, when you move furniture chances are it's going to leave a dent. Those are easy to fix with an ice cube.
If you've got a dog or a cat, pet hair tends to collect in living rooms as they're usually carpeted and most pets love the couches (even if they're not supposed to). You could buy a pet roller, or you could just grab a pair of rubber thongs or rubber gloves, get them wet and pick up pet hair with very little effort. In the event things get a bit worse and your pet causes a stain on your furniture, a little cornstarch can get that out.
The Home Office
Most of your home office can be cleaned just like any other room, but you probably have a computer and a few other items that can benefit from some specific tips. Let's start with your keyboard, which is the recipient of many months of dirt from your hands and other sources. You can clean it easily with a toothbrush, cotton buds and a few other items. Tape, mascara brushes, and hair dryers are all useful as well. Your monitor is also easy to clean with a damp, lint-free cloth or paper.
You've probably been eager all week to get down on your hands and knees to scrub the toilet, and now's your chance! One way to actually make the process sweeter is by tossing some Coca-Cola in the bowl. If your bathtub is the problem, all you need is a little salt and a grapefruit. http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2008/09/clean_your_shower_head_with_vinegar-2/Vinegar can handle the shower head.
Those tips should keep your bathroom nice and clean, but if you want trouble-free toilet cleaning in the future you should make this self-disinfecting toilet brush.
Cleaning the bedroom is about the same as cleaning any other room with the exception of your bed and its sheets. You don't really need much of anything to keep the bed tidy, but there are a few tricks you can employ to keep everything neat without much effort. First things first, if your floors are littered with worn clothing you should consider keeping a hamper that's easily accessible so you don't just throw them everywhere. Alternatively, you can just use an old coat hanger (should you have one lying around). You can also take a few tips from the military when making your bed. All you really have to do is just make your bed while you're still in it and touch up your work after you get out. It can also help to safety-pin your sheets to the mattress so they don't go flying everywhere during the night. Finally, learn to fold your extra bed sheets properly so you don't get frustrated and let them lie around on the floor or take up too much room in the closet because you didn't fold them well.
There aren't any household products that are going to replace the convenience of a washer and dryer, but there are ways you can do your laundry better with a few things you have around your home. You'll find it easier to kill tough grease stains with Coca Cola. Shaving cream works too. A pinch of salt can keep your clothes more vibrant. But regardless of what you do, be sure to keep track of those socks.
If you are looking to absolve yourself of machinery and clean your clothing the old-fashioned way, a bar of laundry soap and rubber-band clothes line can make the process relatively simple. Adding a little vinegar can make your line-dried clothing softer too. Or you can just toss water, some detergent and your clothes in a 20-litre bucket and drive it around in your car for awhile. (This tip is better for a road trip, but if you have a long commute on the way home from work it can be useful, too.)
As this post demonstrates, you don't really need to buy a lot of cleaning products because you already have basic versions of them in your home. For a few more options, check out our top 10 list of products you don't need to buy because you own them.