If you want to go green (or save some money) while conducting usual cleaning chores, you might be surprised that some of the cheapest and healthiest alternatives to mainstream cleaning supplies include condiments. I certainly was! Common, everyday items that people usually have lying around in their fridges can help with some of the worst cleaning woes. Sure, the idea of using ketchup, a condiment famous for staining white shirts, for cleaning purposes might seem odd, but every one of these tasty substances has a unique use. Open up the fridge, and for next to nothing, you can tackle some of the worst stains in the house.
Oh, the power of vinegar! If you don’t mind a bit of a harsh smell, vinegar can clean dozens and dozens of items in your house. Some of the most popular items that vinegar cleans are windows, microwaves, showers, and stainless steel appliances. Its close cousin, apple cider vinegar, also serves as a disinfectant and has a more pleasant odor. Most of the best cleaning recipes that include vinegar combine distilled white vinegar with water, oil, or salt.
Halve a lemon, dip it in salt, and rub it against any copper, brass, or chrome appliance. It will show off a great shine. Mix lemon juice and baking soda to unclog minor drains. In addition to introducing a better scent, lemon juice can remove ugly stains from plastic containers. Let the containers sit in a mixture of lemon juice and water overnight. Also, lemon juice serves to remove several different types of laundry stains.
Yes, ketchup actually can lift stains rather than cause them. Polish copper with ketchup; its acidity dissolves tarnish and stubborn spots. It can also help you shine silver. Rub the red substance on your silver item, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, and then polish it off with an old rag.
Rodeo of the Mind Comment: We tested the ketchup suggestion. To see the test results read Using Ketchup to Shine Silver.
Mustard powder specifically makes a pretty great deodorizer, so if you plan to re-use old jars for your next Pinterest project, splash warm water and a bit of mustard powder into the jar. The powder can also help you lift grease from really dirty dishes.
The eggy white substance is pretty useful for getting unsightly water marks out of wooden furniture. It can also help you wash pine pitch off of your hands and remove adhesives and glue from glass. Note that olive oil is also great for restoring the luster of hard wood. (And it’s also a less-fattening alternative for eating.)
Salt and salt water have tons of uses and are included in many cleaning recipes. Salt with lemon, salt with vinegar, and salt with oil can tear away many kinds of stains. Here’s another tip: If you have valuable cast-iron cookware, you know that soaps are a no-no, which, in my opinion, can be maddening. Instead, heat oil in the pan, then add coarse salt, creating a paste. Use that paste to scrub unwanted stains away. Also, the best way to clean coffee pots is with a mixture of salt and ice, which you can swirl around inside. Just pour away those awful brown stains.
These cheap and safe cleaning supplies are only an arm’s reach away. Now, there’s no shame in grabbing one or two extra packets of ketchup when you’re out. There are also plenty of other powerful cleaning agents in your kitchen, including baking soda, coffee grounds, and cornstarch that can be used for more safe cleaning alternatives. Give them a try: You might be pleased with the results.
Originally published on February 6, 2015 by Greg Wiszniewski
on the New York City Office Cleaning Blog