Top Cleaning Tips 

 Originally Written: March 21, 2010

By  Hanna Trafford

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There are 4 cleaning products you should never be without – and most of them you already have in your home. If you don’t, you can purchase large size containers and they will last for months! You can used them alone or in conjunction with other common household products such as salt or dishwasher liquid to help you handle most of your cleaning challenges. These products are especially good for people with allergies and for everyone who doesn’t want to have chemicals in the home.

Here are the 4 products:

White Vinegar

Baking Soda

Lemon Juice

Club Soda

What You Can Do With Vinegar:

  • Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the washing machine during the final rinse to soften clothes and remove lint from dark clothes
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of white vinegar to hot water along with your regular dish washing liquid to cut grease on dishes and crystal.
  • Apply white vinegar – undiluted to the skin with a cotton ball to deter bugs – they hate the way you taste and the odour will disappear immediately from your skin.
  • Neutralize pet urine odor with diluted white vinegar (25% vinegar and 75% water) sprayed on carpets
  • Clean stainless steel sinks with a paste made from baking soda and vinegar. Don’t let the foaming scare you – that is what makes it work!
  • Make a window cleaner in spray bottle with 1/4 cup of vinegar added to 1 quart of water.
  • Keep drains free flowing with 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar poured down the drain on monthly basis. After pouring in baking soda and vinegar, cover the drain for 15 minutes (it will foam), Then just flush with cold water.
  • Spray vinegar on underarms of clothes and let soak for 15-30 minutes to deodorize and minimize underarm stains.

What You Can Do With Baking Soda:

  • Keep food disposals fresh and free-flowing by putting the stopper in the disposal and adding 3 inches of warm water and handful of baking soda. Turn on the disposal and let water run out.
  • Remove perspiration stains and odor by applying paste of baking soda and water and letting soak 30 minutes prior to laundering.
  • Mix one gallon of warm water and 1/4 cup of baking soda to soak freshly washed socks in the solution for 30 minutes. Spin out in your washer (d not rinse out the solution), dry and you will have odor-eater socks.
  • Remove crayon from hard surfaces with baking soda on damp rag.
  • To clean grout (any colour), mix 3 cups of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water and scrub grout with a brush. Then just rinse off.
  • To remove burnt food form a casserole, fill dish with hot water, add one tablespoon of baking soda and allow to soak.
  • To clean up pet vomit, sprinkle on a heavy coating of baking soda. let it absorb the moisture and dry, then scoop it up or vacuum it up. The baking soda will neutralize acids and help prevent stains.
  • Remove heel marks from hard floors with a damp cloth and baking soda.
  • Put in the bottom of cat litter boxes to eliminate odor. Put in a thin layer of baking soda and then add the litter. This will work with with clay or clumping litter varieties.

What You Can Do With Lemon Juice

  • Apply to clothes, undiluted to remove fruit based stains. let soak for 30 minutes and then launder.
  • Remove rust from clothes by applying undiluted lemon juice and laying the garment in the sun. It will disappear like magic.
  • Clean brass and copper with lemon juice and salt. Sprinkle salt on a half a lemon and rub metal, then rinse thoroughly. If you don’t have fresh lemon, you can use mix of bottled lemon juice Nada salt.
  • Make a cleaner in a spray bottle with 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice , 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap, 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of borax. Shake before using and use to clean any hard surface.
  • Remove stains from hands with lemon juice.
  • Bleach wooden breadboards or cutting boards by applying lemon juice and letting it sit overnight. Wash and rinse in the morning.

What You Can Do With Club Soda:

  • Club Soda is the best emergency spotter there is. Keep it on hand to clean up spills on carpets and clothing. Do it as soon as possible – if you act fast, the spot will not become a stain.
  • Club soda will remove red wine, coffee, tea, pop,Kool-Aid and any other spills you can think of.
  • If you spill on your clothes in the restaurant, ask for a little club soda and use your napkin to blot the stain. You can blot the spot and soak it with club soda thoroughly when you get home to make sure that stain doesn’t appear.

I hope these tips will be helpful to you – and please send in your comments and suggestions, your input is always very much welcomed!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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