by Linda Merrill, Networx
It’s not uncommon to use whatever might be at hand when something in the home needs to be cleaned, or perhaps, scraped off. Sometimes we use the “correct” tool for the job and other times we pick up something less likely and it still works. Some of the most commonplace items in our homes can become useful cleaning tools. Here’s a list to keep in mind when you need to reach for something at hand:
1. Facecloths: Facecloths are great for many clean up needs. They pick up spills and wet or dry clean any surface and can be easily laundered. Keep a stack at hand and you will use fewer disposable paper towels or dirty sponges. Facecloths can be bought in bulk for very little money as well.
2. Chopsticks: If you hand wash your glassware and leave it to dry on the counter on a towel, you will know that the inside of the glass never really dries out. Use leftover, unused chopsticks to prop up your glasses and vases so that air can flow up inside, aiding the drying process.
3. Paper towel for bottle drying: Tightly roll a paper towel, and insert it three-fourths of the way into the bottle; it will absorb the moisture.
4. Vodka: Vodka not only makes a great cocktail, it can also clean your home. Of course, you won’t want to use the Grey Goose to freshen your laundry, but a cheap bottom shelf brand can be used to freshen your laundry because it kills killing odor causing bacteria. It can also be used to sterilize and sanitize counter surfaces or personal tools such as tweezers or nail clippers.
5. Cooking spray: Lightly spray cooking spray inside candle holders before lighting candles and any wax drops will be easy to clean.
6. Rice or eggshells: Clean inside of bottles or vases with clean broken egg shells or rice, water and soap. The egg shells or rice will act as a scrubbing agent and can easily be rinsed away.
7. Emory board: If you get a small stain or mark on suede, you can gently rub it away with an emory board.
8. Car wax: Car wax can be spread thinly on a cook top to make cleanup easy.
9. Cotton swabs: Cotton swabs are great for gentle computer keyboard cleanup. Lightly wet then damp dry the swab on a paper towel absorb most of the water and use very carefully on the keyboard.
10. Hair dryer: Use the heat of a hair dryer to loosen the glue and easily remove the price and product stickers from items such as glasses or shoes.
11: Newspapers: It may seem counterintuitive, but newspapers can be used to wash windows. The paper is virtually lint free and will leave a streak free shine on the glass surfaces. This is a great way to re-use your newspapers one more time before recycling and there is no need for paper towels.
12. Toothbrushes: Used toothbrushes have a lot of useful life once they stop doing the job on the bicuspids, such as cleaning grout or detailing the car.
13. Pantyhose: Decorative candles often sit around for months, if not years, and develop a dusty buildup on the wax surface. Used clean pantyhose or tights have just enough abrasion to rub the dust off the surface, without marking up the candle.
14. Seam ripper: If you have a sewing machine or are a crafter, there is likely to be a seam ripper lying around. If your vacuum cleaner has a roller on the bottom you will know what it’s like to have to pull off the hair and threads that can get wrapped tightly around the roller. Use the seam ripper to cut it all right off.
15. Tweezers: Cosmetic tweezers have a lot of non-cosmetic uses such as repairing jewelry or pulling small stickers off of products.
16. Nail polish: Apply a thin coat of clear nail polish to prevent rust on the bottom of metal or tin objects that might rust, such as shave cream in the shower or a decorative soap dish holder.
17. Plastic mesh produce bags: Mesh produce bags such as those filled with potatoes or onions, make great soft scrubbers for pots or dishes that require gentle care.
18. Pen caps: The next time your Bic pen dries out, hold onto the cap. The pointy end of the plastic cap can be used to clean hard to reach surfaces such as the space around a drop in sink that is likely to collect hard packed goop. The plastic of the cap is gentle enough not to scratch the surface, but the point is often sharp enough to be able to dislodge dirt. This is a much better option than the point of a good knife.
19: Foam rubber: Foam rubber, such as the kind that comes inside a throw pillow, can be used to clean dirt smudges off of many fabrics including silk. So, before you toss out an old pillow, cut out the foam insert and rip into small, manageable bits for spot dry cleaning jobs.
20. Chalk: Chalk, when stored with silver, will inhibit tarnish by absorbing moisture. Wrap it loosely in a cheese cloth bag to keep it from marking surfaces.