Cleanliness is next to godliness. My interpretation of that age-old adage means that keeping your house clean is just as un-fun and boring as being a goody two shoes. That's why they call things like laundry and doing dishes "chores," I assume. Yuck.
Lucky for you, though, we've got a lot of smart ways to keep things tidy and neat at home without breaking a sweat (or the bank, for that matter).
No one has ever said "this smells like crap, but I appreciate how clean it is." Before you tackle the mess, eliminate the odor—your friends (or anyone that has to put up with you on a daily basis) will thank you.
A teaspoon of mustard and some hot water will take the funk out of your jars—and works on plastic containers, too.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, use an cut onion half to eliminate odors. Just leave the onion out overnight to absorb all the nasty smells; when the onion smell fades, so will the other lingering odors.
Baking soda is nowhere near as effective as activated charcoal.
Pour some cheap vodka into a spray bottle, spritz your clothes, then wait for the clothes to dry. When the alcohol evaporates, so will your stank.
Add one tablespoon per quart of freshly-opened paint and mix thoroughly until well-incorporated. Your kitchen renovation will smell sublime (or at least, a lot less crappy than it used to).
Just a teaspoon of baking soda to your hand soap will banish that lingering smell. (Check out the link, which also uses stainless steel, toothpaste, and even salt as smelly solutions.)
You can also use cologne or perfume if that's what you prefer—just make sure you apply the extracts or scents to a cold light bulb, not one in use!
Not a fan of the chemical cleanings agents? Here are ways to use what's in your fridge and your pantry to keep things neat.
Add salt to your pan, then scrub with a cut potato.
Heap a pile of flour onto that spilt liquid, let it soak, then sweep it up with a broom and dustpan.
Spritz your window with vodka to keep it clean (just be sure to use something cheap).
Ditch the steel wool and scrub with used coffee grounds to get out stubborn grime on more delicate pots.
The powdered gelatin traps all of the food particles in your dirty oil when left overnight.
Use a thin coating of ketchup on your tarnished silverware, then let it sit for up to half an hour before washing it off.
Add ¼ cup of salt to a quart of water and let your sponges and mops soak overnight.
The beer removes the dullness of years and adds a nice, shiny coat.
Fruit flies hate the smell of cloves, and hanging an orange pincushion full of cloves keeps them away naturally.
Just throw a teabag of green tea into your toilet bowl and let it soak, then flush and say goodbye to that nasty grime!
Use them to clean all the things.
The mild citric acid in lemons breaks down surface tarnish and makes your copper pots and pans gleam like new again.
Just add a lemon peel when you're doing a load of dishes in the dishwasher—the citric acid in lemons is great at dissolving soap scum, removing hard water deposits, polishing, and disinfecting.
Throw lemon rinds into your garbage disposal, then grind them to release their fresh, citrusy scent.
Soak your rusty knives in a solution of equal parts lemon juice and water for 10 minutes, then rinse and wipe them dry.
Put kosher salt on your board, then use a cut piece of lemon to scrub the salt into the surface.
The most annoying part about cooking is the cleaning at the end... it's like the unexpectedly crappy ending of what was shaping up to be a good movie. Hopefully, these will take the work (and annoyance) out of those future cooking experiences.
The fumes from ammonia are what works here, not the liquid itself, so only a little bit is necessary. Just make sure you seal it tightly in a bag (and as further precaution, I put the bags outside), as the fumes are toxic.
If the gunk on your grates isn't too thick yet, wadded-up aluminum foil works just as good—if not better—than any grill brush.
Only a small amount of water is necessary or the cubes will melt, though.
Use that leftover pickle juice that you've got sitting in the fridge to polish your copper pots and pans.
So simple, yet so effective.
Just rub the cut surface of the onion on your grates as they're heating up—the grime will stick to the onion and not on your grates.
Polish your stove with car wax, then prepare to be amazed at how easy it is to clean off spills and stains in the future.
Combine 1 tablespoon of Cafiza with a quart of water, then soak your dirty cups and coffee pots for 30 minutes. The stains will wash right off during a rinse!
This is a great way to use leftover eggshells. Just crush up some eggshells, add them to your hard-to-clean dish or bowl, then scrub with a sponge and soap.
Keep it budget with these smart ways to both keep things clean and save a buck or two.
Rub the baking soda and water paste into the scuff marks and watch them magically disappear.
Then, add water and scrub away at your sink, plates, pots, or pans.
The mayonnaise polishes your ivories and gets rid of the need for an expensive piano cleaner.
A 10% vinegar solution does a great job of cleaning off any residual dirt or chemicals on your fruits and veggies. Just make sure you rinse thoroughly afterward.
Save your cash and skip the Brita filters, because teabags are just as effective. Let them soak for an hour, then enjoy your filtered water.
The picture says it all. It's also good for wine bottles.
The material in the filter catches the dust on the screen, which makes it especially effective.
Don't spend on random crap at Bed Bath & Beyond to keep your jewelry neat—just grab a few drinking straws instead.
Just spray a generous coating on your freezer shelves, then let it sit for 5 minutes before wiping it off. No more frozen shelves!
Combine apple cider vinegar and soap in a bowl, then cover it with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the wrap with a toothpick. The flies will be drawn to the bowl by the scent of the ACV, but the soap will kill them—and the plastic wrap will leave them without a way out. Genius!
Cleaning is still annoying, but at least you have the satisfaction of knowing you're going about it in a smarter way than you used to. Small victories, guys.
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