How To: 41 Household Cleaning Hacks That You Needed in Your Life Yesterday

41 Household Cleaning Hacks That You Needed in Your Life Yesterday

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.

1. You Can Clean Your Stinky Mason Jars with Mustard

A teaspoon of mustard and some hot water will take the funk out of your jars—and works on plastic containers, too.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

2. Get Rid of That Nasty Smell in Your Shoe Closet with... An Onion?

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.

Image by Naomi Imatome-Yun/Food Hacks Daily

3. Use Activated Charcoal in Your Fridge to Eliminate Any Lingering Food Smells

Baking soda is nowhere near as effective as activated charcoal.

Image by Genarik/Shutterstock

4. Vodka Ain't Just for Getting Drunk—It Can Make You Smell Good, Too

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.

5. Use Imitation Vanilla Extract to Tame Those Nasty Paint Fumes

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).

Image via iOffer

6. Got Smelly Hands After Handling Fish? Baking Soda Can Help with That

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.)

7. Keep Your Home Smelling Sublime by Dabbing Baking Extract on a Light Bulb

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!

Image by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks Daily

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.

8. Use a Potato & Some Kosher Salt to Get the Grime Out of Your Cast Iron

Add salt to your pan, then scrub with a cut potato.

Image via Tori Avey

9. No Mop Needed—Use Flour to Clean Up Those Kitchen Spills

Heap a pile of flour onto that spilt liquid, let it soak, then sweep it up with a broom and dustpan.

Image by Jacob Harper/Food Hacks Daily

10. Hate Windex? Use Vodka for a Streak-Free Shine

Spritz your window with vodka to keep it clean (just be sure to use something cheap).

11. Use Leftover Coffee Ground to Gently Scrub Pots & Pans

Ditch the steel wool and scrub with used coffee grounds to get out stubborn grime on more delicate pots.

Image by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks Daily

12. Don't Toss Your Dirty Frying Oil—Use Gelatin to Clean It for Reuse

The powdered gelatin traps all of the food particles in your dirty oil when left overnight.

Image by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks Daily

13. It's True: You Can Clean Your Silver (& Copper) With Ketchup

Use a thin coating of ketchup on your tarnished silverware, then let it sit for up to half an hour before washing it off.

Image via Kaufmann Mercantile

14. If Your Sponges & Mops Are Getting Nasty, Just Soak Them in Salt Water

Add ¼ cup of salt to a quart of water and let your sponges and mops soak overnight.

15. Polish Wooden Surfaces with Beer

The beer removes the dullness of years and adds a nice, shiny coat.

Image via DIY Network

16. Keep Fruit Flies Out by Sticking 20-30 Cloves in Apples or Oranges

Fruit flies hate the smell of cloves, and hanging an orange pincushion full of cloves keeps them away naturally.

Image by Bradley Gordon/Flickr

17. Green Tea Can De-Grime a Toilet Bowl

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.

18. Lemons Are Excellent at Cleaning Copper Pots & Pans

The mild citric acid in lemons breaks down surface tarnish and makes your copper pots and pans gleam like new again.

Image via Teaching David to Cook

19. They're Also a Great Way to Clean Your Gunky Dishwasher

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.

Image by Cambria Bold/The Kitchn

20. And They Make Nasty Odors from Your Garbage Disposal Go Away

Throw lemon rinds into your garbage disposal, then grind them to release their fresh, citrusy scent.

21. Hate Those Ugly Rust Spots on Your Knives? Lemons Are the Answer

Soak your rusty knives in a solution of equal parts lemon juice and water for 10 minutes, then rinse and wipe them dry.

Image via Living Green Clean

22. Lemons Are a Great Way to Disinfect Your Wooden Cutting Boards, Too

Put kosher salt on your board, then use a cut piece of lemon to scrub the salt into the surface.

Image by Dana Velden/The Kitchn

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.

23. Don't Bother with Scrubbing—Use Ammonia to Clean Your Grill Grates

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.

Image by Tracy/Made from Pinterest

24. You Can Also Use Aluminum Foil to Clean Those Grates as Well

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.

25. Use Sugar Cubes & Water to Get Rid of Scorched Spots on Pots

Only a small amount of water is necessary or the cubes will melt, though.

Image by PicMov Media/YouTube

26. Pickle Juice Does a Bang-Up Job of Cleaning Copper Cookware

Use that leftover pickle juice that you've got sitting in the fridge to polish your copper pots and pans.

27. Your Blender Cleans Itself—Just Add Soap & Water, Then Blend for 30 Seconds

So simple, yet so effective.

Image via Purely Twins

28. A Cut Onion Both Disinfects & Cleans Grill Grates Right Before Cooking

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.

29. Keep Your Stove Easy to Clean with Car Wax

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.

30. Get Rid of Those Gross Coffee Stains in Your Cups & Your Pot with Cafiza

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!

Image by Michael Butterworth/The Coffee Compass

31. Scour Your Bowls & Plates with Leftover Eggshells

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.

Image by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks Daily

Keep it budget with these smart ways to both keep things clean and save a buck or two.

32. Make a Baking Soda Paste to Get Rid of Unsightly Scuff Marks on Plates

Rub the baking soda and water paste into the scuff marks and watch them magically disappear.

Image via Mom Outnumbered

33. Mix Baking Soda, Dried Mint & Salt Together for a Natural Cleaner

Then, add water and scrub away at your sink, plates, pots, or pans.

34. This Sounds Nuts, but It's True: Use Mayo to Clean Your Piano Keys

The mayonnaise polishes your ivories and gets rid of the need for an expensive piano cleaner.

Image by Heather Martindale/Sew Sweet & Fabulous

35. Don't Bother with a Produce Cleaner—Use Vinegar Instead

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.

36. Use Teabags Full of Activated Charcoal to Filter Your Water

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.

37. Wrap a Paper Towel Around an Oil Container with a Rubber Band to Catch Drips

The picture says it all. It's also good for wine bottles.

Image by Grant Butler/Oregon Live

38. Use Those Extra Coffee Filters as a Screen Cleaner for Your Laptop

The material in the filter catches the dust on the screen, which makes it especially effective.

Image via Samsill

39. Keep Your Necklaces Untangled with a Drinking Straw

Don't spend on random crap at Bed Bath & Beyond to keep your jewelry neat—just grab a few drinking straws instead.

Image via Juripunek

40. Prevent Ice Build-Up in Your Freezer with Cooking Spray

Just spray a generous coating on your freezer shelves, then let it sit for 5 minutes before wiping it off. No more frozen shelves!

Image by Theodor/Instructables

41. Kill Those Nasty Fruit Flies with This Ingenious Natural Trap

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!

Image by Chemical Reactions/YouTube

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.

Cover photo via serezniy/123RF

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