While commercials and advertisements may try to convince you otherwise, cleaning and tidying your home doesn’t mean you have to rely on the standard chemical sprays and cleaning wipes. You may not know it, but many of your typical household items can be used for unique fixes. Instead of investing in expensive and harsh chemicals, try these everyday household products to make your life simpler and more creative.
Socks are not just for keeping your feet warm. Instead of tossing out those mismatched feet warmers, use them to dust and clean your furniture. “Slip the sock over your hand, dampen with polish or window cleaner and wipe away fingerprints while dusting,” says Caroline Curry, a representative from The Maids Home Services. Let the kids join in the fun, too, by giving them a fun sock puppet to dust their rooms.
Tired of the specs of dirt that creep into small crevices and computer keyboards? Break out your art kit and use paint brushes to remove the dust. “From ornate designs in furniture to the smallest details in ceramics, a paintbrush can reach places a cleaning cloth cannot,” says Curry. “You can also use them on electronics, such as radios, computers and televisions to clean around knobs and buttons and inside speaker vents.”
Although fabric sheets help soften and rid your laundry of odors, the dryer is not the only useful place for these wonder tools. “Do not throw fabric sheets away after one use in the dryer,” says Curry. “Used fabric softener sheets are excellent for dusting furniture and non-plasma television and computer screens.” Touch up your cell phone or tablet screen, too, with your favorite scented fabric sheet.
Rethink tossing that old toothbrush in the trash, and instead reuse it to clean the bathroom fixtures. “Save your old one from the trash as toothbrushes are tools the professionals use to tackle soap scum around faucets and drains,” says Curry. Simply spray on a mixture of vinegar and water and start scrubbing those hard to reach spots.
Pumice stones work great at removing calluses and rough skin on your feet, but did you know that they’re also perfect for removing rush and hard-water buildup from the inside of white toilet bowls? After giving yourself a pedicure, take that used stone and use it to spruce up the commode with some light scrubbing. “Be sure the stone stays wet and do not apply heavy pressure or you may scratch the surface,” warns Curry.
After styling your hair in the morning, use this power appliance to rid your home of unwanted dust. According to Curry, hair dryers do not just dry hair, they also work wonders when placed on low speed to quickly eliminate dust from silk flower and plant arrangements, ridding your home of any potential allergens.
Coffee filters do more than filtering grounds to make great coffee. According to Curry, they also leave a lint-free shine when used instead of a cloth to wipe down mirrors and windows. Save on the cost of paper towels and absorb the streaks from your glass surfaces easily with this unique use for a common household product.
Their household uses don’t end there, either, according to Seana Turner, professional organizer and creator of The Seana Method of ordering life. “Keep them in a drawer near your microwave to use as covers when reheating food to avoid splatters,” she says. “Or, put them in the bottom of pots before adding soil when planting to keep dirt from falling out the drainage hole.”
Another streak-free option for cleaning windows and mirrors is your daily newspaper. After catching up on the community news, spray a mixture of vinegar and water on the surface and wipe down with the morning newspaper, suggests Bonnie Joy Dewkett, certified professional organizer with The Joyful Organizer.
Before tossing your tissue boxes, toilet paper cardboards or baby wipe boxes in the trash, consider reusing them to organize your home. According to Turner, baby wipe boxes are great for holding small items, such as candles, napkin rings or cookie cutters.
“Any cardboard box can be trimmed and used as drawer organizers, such as a pasta box,” says Turner. “Just trim to the right height and put in the drawer to hold paper clips or tape.”
In addition, your empty tissue box can be used to store plastic grocery bags so they can also be reused.