Remove build-up in your humidifier
Think about it: The water that makes your humidifier run smoothly is also a breeding ground for mold and microbes. To clean, pour two cups of undiluted white vinegar into the water tank and swish it around until wet. Place the vinegar-filled tank on the base and allow it to drain into the reservoir for 15 – 20 minutes. Empty it and use a small brush to scrub crevices, removing remaining build-up.
Restore your dishwasher
Over time, excess food and grime will build up in your dishwasher’s interior. Get in the habit of cleaning any remaining bits of foods — beans, pasta, and so on — after each dishwashing cycle. Pull out the bottom rack to look for any leftover food and remove it with a paper towel to prevent future odors.
Scrub your toilet clean
Apply a toilet bowl cleaner, and let it sit for up to five minutes before scrubbing with a stiff-bristled toilet brush. Then wipe down the toilet seat and handle with disinfectant wipes. The goal? A sparkling white bowl and germ-free toilet seat.
Revive cloudy glasses
Remove built-up film from hard-water minerals by soaking stemware in white vinegar for five minutes. Then rinse by hand and dry with a microfiber cloth.
Clean out candleholders
Save a pretty container when the candle’s spent by rinsing it with steaming hot water and scooping out the wax residue inside with a paper towel.
Descale your coffee maker
Remove caked-on minerals by filling the reservoir with a mixture that’s half vinegar, half water. Let the solution brew halfway, then stop and let it sit for 30 minutes before completing the cycle. Rinse by “brewing” a pot of clean water afterward.
Re-season rusty cast iron
Over-scrubbing cast iron with metal scouring pads can remove the seasoning from your trusty skillet. To restore the finish, use a scrub sponge to remove any rust, clean with a bit of mild dish soap, then rinse and dry well. Coat the inside and outside with vegetable oil and bake upside down in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Let cool and remove excess grease with a paper towel.
Rethink the linen closet
Tackle an overflowing storage spot by adding an over-the-door rack for extra towels. Shelf dividers stop folded washcloths from toppling over, and baskets corral surplus toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
Restore your shower pressure
Unclog your shower head by mixing equal parts white vinegar and water and pouring it into a plastic bag. Tie the bag around the showerhead to immerse the holes in the solution and secure with a twist tie. Let it soak for up to an hour, then remove and wipe away the loosened deposits.
Freshen the shower curtain
To banish moldy spots, throw plastic or vinyl curtains in the washing machine with a little detergent. Add two to three bath towels for extra cleaning agitation, then hang it to dry or put in the dryer on low heat or fluff only. To keep it fresher longer, stretch the curtain out after each shower to help moisture dissipate.
Fluff feather pillows
Yep, feather pillows can get washed and dried in the machine. Load two pillows at a time for balance and use only a small amount of detergent. Wash them on a delicate cycle with an extra rinse, then tumble dry on low with several clean tennis balls to poof them back up.
Lift the worst wine stains
To save your carpet, start by blotting up as much vino as possible. (You can even stand on absorbent cloths if necessary). Then saturate the stain with Wine Away and let sit for up to five minutes before blotting again until the stain is completely gone.
Easily buff out floor scuffs
Protect your hardwood by removing small marks with a sock or clean tennis ball. To erase bigger scuffs, add a little baking soda to a damp cloth and gently rub. Then rinse with a damp paper towel and dry.
Make an all-purpose cleaner
Here’s a DIY cleaner recipe that will make nearly every surface gleam (especially kitchen counters, appliances, and inside the refrigerator). Combine 4 tablespoons baking soda and 1-quart warm water, and wipe messes away with a sponge.
Banish stray marks from coloring time
Toothpaste will erase marker stains from wood — a handy trick to have in your back pocket if you’ve got creative kids.
De-stink the garbage disposal
Run a few lemon rinds through the disposal and follow with cold water to dispel any sour odors.
Wipe out wall doodles
When your child’s artistic efforts end up all over your new paint job, scrub lightly with a damp sponge sprinkled in baking soda.
Make a glass cleaner with vinegar
Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (70% concentration) and 2 cups water and dispense into an empty spray bottle. To clean your windows, wait for a cool, cloudy day and squirt the solution onto the glass, wiping with a clean microfiber cloth to avoid streaking.
Clear a slow drain
When you notice your drain is starting to clog, pour a 1/2 cup of baking soda down it, followed by a 1/2 cup of vinegar. Cover with a wet cloth to contain the science fair-like effects. Wait five minutes and then flush with hot water.
Soften fuzzy towels
If you’ve got hard water, mineral buildup can make your towels extra scratchy. To lift deposits, wash the towels in the hottest water possible, and add 1 cup of ammonia and nothing else.
Get stains out of a cutting board
Run the cut side of a lemon over the board to remove food stains and smells. For extra cleaning power, sprinkle it with salt or baking soda first.
Shine silver in a pinch
Notice your favorite ring, bracelet, or serving spoon looking a bit dull? Wet it, rub with a little toothpaste, rinse, and dry with a clean cloth for instant sparkle.
De-grime patio furniture
Add a squirt of dish detergent to a bowl of warm water, and use it to wipe down your outdoor tables and chairs. Then, rinse clean with the garden hose.
Freshen musty towels
Is that wet towel you left in your gym bag speckled? First, take it outside, brush off the mildew spores, and sun-dry the item for about three hours. Then, pre-soak with a bleach and water solution (check the care tag to be sure it’s safe), and machine wash.
Just like your cooking tools, cupboards can get grimy when you’re making dinner. Add a little dish soap to a spray bottle with warm water to mist away from the grease. Then, rinse with a well-wrung cloth and dry.
Nix furniture nicks
Got a scuff or a scratch on your wood furniture? Rub it with a walnut (shell removed) to mask the damage.
Freshen up your microwave
Make caked-on grime easier to wipe off by heating a cup of water, several tablespoons of vinegar and a chopped-up lemon on high until the microwave’s window is steamy. Let the bowl sit for 5 minutes before you open the door, and wipe the inside clean with ease.
Scoop up pet hair with a rubber glove
After you’re through washing dishes, don’t remove your damp gloves. Take a detour through the living room and quickly pick up errant fur.
Fight musty smells
Just like in the fridge, an open box of baking soda placed near your sheets and towels can prevent a dank linen closet.
Ungunk wooden counters
The coarse texture of table salt can erase stains from butcher-block countertops. Just sprinkle over light marks, then scrub with the cut side of a half lemon. Let sit overnight, then rinse with water.
Make a “right away” laundry bin
Don’t get stuck with a dirty soccer uniform or ballet costume the day your kid needs it. Add an extra “priority” basket to your routine and never be empty-handed again.
Make your bathroom sparkle
To clean grimy grout, mix 3/4 cup household chlorine bleach with 1-gallon water and use a stiff brush to apply to one small area at a time. (Wear rubber gloves and eye protection.) Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub and rinse.
Shine plants with mayo
Take a tip from professional florists: Clean dusty potted plants with some mild soap and water, then use a paper towel to rub a drop of mayo into the tops of leaves to make them extra vibrant.
Make a mirror gleam
Since coffee filters are lint-free, you can swap them out for paper towels to give mirrors a no-streak shine.
Zap oven spills
If you don’t own a self-cleaning oven, try Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner to effectively remove any gunk. Caught empty-handed? Sprinkle table salt to absorb fresh spills and wipe it up with a damp sponge or cloth once the oven is cool.