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14 Old School Cleaning Tips That Still Work Great

Natural cleaning supplies
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When it comes to cleaning your house, there are tons of products out there. However, some items in your kitchen and laundry room may clean better, save you money, and help you keep harsh chemicals out of your home.

These days, cleaning products are a dime a dozen, but the safer options cost more. If you’re concerned about your respiratory health or the health of your family and you want a clean home, here are some tips that have been around for ages and still work great.

Dishwasher Rinse

If you’re tired of spots on your dishes when using the dishwasher, you don’t need to spend money on spot-free rinses. You can work on avoiding spots by adding a cup of white vinegar into the rinse compartment of your dishwasher before you start a load.

Descale Coffee Makers and More

Vinegar is a great cleaning product to have in your home for many uses. Even if you never find a recipe that calls for white vinegar, you can use it for cleaning everything from your coffee maker to your showerheads.

Run an even mix of white vinegar and warm water through your coffee pot once each month to get rid of buildup and help the machine run better. You’ll want to run a couple of pots worth of plain water through afterward to get all of the vinegar out of the system.

Use vinegar to remove scaling and soap scum from faucets and showerheads by wiping them down with a wet cloth dipped in white vinegar.

Polish Silver

If you want an easier way to polish your silver, use toothpaste. The important thing is that you use regular white toothpaste, not the gel stuff. Apply liberally to your silver items using a soft-bristle toothbrush. Gently brush away the tarnish. Finish by rinsing the piece off with warm water and thoroughly drying it with a soft cloth.

Wash Whites With a Bluing Agent

If you’re trying to keep your white clothing whiter and don’t want to use bleach, there’s another option. Bleach is a harsh chemical, which is not only bad for your olfactory system, but it also damages the fabric in your clothing over time. Bluing agent is a whitening alternative that is safer for you and your clothes.

Streak-free Glass Cleaner

If you’re tired of streaks from your store-bought window cleaner, you can make your own from supplies you likely already have in your kitchen. A simple window cleaner recipe that will leave your windows clear and bright requires:

  • A quarter of a cup of white vinegar
  • One tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Two cups of warm water

Mix the three ingredients in a spray bottle, shaking until the cornstarch dissolves.

You can also make window cleaner out of a mixture of two tablespoons of ammonia in two quarts of water. This mixture is ideal if you have kids who leave greasy fingerprints on windows and mirrors.

Use Bar Soap to Remove Laundry Stains

This trick won’t work with all types of bar soap. Some natural soaps are made with oils that may add more stains to your clothes. A couple of the best soap bar brands to opt for include Ivory and Fels Naptha.

To remove stains, lightly dampen the bar of soap and rub it on the stain before laundering your clothing item.

Use a Cloth Diaper for Cleaning

Cloth diapers are good for more than just diapering babies. Even if you don’t have little ones, cloth diapers can help out a lot in your home. They’re incredibly absorbent, for a good reason, so they make great cleaning clothes that are easy to wash and reuse.

In the past, our grandparents and great grandparents saved old clothing to use for rags, instead of throwing things in the trash when they got a stain that couldn’t be removed or got a rip in them. Keep old t-shirts and other cotton-based clothing items to rip up for rags for all sorts of uses.

Use Baking Soda to Remove Odors

If you have anything stinky in your house, baking soda will help you get rid of the bad odors. Put a bowl of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors and keep them from being absorbed by other food items.

You can sprinkle baking soda on carpeting and even on furniture to help freshen it up (just vacuum it up afterward). Baking soda is good at removing even the worst odors, like cigarette smoke.

Remove Mold

Mold is more common in homes than you’d like to think. Just take a look under your kitchen sink, and you’ll probably find some. Borax has been used for ages to remove mold (it also work as a laundry boosting agent as well). When you’re washing the walls and counters in your home, ad a cup of Borax to the soap and water you typically use. This will help fight the current and future mold.

For a direct attack on mold, mix a half a cup of borax with a half a cup of vinegar and a cup of water. These ingredients, combined in a spray bottle, will allow you to spray mold directly. Then wipe down with one of those clothing rags you’ve been saving.

Remove Stains Naturally

Person hand washing clothing
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Whether you have clothing stains or upholstery and carpet stains, there are plenty of great stain removers you may already have at home (or that have previously been mentioned above). Here is a breakdown of some of the best stain removers for the stains in your life.

  • Grease Stains: Grease stains are best removed using a paste made from cornstarch and water (just enough to create a paste-like mix). Put the paste directly on the stain, let it dry completely, then brush it away.
  • Grass Stains: Hydrogen peroxide (three percent) will get out grass stains. Soak the stain and then wash.
  • Blood Stains: A mixture of a quarter of a cup of Borax in two cups of cold water and soak the stained item overnight. Clean as usual the next day.
  • Wine Stains: Red wine may taste great, but it can leave some nasty stains. Sprinkle the stain with salt (the sooner, the better). Let the salt sit for a few hours, then brush it away once it’s dry. Wash the item with soap and water afterward.
  • Ink Stains: If you get ink on your white shirt, get it out with a paste created with a mix of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply the mixture right before washing your shirt.

Stains are often easier to remove if you get to the right away. Don’t let a stain sit, deal with it immediately for better results and less frustration.

Remove Mildew

Tired of mildew showing up on your white cloth shower curtain? Keep your bathroom looking pristine by using a mixture of two parts salt and one part lemon juice to get rid of mildew. Use the mix after you’ve washed the shower curtain. The mildew remover should be rinsed off after a few hours.

Polish Wood Furniture

There’s no need to invest in pricey furniture polish, even for your favorite antiques. You can make wood furniture look shiny and new with a combination of one cup olive oil and one teaspoon of lemon essential oil. Once mixed, apply lightly to your furniture using a soft rag. Use a soft cloth to dry and buff after.

Deal with a Stinky Garbage Disposal

Tired of the bad food odor coming from your garbage disposal? The simple fix for this is to drop a half a fresh lemon into the disposal and running it per usual.


There are so many things you can clean in your home using things like baking soda and vinegar. You can clean more with less, cut down on purchasing specialty cleaners, and save money in the process.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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