By Bob Difley
Before buying those high-priced, fancy-packaged, specialized cleaning supplies, here are cleaning tips using two items you probably already have in your rig. Even if you don’t have them already, they’re readily available in any grocery store — and you may be pleasantly surprised at their versatility.
What are these magic ingredients?
White vinegar and baking soda! Don’t believe it? Try this on your oven — one of the toughest cleaning jobs — to convince yourself. Prepare a solution of 1/2 cup each of vinegar and baking soda with 3 cups of water. Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin, and apply with a kitchen towel or sponge. Allow the solution to stand for a few minutes, then wipe off. You will only need to scrub the very toughest burned-on food.
How about the outside of windows? Wipe solution on with a sponge then wash off with a hose and enjoy your new, sparkling, streak-free windows. Use vinegar mixed with 3 parts water (you can vary this mixture based on the difficulty of the cleaning job) for less difficult jobs.
Here are some cleaning tips using vinegar
- Remove stick-on hooks from painted surfaces by squeezing a few drops of vinegar behind the hook.
- Price labels will come off by coating the label with several coats of white vinegar and let soak. After several minutes the label will rub off.
- Lime deposits around faucets can be softened for easy removal by covering the deposits with vinegar-soaked paper towels. Leave the paper towels on for about one hour before cleaning. Leaves chrome clean and shiny.
- Vinegar removes deposits which clog your metal shower heads and sink aerators. Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar and one quart water. Submerge the shower head or aerators and boil 15 minutes.
- For a homemade anti-fogging glass cleaner try 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water.
- Remove rust stains and hard-water deposits by applying vinegar full-strength until spot disappears, then rinse.
- Mix vinegar with salt to create a paste for a good surface cleaner.
- Remove stubborn hard-water sprinkler spots and streaks on glass with undiluted vinegar.
- Clean teapots by boiling equal parts of vinegar and water for several minutes and let stand an hour. Then rinse with plain water before using tea kettle.
Cleaning tips using baking soda
- You can cut the amount of chlorine bleach used in your wash by half when you add 1/4 cup baking soda to front-loading washers and 1/2 cup to top-loading machines.
- The baking soda will also make your clothes smell clean and fresh.
- Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water for a general cleaner.
- Use baking soda on a damp sponge to clean and deodorize all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
- A paste of baking soda and salt will clean baking dishes — enamel, ceramic and glass — and coffee stains from cups or counter tops.
- Baking soda is a great soap scum remover.
- For sluggish or clogged drains pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain. Let set for a few minutes, then pour a kettle of 6 or more cups of boiling water down the drain to flush it. The combination of baking soda and vinegar breaks down fatty acids into soap and glycerin, allowing the clog to wash down the drain.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.