Old Wives Tales and Happily Ever After Spring Cleaning Update

I know I have been doing tons of it. How about you? Head on over to see Barbara’s awesome Spring Cleaning Checklist at Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers.

Well there are a few updates I have that might help make your life easier. Due to my health conditions I try VERY hard to not to buy any chemicals whenever possible. I replace them with everyday household items like toothpaste, salt, baking soda, vinegar, vegetable oil and lemons. These are a few of the old wives tales that actually work and will save you money too!

  • Lemons: the acid in lemons will work to remove rust and most dirt. You can add a few different things to create alternative pastes. First is salt and it makes a fantastic scouring paste, especially for cleaning the bacteria in kitchens and bathrooms. Or you can also dip it in baking soda for an alternative paste that is great at removing stains from Formica and porcelain. Don’t use it on delicate marble, it may discolor it. If you mix it with cream of tartar, it works great on grouts like a bleach. Lemon juice will neutralize the small of raw fish on your skin as well as work as a brightening agent in the laundry. 1/2 cup lemon juice per load in the rinse water will brighten your whites. When you’re all done, toss the lemon rinds in the garbage disposal to clean it also while disposing of the lemon. The great side benefit is that refreshing citrus aroma.
  • Vinegar: The basic nature of vinegar creates an environment that bacteria, mold and mildew just don’t like to grow in which makes it the perfect cleaning agent for the bathroom. I literally buy white vinegar by the gallon. Vinegar is a wonderful way to combat mineral deposits in your coffeemaker, iron, dishwasher, shower heads and faucets. Use it full strength on the faucets and shower heads. Add 1/2 cup to your dishwasher and run a quick cycle to clean out the mineral deposits. In your steam iron or your coffeemaker use 1/2 vinegar 1/2 water for a cycle to clean out the mineral deposits. Here is a very simple drain Cleaner recipe I use every month to prevent clogged drains. I also keep a spray bottle of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water in the shower. I spray the walls every morning after I shower and have not had to clean ANY mold or mildew since.
  • Vegetable Oil: One of the best uses for vegetable oil is in place of paint thinner for getting paint off your skin. Using vegetable oil with a soft cloth will remove scuff marks. Olive oil in particular adds a clean sparkle to stainless steel surfaces. It can also be used to hydrate aged wood especially if it has been exposed to excess sun. To make your own furniture polish mix 2 cups of vegetable or olive oil with the juice of 1 lemon. Always use a soft cloth. This also works on rattan and wicker furniture to prevent them from drying out and cracking.
  • Baking Soda: A baking soda paste works to clean things like your can opener, BBQ grill and utensils, laundry stains and as a toothpaste. In powder form it can be sprinkled into carpets and upholstered furniture as an odor absorber.
  • Toothpaste: Toothpaste, plain old paste style works to clean sooooooooo many things! It works on cleaning chrome, tarnished silverware, piano keys, Tupperware stains, plastic ware as well as a an acne treatment.
  • A1/Ketchup: Both of these will work as cleaning agents on copper and brass. Be sure to rinse well after and dry.

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It’s not really a cleaning tip but here’s another one for vinegar – use it in place of fabric softener. I read it on a few homesteading blogs & was always afraid to try it because I thought it would smell. Hubby finished up the softener one day & forgot to tell me so I threw some vinegar in a load of linens – they came out soft & no smell.
Now that I have baby clothes to wash I’ll probably be doing this more often since I’ve noticed his blankets are a little staticy.