When it comes to tidying up the household, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype promoted by big name cleaning brands. “Buy our products,” they say, “and watch the grime and dust fade away like magic.” However, what really blew our minds is when we started researching alternative cleaning solutions.
Your grandma will probably laugh. Reason being is that many of these cleaning strategies to her will sound like plain old common sense. After all, she’s been keeping her house clean for decades, and back in the day no one ever needed any fancy products to get the job done. All that was required for her was a little elbow grease and some good old fashioned ingenuity.
Now, you too can clean your house just like grandma. Just follow these 30 tried and true tips that have been passed down from generation to generation.
A few times throughout the year, take your mattress outside and let it sit in the sunlight for a few hours. This will kill the mold and mildew trapped inside and let it air out a bit. Hitting it with a bat a few times helps also to knock all the dust out. It works best if you do this in spring and summer when there is plenty of sun.
Make your own window cleaner by mixing up 1 cup of water with equal parts of vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Then just add in a few drops of lemon oil and glycerine. This homemade solution will work better than any products you can buy in stores and keep your windows looking spotless.
3. Repurposing Old Towels
Grandma never went out and bought new towels for cleaning. Instead, she took the smarter, cheaper option and reused old bath towels. Whenever you have a towel that you are thinking about throwing away, simply cut it up into a few pieces instead. Now you have several perfect cleaning rags.
4. Fridge Odors
Have you ever wondered why your grandma keeps a box of open baking soda in the refrigerator? It turns out, baking soda is a natural deodorizer and is a great way to absorb unpleasant aromas. Just set an open box in the back of your fridge, and replace it once every three months to keep everything smelling fresh.
5. Natural Air Fresheners
Instead of buying expensive air fresheners to keep your house smelling nice and clean, consider this little trick. Boil a small pot of water on the stove and add a few drops of vanilla extract to it. You can even try adding some orange peels in too if you’d like. You only need to let it boil for a few minutes to get the whole house smelling great.
6. Polishing Furniture
Mixing together a cup of olive oil with 3 to 5 drops of lemon essential oil makes the perfect furniture polish. Apply a small amount to a dry cloth, gently massage it into your wooden furniture, and watch in amazement as your furniture begins to shine. This will work just as good as any store-bought polishes.
7. Whitening Your Laundry
Use lemon juice to take the yellowing out of your white laundry. Simply fill a laundry bucket with a gallon of hot water and squeeze the juice of one lemon into it. Let your yellowed linens soak in the bucket for about 2 hours, then pull them out and run them through a rinse cycle in your washer. After, hang everything up in the sun to dry.
Always dust with a damp cloth! According to one grandma from Kansas, using anything else “would be a waste of time”. You can also add a couple drops of lavender oil to the dust cloth for a pleasant scent.
9. Shining Silver
Silver utensils are a nice and elegant complement to any meal, but unfortunately, unless you polish them regularly, they will quickly lose their shine. One great way to keep your silver sparkling is by using toothpaste. Polishing the silverware with a small dab of toothpaste and a dry cloth will get it shining just like its brand new.
10. Sinks and Floors
Adding a little baking soda to a damp rag may be all you need in order to get small scuffs off your floor. It’s also perfect for scrubbing sinks. Since sodium bicarbonate is a weak base, it will function as a light abrasive and do the trick much better than just using just water alone or even water soap mixtures. Baking soda is pure, whereas soaps contain fat molecules that reduce the cleaning power.
Leave it to grandma to figure this one out. Apparently, you can clean jewelry with denture tablets. Just add one denture tablet to a glass of water and let your jewelry soak in the solution for 10 to 20 minutes. Rinse everything off afterward under warm water and your rings and necklaces will be sparkling like new, free of any grime buildup.
12. Preventing Stains
The secret to preventing stains? Salt! Whenever a stain is still fresh, just pour a little table salt onto it. It will help soak up the spill and make it easier to wash out later.
13. Ceiling Fans
The trick to dusting ceiling fans is to use a pillowcase. Stretch the pillowcase over the entire fan blade and then pull back slowly. This will keep all the particles trapped inside and prevent you from getting a face full of dust.
14. Removing Stickiness
Whenever a surface becomes sticky, instead of reaching for an all-purpose cleaner, try using olive oil instead. Rub a little olive oil onto the sticky area, let it sit for five minutes, then wipe it dry. The surface will now be totally stick-free.
15. Pots and Pans
So you’ve had a cooking accident and now your pan is a burnt mess and completely covered in char. No worries. Add some water to the pan and a couple squirts of dish soap. Bring the mixture to a simmer on the stove and soon all the burnt areas will soften right up. You might need to use a spatula to coax them off.
16. Bad Smells
A lot of people put air fresheners or candles in their bathrooms to cover up odors, but another way to get rid of bad smells is to use coffee grounds. Everyone loves the scent of coffee! Just place a small cup or bowl of coffee grounds in the area you want to freshen up and you’ll be all set.
17. Cleaning Walls
An important tip from grandma about cleaning walls is to always work from top to bottom. The water will run down the dry part of the wall leaving little clean streaks in its wake. This will make the chore easier and help to get the job done more efficiently.
18. Air Vents
Cleaning air vents is a huge hassle. However, there is a trick to preventing dust buildup. Just apply a little bit of car wax on the air vents in your home and the dust will no longer stick there as easily.
19. Jewelry pt. II
Another way to clean jewelry is by using seltzer water. This is especially great for gold jewelry. Just soak the jewelry in the seltzer water for about five minutes, and before you know it, all the soil and debris should start falling right off.
20. Washing Dishes
Here’s a tip that has been passed down from mom to daughter and so forth for many generations now. If you want your dishes to shine like new, just add a few splashes of ammonia into your dishwater. This works best for glass dishes.
21. Gum Problems
Next time your child gets gum stuck on something, including their own hair, don’t panic. Put those scissors away and simply pull out your jar of peanut butter! The oil in the peanut butter helps the gum to harden so it can be pulled off without causing a disaster.
This one’s super easy. At night before you go to bed, sprinkle some Borax into the toilet bowl. Next, just spray a little white vinegar over it. When you wake up in the morning, all that’s required to complete the cleaning process is to flush.
23. Polishing Copper
If you have any copper pots or mugs that need polishing, one of the best cleaning substances for the job is ketchup. Put a bit of ketchup on a rag, sprinkle a little salt on top, then rub it into the copper. After you rinse everything off, you’ll be surprised how well it worked.
24. Squeaky Hinges
A common problem with old hinges in your house is that they often get really squeaky after a while. Especially after they’ve been recently cleaned. To solve this annoying issue, rub a little Crisco onto them. Afterward, your hinges will squeak no more!
25. Fighting Grease
There’s nothing that takes grease off a surface quite like grapefruit juice. It is especially useful for greasy pans that won’t come clean. Just squeeze some grapefruit juice onto the affected area along with a little salt. After 10 minutes passes, all that gunk should come right off.
26. Shower Curtains
One major issue with a lot of shower curtains is that after a while they’ll start to grow mildew. To prevent this you need to make sure the shower curtain isn’t touching the bottom of the tub. If you take a pair of scissors and cut off the bottom two inches of the curtain, it should go a long ways towards preventing mildew problems.
To get rid of that greasy mess in the oven that just seems to get baked on more and more over time, use a mixture of baking soda and washing soda. Add one box of baking soda (500g) to 1/4 cup of washing soda. Wet the walls and floor of the oven with a rag, then apply the baking soda mixture. Let it soak overnight and in the morning you should be able to clean up the mixture as well as all that grease with ease.
28. Wooden Spoons and Cutting Boards
Applying lemon juice to wooden spoons and cutting boards can help to not only clean them up but to sanitize as well. The acidic properties of the lemon work to kill bacteria and germs. One technique is to cut a lemon in half, apply a little salt, then take the lemon and scrub away.
29. Dishwasher Soap Alternative
A much cheaper alternative to using store bought dishwasher soap is to make your own using Borax. Combine 2 cups of Borax with 2 cups of washing soda and store in a plastic container. When it comes time to wash the dishes, just add 2 tablespoons to the dishwashing soap compartment in your dishwasher and you’ll be good to go.
30. Always Be Tidyin’
Out of all our cleaning tips from grandmas, this sage piece of wisdom from 79-year-old Elizabeth from Georgia is probably the most important. “Always be tidyin’,” she says. “Don’t save all your household chores for one day. Instead clean up messes as they happen or keep a bin to toss junk in until you have the time to place it where it belongs. Doing this daily will save you time and a headache.” Fantastic advice. When it comes to cleaning, grandmas really do know best.