33 Brilliant Second Uses for Cleaning Products You’ve Never Tried Before
And you thought lint rollers were just for clothing...
Picture, for a second, what exists under your sink. For many people, you could qualify the whole thing with a simple “too much”—specifically, too many single-use cleaning products taking up precious space. However, instead of tossing any products that might prove useful in the future, there’s a better solution: putting them to work elsewhere in your home. Whether that means using laundry detergent to wash your car or dish soap to kill weeds, there are countless brilliant secondary uses for cleaning products you already own. Here are 33 of the best.
Use bleach to disinfect kitchen tools before washing them.
Worried about cross-contamination in your kitchen? “You can use bleach to clean up your kitchen utensils after using them on chicken,” says cleaning expert Arthur Ruth, the VP of operations for Memphis Maids, a house cleaning service in Memphis. Just make sure you wash them off thoroughly before you use them again!
Use bleach to freshen up your trash can.
Bleach might just be your best weapon against that pungent smell in your trash can. “Use bleach to clean your garbage can,” suggests Ruth. “You need to clean it once in a while or the smell could build up over time.”
Use glass cleaner to keep raccoons out of your trash.
Raccoons aren’t known to be picky about their meals, but a little ammonia-based glass cleaner on your garbage bags can help keep them away. Just spritz the garbage bags (or the bins themselves) with a little glass cleaner and you won’t find those foragers going through your trash again.
Use a Magic Eraser to clean a dirty cooktop.
You don’t need to break out the heavy-duty cleaners to get your cooktop clean. If you’re dealing with a moderate level of dirt, a damp Magic Eraser can help you clean up your stovetop in no time.
Use hydrogen peroxide to clean your counters.
You know hydrogen peroxide is frequently used to clean cuts and scrapes, but did you know it can also spruce up your kitchen? “It has strong disinfecting properties, and you can use it to clean kitchen countertops, the dishwasher, and even the bathroom,” says cleaning expert Nathan Ripley, who runs Maid Just Right, a licensed house cleaning and maid service.
Use oven cleaner to remove seasoning from a cast iron skillet.
If you’re looking to re-season your cast iron skillet, start with a few spritzes of oven cleaner. Spray some oven cleaner on your pan, let it sit in a closed container for a full day, and scrub the skillet using soap and hot water to remove any lingering cleaner. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and dry the skillet before attempting to re-season it.
Use vinegar to clean dingy brass fixtures.
Finding that your brass knobs and cabinet pulls are looking a bit worse for wear? Unscrew them from their respective cabinets, soak them in a vinegar solution, and simply wipe away that tarnish with a soft cloth or toothbrush before giving them a thorough rinse.
Use a lint roller to clean up a dirty purse.
Can’t get all the dust and dirt out of the bottom of your purse? Lint roller to the rescue! “Rip off a sheet and use the sticky side to pick up debris,” suggests cleaning expert Melissa Maker of the hit YouTube Channel Clean My Space.
Use a lint roller to pick up pieces of broken glass.
Instead of scooping up pieces of broken glass with a wet paper towel, potentially cutting yourself in the process, use a lint roller, says Maker.
Use a lint roller to dust off a lampshade.
Lampshades seem to collect dust more easily than virtually any household object—but a lint roller can help you out in a hurry, says Maker. Simply clean up the lampshade with one of those sticky sheets—it’ll work much faster and collect more debris than a traditional duster.
Use a lint roller to clean out hard-to-reach parts of your car.
No time to vacuum your car? No problem. “[Use a] lint roller to clean crummy car seats when no vacuum is available,” suggests Maker.
Use detergent to clean your car.
Yes, you can get your car sparkling clean, even if you don’t have time to make it to the car wash. “If you don’t have a proper car cleaner, you can use a mix of detergent in a bucket with water and clean your car entirely,” says Ruth. Just make sure to rinse it off when you’re done or it can leave a sticky residue.
Use a cellulose sponge as a DIY ice pack.
Whether you’re packing your kids’ school lunches or looking for a lightweight cooling solution for your camping pack, a cellulose sponge can work miracles.
“Wet a clean cellulose sponge and place in a zipper lock bag. Freeze and take along as an ice pack for summer outings,” suggest Maker. Then, “Use it as a clean-up tool when you’re in a pinch at a picnic!”
Use cellulose sponges to pack delicate items.
Sponges also present an eco-friendlier alternative to packing peanuts. “Rather than padding a delicate item that you’re sending off via ground transportation with disposable bubble wrap or packing peanuts, buy a few fresh sponges and use that along with crumpled newspaper as packing material instead. That way, the sponges can not only protect the item, but serve a second purpose (cleaning!) long after the package has been received,” says Maker.
Use dish soap to kill weeds.
“Bought an industrial sized bottle of liquid dish soap that you’re having trouble using? No problem,” says Derek Hale, editor-in-chief of Modern Castle, a website that reviews cleaning products and home goods. “You can mix dish soap with salt and white vinegar to make a solution that will kill weeds. Spray it using an old bottle of weed killer or get a new spray bottle. Mix one tablespoon of soap with one cup of salt and one gallon of white vinegar.”
Use dish soap to clean a garage floor.
Those stubborn stains on your garage floor are no match for that little bottle of dish soap. “A little dish soap and warm water is perfect for cleaning garage floors,” says Hale. “You can use this solution to remove oil, dirt, and other stains from your garage.”
Use dish soap to get oil stains out of clothing.
If you got some oil on your clothing while cooking, don’t worry—you can easily get it out with a little dish soap. Just put some over the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then launder as you would normally. Try this on an inconspicuous patch of fabric first to ensure that it doesn’t alter the garment’s color.
Use white vinegar to get detergent buildup off of laundry.
If your laundry’s feeling sticky after being washed, there’s a simple solution: white vinegar. Just toss a cup into the washing machine with your clothes, run a wash cycle, and the detergent causing those items to feel sticky will be done for.
Use oven cleaner to scrub your tub.
That built-on soap scum is no match for your average oven cleaner. Gently buff it into your tub’s surface using a circular motion, let it sit for 10 minutes, and rinse it—and the offending grime—away.
Use detergent to clean your bathroom.
If you’re out of your usual bathroom cleaning supplies, a little detergent can save the day. “It works great when you mix it with a little water and clean your home with it,” says Ruth.
Use bleach to remove mildew from your shower curtains.
A little bleach goes a long way when it comes to refreshing that mildew-covered shower curtain. Simply dilute one cup of bleach into a gallon of water, and, wearing gloves, sponge it onto your shower curtain. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and the mildew will wipe right off!
Use white vinegar to unclog a drain.
Whether you’ve got old pipes or just don’t like the idea of using a caustic drain cleaner, you can still get your drain unclogged with a gentler solution. “White vinegar is fantastic for cleaning surfaces and unclogging drains,” says Ripley.
Use Ajax as a dusting agent.
Ajax powder is good for more than just scrubbing serious messes. “You can use Ajax to clean old dust build-up in your home,” says Ruth. “Put some in a microfiber cloth and rub it on the dusty surface.” And to find out how frequently you should be breaking out the Ajax, This Is How Often You Should Dust Your Home.
Use rubbing alcohol to clean dusty light bulbs.
That dusty light bulb is no match for a common household cleaner. “They can get quite nasty and you can’t use traditional cleaners because they could cause harm to the bulb,” says Ruth. The solution? “Use alcohol because it presents no harm for them.”
Use dryer sheets to keep your baseboards dust-free.
Dryer sheets aren’t just good for removing static cling from your laundry—they’re great for repelling dust, too. Simply swipe one over your baseboards or electronics to help repel dust. As an added bonus, using a dryer sheet instead of a traditional dry duster will make your home smell sweet, too.
Use a dish wand to scrub your toilet.
To get your toilet and the surrounding area really clean, use a fresh dish brush. “Most people don’t like touching this area when dirty, so a soap-dispensing dish wand can help ensure a heavy-duty clean without the need to touch anything,” says Maker. “Fill the wand with equal parts vinegar and dish soap, scrub, and rinse well with a cloth and water.” Most importantly, however, “Make sure that dish wand is marked for use only in the bathroom!”
Use Borax to create slime.
Want to entertain your kids with a low-mess craft? Then break out the laundry supplies! Combine a cup of Elmer’s glue, a half teaspoon of Borax, two cups of water, and the food coloring, glitter, or other decorations of your choice and you’ve got some cool slime that’ll keep them entertained for hours.
Use a Magic Eraser to remove residue from your straightening iron.
Got some grime on your straightening iron that’s making you less-than-enthused to use it? Just lightly dampen a Magic Eraser and run it over your hot tools to get them looking like new again.
Use shaving cream to remove carpet stains.
That product you use to shave with also happens to be the solution to your carpet woes, according to Gary Downing, owner of Happy Happy Cleaning in Glenside, Pennsylvania. Blot up as much of the stain as you can, wet the carpet slightly with a sponge, put a dollop of shaving cream over the offending area, and wipe it up when you’re done—depending on the type of stain, the shaving cream can lift it right out.
Use carpet cleaner to refresh your mattress.
If your mattress is looking a little worse for wear, freshen it up in no time with some carpet-cleaning powder. Simply sprinkle it on the mattress, allow it to sit for 30 minutes, and vacuum it up when you’re done.
Use rubbing alcohol to clean your electronics.
Rubbing alcohol isn’t just for cleaning cuts—you can also use it to clean items around your house. “Alcohol is so versatile, you can use it to clean up your electronics, like your phone, keyboard, or even your mouse,” says Ruth.
Use window cleaner to fend off bugs.
Want to keep pests from taking up residence in your home? “You can spray a bit of window cleaner along your window seals to help keep bugs from entering,” says Hale.
Use ammonia to clean jewelry.
Getting those gold and silver pieces sparkling clean is simple with a solution of half water and half ammonia. “You can soak most jewelry in the solution to clean dirt, oil, and other grime that naturally builds up,” says Hale. Just make sure not to use this solution on delicate materials, like pearls or turquoise. And for more ways to keep your space spotless, check out these 25 Totally Gross Things You Use Every Day and Should Definitely Clean.
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