Here is an assortment of ways to get more bang for your cleaning buck and efforts. From making your own cleaning solutions to ensuring your appliances are working optimally, most of the techniques below can be used with what you already have on hand. Why not give them a try?
Appliance Maintenance: Dusty Refrigerators
Your fridge is a pig on power and the worst offender in your house. But many fridges are not running optimally to begin with, and you can fix this quite easily.
The coils behind the fridge tend to attract dust, which in turn insulates the coil, making it work harder to actually cool the fridge. The remedy? Unplug the fridge, pull it away from the wall, and vacuum the dust off all the coils. Doing this once per season will save you on power costs. (See also: 7 Ways to Make the Most of a Tiny Kitchen)
Appliance Use: Ironing Efficiency
Run your iron over a sheet of aluminum foil to clean the plate. Then, place the foil under your ironing surface and iron your clothes as usual. The foil acts as a conductor, allowing you to iron from the top and bottom simultaneously.
Natural Air Freshener
Simply dip a cotton ball in an essential oil of your choice and add it to your vacuum bag. Instead of smelling that vacuum odor when you clean, the cotton ball will infuse the air with a light scent. (This technique won’t work in all vacuum cleaners; it depends on the kind you have.)
Remove Floor Scratches
Don’t worry about spending a small fortune on special scratch remover; simply apply lemon juice and olive oil to your scratch and buff it away. This mixture also makes a good overall furniture polish.
Word of caution: Always test out on a small patch of floor or furniture first.
Homemade Stain Remover
This is a pre-treatment for tough stains on clothes. Make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda. Massage into the stain, then wash as usual. (Again, it’s not a bad idea to test this out first, as the lemon juice could affect bright colors.)
Homemade Laundry Detergent
I don’t like the chemicals in most detergents. (I say if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not good to eat or wash with.) Not only that, but many commercial detergents require a much higher dose than is necessary. Here are 10 Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipes, and you can choose the one you think will work best based on what you have on hand. The basic ingredients are a combination of washing soda, baking soda, bar soap, and/or borax.
Tea and Coffee Stains
Salt is a great abrasive that can lift ingrained coffee and tea stains quite easily.
Cups and Mugs: Simply apply salt and rub into the stain with your fingers. If you are afraid the salt will scratch your cup, then dilute it with a little water and scrub the stains with a soft pad.
Coffee Pots and Coffee Percolators: Fill the pot or percolator with water, add a ¼ cup of salt, and boil or percolate as usual. Pour out the salt water near your garden to repel pests. During winter months, reuse the salt water to wash the insides of your windows to prevent frost. (This is also great for the car, and vinegar also works well for this purpose.)
Over to you: What are your special household cleaning hacks that save you money?
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