It may seem totally bonkers to wipe down your microwave with a lemon, spray your smelly clothes with vodka, or polish your furniture with flat beer, but many cleaning products use chemicals and dozens of ingredients attempting to replicate what these products can naturally do. Why pay extra money for shoe polish when a banana peel will do the exact same job?
Plus, we all love a good lifehack.
Lemons are a natural cleaning agent and can be used in many ways, but our favorite is a quick and easy microwave clean. Squeeze a lemon’s juice into water, drop the rinds into the water, and microwave for 3 to 5 minutes. The condensation from the boiling liquid will loosen gunk from the walls of the unit, and all you have to do is wipe it down to have a shiny, clean microwave.
The acid in Coca-Cola (and Pepsi and similar sodas) is corrosive enough to make a grimy, gross toilet shiny and new again. Just don’t think about what that Coke is doing to your teeth and intestines…
This common baking ingredient has an abrasive quality that will buff out those scratched up, white dinner plates. Just sprinkle cream of tartar on your plates, spray on some water to create a paste, and rub away. Say goodbye to grey marks on your dinnerware!
Have some vintage clothing and cheap vodka? One, you probably have a cool life! Two, you can deodorize those garments quickly with a diluted vodka and water mixture. As the vodka evaporates, so does the unappealing smell.
If your oil paintings are accumulating dust, clean them off without damaging them by using common white bread. Carefully pat it across the painting with the doughy parts of bread and see the dust lift right off.
Have an odd-shaped decanter or vase? Scrub the bottom of that glassware with uncooked white rice. A mixture of warm water, soap, vinegar, and a cup of white rice will get that bottom clean in no time.
They don’t call it “lemony fresh” for nothing! If your garbage disposal is making your sink smell like a dump, use lemon peels! Flush your disposal out with plenty of cold water first, then run four to six lemon peels through to deodorize naturally.
If the mini-Picassos in your household have decided your painted walls are their canvas, you can scrub that “artwork” off quickly and easily with mayonnaise. Cover the doodles in this favorite condiment, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it down with a warm, damp cloth.
If you’ve broken a glass and want to make sure you’ve gotten every last shard off the floor, use a loaf of bread. The porous, soft surface will pick up every last bit of glass, ensuring your feet stay cut-free.
If you threw a wild party last night and now need to clean up your apartment, use some of that left out, flat beer. Surprisingly, it makes for a great furniture polish.
Everyone knows the old get-gum-out-of-your-hair-with-peanut butter trick. Of course, this hack also works when gum gets in other tricky spots, like rugs, blankets, carpet, and cloth-covered furniture.
A shelled walnut will make your worn, scratched wooden furniture look new again. The nut’s natural oils mixed with the heat and pressure from your hand help to buff the area.
Baking soda is a powerful deodorizer, and everyone should know that you can rid your fridge of weird, old smells. But that’s not all! Baking soda will deodorize shoes, litter boxes, trash cans, and other unpleasant smelling places.
Cleaning a cast-iron pan is a pain, to say the least. Remove the most stubborn bits of food with a cup of kosher salt and a kitchen towel. Then season and store your pan as usual.
Have a sad, rusted copper pan? Break a bottle of Heinz ketchup out of the fridge and put a big coat over the tarnished surface. Let it sit for at least a half hour and see the tarnish disappear.
If you grilled up some burgers and have leftover red onion, clean your grill with them! The onion will remove rust and gunk that has built up on your grill plates over time.
Don’t throw away those banana peels! Use them to polish up your scuffed leather shoes. Potassium (a major mineral found in bananas) is actually used in commercial nail polishes. That combined with the fruit’s natural oils will have your shoes looking shiny and new.
Remember how you can get gum out of your carpet with peanut butter? Well, the same trick works for stickers. If you have new glasses or windows that arrived with a sticker that didn’t peel off just the right way, use a little peanut butter to get that sticky residue right off.
White vinegar is great for pickling vegetables and making deviled eggs, but it will also clean, well, just about everything. It will deodorize plastic containers, wax your floors, get rid of bathtub film, remove tarnish from metals, and leave your dishes sparkling. Always be sure to have this miracle product in your pantry.
Left: Tang/itemmaster; Right: Shutterstock
Tang (or other citrus-flavored powdered drink mixes) will clean your dishwasher right out. Dump a 20-ounce container of Tang into your empty dishwasher two or three minutes into the cycle to remove buildup caused by use and hard water.