Surprising Household Substances to Help with Spring Cleaning

Even though much of the country is still coping with a surprisingly robust winter storm right now, others are starting to think about spring cleaning. Here in America, spring cleaning is an especially necessary custom due to much of the country being geographically located in continental and wet climates. Long before the advent of air conditioning or vacuum cleaners, March was often the best time for dusting because the weather gets warm enough to open windows and doors, and rising winds could carry out coal soot, dust, and other detritus. These days, many modern households also use March and April for spring cleaning in order to avoid the fumes from chemical cleaning products. But smart households can find all sorts of surprising, organic household items that can serve double-duty as cleaning products during spring cleaning.

Scour Your House with Vinegar

Glass bottle of white vinegar with a scrubbing brush, green sponge, and yellow cloth in the backgroundProbably one of the most versatile household items that can be used for spring cleaning is vinegar. There are literally hundreds of ways to use vinegar during your spring cleaning chores. Some people get concerned that the smell of vinegar will linger in their homes, reminding visitors of pickles, salad dressing, or Easter eggs, but the smell dissipates within a half-hour or so, and doesn’t offer the health risks of ammonia-based cleaners. You can use vinegar to scrub your sink, tub, and floors, clean your tools or coffee maker, or clear your drains by adding baking soda to hot white vinegar.  Vinegar can also help with the spring cleaning ritual of cleaning your windows inside and out by cutting through dirt and grime while leaving a streak-free shine.

Get Lemony Fresh

One uncut lemon and one cut lemon slice, surrounded by a small glass jar and small cup of baking sodaAnother counter-intuitive but surprisingly simple spring cleaning item in your home is the fruitful lemon. You can scrub cutting boards and other small kitchen items simply by cutting a lemon in half and rubbing it over a surface, then giving it a simple rinse after a half-hour or so.  For more complicated spring cleaning tasks, take a few minutes to brew up this homemade lemon-scented all-purpose cleaner. Simply combine a quarter cup of white vinegar, two tablespoons of baking soda, and four cups of hot water in a small bucket or large measuring cup. Next, squeeze in the juice from half a lemon, then drop the rind in the mixture to infuse the cleaning solution. Once it cools, you can transfer it into a spray bottle for an all-natural homemade disinfectant you can use for most common household cleaning tasks.

Raid the Fridge for Cleaners

Hand holding open the door to a chrome refrigeratorDon’t forget that there are lots of other substances lying around your kitchen that can make for effective spring cleaning tools. You can use ketchup or corn starch to remove the tarnish from pots and pans and silver tableware. You can also use soft drinks to remove stains from clothes, carpet, and upholstery and coffee grounds or tea leaves as a natural deodorizer. Finally, one of the world’s most versatile substances for cleaning is simply salt. You can use salt combined with vinegar and baking soda to clean your oven, equal parts salt and vinegar to clean enamel dishes, or soak up wine stains from carpet.

What’s your favorite spring cleaning tip? Join us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to share your tips!