Housekeeping is removing debris and filth from things, which involves understanding many little tricks (such as how pH works).

Keep track of all the general routines you must adopt for a clean home.

There are many, many alternative cleaning tricks for every conceivable commonplace task.

What’s up with housekeeping?

Housekeeping is organization, but with more cleaning.

Cleaning is removing debris and filth from things with the three major purposes of maintaining a visual appearance, odor control, and hygiene.

Cleaning is easier if you understand how pH works:

Every chemical has an acidity or alkalinity, on a scale from 1 to 14.

  • 0.0 – Hydrochloric Acid
  • 0.3 – Battery Acid (Sulfuric Acid)
  • 1.5-3.5 – Gastric Acid (Stomach Acid)
  • 2.0-2.6 – Lemon Juice
  • 2.8 – Vinegar
  • 2.5-4.5 – Soft Drinks
  • 3.3-3.9 – Apples
  • 4.0 – Wine & Beer
  • 4.2 – Orange Juice
  • 4.5 – Tomatoes
  • <4.9 – Acid Rain
  • 5.0 – Boric Acid
  • 5.0 – Black Coffee
  • 5.0-5.5 – Clean Rain
  • 6.1 – Aloe Vera
  • 6.2 – Corn
  • 6.5-8.0 – Drinking Water
  • 6.7 – Milk
  • 7.0 – Pure Water
  • 7.2 – Tea
  • 7.4 – Human Blood
  • 8.0 – Sea Water
  • 8.4 – Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)
  • 9.0 – Egg Whites
  • 9.3 – Borax
  • 10.0 – Laundry Detergent
  • 10.2 – Milk of Magnesia
  • 11.5 – Ammonia
  • 12.0 – Soapy Water
  • 12.4 – Lime (Calcium Hydroxide)
  • 12.6 – Chlorine Bleach
  • 13.5 – Lye (Soap Ingredient)
  • 14.0 – Sodium Hydroxide

Acid and base combinations range from harmless neutralizing to creating fatally poisonous gases, usually as severe as the difference between the substances’ pH and how quickly they mix.

  • Generally, reactions’ power comes from the difference in substances’ pH and the speed they mix:

Acids break apart in water and form positively charged hydrogen ions.

Bases break apart in water and form negatively charged hydroxide ions.

When cleaning, try to take advantage of either acids’ or bases’ pH compared to what you’re cleaning.

Like any other productive task, starting to clean is more work than continuing it, so the first 5 minutes are more difficult than the 2 hours after it.

Every home needs routines to maintain it

Weekly tasks must be done frequently, though not every week:
  • Clean out all food preparation appliances used in the last week (toaster, blender, stove/oven, microwave, grill).
  • Clean the outside of the refrigerator.
  • Wipe down all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • Vacuum, sweep, and mop all indoor flooring.
  • Clean bathroom toilets, sinks, showers, and shower curtains.

Monthly tasks usually require more work, but are less frequent:
  • Clear out the refrigerator and wipe it down inside.
  • Wash the trash cans and sprinkle baking soda at the bottom.
  • Dust the furniture and tops of surfaces.
  • Wash the autos.
  • Prune all foliage.
  • Pull the hair out of the vacuum’s spinning brush to prevent it from damaging the motor.
  • Water all indoor plants.
  • Organize the budget and pay the bills.
  • Clean the dishwasher.
  • Pour treatment down to the septic tank.

Every 3-4 months:
  • Clean the inside and outside of all windows and mirrors.
  • Clean the stove underneath by popping off the top.
  • Polish all furniture.
  • Change the water filter, if you have one.
  • If you have a dryer, clean the duct that runs from the dryer to the vent.
  • Check for termites, mice, and other pests.

Twice a year:
  • Vacuum the couches.
  • Clean out any air conditioner and fan filters.
  • Place a new container of baking soda in the refrigerator.
  • Drain the water heater tank to reduce sediment.
  • Check and clean the refrigerator gasket and replace it if necessary.
  • Clean the roof’s gutters and downspouts.
  • Pressure wash the decks, driveways, and walkways.
  • Replace the refrigerator’s water filter.
  • Replace the batteries for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

Once a year:

Anytime you can do it:

  • Visually inspect the fire extinguisher or have a professional inspect it.
  • Clean the window screens.
  • Check window wells and cellar ways for debris and damage.
  • Clean and seal indoor tile and grout.
  • Check for masonry holes or cracks and tuckpoint as needed.
  • Recaulk joints between tiling and other materials.
  • Seal drives and walks.
  • Pressure wash walls and siding.
  • Walk the exterior perimeter of the home and check for potential entry points for bugs and vermin.
  • Vacuum and clean the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
  • Inspect all power plugs and replace them as needed.
  • Check wood surfaces for paint failure and damage.
  • If you have a septic tank, pump it and inspect it.
  • Check for wasp and hornet nests around the property.
  • Check for leaks in toilets and sinks.

The start of spring:

  • Check the air conditioner’s condensate drain hose and have a professional inspect the air conditioner.
  • Prepare receipts for taxes.
  • When you start using the air conditioner more than the heating unit, adjust the ceiling fan blades to push downward.

At the start of fall, have a professional inspect and clean the fireplace and check the heating unit.

Winter has a few potentially critical tasks:

  • When you start using the heating unit more than the air conditioner, adjust the ceiling fan blades to push upward.
  • Check water lines, insulation, and anything else vulnerable to cold.
  • Disconnect all hoses from hose bibs, drain, and store.
  • Drain all exterior faucets and protect them with covers.
  • Confirm access to all water supply cutoff valves in case of burst pipes.
  • Turn off and drain the irrigation systems.

Every other year or as needed:
  • Shampoo the couches and carpet.
  • Get any required vehicle smog checks.
  • Change out furniture to accommodate new lifestyles.

Optimize your cleaning

Maintaining a house isn’t that hard if you know a few tricks.

Continually take the trash out to improve your overall cleanliness:
  • Place extra trash bags at the bottom of the cans to change out bags quicker.
  • Reuse a cereal box as a car trash can.
  • Reuse a wet-wipes container or empty tissue box to hold plastic bags.
  • Drill several holes in the bottom of a trash can to avoid suction when pulling the bag out.

Store the cleaning solutions together in a secure area or in a caddy:
  • Use a hanging shoe rack on the inside of a closet.
  • Hang a curtain rod under a sink for spray cleaners.

Prepare your cleaning supplies before you start:
  • Set your cleaning supplies where you’ll use them.
  • Route water for buckets from the sink with a clean dustpan or pool noodle.

Clean in the right order to maximize efficiency:
  • Since dust settles downward, clean from top to bottom.
  • Dust first and vacuum last.
  • Clean from left to right to not miss any areas.
  • Clean the outer walls first and then the furniture in the center.
  • When possible, skip vertical surfaces that haven’t collected dust.

Let cleaning solutions soak on objects for them to chemically decompose the particulates.

Use a more efficient or heavier tool if you have a hard time reaching somewhere.

Use both hands to clean everything quicker.

Do the same thing every time to speed up cleaning.

If you must clean for company, only clean visually apparent things:
  • Clear all countertops.
  • Close all open doors, drawers, and toilet seats.
  • Clean the guest bathroom mirror.
  • Hide dirty dishes in the oven.
  • Hide the clean clothes behind a throw blanket and decorative pillows on furniture nobody will sit on.
  • Gather scattered papers up and wrap them with a rubber band.

Cyclodextrin, the active chemical behind Febreze, is the only chemical available that actually removes odors from the air and surfaces. All others simply cover them up.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be expensive

You can clean most surfaces with a few pre-made solutions.

Disinfectant spray:
  • Fill a spray bottle with hard liquor or undiluted vinegar.

Cleaning spray:
  • Use straight vodka, either in a spray bottle or directly on a surface.
  • Mix half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle.
  • Mix a quart of warm water and four tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle.
  • Mix one part bleach with ten parts water in a spray bottle.
  • Mix two teaspoons of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of castile soap, and two tablespoons of vinegar in a spray bottle, then top it off with warm water.
  • Mix 1/2 cup vinegar, two cups hot water, a cup of washing soda, and ten drops of tea tree oil in a bottle.
  • Mix two parts vinegar and one part dishwashing liquid.

Heavy cleaner:
  • Mix a teaspoon of vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, and 1/2 cup of borax in a container.

Cleaning paste:
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda mixed with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste.

Disinfectant wipes:
  1. Place four 6-inch square soft cloth pieces entirely in a rectangular box, then press them down.
  2. Mix a cup of distilled water, two tablespoons of vinegar, two tablespoons of castile soap or dish soap, ten drops of tea tree oil, and ten drops of rosemary oil thoroughly in a bowl.
  3. Pour the mixture on the topmost cloth, then wait for it to percolate through.
  4. To easily dispense them, sterilize a rolling pin and wrap them around it.

Stain remover fluid:
  1. Mix a cup of 35% hydrogen peroxide, two cups vinegar, and five drops rose oil in a bottle.
  2. It can be used as a pre-soak, but only use a tablespoon per bucket of water.

Tile and ceramic surfaces

Baking soda/vinegar:
  • Apply undiluted vinegar.
  • Mix a cup of vinegar into a gallon of water.
  • Mix 1/3 cup baking soda in warm water.
  • Sprinkle baking soda onto a surface, then sprinkle with vinegar and let sit for an hour, then scrub with a brush and wipe with cleansing detergent.
  • Mix one part vinegar, one part baking soda, and 1–2 tablespoons of natural vegetable oil.
  • Mix baking soda and water, add vinegar for tough stains.
  • Mix a cup of Epsom salts, a cup of liquid castile soap, and 1/2 cup baking soda, then let sit for fifteen minutes, scrub off with a clockwise motion, and thoroughly rinse.

Put mouthwash on a rag.

Cut a grapefruit, pour salt over the cut part, and scrub the tile with it.

Squeeze 1/2 lemon into 1/2 cup of borax and spray.

Heavy tile cleaning:
  • Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and fifteen drops of lemon oil in a spray bottle.
  • Mix one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts water, then let it sit for an hour.
  • Mix two parts baking soda, one part salt, and one part borax powder.
  • Scour with a paste made from baking soda and water.

Marble surfaces:
  • Clean with mineral water, pat dry, then dab one part ethyl alcohol and two parts water with a cotton swab.
  • Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of warm water, wash the surface, wait a while, then rinse off.

Wood floors:
  • Mix 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup vinegar, and two cups warm water, apply with a soft cloth, and dry with a clean cloth.

Windows, mirrors, and computer screens

Mix half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle, then wipe clean with either newspapers or a cloth.

Wipe with vinegar for a more thorough cleaning.

Keep them from fogging by applying shaving cream or rubbing soapy water on them.

Washing the dishes

Dishwashing solutions:
  • Mix a cup of liquid castile soap, five drops of lemon oil, and a drop of tea tree oil in a bottle and shake well. Add 1/2 cup water to thin it out if it’s too thick.
  • Mix a cup of washing soda, a cup of borax, 1/2 cup salt, and 1/2 cup of lemon juice in a bottle.
  • Wash with straight vinegar.
  • Mix baking soda and water in a cloth.

Dirty sponge/dishcloth:
  • Microwave for two minutes to kill 99% of microorganisms.
  • Soak in water with a little lemon juice, then microwave for 1 minute.
  • Rub baking soda and water into it and let it sit.

  • Fill it with warm water and a drop of dish soap, run it, dump, and rinse.

Bottles and liquid containers:
  • Wash out with baking soda and hot water to remove odors.
  • Fill with water, drop in four antacid or denture cleaning tablets, and let soak for 1–12 hours.

Burnt pots and pans:
  • Rub with a dryer sheet to loosen it.
  • Baking soda and vinegar:
    • Mix a cup of water, two tablespoons of baking soda, and a cup of vinegar.
    • Scrub hard with vinegar.
    • Scrub with dry baking soda and a moist scouring pad.
  • Fill it with cold water and add an onion, cook until the onion becomes soft, then drain the pot and scrub it.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 tablespoon of dry Epsom salt on it, wait a few minutes, add warm water, and scrub well.
  • Soak it for really tough stains:
    • Fill the bottom with water and add a cup of vinegar, bring to a simmer, then take off heat and stir in two tablespoons of baking soda until dissolved, empty it and scrub lightly.
    • Add 1–2 drops of dish soap and enough water to fill the bottom, then bring to a boil on the stove.
    • Soak in a water and baking soda mixture for ten minutes before washing.
    • Soak with salt water, let the solution break down the food for a few minutes, and scrub clean.
    • Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the pan, add vinegar, let soak for fifteen minutes, then rinse with soap and water.
    • Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the pan, add enough water to moisten the soda, let sit overnight, and scrub clean.
  • For copper pots, rub with ketchup.

Glass pans and coffee pots:
  • Wash with 3 tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of water.
  • Fill with water and place in a hot oven for about ten minutes, then rinse with warm water and soap.
  • Fill with water and drop in two antacid tablets.

Heavily caked-on plates and silverware:
  • Soak in dishwasher soap.

Cutting boards:
  • Wipe with vinegar.
  • Sprinkle a handful of Kosher salt and rub with half a lemon, then rinse and dry.

  • Add water and baking soda and let the solution soak overnight.

Wooden spoons:
  • Wash with cold water to avoid cooking food picked up by the spoon.
  • When odors are present, soak in a mixture of baking soda and lemon juice.

  • Add lemon juice to a cycle with greasy dishes to clean them.


Throw a dry towel in with a wet load in the dryer to cut the drying time in half.

Make your own laundry detergent:


  1. Grate a castile soap bar and add it to a large saucepan of hot water, stir well until the soap dissolves.
  2. Fill a ten-gallon pail with five gallons of warm water and add a mixture of borax, washing soda, and five drops of tea tree oil, then stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Top up the pail with more water and keep stirring until it has an even consistency, then cover and wait for it to gel.
  4. Use one cup per load.


  1. Grate a bar of Ivory or Fels Naptha soap into a coffee can.
  2. Add a cup each of washing soda and borax and mix well with a fork.
    • Optional: add 1/4 cup baking soda.
  3. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.


  1. Either pour 1 cup of Dawn dish soap or grate 1/3 of a bar of Ivory or Fels Naptha soap into a saucepan.
  2. Add 6 cups of water and heat until the soap melts.
  3. Add 1/2 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup borax and stir until dissolved.
  4. Remove from heat and pour four cups of hot water into a two-gallon bucket.
  5. Add soap mixture and stir, then stir in a gallon and six cups of water.
  6. Optional: add up to 1 ounce of essential oil or fragrance oil for scent.
  7. Use 1/2 cup per load.
    • Note: This soap doesn’t make bubbles.

Shrinking clothes:
  • Wash the clothes in warm water instead of hot to avoid shrinking.
  • Unshrink them by soaking them in water and hair conditioner for five minutes.
  • For sweaters, soak them in baby shampoo.

  • Immerse the clothes in a mixture of 3/4 cup ammonia, six tablespoons of baking soda, and two cups warm water to keep them from shrinking.

  • Soak in a mix of water and baking soda.
  • Add 2–3 tablespoons of vinegar to the detergent.
  • Add a cup of vinegar to a hot rinse cycle.
  • Add dryer sheets to the dryer.
  • Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the load.

Use fabric conditioner or softener when rinsing or drying:
  • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a load while washing.
  • Mix two cups of vinegar, 30 drops of rose water, and two tablespoons of baking soda in a bottle.
  • Add 1/4 cup Epsom salt to a load.
  • Add a dash of essential oil for a scent.

Denim can be worn again without washing if placed in the freezer overnight, but thaw it before ironing:
  • Alternately, run a sponge dipped in vodka along the length of the pants.
  • Place them in the freezer for a week to freshen up the colors.

Static cling:
  • Secure a safety pin to the clothes.
  • Rub with a dryer sheet.
  • Press a dryer sheet into a hairbrush.
  • Make two tin-foil balls and throw them in the dryer with the clothes.

Wrinkled clothes:
  • Fold clothing inside out while washing to decrease wrinkles.
  • Hang the clothes in the bathroom while showering to remove most of the creases.
  • Throw it in the dryer for 30 minutes with a wet sock.
  • Throw it in the dryer for five minutes with a few ice cubes.

Pilling on clothes:
  • Immerse in icy water with some sea salt dissolved in it.
  • Use a razor blade to consolidate all of it so you can easily grab it.

Delicate designs:
  • Wash the clothing inside out to keep the designs from cracking.

Flattened pillows:
  • Put them in the sun for 30 minutes.

Hardened towels:
  • Soak in a mix of water and vinegar.

Excess lint:
  • To decrease lint on clothes, add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • Press a large piece of tape over the whole clothing item.

New, brightly colored garments that might bleed:
  • Wash with a tablespoon of salt and warm water to set the dye.
  • Soak them in ice water with some salt and vinegar added until the fabric stops bleeding.
  • Add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water and soak the clothes in it until the fabric stops bleeding.
  • Soak them in undiluted vinegar until the fabric stops bleeding.
  • Add from a teaspoon to a 1/2 cup of salt to a laundry load.

Older, brightly colored clothes:
  • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle to make them brighter.

Wax marks on clothing:
  • Put a paper towel over the wax and iron it, but be careful with polyester or nylon fiber surfaces.


Dry shoes in the dryer by hanging them with bungee cords.

  • Sprinkle baking soda or put dryer sheets in them to freshen them up.

  • Clean dirty boots with a nail file, then wipe them with body lotion or glass polish to shine them.
  • If the boots squeak, drive several thumbtacks down the center of the bottom of the shoe.
  • If the boots squeak, place the bottom of the shoe in a dish containing oil with the heel propped up until the shoe soaks up the oil.

  • Use a pastry brush or paintbrush to dust off the dirt, then use a sponge dipped in a mixture of water and dishwashing liquid.

Canvas shoes:
  • Mix baking soda and vinegar as a paste, then apply it to the bottom of the shoes.

Leather shoes:
  • Rub all over with half a lemon, let dry, polish, repeat as necessary.
  • If you have water stains on it, rub two parts baked baking soda mixed with one part hot milk into it, then polish like normal.

Shoe scuffs:
  • Scrub with nail polish polish remover, hydrogen peroxide, or wax polish.

Salt stains on brown shoes:
  1. Dissolve a piece of washing soda about the size of a chestnut into two tablespoons of hot milk.
  2. Wash the affected area.
  3. Polish like normal after they’ve dried.


Window blinds:
  • Put your hand in an old sock wet with half water and half vinegar, then wipe in between the blinds.
  • Wipe with dryer sheets.

Ceiling fan blades:
  • Wrap a pillowcase around the blade to capture all the dust in it.

  • Clean with a lint roller or strips of duct tape.

Small cracks:
  • Use Q-Tips and cotton balls to get into small cracks that need dusting.
  • To clean air vents, wrap a butter knife around a wet hand towel.

  • Run a used dryer sheet along the baseboards, which will also repel future dust from the static.

Broken glass:
  • Use a soft, damp cloth, preferably an old disposable rag.
  • Wipe with white bread.
  • Wipe with cotton balls, and wet them slightly for more effect.

Cabinets and cupboards:
  • Put a layer of wax paper on it to keep anything from settling, and switch it out every few months.

Computer keyboards and peripherals:
  • Use pieces of paper or sticky notes to clean between the cracks.
  • Use an old makeup brush to clean the keys.
  • If you have an air compressor, blast inside the keyboard.
  • Run the keyboard through the dishwasher by placing it on the top rack, but without detergent and skipping the dry cycle.
  • Put a ketchup squeeze bottle top at the end of a vacuum hose to clean tiny areas.

  • Vacuum thoroughly by working from left to right and covering all areas.
  • Use a paper towel roll or gift wrap tube as a disposable vacuum extension.
  • Wipe up sawdust with dryer sheets.

Carpet, furniture, and laundry stains

Most stains:
  • Pour vinegar onto the stain, then rub baking soda into it.
  • Coconut oil or almond oil can remove most oils.
  • Rub with apple peels.
  • Overnight treatment:
    • Soak overnight in hot water with lemon juice and vinegar.
    • Wash with dishwashing liquid, then microwave to disinfect.

Bathtub rings:
  • Sprinkle salt over a half-grapefruit that you can scrub into the rings.

Carpet stains:
  • Apply a mixture of equal parts salt, borax, and vinegar.
  • Apply cornmeal and salt, then vacuum it off.
  • Mix a cup of Epsom salt in 1/2 gallon water, spot-clean with a rag.
  • Pour baking soda onto the stain, then vacuum it out.
  • Vinegar/water solution:
    1. Clean up any excess with a rag.
    2. Spray with a mixture of half vinegar and water.
    3. Let stand for two minutes, then blot with a towel or sponge.
    4. Repeat as needed.
  • Heavier vinegar/water solution:
    1. Apply a mixture of a teaspoon of vinegar, a teaspoon of liquid dish soap, and a cup of warm water.
    2. Let stand for two minutes, then blot with a towel or sponge. Repeat as needed.
    3. Dry with a hairdryer set on low.

Oven stains:
  • Pour a little baking soda over the stains, add vinegar to the area, and wipe clean with a paper towel after the foam is gone.

Tile stains:
  • Spray with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Apply tile cleaner to the tiles, then attach a scrubber to a power drill and press into it.

Toilet bowl stains:
  • Pour 20 ounces of Coca-Cola into the bowl and let it sit for an hour.
  • Spray with vinegar.
  • Mix lemon juice and Kool-Aid and scrub it in.
  • Drop in two antacid tablets, wait twenty minutes, brush them, and flush.

Toilet clogs:
  • Squirt dish soap into it several times, then pour boiling water into the bowl.
  • Free it up with an unraveled wire coat hanger.
  • Pour in baking soda, then vinegar, then boiling water, then let sit overnight.
  • Use a wet-dry vacuum to suck out water, then make a seal with old towels and suck it out or blow it out.

Wall stains:
  • Rub baking soda into it with a damp sponge.

Specific stains

Baby formula stains:
  • Mix four ground-up digestive enzyme tablets with a tablespoon of water, spread onto the stain with a soft cloth, and rinse off.

Barbecue sauce stains:
  • Rub heavy-duty liquid detergent into it.

Battery acid:
  • Scrub with a toothbrush soaked in lemon juice or white vinegar, then wash off after the bubbling stops.

  • Never use hot water.
  • Soak and rub the stain in cold water before washing.
  • Apply cold water and gentle carpet shampoo.
  • Rub Coca-Cola into it.
  • Soak or run one part hydrogen peroxide mixed with three parts water.
  • If fresh, repeatedly blot with cold water or club soda.
  • If dried, rub a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution into it.

Chocolate stains:
  • Rub heavy-duty liquid detergent into it.
  • Rub vinegar into it, then wash.
  • Soak fabric in club soda before washing.
  • Apply gentle carpet shampoo: a solution of an ounce of ammonia and a cup of water.
  • Apply one part white vinegar and two parts water.

Coffee/tea stains:
  • Mix equal parts water and vinegar on it, blot with a damp cloth, then spray with a mix of equal parts water and ammonia, and blot again.
  • Mix an egg yolk with a small amount of alcohol and two spoonfuls of warm water.
  • Pour beer on top of it and rub lightly into the stain.
  • Rub with baby wipes.
  • Rub vinegar into it, then wash.
  • Apply cold water, gentle carpet shampoo, and dry cleaning solvent.
  • For china, clean with a mixture of vinegar and salt.

Crayon marks:
  • Brush toothpaste or baking soda into the marks.
  • Spray WD-40 on it.

Deodorant stains:
  • Rub dryer sheets or nylon tights over it.

Egg stains:
  • Scrape away as much as possible, then sponge with lukewarm water.
  • Make a paste of cream of tartar and water, then add crushed aspirin to the paste, spread it onto the stain, leave for 20–30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Fruit juices/berries:
  • Apply a mix of half wood alcohol and ammonia, then rinse well.
  • Use cold water and gentle carpet shampoo.

Stuck gum:
  • Boil vinegar and pour it on the gum, then use a brush to scrub it off.
  • Submerge in boiling water, let it soak, then scrape it off carefully with a knife.
  • Freeze or apply ice to the affected area, then scrape it off carefully with a knife.
  • Dip into a bowl of Coca-Cola for a few minutes, then wipe off.
  • Spray with WD-40.

Ink stains:
  • Apply alcohol-based hairspray for 30 seconds, then rub off with a damp cloth.
  • Splash with a dash of milk, then rub with a piece of lemon or a sponge dipped in vinegar.
  • Rub toothpaste into the stain and let it dry before washing it.
  • Rub WD-40 into it.
  • Soak in milk overnight, then wash.
  • Rub hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol into it
  • For ball-point ink, apply gentle carpet shampoo with either dry cleaning solvent, mineral turpentine, or methylated spirits.
  • For felt-tip ink, apply warm water and gentle carpet shampoo.
  • On polyester, soak with hairspray and pat dry with a clean, dry cloth.

Jam/jelly stains:
  • Rub vinegar into it, then wash.

Ketchup stains:
  • Rub heavy-duty liquid detergent or vinegar into it, then wash.

Lipstick stains:
  • Apply hairspray to the area, wait ten minutes, dab with a damp washcloth, then wash like normal.
  • Blot with a baby wipe.
  • Rub with rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth.
  • Rub acetone into it, but be careful it doesn’t discolor the rest of the garment.
  • Apply gentle carpet shampoo and dry cleaning solvent.

Lime deposits:
  • Scrub with a cut half of a lemon.
  • Spray vinegar, let sit for a few minutes, then wipe away.
  • Clean a shower head by tying a plastic bag full of vinegar around it and letting it soak for 1 hour.

Marker marks:
  • Spray hairspray on it.

Melted plastic:
  • Dampen a cloth, then rub baking soda into it.

Mildew stains:
  • Keep shower curtains opened to prevent pink mildew from building up.
  • Spray with vinegar to clean and prevent future mildew.
  • Rub them with a rag soaked in alcohol.
  • Mix two teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups of water and apply.
  • Moisten a fabric stain with lemon juice and salt, then put under the sun.
  • Sponge a fabric stain with a mixture of 1-2 tablespoons sodium perborate with a pint of hot water (if the garment can withstand it) or warm water, then let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Soak fabric for 5–15 minutes with a mixture of two tablespoons chlorine bleach in a quart of water, then soak in a mixture of two tablespoons vinegar for every cup of water to avoid any further bleaching.
  • For shower curtains, wash them with salt when first buying them and they will never mold.
  • For shower curtains, soak in baking soda mixed into water.

Nail polish stains:
  • Rub rubbing alcohol into it with a towel.

Oil/grease stains:
  • Rub vinegar into it.
  • Pour eucalyptus oil on the stain.
  • For concrete stains, apply cat litter to the stain, then let it sit for a day.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, let it sit, scrub with a wet towel, and rinse.
  • Rub Dawn dish soap into it.
  • Rub chalk into the stain and wash like normal.
  • Apply dry cleaning solvent and gentle carpet shampoo.
  • For fabric, rub flour into the stain, shake off the excess, and wash like normal.
  • For fabric, soak in hot water and baking soda.

Ointment stains:
  • Scrape the excess off with a knife.
  • Rub cornstarch or talcum powder into it.
  • Leave the powder on until the grease is fully absorbed.
  • Brush the powder off with a soft brush or clean washcloth.
  • Wash in cold water.

Paint stains:
  • Apply cold water, gentle carpet shampoo, and dry cleaning solvent.
  • For oil paint, apply dry cleaning solvent, gentle carpet shampoo, and mineral turpentine or methylated spirits.

Permanent marker stains:
  • Rub white vinegar or hand sanitizer into it.
  • On wall stains, rub toothpaste or hairspray into it.
  • On wood stains, rub rubbing alcohol into it.

Red wine stains:
  • Apply shaving cream and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Soak with club soda, then rinse with water.
  • Rub vinegar into it, then wash.
  • Rub white wine into it.
  • Soak it up with an absorbent powder, then apply cold water and gentle carpet shampoo.

Salt stains:
  • Pour Coca-Cola on it, let it soak, then wash like normal.

Soap residue:
  • Rub with a damp dryer sheet.
  • Cover the area with a thin layer of baking soda, let it sit, then rinse it off.
  • Apply a mixture of one part salt to four parts vinegar.
  • Rub vinegar into it.

Soda pop stains:
  • Put clear shampoo and salt on the stain and let it soak before washing.
  • Rub vinegar into it, then wash.
  • Use cold water and gentle carpet shampoo.

Sticker and glue residue:
  • Spray with a liquid containing alcohol, such as perfume.
  • Moisten it with vinegar, let it sit for ten minutes and remove.
  • Spray with WD-40 and leave for several minutes, then rub it off.
  • Rub rubbing alcohol into it.
  • Heat with a hair dryer for 1-2 minutes, then peel off.

Sweat stains:
  • Spray the stains with lemon juice or undiluted vinegar before washing.
  • Rub in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda before washing, and include Dawn dish soap for more effect.
  • Pour vinegar over the stain, then rub any salt into the stain, place in the sun to dry, and wash out with shampoo.

Tomato stains:
  • On plastic, spray with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces.

Tree sap:
  • Apply nail polish remover.
  • Rub rubbing alcohol into the sap.

Urine stain:
  • Wash by adding 1/4 cup baking soda to the laundry detergent, then fill up the fabric softener cup with vinegar.
  • Rub vinegar into it, then wash.
  • For fresh stains, apply cold water and a gentle carpet shampoo.
  • For old stains, apply a solution of gentle carpet shampoo, an ounce of ammonia, and a cup of water.
  • For old stains, apply a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water.

  • Pour vodka on it to remove the odor, then clean it up.
  • Add water to make it moist again, add baking soda, then vacuum or put in the laundry.
  • Mix warm water and baking soda into a paste, spread it onto the vomit, and let it sit and dry overnight.
  • Pour coffee grounds onto the spill before cleaning it up to dehydrate it and remove odors.
  • Apply cold water and gentle carpet shampoo.
  • For fabric, rub baking soda into the stain before washing.

Water stains and water rings:
  • Rub toothpaste or mayonnaise into it.

Removing odors

  • Most odors can be broken down by placing them in direct sunlight for several hours.
  • To remove smoke smells:
    • Soak or steam in vinegar.
    • Scrub with a mix of water and baking soda.
  • For baby formula odor, moisten a cloth, dip in baking soda, and dab at the marks.
  • Put dry tea bags or silica bags in smaller areas with odors.
  • Hang a bundle of chalk in an enclosed space to keep everything fresh and dry.

Room odors:
  • Place a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight.
  • Alternately, mix ten drops of your favorite scented oil, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and a cup of water in an open container.
  • To remove cigarette smoke, spin a wet towel around quickly while walking around the room.
  • To remove the smell of burned food, boil water with several spoons of vinegar in it.
  • Sprinkle some baking soda in an ashtray to prevent smoldering and reduce odor.

Refrigerator odors:
  • Place an open container of baking soda in the fridge or freezer.
  • Put a piece of charcoal in a plastic cup, then secure a paper towel over it with a rubber band, then set it in the back of the fridge.

Trash odors:
  • Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the trash can.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on top of the exposed trash.
  • Put an old newspaper at the bottom to absorb any liquids.

Trash odors:
  • Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the trash can.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on top of the exposed trash.
  • Put an old newspaper at the bottom to absorb any liquids.

Garbage disposal:
  • Microwave or grind up a few lemons and then run them down the garbage disposal.
  • Freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and run them down the garbage disposal to clean the blades.
  • Pour vinegar in and let sit for an hour.
  • Throw several ice cubes and a handful of rock salt down the disposal, then run cold water and the disposal for fifteen seconds.

Washing machine:
  • Run a cycle with vinegar to dissolve residue from detergent.
  • Epsom salt and vinegar mix:
    1. Fill the washing machine with hot water.
    2. Add a cup of Epsom salt and a quart of white vinegar.
    3. Let the machine cycle for several minutes, then pause and let it steep for several hours.
    4. Complete a full wash and rinse cycle.

Bathroom odors:
  • Mix baking soda and vinegar to deodorize a surface.

Car odors:
  • Pour fragrant bath salts into a loose-leaf tea strainer and store in the glove compartment.
  • Drop a potpourri wax tart into a cup holder.
  • Lay fresh herbs on a piece of newspaper in the back seat and leave the windows rolled up.
  • Shake a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus oil onto car mats.

Closets and drawers:
  • Mix dried mint, lavender, peppercorns, rosemary, bay leaves, whole cloves, and cedar chips and hang them in a sachet inside the closet.
  • Put a bar of unopened soap in the bottom.
  • Mix 1/4 cup borax with a quart of water and wipe on moldy areas.

Plastic odors:
  • When storing empty, airtight containers, add a pinch of salt to keep them free from odors.
  • Rinse with a mixture of half vinegar and half water.
  • Wipe with a mix of water and baking soda.
  • Place outside in the sun for several hours, but watch for too much heat that will warp the plastic.
  • Crumple up a newspaper and stuff it into the container, then seal for a day or two.
  • Place a piece of charcoal in the container, seal it, and wait until the odor is absorbed.
  • Make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it all over the interior of the container. Let it sit for a day or two, then wash it off. Repeat as necessary.
  • Rinse with lemon juice or rub a cut lemon over the interior surface.
  • Place used coffee grounds (wet or dry) into a container and let sit until the odor is gone.
  • To get rid of soap smell, soak in vinegar overnight.

Other house cleaning

Bird poop on a car:
  • Scrub Canada Dry into it.
  • Tape a toy snake to the top of your car.

Car windshield:
  • Place silica bags on the dashboard as a fog remover.
  • Wipe off the fog with a chalkboard eraser.
  • Rainproof the windshield by wiping with lots of baking soda on a damp cloth.

Coffee maker:
  • Mix vinegar or baking soda with water and run a few cycles, then rinse with a water cycle.

Dirty car headlights:
  • Scrub toothpaste into the light covers.

Dirty cleaning tools:
  • Run any cleaning tools like brushes or mop heads through the dishwasher.
  • Sterilize tools by baking them in the oven.

  • Pour a cup of distilled vinegar into the dishwasher and run two empty cycles at max heat.
  • Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom and run an empty cycle with baking soda in the soap reservoir.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom, put a cup of vinegar on the top shelf, set it to the highest temperature, and turn it on.

Drain cleaning:
  • Drop a cup of baking soda down the drain, add 2 cups boiling water, wait and pour another cup baking soda, add a cup of white vinegar, rinse with two more cups boiling water.
  • Weekly, put four tablespoons of baking soda down the drain, then flush with hot water.
  • Plunge, then apply a half vinegar and half baking soda solution to the drain, rinse for a few minutes with hot water.
    • When plunging a double sink, put a stopper over the other sink.
    • If you need a plunger, cut the top off of a 2-liter bottle and squeeze it over the sink.
  • Drop three antacid tablets down the drain and then a cup of vinegar. Run with hot water after a few minutes.
  • Once a week, pour a cup down the drain and let it stand for 30 minutes before flushing with cold water.

Dishwasher cleaning:
  • Pour a cup of distilled vinegar into the dishwasher and run two empty cycles at max heat.
  • Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom and run an empty cycle with baking soda in the soap reservoir.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom, put a cup of vinegar on the top shelf, set it to the highest temperature, and turn it on.

Iron cleaning:
  • Rub scorch marks with a mixture of vinegar and salt.
  • Put equal amounts of vinegar and water into the water holder, put on the steam setting for five minutes, cool, and drain.

Microwave cleaning:
  • Microwave a bowl with one of the following for 2–5 minutes before cleaning:
    • Water
    • Equal parts water and lemon juice
    • A cup of water and 1/2 cup vinegar
  • Cut a lemon in half and cook for 30 seconds.

Septic tank cleaning:
  • Flush yeast down the toilet.

Winter maintenance

Shoveling snow:
  • Coat the snow shovel with cooking spray to make the ice slip off.

Deicer fluid:
  • Spray any windows you want free from frost, especially car windows, with a cup of vinegar mixed with 2–3 cups of water.
  • For any roof fixtures like satellite dishes, spray deicer fluid through a Super Soaker water gun.

Icy floors:
  • Put dishwashing liquid into warm water and pour all over the surface.

Pest management

Some natural pesticides have universal applications:
  • Mix two cups water with a cup of vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Sprinkle Epsom salt wherever you don’t want pests.
  • Put dryer sheets in shoes, pockets, and drawers.
  • If you have too many bugs around your porch lights, upgrade them to LED bulbs.

  • Stop them from going near your food or from walking on their paths:
    • Sprinkle leftover coffee grounds.
    • Sprinkle baking soda.
    • Sprinkle cayenne pepper.
    • Spray vinegar.
    • Draw a line of chalk.
  • Kill them to keep them from coming back:
    • Spray with window cleaner.
    • Spray with room freshener.
    • Set out small piles of cornmeal.
    • Spray with a mixture of three parts water and one part salt.

  • If a bird gets into the house, turn off all the lights and open the windows.

  • Spread walnut leaves around the affected areas.
  • Clean all affected areas with Dawn dish soap.

  • Guide them out of the windows by leading them with bright lights.
  • Mix cloves, eucalyptus, and clover blossoms in a sachet and place them somewhere to keep them away.
  • Sprinkle borax on the bottom of trash cans.
  • Spray directly with window cleaner to kill them.

Fruit flies:
  • Mix four ounces of apple cider vinegar and two drops of dishwashing liquid and set them out where they gather.
  • Flytrap:
    1. Put 1–2 ounces of apple cider vinegar in a glass.
    2. Cover it with plastic wrap fastened with a rubber band.
    3. Poke holes in the plastic wrap and leave it where fruit flies congregate.

  • Mix four ounces witch hazel, twenty drops of citronella oil, and twenty drops of eucalyptus oil into a spray bottle and spray all over the house.
  • Use catnip.
  • Use peppermint or peppermint oil.
  • Use garlic.

  • Mix a tablespoon of peppermint, castile soap, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper into 8 cups of water, then spray on baseboards.
  • Rodents avoid peppermint oil.
  • Mice avoid black pepper.

  • Spray a mixture of peppermint oil and water wherever you don’t want spiders.

  • Mix four ounces of witch hazel and thirty drops of rose geranium oil into a spray bottle and spray on areas where ticks will infest.
  • Put clothes in the dryer on high heat for fifteen minutes before washing.

  • Spray hairspray on them.
  • Ball up grocery bags and wrap them with weather-resistant duct tape, then hang them outside.
  • Cut the top off a plastic bottle, invert the top and secure it, then pour sugar water into the bottom.