When you go to the store there’s no shortage of cleaning products lining the shelves. From scent-free toilet cleaner to specific sprays to clean stainless steel appliances, it can sometimes feel like we’re spending more money on cleaning our homes than decorating them! If only there was a way to clean our homes using household items we have lying around…oh, wait—there is!
Temina McCormack, owner of Temina and the Cleanas cleaning company, shared some of her favourite cleaning hacks with us that won’t break the bank or use harsh chemicals!
Cleaning stainless steel appliances
Pesky fingerprints can turn your fridge from looking shiny and new to a crime scene in about five minutes. Cleaning stainless steel is a pain, especially when streaks are left behind. But McCormack says you probably already have the solution in your cupboards!
“I use Windex or other glass cleaner to shine up stainless steel,” she says. “Just make sure to use a clean cloth or paper towel and wipe with the grain, not against it, for best results.”
If Windex isn’t readily available to you, she has another solution to clean your fridge, oven, or dishwasher.
“Throw them out and get some old-school white appliances,” she jokes. “Honestly though, stainless steel can be a pain. All you really need to get the smudges out is hot water and vinegar sprayed onto the fridge and then wiped with the grain. Give it a wipe with a damp cloth, then buff it dry again, moving with the grain, using a soft cloth or cut up towels.”
Solving smelly kitchen drains
Most people are guilty of pouring things down the drain that really don’t belong there. Food and gunk can build up in the pipes, causing your sink to reek and waft through the kitchen. Not a very appetizing environment!
If you’re looking for a quick fix, a common condiment is going to be your best friend.
“You can kill the smell by pouring vinegar down the sink,” McCormack suggests. “Vinegar is a super cheap and handy disinfectant, and the high acidity helps kill all sorts of gross things.”
Vinegar may not be strong enough for what you need, McCormack warns, in which case she says it’s time to snake the drain—or more accurately, call a plumber and have them snake it!
Scummy shower walls
Shower walls are notoriously tricky to clean, especially if you’ve missed a few spots and the soap scum starts to build up! Instead of using harsh chemicals in the bathroom, you can use common pantry items to help solve the issue.
“Make a paste with baking soda and a little bit of water,” McCormack suggests. “You can do this in a bowl or right in the bathtub. I usually just shake baking soda around the edges of the tub and splash a bit of water onto it. Get a toothbrush or use your hands just to wipe it all up the tiles. Let it sit for a while, 10 minutes is usually enough. Wet a rag with vinegar and wipe them down. You’ll probably have to do some scrubbing but a lot of the work will be done for you. Go over the especially scummy areas with a slightly abrasive sponge or the toothbrush for small areas. Hot water, vinegar, and sponge along with some heavier scrubbing will do just fine as well, it’ll just take a little more effort!”
Unsightly coffee rings
You can ask your guests to use coasters all you want, but inevitably you’ll be left with a ring on your coffee table. These rings can cause immediate fury followed by despair as you start to plan out which coffee table books you can use to hide them. However, McCormacks says there are a couple of ways to get rid of them!
“My go-to is Magic Erasers if you have them or just hot water and a mild dish soap, like Dawn,” she shares. “It may take some scrubbing but they’ll come off. Magic Erasers are amazing for marks on most surfaces. Just be careful on painted surfaces, as they can wear down the paint over time if you’re scrubbing hard. Also, avoid using these if your coffee table is marble or granite.”
Classic cleaning mistakes
We all have bad cleaning habits whether we care to admit it or not. Some people sweep the dirt under the rug instead of using the dustpan, others will wait until there’s not a clean dish in the house before running the dishwasher. But McCormack says there are two bad cleaning habits that actually end up making things worse!
“When I watch people on shows clean it just looks so silly,” she says. “Usually they’ll take a wet rag and just start doing circular motions all over the place and I understand that’s not real life, but people do it and it just shoves dirt around.”
So what should we do instead?
“The most effective way to wipe a counter is to spray it with the appropriate cleaner depending on the surface and then strategically wipe from top corner down in a kind of scooping motion to make sure you aren’t spreading the dirt around,” McCormack explains. “Then get down so the counter is at eye level and make sure you didn’t miss any spots!”
The other pet peeve of hers is how people clean their floors.
“Floors get super dirty pretty quickly. Change your mop water often and use super hot water with mild dish soap—I use Dawn—or vinegar. They make amazing floor cleaners,” McCormack shares. “It feels good enough sometimes to just get those floors wet so it at least looks like the gruelling task has been completed, but it’s not doing the job you need!”
Cleaning is something we all do, or at least something we all benefit from. Knowing how you can effectively clean your home without having to spend a fortune will make cleaning feel like less of a chore and more of a win.
Have questions about home cleaning? Send them our way! Living Room is beginning a new cleaning series to give you tips, tricks, and know-how for cleaning your entire home. Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and you might see it in an upcoming article!