Learn how to clean your house with food

cleaner guy
CC BY 2.0 garlandcannon

Say goodbye to toxic cleaners. Look no further than the fridge and pantry to learn how to clean everything from pots and pans to yucky grills to carpets.

Many of the conventional cleaning products that fill our homes and workplaces are unnecessary. Not only are they unhealthy – from toxic and carcinogenic ingredients to wasteful plastic containers – but their efficacy has been usurped by greener, cleaner, and more natural methods.

Did you know that there are numerous foods, probably sitting in your kitchen right now, that can be used to clean your house? The Huffington Post recently posted a great article called “11 Foods That Double As Cleaning Products,” and it had some very surprising suggestions for edible cleaners. Here are a few that I want to try, but you should check out the original article for the full list:

An onion can clean a dirty grill grate.

Apparently, if you scrub at a grease-encrusted grill grate with a half-onion, it will help to loosen and clean away all the gunk. Commenters on the original post from The Kitchn say that this is a traditionally Mexican way of cleaning a grill, and that the grill must be very hot in order to work properly.

Olive oil (or butter) will remove sap.

I’ve always done this with a piece of butter, which works wonderfully. If you get sticky with sap, rub the oil or butter into the sap to loosen it, and then wash with soap. The sap will melt away. You might need to repeat a couple times. (It even works in hair, which I know from personal experience.)

Use Coca-Cola to clean the toilet bowl.

Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl, let sit for a while, then scrub and flush. The toilet will gleam. I suppose this is a good backup solution for when you run out of toilet bowl cleaner.

Ketchup can polish copper pots and pans.

Tomatoes are acidic, which eats away at the tarnish on copper pots. Rub in some ketchup, let sit for 5 to 30 minutes, then wash off. Lemon juice and baking soda can do the same thing.

To this list, I’d add the following tips that have already been covered on TreeHugger:

Baking soda can clean a musty carpet.

Sprinkle it on carpets to reduce the smell. Let sit for a while, then vacuum up. While you're at it, if there are any new stains on the carpet, just sprinkle on some cornmeal to absorb excess oil, or rub at it with coconut oil; then vacuum or wash with soap.

Vinegar is great for cleaning windows.

Get sparkling clean glass by adding some white vinegar to hot water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe with a clean rag.

Use baking soda to clean your oven.

Spray water on the bottom of the dirty oven. Cover with a layer of baking soda and let sit overnight. Wipe away the mess in the morning. If you need to scrub, add salt for extra abrasion.

Combat laundry stains with fresh lemon juice.

Depending on the severity of the stain, add full-strength lemon juice or diluted with water or mixed with salt to remove underarm stains, rust or mildew stains, or ink stains. A half-lemon will also add freshness to a load of dishes if tossed in the top rack of the dishwasher.

Learn how to clean your house with food
Say goodbye to toxic cleaners. Look no further than the fridge and pantry to learn how to clean everything from pots and pans to yucky grills to carpets.

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