Cleaning & Organizing
11 Brilliant Cleaning Tips We Learned from Grandma
Grandma didn't have half the cleaning products available today, yet she knew exactly how to keep her home shining.
Whiten Clothes with Lemon Juice
Combine a gallon of hot water with the juice of a lemon, and let your faded whites soak for an hour or two. Afterwards, run them through the laundry machine on rinse cycle, and hang them outside to dry in the sunshine—a natural whitener Grandma would love. Here’s a quick laundry tip Meemaw would approve of.
Skip the Paper Products
Instead of constantly buying paper towels to clean up messes, invest in thin towels that you can wash and reuse. They’ll last a long time, saving you the costs and trouble of buying more paper products all the time. Even better, reusable towels are an eco-friendly option that’s good for the planet, too.
Clean as You Go
Rather than letting laundry, dishes and other messes pile up, clean as you go. Toss toys in a basket when you walk through the living room. Put dishes in the dishwasher as you cook. Wipe down all the counters before bed. Make cleaning part of your routine, and reap the benefits of a home as neat as Grandma’s. One of our contributors swears by cleaning a minute at a time.
Double Your Dish Sponges
Every budget-loving grandma knows the appeal of making household items last longer. So get twice the life out of an everyday dish sponge by cutting it in half. Not only does this give you two sponges for the price of one, but it also creates smaller sponges that are easier to fit into pots and dishes. Here’s how to clean your kitchen sponges.
Dampen Your Cloth Before Dusting
When you’re going to dust the furniture, lightly dampen your cloth. Whether you use an old T-shirt, a cheesecloth or another soft cloth, you want it to be damp enough to pick up dust, but not wet enough that it pools water while you use it. Rub this cloth along surfaces using gentle motions so you can restore furniture’s shine.
Have you met the microfiber cloth? It’s amazing.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
You don’t need expensive cleaning products to scrub the sinks or wash the windows. Combine a cup of water with white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and a few drops of essential oil to create a simple, effective window cleaner for streak-free shine. Use baking soda and soap to scrub the tub. Try these lemony DIY cleaners.
Boil Cinnamon for a Sweet-Scented Kitchen
Get rid of offensive cooking odors or simply sweeten up your kitchen by boiling cinnamon sticks. Cover cinnamon sticks with water in a small saucepan on the stove, and bring the mixture to a boil. After a few minutes, a comforting aroma will fill the room, reminding you of the best holidays at Grandma’s house.
Sprinkle Flour on Oil Stains
Spill some oil on the counter or the floor? Don’t panic. Just sprinkle a little flour on top of the stain, let it rest for a bit and return with a sponge or cloth. When you go to wipe the spill, it should come right up. Here are a bunch more kitchen tips you’ll actually use.
Use Grapefruit to Get That Grease
There’s nothing like the frustration of a greasy pan that won’t come clean. The next time this happens to you, think old school and sprinkle salt and grapefruit juice on top of the greasy area. Wait 5 to 10 minutes, and the gunk should scrub up easily. Try these other ways to clean with grapefruit.
Susan Law Cain/Shutterstock
Shut Down Shower Curtain Mildew
As soon as you get a new shower curtain liner, cut off the bottom two inches. When the water doesn’t get to linger inside the curtain, pressed against the tub, it doesn’t build up that annoying mildew over time.
Deep-Clean Once a Year
Let spring inspire an annual household cleaning spree, just the way it did for Grandma. Once a year when the winter weather turns nice enough to open the windows again, set aside an entire day to clean. Use this as a chance to wash the windows, deep-clean the floors, vacuum your mattress and clean out your closets. Print our spring cleaning checklist (psst: you can really do it any time of year!).