Homes 101: Proper Housekeeping

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If you understand the pH scale, cleaning makes more sense

Every chemical has an acidity or alkalinity on a scale of 1 to 14

A few examples

  • 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

Acids break apart in water and form positively charged hydrogen ions

Bases break apart in water and form negatively charged hydroxide ions

Acid and base combinations range from harmless neutralizing to creating fatally poisonous gases

  • Generally, the potency of reactions come from the degree of difference in substances’ pH and the speed they mix

Every home has necessary chores to keep it livable

Weekly tasks should be frequent enough, though not always 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, shower curtains

Do monthly tasks to avoid too much buildup and exponentially more work

Clear out the refrigerator and wipe it down inside

Wash the trash cans and sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of them

Dust the furniture and tops of surfaces

Wash the cars

Prune all foliage

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 down-spouts

Pressure wash the decks, drive, and walks

Replace the refrigerator’s water filter

Replace the batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors

Once a year

Anytime you can do it

  • Visually check that the fire extinguisher still works
  • 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 tuck-point 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 critter entry points
  • Vacuum and clean carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Inspect all power plugs and replace as needed
  • Check wood surfaces for paint failure and damage
  • If you have a septic tank, pump it and inspect it
  • Have a professional check fire extinguisher
  • Check for wasp and hornet nests around the property
  • Check for leaks in toilets and sinks

The start of spring

  • Have a professional check the air conditioner and personally check the condensate drain hose
  • Prepare receipts for taxes

When the air conditioner starts getting used instead of 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

When the heating unit starts getting used instead of the air conditioner, adjust the ceiling fan blades to push upward

Winter has a few potentially critical tasks

Check water lines, insulation and anything else that is vulnerable to cold

Disconnect all hoses from hose bibs, drain, and store

Drain all exterior faucets and protect them with covers

Ensure all water supply cutoff valves are accessible in case of burst pipes

Turn off and drain the irrigation systems

Some tasks must get done every other year or as needed

Shampoo the couches and carpet

Renew any licenses for professional work or licensing

Get any required vehicle smog checks

Cleaning can be easy

Keep taking the trash out to improve the overall state of cleanliness

  • Place extra trash bags at the bottom of the trash cans to make changing out trash bags easier
  • 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 in a caddy or area that they all reside in

  • Use a hanging shoe rack on the inside of a closet
  • Use a curtain rod under a sink to hang spray cleaners

Prepare what you’ll clean with before you start

  • Take out cleaning supplies and place them where you’ll use them
  • Route water for your buckets from the sink with a clean dustpan or pool noodle

Clean everything in the right order to do it faster

  • Dust first and vacuum last to remove any chance of dust staying on clean surfaces
  • Clean from top to bottom, since dust will settle downward
  • Clean from left to right to ensure not missing any areas
  • Avoid going over the same areas again to minimize movement
    • Clean the outer walls first and then the furniture in the center
    • When possible, skip vertical surfaces that haven’t collected dust

Let the cleaning solutions soak on the objects to allow them to decompose the soil chemically

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 repetitively to speed up cleaning

If you need to clean for company, only clean visually obvious 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
  • Gather scattered papers up and wrap them with a rubber band

Cleaning isn’t expensive

A few pre-made solutions can clean most surfaces

Disinfectant spray

  • Fill a spray bottle with hard liquor
  • Fill a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar

Cleaning spray

  • 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 and 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 Borax in a container

Cleaning paste

  • 1/4 cup of baking soda mixed with enough hydrogen peroxide

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. Can be used as a pre-soak, but only use a tablespoon per bucket of water

Tiles and ceramic surfaces

Baking soda/vinegar

  • Apply undiluted vinegar
  • Mix a cup of vinegar with 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, let sit fifteen mins, scrub with clockwise motion and rinse thoroughly

Apply mouthwash with 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 lemon oil in a spray bottle

Mix one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts water, then let 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 baking soda in a quart of warm water, wash the surface, wait a while, rinse off

Windows, mirrors. and computer screens

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

Wipe with vinegar for more thorough cleaning

Keep them from fogging by applying shaving cream

Keep them from fogging by rubbing soapy water on them

Wood floors

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

Washing the dishes

Dishwashing solutions

  • Mix a cup of liquid Castile soap, five drops 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 mins to kill 99% of micro-organisms
  • Soak in water with a little lemon juice, then microwave for 1 min
  • Rub baking soda and water into it and let it sit


  • Fill with warm water and a drop of dish soap, run the blender, then 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 tablets and let soak for at least 1 hour

Burnt pots and pans

  • Rub with a dryer sheet to loosen it
  • Baking soda/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 with cold water and add onion, cook until the onion becomes soft, drain the pot and scrub it
  • Sprinkle 1/4 tablespoon of dry Epsom salt on it, wait a few mins, add warm water and scrub well
  • Soak it for really tough stains, which also can apply elsewhere
    • 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 a 1-2 drops dish soap and enough water to fill the bottom, then bring to a boil on the stove
    • Soak in water and baking soda mixture for ten mins before washing
    • Soak with salt water, let the solution break down the food for a few mins and scrub clean
    • Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the pan, add vinegar, let soak fifteen mins 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 it with ketchup
  • For glass pans and coffee pots
    • Wash with three tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of water
    • Fill with water and place in a hot oven for about ten minutes and rinse with warm water and soap
    • Fill with water and drop in two antacid tablets

Cutting boards

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

Glasses stuck together

  • Put cold water in the top glass and submerge the bottom one in warm water

Heavily caked-on plates and silverware

  • Soak in dishwasher soap


  • 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

Shrinking clothes

  • Wash the clothes in warm water instead of hot to avoid shrinking
  • Unshrink them by soaking in water and hair conditioner for five mins
  • 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 it from shrinking


  • Soak in a mix of water and baking soda
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar with 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/softener when rinsing or drying

  • Add 1/2 cup vinegar to a load while washing
  • Mix two cups vinegar, 30 drops 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 they’re placed in the freezer overnight, but thaw 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 onto 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 on the towel rack while showering to remove most of the creases
  • Throw it in the dryer for 30 mins with a wet sock
  • Throw it in the dryer for five mins with a few ice cubes
  • Hang it up in the bathroom while you shower

Homemade laundry detergent


  1. Grate a Castile soap bar and add to a large saucepan of hot water, stir well until soap dissolves
  2. Fill a ten-gallon pail with five gallons warm water and add mixture, Borax, washing soda and five drops tea tree oil, then stir until completely dissolved
  3. Top up the pail with more water and keep stirring until 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. Grate 1/3 of a bar of Ivory or Fels Naptha soap into a saucepan
    • Alternately, use Dawn dish soap instead
  2. Add 6 cups 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 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 1/2 to an ounce of essential oil or fragrance oil for scent
  7. Use 1/2 cup per load
    • This soap doesn’t create bubbles when used

Special circumstances

Clothes pilling

  • Immerse in icy water with some sea salt dissolved in it
  • Use a razor blade to consolidate all of it to grab it

Delicate designs

  • Wash the clothing inside out to keep the designs from cracking

Flattened pillows

  • Put them in the sun for 30 mins

Hardened towels

  • Mix water and vinegar and soak the towel in it

Excess lint

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

New brightly colored garments that might bleed

  • Was 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 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 in the shoes
  • Put dryer sheets in the shoes


  • 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 and apply 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

To remove salt stains from 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 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 wipe away the dust, capturing all the dust in the pillowcase


  • Clean with a lint roller

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 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, wet them slightly for more effect

Cabinets and cupboards

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

Computer keyboards

  • 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, not adding detergent and skipping the drying 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 as a disposable vacuum extension
  • Use a gift wrap tube as a disposable vacuum extension
  • Wipe up sawdust with dryer sheets

Carpet, furniture, and laundry stains

Most stains

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

Bathtub rings

  • Sprinkle salt over a half grapefruit and use it to scrub away the rings

Carpet stains

  • Vinegar/water solution
    1. Clean up any excess with a rag
    2. Spray with a mixture of half parts vinegar and water
    3. Let stand for two mins, 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 mins, then blot with a towel or sponge, repeat as needed
    3. Dry with a hairdryer set on low
  • Apply a mixture of equal parts salt, Borax, and vinegar
  • Apply cornmeal and salt, and 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

Oven stains

  • Pour a little baking soda over the stains, add vinegar over the area, then wipe clean with a paper towel after the foam is gone

Tile stains

  • Spray with hydrogen peroxide
  • Attach a scrubber to a power drill and use with tile cleaner

Toilet bowl stains

  • Apply 20 ounces of Coca-Cola and let sit for an hour
  • Spray with vinegar
  • Mix lemon juice and Kool-Aid and scrub it in
  • Drop in two antacid tablets, wait twenty mins, brush it and flush

Toilet clogs

  • Apply several squirts of dish soap, then pour boiling water down it
  • 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

  • Grind up four digestive enzyme tablets and mix with a tablespoon of water, spread onto the stain with a soft cloth and then rinse off

Barbecue sauce stains

  • Rub heavy-duty liquid detergent into it


  • Never use hot water
  • Soak and rub 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, 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 into the marks
  • Rub 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 a crushed aspirin to the paste, spread onto the stain and leave 20-30 mins, 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

Gum stuck on something

  • Boil vinegar and pour on the gum, then use a brush to scrub it off
  • Submerge in boiling water, let it soak, then scrape off carefully with a knife
  • Freeze or apply ice to the affected area, then scrape off carefully with a knife
  • Dip into a bowl of Coca-Cola for a few mins, 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 dry before washing it
  • Rub WD-40 into it
  • Soak in milk overnight, then wash
  • Apply rubbing alcohol
  • Rub hand sanitizer into it
  • For ball-point ink, apply dry cleaning solvent and gentle carpet shampoo
  • For ball-point ink, apply methylated spirits and gentle carpet shampoo
  • For ball-point ink, apply mineral turpentine and gentle carpet shampoo
  • For felt-tip ink, apply warm water and gentle carpet shampoo
  • On polyester, soak with hairspray then pat dry with a clean, dry cloth

Jam/jelly stains

  • Rub vinegar into it, then wash

Ketchup stains

  • Rub heavy-duty liquid detergent into it
  • Rub vinegar into it, then wash

Lipstick stains

  • Apply hairspray to the area, wait ten mins, dab with a damp washcloth and 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 mins and wipe away
  • Shower heads can be cleaned by tying a plastic bag full of vinegar to 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

  • Spray with vinegar to clean and prevent future mildew
  • Rub with a rag soaked in alcohol
  • Mix two teaspoons 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 mins
  • Soak fabric 5-15 mins with a mixture of two tablespoons chlorine bleach in a quart of water, then soak in a mixture of two tablespoons of 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 sit for a day
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the stain, let 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

  1. Scrape the excess off with a knife
  2. Rub cornstarch or talcum powder into it
  3. Leave the powder on until the grease is fully absorbed
  4. Brush the powder off with a soft brush or clean washcloth
  5. Wash in cold water

Paint stains

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

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 mins
  • 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 and then wash like normal

Scuffs from shoes

  • Scrub with nail polish

Soap residue

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

Soda stain

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

Sticker and glue residue

  • Spray with perfume or other liquid containing alcohol
  • Moisten it with vinegar, let it sit for ten mins and remove
  • Spray with WD-40 and leave for several mins, then rub it off
  • Rub rubbing alcohol into it
  • Heat with a hair dryer for 1-2 mins, 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, 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, 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 with 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 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 and vacuum or put in the laundry
  • Mix warm water and baking soda into a paste, spread onto it 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 into it
  • Rub mayonnaise into it

Removing odors


  • Most odors can be broken down by placing in direct sunlight for several hours
  • To remove smoke smells, soak or steam in vinegar
  • To remove smoke smells, scrub with a mix of water and baking soda
  • To reduce smoke smells, sprinkle some baking soda in an ashtray to prevent smoldering and reduce odor
  • To remove baby formula smells moisten a cloth, dip it in baking soda and dab at the marks
  • Put dry tea bags in smaller areas with odors
  • Put silica bags in smaller areas with odors
  • Hang a bundle of chalk in an enclosed space to keep everything fresh and dry


  • Place a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight
    • 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 burnt food, boil water with several spoons of vinegar


  • Put a piece of charcoal in a plastic cup, then cover with a paper towel fastened with a rubber band and put in the back of the fridge
  • Place an open container of baking soda in the fridge or freezer


  • Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the trash can
  • Sprinkle baking soda on top of the exposed trash
  • Put 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/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 machine cycle for several mins, then pause and let steep for several hrs
    4. Complete a full wash and rinse cycle


  • Mix baking soda and vinegar to deodorize a surface


  • 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

Closet and drawers

  • Mix dried mint, lavender, peppercorns, rosemary, bay leaves, whole cloves, and cedar chips and hang in a sachet inside the closet
  • Put a bar of unopened soap in the bottom
  • Mix 1/4 cup Borax and 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 all over the interior of the container, let it sit for a day or two and wash 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 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 headlight cleaning

  • Scrub toothpaste into the light covers

Car windshield

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

Cleaning tools

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


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


  • 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 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 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 mins 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 hot water after a few mins
  • Once a week, pour a cup down the drain and let stand for 30 mins before flushing with cold water


  • 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 a bowl with one of the following for 2-5 mins 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

  • Flush yeast down the toilet

Winter maintenance

Shoveling snow

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

De-icer fluid

  • Spray with a cup of vinegar mixed with 2-3 cups water
  • Spray any windows you want free from frost, especially car windows
  • For any roof fixtures, spray de-icer fluid through a Super Soaker water gun

Icy floors

  • Put dishwashing liquid into warm water and pour all over the surface

Dealing with pests

Some natural pesticides work for most insects

  • Mix two cups water with a cup of vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Sprinkle Epsom salt wherever you don’t want them to be
  • Put dryer sheets in shoes, pockets, and drawers
  • If you have too many bugs around your porch lights, replace them with 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 in the house, turn off all the lights and open the windows


  • Clean all affected areas with Dawn dish soap


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

Fruit flies

  • 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
  • Fly killer
    1. Mix four ounces of apple cider vinegar and two drops of dishwashing liquid
    2. Set out where they gather


  • 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 rose geranium oil into a spray bottle and spray on areas that ticks will infest
  • Put clothes in the dryer on high heat for fifteen mins before washing


  • Spray hairspray on them
  • Ball up grocery bags and wrap with weather-resistant duct tape, then hang outside
  • Cut the top off a plastic bottle, invert the top and secure it, then pour sugar water into the bottom
Next: Homes 102: Improving & Decorating