Cleaning Products You Already Have

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Cleaning products account for a substantial portion of each household's grocery budget. With laundry detergent topping the list as high as $15 per bottle, it isn't hard to see why. One could easily fill a cabinet or two with the bevy of cleaning products advertised on television. It seems that there's a product for every surface in the home, requiring a shopper to invest more and more. It's good to know when walking down the cleaning aisle that you might already have the product to do the job, and you might have it for less.

Stain Removal

There are all types of stains that appear on carpets and clothes, and there are all types of cleaning products for them. If a mechanic resides in your home, move the mechanics' hand soap to your laundry room. Products made for loosening grease on skin will do the same with your laundry. Just be sure to thoroughly rinse the clothes before putting them in the dryer so that you don't "cook" the grease into the fabric.

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A great trick for grass stained laundry is to use rubbing alcohol. Forget reapplying stain fighter to the area over and over. Alcohol breaks down the oils in the grass, leaving a basic stain to remove afterward. Keep rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle by your washer and spray it on the green marks, letting it evaporate from the fabric before pre-treating or laundering. Rubbing alcohol also gets pen and some marker out of fabric. Spray the alcohol on the pen and immediately blot it with a white towel. The pen will magically disappear.

Remove the Mildew

If mildew or damp smells are plaguing your storage items, try drying it up with kitty litter. Place the musty or damp item in a plastic storage container or large garbage bag with some kitty litter. The litter will absorb all of the moisture, pulling the smell from the fabric. This works well with toys or items that can't be laundered. Even the musty old book from the flea market will lose some of that smell if it's kept in a bag with kitty litter for a few days.

Carpet Stains

Professional cleaning companies clean the carpet the best, but who can call them to clean every week? Those with pets, children, and even clumsy adults need to keep a few quick carpet cleaning tricks up their sleeves. For carpet smells, try the kitty litter trick or sprinkle baking soda on the carpet. Hand push it into the carpet a bit and then vacuum in several directions. Don't try to mask the smells with products like Febreze; they'll only linger. For stains in the carpet, consider your laundry stain removal. If it works for a cotton t-shirt, it most likely will work on carpet. Always test for color fastness first. Then, try products like Shout to take stains out of carpet. Spray the pretreatment a few minutes before running the steam cleaner over it.

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Hot Water

Nothing cleans like hot water. Hot water and a little bit of dish soap cleans hardwood or laminate floors gently and effectively. It can also be a burden, however. Heat sets stains, so heavily stained clothes should be washed in cold water. Likewise, when stains dot your carpets, get out the steam cleaner but turn off the steam. Use the water to wash the floors, but avoid the heat for setting stains. Another stain sealer, especially for smells, is the steam cleaning fluid used in the cleaner. Simply care for the area with cold water circulation and save on the expensive cleaning solution and hot water cycle.

January 14, 20110 found this helpful

Also check your pantry! You've probably got the best cleaners there already. Vinegar, salt, baking soda, lemon juice. You'd be surprised how much these items can clean. I brought home a tarnished silver piece from the Goodwill the other day. First thing I reached for was cream style toothpaste and an old toothbrush. Cleaned that silver right up! Think about what your Grandmother cleaned with. She didn't have all the stuff we have today.

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January 15, 20110 found this helpful

I used to make my own laundry soap; then they overwhelmed it with chemicals so much I could not have in my house; so I switched to BioKleen; it has no chemicals; washes wonderfully; and you use only a small amount as if making your own laundry soaps; no fillers! I even stock up on it when it's on sale; even tho 1 box lasts 6 months or longer! wonderful stuff and far cheaper, no chemicals, healthier for you and the planet! Yes: I use vinegar, etc; and do not forget microfiber which was created and designed to be use without chemicals at all!

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