cleaning hacks
Thomas Nelson
Thomas Nelson
April 30, 2024 ·  9 min read

27 of the most effective housekeeping hacks for naturally cleaning your home without chemicals

Cleaning the kitchen is one of those less-than-thrilling household chores that simply have to be done.In fact, when NSF International, the public health and safety organization, conducted a study to find the ‘germiest room in the home’, they discovered it was the kitchen! Clearly, scrubbing this area – where our food is prepared – should be a top priority…but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few shortcuts! Try these nifty cleaning hacks and tricks to enjoy a sparkling kitchen with minimal effort.

Microwave cleaning hacks

Housewife cleaning microwave oven
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Your microwave isn’t just an appliance for heating and cooking food, but can also be used to help you clean. But a clean microwave is needed in order to clean your microwave too. In this section, we’ll talk about how to naturally clean your microwave and what other cleaning uses it has.

Read More: The Ultimate Room-By-Room Spring Cleaning Checklist

Make the Microwave Sparkle by Zapping Vinegar

Woman cleaning microwave oven with brush, baking, soda and vinegar at home
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Steam clean the inside of your microwave by heating a bowl of vinegar and water for ten minutes, before wiping. Top tip: place a wooden item like a spoon or chopstick in the bowl to avoid the risk of superheated liquid.

Sanitize Sponges in the Microwave

Woman cleaning microwave oven with sponge, closeup
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With up to one million bacteria per square inch on an average dishcloth and a whopping 10 million per square inch on a kitchen sponge, these cleaning tools need regular sanitization! In the NSF study referenced above, kitchen sponges were found to be the germiest items in the entire house! To kill microbes and stay healthy, just zap the sponges in the microwave for two minutes.

Vinegar cleaning hacks

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Vinegar is a powerful tool when it comes to cleaning. You can mix it with different things and power up its cleaning capabilities. It seems like there are a few things that vinegar can’t do. In this section, we’re going to talk about how to use vinegar to clean just about everything in your home!

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Unblock Stinky Drains with Baking Soda and Vinegar

pour a spoon of baking soda and a glass of vinegar respectively into the drain of sink, kitchen tips for effectively get rid of unpleasant smells
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In just five short minutes, you can loosen up grimy sludge and say goodbye to those disgusting odors emanating from the drain by using hot water, vinegar, and baking soda.

Dissolve Water Stains with Vinegar

Unrecognizable woman cleaning bathroom tap with vinegar
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Hard water can leave a dull, white crust on all manner of shiny surfaces – from the sink to silverware to the fridge water dispenser. Gently rub vinegar into these stains to make your kitchen items gleam like new again.

Deodorize Smelly Kitchen Towels with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda in jar with a wooden spoon on top, vinegar, cut lemon, folded towel on a white background. The concept of organic removing stains on clothes. High quality photo
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Kitchen towels are exposed to all kinds of food, drink and other grime – meaning they can soon stain and stink! If conventional laundry powder never seems to make them smell rosy, try using simple baking soda and vinegar (with optional essential oils) in the washing machine – those odors will just disappear.

Shine up Glasses with Vinegar

Different clean dishware and glasses on white marble table in kitchen
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Over time, minerals in your water can cause a build-up on your glassware. Other times, the dishwasher simply isn’t doing its job! Whatever the cause, you can easily achieve perfectly sparkling, clear glasses by rubbing them with a soft cloth dabbed with a little vinegar. Once they dry, the smell (and taste!) of the vinegar will dissipate.

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Fix Burnt Pots with Baking Soda and Vinegar

Woman's hand washing only half of a burnt frying pan
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Took your eye off the stove and now your best pan is destroyed? Don’t relegate it to the landfill just yet. Fill the burnt pan with water and two cups of vinegar. Bring this to the boil, take it off the heat and add two tablespoons of baking soda. Allow to stand for two minutes before scrubbing – the burnt stains should easily come away.

Kill Germs in Your Coffee Machine

Close-up of espresso pouring from coffee machine. Professional coffee brewing
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These germ-filled machines can be easily cleaned by filling the water chamber with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Allow the machine to run until all the liquid has passed through. Repeat twice more with plain water before using normally.

Clean the Dishwasher with Mugs of Vinegar

Woman filling up dishwasher rinse aid dispenser with vinegar
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The very item you use to clean your dishes could be making them dirtier, which is why monthly deep cleans are essential. This need not be an onerous task – simply fill two mugs with white vinegar, placing one on the top rack and one on the bottom and leaving the rest of the dishwasher empty. Run a hot cycle and the dishwasher will sparkle.

Lemon cleaning hacks

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Cleaning with lemon is a refreshing and natural approach that brings a citrusy twist to household chores. The acidic properties of lemon make it an excellent cleaner, cutting through grease and grime while leaving behind a pleasant scent. From kitchen surfaces to glass and stainless steel, harnessing the power of lemons adds a zesty touch to a sparkling, chemical-free clean.

Clean Baking Trays and Dirty Pans with Lemon

Lemon and its juice use for cleaning
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Soak pans, pots, baking dishes, and cookie sheets in hot water with baking soda and fresh lemon, and watch the grease slide right off. You can also rub half a lemon around stainless steel cookware for extra shine before rinsing and allowing it to air dry.

Deep Clean Wooden Cutting Boards with Lemon and Salt

Holding Sliced Lemon
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Given that the average cutting board has about 200% more fecal bacteria than the average toilet, keeping them clean is vital. Don’t bother with expensive products though – a lemon and some coarse salt is all you need to remove hidden germs and grime.

Freshen Up the Garbage Disposal with a Lemon

Aater spraying into a garbage disposal in stainless steel sink with water and bubbles pooling and running on surface - some grain and movement blur from water
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To get rid of bad odors, just cut a lemon in half and shove it in the garbage disposal. Grind this for ten seconds while the water is running.

Read More: Kids Today Need More (Not Less) Responsibility

Salt cleaning hacks

Miniature toy housewives figures cleaning up spilled salt on wooden table
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Cleaning with salt is a versatile and budget-friendly method that adds a gritty edge to your cleaning arsenal. The coarse texture of salt works as a natural abrasive, making it effective for scrubbing away stubborn stains and dirt. Whether tackling kitchen messes or revitalizing household items, harnessing the abrasive power of salt brings a simple yet powerful solution to your cleaning routine.

Scrub Cast Iron Pans with Sea Salt

Dirty cast iron skillet being prepared for cleaning with coarse salt, brush, scraper and dish towel on a counter.
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Soap shouldn’t be used on cast iron as it can ruin the seasoning. Instead, simply use a steel scouring pad and some coarse sea salt to cut through the grease.

Clean a Scorched Iron with Salt

Simple badly burnt damaged metal iron bottom, scorched iron, ironing issues, dirty destroyed iron surface texture macro, closeup. Damage, household appliances goods cleaning
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Get rid of those burn marks on the plate of your iron with this simple trick. Spread several heaping tablespoons of table salt on a soft cloth and rub the heated iron back and forth until the scorch marks disappear. Once the iron is cool, rub it with a damp cloth.

Unusual cleaning hacks

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Every once in a while, we come across a natural cleaning tip and think, ‘wait, what?’ Some of these natural cleaning ideas are pretty out there, but they work like a charm every time!

Clean Grill Grates with Onion

Cleaning the outdoor grill
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Simply take half a peeled, white onion and rub it back and forth over the grates of a hot grill. This both deglazes the grates and adds an extra layer of flavor to your dinner!

Add Shine to Wood with Coconut Oil

Applying wood care oil on a food cutting board.
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Wooden surfaces like kitchen cabinets and dining tables benefit every now and then from a coconut oil rub – making them look glossy and new. The oil will also remove oil-soluble impurities and dust particles while its lauric acid content kills microbes.

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Eliminate Coffee Mug Stains with Baking Soda

Coffee cup over white painted background. Dregs in the bottom of the cup, with stains. Lots of copyspace.
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If your favorite morning coffee mug is looking a little worse for wear, don’t waste time and energy scrubbing it with plain dish soap. Let baking soda do the work for you: sprinkle the powder on the stains, dampening with a dash of water. After ten minutes, gently scrub the inside of the mug with a little more baking soda on a damp cloth – this acts as an abrasive agent. The stains should simply rinse away.

Remove Pet Hairs with a Squeegee

Pet Hair, Dust nad Dirt on a Wooden Floor. Dirty Floor under Bed. Colonies of Dust Bunnies Underneath. Floor Duster. Untidiness House. Dog Fur on a Brown Floor-board.
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Pet hairs can be a nuisance – especially when they build up on mats or carpets. Instead of breaking your back trying to vacuum these hairs out; just rub a squeegee over the hairs and they should come away easily.

Wash Inside Bottles with Rice

milled rice on wood spoon and Wooden Floor
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Bottles with narrow necks or irregular-shaped jars are pretty and interesting – but they can be next to impossible to clean. This ingenious trick – using water, soap, and a little rice – solves the problem.

Clear Out Your Coffee or Spice Grinder with Bread

Fresh homebaked artisan sourdough bread. Slices of bread isolated on white background, design element.
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Can’t get the last few bits of ground-up coffee or spices out of the bottom of the grinder? No problem, throw in some soft white bread, grind it up, and then dump it out.

Dust by Walking Around!

Possibly the laziest kitchen cleaning hack of them all, this one simply requires that you wear chenille socks as you go about your day. They work just like a Swiffer but you don’t even know you’re cleaning!

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Unclog a Cheese Grater with Potato

Man grating hard cheese. Ggrater and a plate with grated hard tasty cheese on a light background. Dairy. Concept: Italian cuisine, cheese, restaurant and food. Copy space
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Cleaning dried-in cheese from a grater is no easy feat! The next time this happens, grate a potato – it will push the cheese out of the grater and make it so easy to wipe clean.

Clean the Blender by Flicking a Switch

Mother and little daughter cleaning blender in kitchen
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As delicious and nutritious as green smoothies are, cleaning the blender afterward is no fun. Cut out this task completely by immediately filling the blender halfway with water and adding two drops of dish soap. Flick the switch and blend for a few seconds before rinsing clean. Voila!

Absorb Nasty Fridge Odors with Ground Coffee

Roasted ground coffee in wooden spoon on white background.
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Spread freshly ground coffee evenly on a plate and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. You’ll no longer open your refrigerator door to be greeted by the smell of yesterday’s leftovers.

Read: Why Are Some People Putting Paper Towels in the Fridge?

Get Rid of Kitchen Cabinet Gunk with Vegetable Oil and Baking Soda

Woman using baking soda to unclog sink drain, closeup
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Blend these two ingredients and scrub your cabinet doors for an inexpensive way to clean and shine in one.

Remove Baked-on Grime from the Oven Naturally

baking soda with white vinegar
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This DIY job costs practically nothing to make, is free from harsh chemicals and doesn’t involve breaking a sweat. You’ll need tried and trusty baking soda and vinegar along with lemon, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap.

Clean Bathroom Tiles

Hand and glove cleaning the bathroom tiles.
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Combine 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide and pour into a small spray bottle. Be sure to use gloves as you spray the mixture onto grubby tiles. Leave for about 5 minutes, then scrub and rinse off. (You can also add about 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent).

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