Did you know???

…you have a GIGANTOR stock of natural cleaning products hiding in your pantry and you probably don’t even know it!!!

Go on, take a peek!

Can’t spot them???

Well, I did a little Google-y-goo research recently, followed by a bit of kitchen science lab experimentation to see if I could find some less expensive cleaning product alternatives that were more natural to use around my kidlets and fur babies.

Now, don’t get me wrong…cleaning is not high on my fun list, but with a house full of boys (pets included), there’s A LOT of scrubbing that goes down on a regular basis, and sometimes it feels like we go through cleaning supplies as quickly as milk.

So, I compiled a list of common cooking staples that secretly lead a double life as affordable and effective cleaners for a variety of different surfaces around the house.  Here are my fave tried and true DIY cleaning solutions…

How to clean GREASE

  • Add a few drops of lemon juice to your kitchen soap dispenser to help cut grease more effectively.
  • Lemon is also a great deodorizer as well as degreaser and works well for cleaning the inside of the microwaves.  Mix 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a microwave safe dish and run on high until the mixture is boiling, then allow to sit and steam inside for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove the dish and use a clean dry cloth to wipe down the inside… the grease will wipe away, and it will smell lemony fresh! .
  • Vinegar is also a great grease fighter!  Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle and use to clean stainless steel appliances.  The acidic vinegar will help to cut through the grease of fingerprint marks, and always use a microfiber cloth rubbing in the direction of the stainless grain to avoid streaks.

How to polish SILVERWARE

  • Apply a layer of ketchup (yes, ketchup!) to the surface of the silverware with a cloth or papertowel and allow to sit for 15 minutes.  Rinse with warm water and gently buff with a clean, dry cloth, and VOILA! Sparkly and shiny again!
  • This is a trick my Mom taught me when I was little… place a piece of tin foil in the bottom of a plastic container (shiny side up), add 1 cup of Arm & Hammer washing soda and then fill with hot water.  Stir the mixture and place the silverware in contact with the shiny tin foil and allow to soak for 15 minutes.  Rinse in clean warm water, and buff.

My least favourite thing to clean… TOILETS

  • If you ever have a half finished can of cola kicking around after a party, pour it into your toilet bowl.  Allow it to sit for about an hour and then scrub with a toilet brush and flush.  Cola is great for descaling that nasty ring around the bowl build-up.
  • Baking soda is also great to remove toilet bowl grime.  Sprinkle baking soda around the inside of the bowl, and then use a wet scrub brush on the problem areas, then flush!  Ta da…your royal thrown will be sparkling again!

How to safely clean up BROKEN GLASS

  • If you’ve ever dropped a light bulb (smash), then you know there are a zillion pieces to clean up.  Of course, vacuuming or sweeping will help, but there are those teeny tiny little fragments of glass that often just get pushed around by broom bristles.  So, here’s a crazy cool tip…after cleaning up the larger broken glass pieces, use a piece of fresh sliced bread and press down on the surface.  It acts as a sponge and grabs onto those microscopic pieces so you can dispose of them safely. (Note: white bread works best)
  • White bread also works well to lightly dust and clean delicate oil paintings. Did you know that in 1625, a restoration of the Sistine Chapel was carried out by cleaning the ceiling with pieces of bread!  So maybe carbs aren’t that bad after all!!

How to clean WOOD SURFACES

  • I started cooking with coconut oil about a year ago, and it amazes me how many other uses there are for it!  You can deep condition your hair, moisturize your skin AND moisturize wood floors and furniture!  Simply use a tablespoon of coconut oil with a clean buffing cloth and rub the oil onto dry surfaces to help restore its lustre.
  • I’m also a huge black tea fan, and recently discovered that if I save my tea bags and add them into my bucket of clean water to mop floors, the steeped tea will richen the natural wood colour and help prevent fading.
  • Last but not least, WATER!  Genius, right!  Of course we all know that water can help you clean just about anything, but water is the key ingredient to add to a floor steamer which can kill more than 99% of bacteria.  Now, if you’re cleaning wood floors, you want to make sure your steamer has temperature controls… using HOT steam on natural wood can cause expansion and do some serious damage.


Now, speaking of steamers…

I’m rather partial to this bad boy!

       steam mop 1

The Black +Decker SmartSelect steam mop has 3 temperature settings (including one specifically for wood floors), an easy to remove and fill water canister, fab microfiber pads that are super easy to remove and toss in the washing machine AND it has a little hidden secret…

steam mop 2

There’s an ingenious little step down pedal at the back that quickly releases the large steam head and reveals a smaller steam head to get around small, tight areas like icky toilets.

I recently gave it a test drive on Cityline along with sharing some of the cleaning tips above…

Now, we gave the Black + Decker steam mop away to some lucky Cityline audience members that day, but today might be YOUR lucky day!  I’m giving away one to a Hue La La reader, and here’s how to enter…

Tweet the following:

I want to get a head start on spring cleaning by winning this @Black_DeckerUS SmartSelect steam mop: http://www.huelala.com/design-musings/you-cleaned-what-with-that/ ‎ #HueLaLa

You have a second chance to win by leaving a comment below about your favourite natural cleaning product, or sharing your best cleaning tip or trick!

Giveaway eligibility ends at 11:59pm EST on January 31, 2014, and is only open to residents of Canada (for now…sorry to my US peeps).


All this chatter about cleaning has me feeling so fresh…and so clean…clean!



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16 Responses to “You cleaned WHAT with THAT?”

  1. Susanne B. says:

    My favourite is using lemon juice to cut grease on surfaces and in the microwave.

  2. Mona Buckmiller says:

    I love the huelala blog. Just want to say everything I learn on here I have put to use. Keep up the good work. My favourite cleaning products are vinegar and baking soda. I use it to get my bathroom squeaky clean.

  3. beth says:

    I use vinegar to clear floors sometimes. I also LOVE sunlight bar soap for laundry type cleaning

  4. Anabela says:

    I use the water and vinegar mix for just about everything, especially cleaning stainless steel

  5. Lisa Mackay says:

    Love these Leigh-Ann! I swear by the tinfoil method for silver (I am way too lazy to do each by hand), but might try the ketchup just for the novelty of it. Maybe it will look so fun my kids will clean my silver for me? I also use vinegar everywhere – esp in my front-loading washer. I add it to the final rinse cycle and it brightens and freshens, and also keeps that front-loading funk away from the basin.

    PS Awesome to see you on Thursday! :)

  6. Great cleaning tips! Pinned to my “home” board on Pinterest.

  7. Jennifer Morse says:

    I love cleaning with good old vinegar!

  8. Seriously! COCONUT OIL is SO underrated. I love the stuff!

  9. yoko says:

    I also use vinegar and water mix on lots of things, it’s good around the little kids they can help me cleaning and I don’t have to worry about it ! I also use baking soda and vinegar for unclogging the drain,

  10. Amy says:

    LEMONS !

    *On cutting boards: – removes tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards ! Slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.

    * Dishes: To increase the grease-cutting power of your dishwashing detergent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice.

    * Faucets: Combat that gross lime scale by rubbing lemon juice onto the taps and letting it sit overnight. Wipe in the morning with a damp cloth.

    * Garbage disposal: Two steps in one ! Cut a lemon in half, then run both pieces through the disposal. The lemon cleans it and makes it smell great !


  11. Joanne says:

    I use a cup of vinegar and hot water to clean my floors. Works great!

  12. Janice Marela says:

    I love using the Norwex anti bacterial clothes everywhere. They clean so well and they last forever!

  13. Catherine says:

    I use baking soda and a fresh lemon to scrub the iron stains off my bathtub.

  14. aga says:

    I use a great ready made product called Universal Stone. This stuff is truly magic, cleans every surface imaginable. The best thing about it is it is completely natural, non toxic and if you are so inclined you could even eat it! A small jar of it goes a really long way. For a person like myself who is chemical sensitive this product is really a blessing.

  15. Jaclyn says:

    Absolutely love these steam showers

  16. Colleen says:

    Wish I had seen this earlier! With 3 messy cats and a super messy construction worker hubby that steam mop would come in handy (like that it works without chemicals). My tip is this. Keep your old toothbrushes handy, then dip them in a little baking soda and scrub away that nasty stuff that shoes up around your taps. It’s a great way to clean your taps and keeps your toothbrush out of landfill for a little while longer!

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