By Matt Fox
Home & Garden Television
When I look back at growing up with my two older brothers, it amazes me that my mom was able to keep up with the cleaning. The amount of cleaning supplies must have been enormous, and this was way before Wal-Mart had started popping up every three blocks.
In retrospect, I should have been paying more attention because one of my duties in getting rooms ready for “Room by Room” is cleaning those rooms. After my co-host Shari and I have done all the painting, building and accessorizing, the room can start to look a little grungy.
So I turned to dear Mom and she gave me a list of her favorite homemade cleaning supplies. Some of these you may never have tried, or, if you’re like me, your mom was her own professor of clean.
The first item is probably the hardest working thing in your kitchen: Baking soda. I found numerous uses for this simple little box of dynamite.
To help eliminate carpet odors, sprinkle a full box full over a dry carpet, let it sit for about 15 minutes, then vacuum up the powder. It really does a terrific job, plus it helps to keep your vacuum cleaner smelling fresher.
Try using baking soda, salt and a little water to open a clogged drain. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup salt. Pour it down the drain and follow with boiling water. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, turn on the tap and let it run to flush down the clog. No harsh chemicals, and that’s a bonus right there.
Do you have black heel marks on your floor? Make a paste of baking soda and water, rub it on the mark and black heel marks are history. It works well on counter top stains, too.
And who would have thought that rubbing your tub down with white vinegar, then using baking soda as a scouring powder would remove bathtub film?
I didn’t, but people have been doing it for years. Just use a sponge for the vinegar, followed by the powder for a one-two punch on grime.
If you already have the vinegar out, dilute it with a little water to remove dirt from ceramic tile, brick and stone flooring.
Use club soda to polish your floors, whether hardwood or vinyl. And you thought club soda was just for stains on garment. Oh, how little we really know!
If you like to cook, you probably have olive oil on hand. Blend two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice to freshen up your wood furniture. Just wipe on and remove with a clean dry rag. And you never know – it may lower your furniture’s cholesterol.
Olive oil also works great as a brass and stainless steel cleaner that will help prevent those surfaces from tarnishing.
And one last household item that is not just for your pearly whites. Use plain white toothpaste to clean crayon marks from non-porous surfaces and to scrub water spots from wood furniture.
Those are just a few of the things around the house that can help you spiff it up.