Good tricks never get old: Home cleaning hacks from our grandparents

There are plenty of things from the past we can well do without, but some household hacks from the olden days haven't lost any of their luster. Try these 11 great cleaning tricks that both work and cost next to nothing:

1. Cleaning the microwave


Take a big bowl and fill it with water. Then put in a few drops of lemon juice and a pinch of cinnamon. Turn the microwave on with the power set to high and let the water simmer. Let the machine cool off and wipe the microwave clean with a damp cloth. Done! You won't be faced with a view like this ever again. 


2. Removing melted candle wax


Melted wax can be diabolically hard to get up. But not for Grandma and Grandpa: they'd put a few ice cubes in a freezer bag, place the bag on the waxy spot, and after an hour the frozen wax can be easily broken off.

3. Prevent mold growing on the shower curtain

Natural light

The old trick was to trim the bottom hem of the curtain off so it's not hanging down into the wettest part of the tub. But if you don't want to cut the curtain, you can also give it a thorough rinse in the washing machine every three to four months.

4. Remove wall scribblings

Purple crayon on the wall -- oops!

Little family member's artwork on the wall? Sometimes you can get it off with a normal eraser or by gently rubbing with steel wool. But for persistent doodles you can use cleaning naphtha (a bar intended for clothes or the more industrial kind). It even works on crayon marks!

5. Get a table looking glossy again


If your wooden table is looking languid, try polishing it with a mix of three quarters olive oil and one quarter lemon juice. Rub the mix in well, leave it awhile to work its magic, and then wipe any excess off. The before-and-after effect is remarkable.

6. Clean off burned, encrusted pots and pans

pots, pans

Prepare a blend of warm water and a heaping tablespoon of baking soda. Pour it into the affected pot or pan and leave it to soak. Then scrub off all the encrustations with a brush. (People used to use a stale crust of bread for that! Thank goodness the technology has developed a little...) 

7. Get your kitchen surfaces shining like new

191 Whisper Wind on Lake Martin - 60

Spare yourself the cost and chemicals of a typical spray cleaner. Instead, just rub the surfaces with the pulpy side of a halved grapefruit and then sprinkle ample amounts of salt on them. After a short wait, wipe them off using hot water. This works wonders on natural stone countertops such as granite. 

8. Restore a fresh clean scent to your dishwasher

Empty top

The first users of dishwashers knew the trick: vinegar. An hour before you want to run it, pour some essence of vinegar in the bottom of the machine and let it sit for an hour. Then turn it on and by the end of the cycle the dishwasher will smell like new! 

9. Clean your rugs

afghan rug

Back in Grandma's day, getting your rugs cleaned at the dry cleaner wasn't necessarily an option, nor was high-tech textile freshener. Instead, you'd spread a few tablespoons of black tealeaves across the rug and leave them there for half an hour. After you vacuum them up, no more musty odors. 

10. Remove coffee stains


To get coffee stains off of light textiles, one thing is important: to act fast. The more recent the stain, the easier it is to remove. First you should rinse it with cold water, then rub dishwashing soap on it, and then rinse again. Then drizzle a mix of one part water, one part vinegar on it and let it act. Then put it in the laundry the way you normally would and afterwards, the stain will be a thing of the past.

11. Washing windows without leaving streaks


Before window cleaner, you had to make a glass cleanser yourself. It worked like this: 1 and 2/3 cups water with half a cup of vinegar and a 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol. The guarantee? No streaks on your windows, especially if you use scrunched up old newspapers to do the cleaning. 

Sometimes the cudgel of industrial chemical cleansers doesn't even work as well as a simple, natural solution. We don't have to reinvent the wheel either since Grandma's bag of tricks still works beautifully!




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