Clean with your pantry - groceries with hidden powers
Your overflowing kitchen pantry may be a cook's paradise, but it's also a housekeeper's
treasure trove - full of surprising and handy household cleaners. Here's our favourite
grocery items with secret cleaning powers.
All mums have a squeeze bottle or two of tommy sauce in their pantry (the one ingredient that makes every meal kid-friendly!). If you happen to own copper or brass cookware, tomato sauce can make them all shiny and new again. Simply squeeze a little sauce onto a cloth and rub on pots and pans to clean them. Rinse well afterwards.
If you love making walnut bread and have a leather couch, listen up. A natural way to remove light scratches from leather is to rub a little walnut oil on them. Remove the shell from a walnut, cut it in half and rub it on the scratch. After an hour the scratch will magically disappear!
You may not believe it, but even a slice of white bread has secret cleaning powers - it can be used to dust oil paintings! Simply dab a slice on the surface of an oil painting to absorb any dirt or grime.
When mixed with water into a thick paste, this pantry staple doubles as a heavy duty hand soup.
Give your glass vases a sparkly facelift by washing them with rice. Simply fill a vase ¾ with warm water and add 1 tbsp of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening and shake vigorously. Rinse and voila, glittering glassware!
Rice also makes the best laundry starch. Next time you're cooking rice for dinner, keep the rice water after it's boiled and add water in even parts (so 1 cup starch, 1 cup water). Pour this diluted mixture into your washing machine's rinse cycle to stiffen fabric. Spray it on clothes while ironing too.
Instead of tossing teabags out after your mid morning cuppa, save them and add shine to your wooden furniture by wiping it with a soft cloth dipped in tea water.
Bicarb soda (also known as baking soda)
Probably the most useful ingredient in your pantry, bicarb soda can be used in cooking and has a zillion household uses too. It's a cheap natural alternative to expensive (and toxic) household cleaners, is a laundry must-have, can be added to the rinse cycle of your dishwasher and when mixed with water, is a natural and effective mouthwash. Add shine to your scuffed stainless-steel sink by polishing it with a cloth soaked in bicarb soda and water, then wipe it dry with another clean cloth.
Cornstarch is great for getting rid of grease spills on carpet. Simply dab it on grease spots and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming away.
You can also use cornstarch to dry clean your family's pet cat! Simply rub Silvester's fur in cornstarch and leave him to groom himself naturally.
Humble table salt can be used to scrub pots and pans and to tackle stubborn coffee mug stains. When mixed with a little vinegar and water, it can also spruce up tarnished brass or copper. Pouring hot, salty brine down the kitchen sink will also prevent grease from collecting in the drain pipe.
Along with bicarb soda, vinegar is the natural cleaner's best bud. Dilute it with water for an eco glass cleaner, use it in the laundry as a natural fabric softener/stain remover/soaker, mix it with bicarb soda to make a bathroom cleansing past and get rid of stinky odours by spraying it around your home or car.
Yuk! - you might think, but rotten milk is actually a powerful ink stain remover. To get rid of ink stains on your child's school uniform, or the family couch, rot some milk in the sun and rub the solids onto the fabric. When the ink starts to lift, wash the rotten milk away with water and detergent.
This citrus gem can be used to dissolve soap scum, clean brass and copper, and when mixed with vinegar and baking soda, makes a natural cleaning paste. Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle baking soda on the segment and use it to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains!
Your salad dressing moonlights as a fabulous, and natural, furniture polish. Add shine and lustre to wooden bookshelves, wooden coffee and dinning tables by rubbing them with a cloth soaked in a little olive oil.
There's nothing like the aroma of coffee to get rid of a bad smell. Tip a cup of coffee grinds into the kitchen sink and slowly pour a kettle of boiling water down the sink to get rid of smelly odours.
Oil of cloves
This one doesn't technically live in your pantry, and should probably reside in your bathroom cabinet, or medicine drawer, as its a natural home toothache remedy, but we've included it here because oil of cloves also has secret mould-killing powers. Mix 4-5 drops of oil of cloves in a bucket half filled with water and wipe a mouldy wall with a sponge soaked in it. The mould won't come off straight away, but the oil of cloves will continue to attack, killing the mould over time.
Long before modern cleaning chemicals polluted our lives, bran water was used to wash heavy cotton and linen fabrics and upholstery. To make bran water, mix 2 cups bran with 3.5 litres of water. Bring to the boil on a stove for 20 minutes. Strain off the bran and hand wash fabric, or add the bran water to the rinse cycle of your washing machine.
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This article was written by Lana Hallowes for Kidpsot.com.au and has been adpated for Kidspot.co.nz